Layering Fragrances : Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena and French Elle Part 1


Part 2: Layering Fragrances : French Elle Guide Part 2

There are two schools of thought on layering fragrances. The Purist school holds that the fragrance is a finished work and any tempering with it would destroy the perfect balance that the creator tried to achieve. The Experimentalists, on the other hand, see an interesting potential in layering fragrance in being able to come up with interesting combinations and to personalize one’s fragrance choices.

The Experimentalists have a great perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena on their side, who has even suggested interesting layering combinations. A longtime fellow perfume lover and an excellent researcher, Bela has kindly shared with me excerpts from Elle magazine on the topic of perfume layering, which were translated by her from French.

NB: I also highly recommend Bela’s website, which includes recordings to help pronounce French perfume names.

The Rules of Successful Layering according to French ELLE magazine:

The safest way to do it is with citrus notes. They blend easily with floral, woodsy and even ambery fragrances. Such combinations enable you to associate two different ‘scent worlds’ and prevent either of the two fragrances being redundant. How to go about it: spray the stronger perfume first so that the notes from the second perfume get added to the heart and base notes of the first one.


Comptoir Sud Pacifique Eau Vanille Abricot + Chanel Coco
Adds a gourmand note to the ambery/woody base of Coco

Kenzo Flower + YSL M7
Adds floral notes to the muskiness of M7; turns it into a feminine scent

L’Artisan Navegar + Annick Goutal Des Lys
Lightens the ambery notes of Navegar and adds a fresh note to them

Sisley Eau de Campagne + Kiehl’s Cucumber Spray
Two green scents together. Creates a very soft, summery perfume.

Chanel Cuir de Russie + Shiseido Féminité du Bois
Creates a very rich and sensual fragrance.

Kindred spirits
Guerlain L’Heure Bleue + Eau de Cédrat
Adds a fresher note to L’Heure Bleue.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Un Zeste d’Eté + Clinique Aromatics Elixir
Adds a fresher note to the ambery and chypre accords of A. Elixir

Thierry Mugler Angel + Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte
Adds fresher notes to the gourmand and slightly oppressive accords of Angel.


No5 de Chanel
[to enhance the] Iris: Après l’Ondée (Guerlain)
[to enhance the] Masculine notes, aldehydes and lavender: Tabac Original

Shalimar de Guerlain
[to enhance the] Lavender: Pour un Homme (Caron)
[to enhance the] Spices: Pour Homme (Cacharel) or Comme des Garçons
[to enhance the] Patchouli: Etro, Santa Maria Novella

Arpège de Lanvin
[to enhance the]Ylang-ylang: Beauty (Sarah Schwartz)
[to enhance the] Lily of the Valley: Diorissimo

Joy de Patou
[to enhance the] Rose: Ombre Rose (Jean-Charles Brosseau) or Rose Muskissime (Maître-Parfumeur et Gantier)
[to enhance the] Green jasmine: Diorella

Trésor de Lancôme
[to enhance the] Leather: Cuir de Russie (Maître-Parfumeur et Gantier) or Centaure (Cardin)
[to enhance the] Violet: Violette (Berdoues or Floris)
[to enhance the] Rose: Evelyn (Crabtree & Evelyn), Tea Rose (Perfumer’s Workshop), Rose du Jardin Retrouvé

Ysatis de Givenchy
Smells wonderful with Féminité du Bois (Shiseido)

Angel de Thierry Mugler
[to enhance the] Fruit: Fuzzy Peach (The Body Shop)
As a contrast: L’Eau d’Issey

L’Air du Temps de Nina Ricci
[to enhance the] Pepper: Poivre (Caron)

Femme de Rochas
[to enhance the] Clove and Cardamom: 4 parts Femme, 1 part Comme des Garçons

Anaïs Anaïs de Cacharel
Daytime: Acqua di Gio
Nighttime: Gio (Armani)

Diorissimo de Christian Dior
[to enhance the] Fresh marine notes: Cool Water for Woman (Davidoff), or Pleasures (Estée Lauder) Blackcurrant: First (Van Cleef & Arpels)

Opium d’Yves Saint-Laurent
[to enhance the] Fruit: Orange Sanguine (Jean-François Laporte), Orange Cannelle (Fragonard)
[to enhance the] Orange blossom (Moroccan effect): Fleurs d’Oranger (Serge Lutens)
[to enhance the] Masculine notes: Old Spice (Shulton)


Iris Silver Mist (Serge Lutens) + Bouton d’Or (L’Artisan Parfumeur)

Aromatics Elixir (Clinique) + Mitsouko (Guerlain)
Aromatics Elixir (Clinique) + Blenheim Bouquet (Penhaligon’s)
Aromatics Elixir (Clinique) + Tea Rose (Perfumer’s Workshop)

L’Eau du Ciel (Annick Goutal) + Shalimar deodorant

Après l’Ondée (Guerlain) + Violette de Parme

A few drops of Cuir Mauresque (Serge Lutens) + Mitsouko deodorant

Cerruti 1881 + Pino Silvestre

Mûre et Musc (L’Artisan Parfumeur) + White Musc (The Body Shop)

Habanita (Molinard) body lotion + Shalimar (Guerlain)

24 Faubourg (Hermès) + Eau de Campagne (Sisley) bath oil

Lolita Lempicka + Eau Trois (Diptyque)

Thank you again, Bela!

Image: beautiful layering of colors and brush strokes by painter Séraphine Louis (also known as Séraphine de Senlis,) Musée Maillol, from flickr, some rights reserved.



  • rosarita: I love this post! I will definitely put these principles to work. I layer quite frequently but not with such a scientific nose; Coty Wild Woods is my basic bring out the wood notes scent, and Keihl’s Musk is my amplify the musk notes scent. I am esp intrigued by the Shalimar/Commes des Garcons idea and will have to try that soon! Actually, I was surprised by how often CdG was mentioned. It’s one of my favorite scents but not one I’ve thought of layering as it’s so powerful on it’s own. I recently acquired a bottle of Theo Fennell Scent and adore the middle & drydown, but it’s too floral for me in the opening. CdG might be just the thing to amplify the spice notes. Interesting to me also is the French combination of wearing scented deodorant with a different perfume. Lots of fun things to try! Thanks as always, V. March 5, 2011 at 7:01am Reply

  • Carla: I saw this in French Elle when I was there over Christmas. I don’t layer. Yet. Except right now I have remnants of Sarrasins on my shirt mingling with my sample of vintage Messe de Minuit on my sweater. But they’re not blending, just dancing together. March 5, 2011 at 7:58am Reply

  • Ann C: I haven’t had enough confidence to do any layering; I’ll have to give some of these combinations a try. Mitsouko + Aromatics Elixir sounds like a powerhouse. Too much for me, though–those women are brave! March 5, 2011 at 8:57am Reply

  • Zazie: Uhm…I am a purist, I fear! Just reading about these combinations makes me feel quite overpowered,voir sick; imagine smelling like them!
    At most, I imagine changing the accent of a composition by adding a sheer and simple “solinote” spritz, possibly choosing a note already present in the fragrance. Or blending a couple of fragrant oils for a homemade/custom-made concoction.
    (Since many niche lines produce sketches/studies on a single note, I see some of their fragrances working well together – often because they are not really complex enough and balanced to begin with…
    For similar yet different reasons, the SL line lends itself to some experiments, I think; I’d love to add a base to “a la Nuit”, if I knew how to do it!)
    But “don’t mess with Mitsy” is my motto. March 5, 2011 at 9:53am Reply

  • Mellisu: Wonderful perfume ideas + wonderful image from an artist I was unfamiliar with. I am planning on watching the movie about her as soon as I can. Thank you from the heart. March 5, 2011 at 10:07am Reply

  • Elaine: Thank you for the link to Bela’s website. Had I known how much time I would spend attempting to pronounce French perfume names, and how poorly I would do, I would have taken French in high school. This should dramatically reduce the frequency with which I reveal myself to be an uncultured swine in front of snobby SAs. March 5, 2011 at 10:28am Reply

  • violetnoir: V, what an interesting post.

    I rarely layer, but when I do, I layer Coco with a spritz of Coco Mlle. on top. It’s a whole new fragrance sensation!

    Hugs! March 5, 2011 at 12:16pm Reply

  • axum: I get a kick out of combining high- and lowbrow scents, and enjoyed seeing the same here. I often ‘brighten’ or ‘balance’ heavier perfumes with various scents from BBW, L’Occitane, and Crabtree & Evelyn.
    Today I’m trying Estee Lauder Private Collection + BBW Wild Honeysuckle. As a girl named Maria once said, “I feel pretty, oh so pretty…” March 5, 2011 at 12:47pm Reply

  • Gitcheegumee: We recently experienced a spell of some unseasonably -and oppressively humid-summerlike weather.What happened to spring? Did I blink?

    I experimented by layering Goutal’s Le Chevrefeuille with some inexpensive Coty L’Origan (the one with the crown cap). Well, it struck just the right notes….pun intended. March 5, 2011 at 3:40pm Reply

  • Olfactoria: I only layer soft, light scents, like most Ellena creations actually, I was delighted to read his suggestions. Definitely a post to bookmark, thank you! 🙂 March 5, 2011 at 10:51am Reply

  • Tara: Thanks so much for this article. I’ve always been intrigued about layering and this article has given me a lot of tips. Thanks also for the link to Bela’s website, it’s fantastic. I’ve so often wondered how to correctly pronouce the names of some of my favourite perfumes. March 5, 2011 at 3:54pm Reply

  • Gitcheegumee: Somewhat off topic,but FYI ,I ordered Bellodgia,upon the strength of your recommendation from a previous thread. March 5, 2011 at 7:12pm Reply

  • Mellisu: I saw the movie today – and yes, I too am astounded. I also read M+M (and watched most of the movie on youtube). You are having a great influence on me – cultural and fragrance-wise. Thanks again. March 5, 2011 at 8:26pm Reply

  • sweetlife: So interesting to see how Ellena thinks about this, and to see how many hard-to-find and/or discontinued/reformulated perfumes he has on his list… March 5, 2011 at 4:33pm Reply

  • Victoria: I very rarely layer perfume, I have to admit, mostly because I am either busy learning how to compose accords or sampling and studying fragrances on the market. However, these ideas are really inspiring.
    I love your idea to layer Wild Woods to bring out the woody notes. I like Escentric Molecules (the first one in the series) for this. Works so well! March 5, 2011 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: One time, I was wearing Iris Silver Mist and by accident I sprayed Eau des Merveilles on top. I got perhaps 5 comments on how good it smelled together–a leathery, ambery iris! March 5, 2011 at 5:19pm Reply

  • Victoria: Ann, I am with you: Mitsouko + Aromatics Elixir is not for the faint of heart! I am certainly not brave enough to try that on my skin. Maybe, on the blotter… Now, I am actually intrigued! March 5, 2011 at 5:20pm Reply

    • Angela: Based on a combo recommended above, I Have just tried a dab of vintage aromatics elixir with a dab of 2013 batch mitsouko extrait. It’s wonderful. I previously tried Aromatics elixir I with a spray of mitsouko vintage PdT and the mitsouko overpowered the aromatics elixir totally. The herbal quality of aromatics elixir tones down the spicy nature of mitsouko. September 15, 2014 at 3:52pm Reply

  • Victoria: Sometimes, there is hardly time to wear what I have, much less trying mixing it all together. However, I admit that the idea intrigues me. Especially some of the odd suggestions.
    SL fragrances do layer well. I have a friend who layers Ambre Sultan + Vetiver Oriental, and it is a fantastic composition. March 5, 2011 at 5:22pm Reply

  • Victoria: I actually saw the movie “Seraphine” a few of days ago, and I could not think of anything else for a long time after I finished watching it. The power and the emotional intensity of her images is simply astounding. I recommend it highly! March 5, 2011 at 5:23pm Reply

  • Victoria: Bela’s site is a fantastic reference for French pronunciations! I am glad that you liked it as much as I did. March 5, 2011 at 5:25pm Reply

  • Victoria: B, you are most welcome! Which Ellena’s scents do you layer? March 5, 2011 at 5:25pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, that sounds wonderful! I am off to find my bottles of both and try it right away. March 5, 2011 at 5:25pm Reply

  • Victoria: BBW Wild Honeysuckle is a very nice, crisp floral. I can imagine that it would add a bright, luminous note to Private Collection. March 5, 2011 at 5:26pm Reply

  • Victoria: Today I was thinking that the spring is finally here, which was such a delight, such a refreshing feeling after the cold we have been having!

    Another interesting idea I would love to try–Le Chevrefeuille + Coty L’Origan March 5, 2011 at 5:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are welcome! I am glad that you liked what Bela shared (and Bela’s site!)
    I liked how the article outlined how the layering needs to be done. Sometimes one needs to understand the logic of what works together to get most success. In the end, it is a bit like creating fragrances. March 5, 2011 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: I believe that when the article was published, some of these were in a much better condition. Not all of them, of course! Many of these are such classics! March 5, 2011 at 5:31pm Reply

  • Joan: Nice article! I always felt like layering was cheating. But now that you mention it, I might try mixing Kenzo Flower with YSL M7. I find the latter a bit bland without an accent anyway. Maybe it won’t turn out like a Renoir splashed with a Pollock after all. March 5, 2011 at 8:22pm Reply

  • k-amber: Very interesting! I have attempted it a few times with unwanted samples. Citrus + rather sweet bases works nice generally. I am reading translated “Le parfum” (Collection QUE SAIS-JE?) by Jean-Claude Ellena now, this post is very good timing. (BTW, The collection is very good.)

    Kaori March 5, 2011 at 11:16pm Reply

  • Angela Cox: I love layering and Jean-Claude’s suggestions are fascinating. March 6, 2011 at 1:59am Reply

  • Donna Patterson: Thank you for this article. I am very timid about layering fragrances but I am going to try some of these combos. March 6, 2011 at 9:24am Reply

  • capillary: I tried Apres l’Ondee + no. 5 today, very skeptical because it sounds like a weird combination, but intrigued. My faith in JCE is vindicated! It’s great, bringing out the floral in the Chanel and adding a little more heft to Al’O, which would otherwise be too gentle for such a chilly day. Next up: Cuir de Russie and Feminite du Bois! March 6, 2011 at 11:19am Reply

  • capillary: And of course, having written this, I now remember layering Apres on top of Bois des Iles, and liking that quite a bit too – not such a stretch to no. 5, I suppose! March 6, 2011 at 11:22am Reply

  • aotearoa: Interesting reading! I have 3 combinations I layer. Cannot wear Philosykos without a base of Tam Dao. Kilian’s Pure Oud is excellent next to Back to Black and wafts great combinations all day.
    Lastly is one I only wear at home because I suspect it’s rather strong – a drop of vintage Joy extrait with a swipe of tribute attar;delicious. March 6, 2011 at 2:50pm Reply

  • angie Cox: Jean Claude mentions Floris violets , I am positive I wore it in the 1970s yet I asked Floris and they denied ever having it then .The only ones were much older .Anyone else remember it ? March 6, 2011 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Olfactoria: V, I think Voyage d’Hermes or Eau de Merveilles are great bases for most other Hermes creations, like the Eaux or Jardins. They last a bit better that way, it seems to me. I also like to layer Eau de Campagne and Rose Ikebana. March 6, 2011 at 1:38pm Reply

  • Dionne: I’ve just started experimenting with layering, and I’m really enjoying it. It was a surprise to find out that certain combinations “smooth” out the more difficult parts in both halves to make something really unique and gorgeous. And I LOVE that JCE is all over the map with his combos – I certainly never expected to find a Body Shop perfume mentioned alongside MPG fragrances, that was delightful.
    Count me in as another person who has definitely used and loved Bela’s website. You don’t want to know how I used to pronounce Hermès….. March 6, 2011 at 11:40pm Reply

  • Victoria: I hope that you enjoy it. It is the most classic of carnations! March 6, 2011 at 8:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: I think that it would be an interesting combination. In general, many of these are quite unusual. March 6, 2011 at 8:31pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for letting me know. I was so moved by this film. Now, I want to see her work in person. March 6, 2011 at 8:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am enjoying the book very much. I re-read it several times already. March 6, 2011 at 8:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: I like his suggestions very much, quite unconventional. March 6, 2011 at 8:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: I'm glad that you liked it. It is nice to have some guidance for layering. There is some art to it. March 6, 2011 at 8:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, so good to hear from someone who try this combination! I tried it last night too and found it just splendid. 🙂 March 6, 2011 at 8:38pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, you are right. That's in the same spirit for me. March 6, 2011 at 8:38pm Reply

  • Victoria: Mmm, the last combo you mentioned sounds wonderful! I must try it. Thank you for sharing, B! March 6, 2011 at 8:43pm Reply

  • Victoria: What creative layering combinations! Pure Oud would layer well with many florals too. March 6, 2011 at 8:44pm Reply

  • Victoria: I do recall that Floris had a fragrance called English Violet. It was discontinued, but I am not sure when. I need to check my notes. I remember smelling it and writing something down. March 6, 2011 at 8:49pm Reply

  • OperaFan: Victoria,
    Thank you for reprinting the entire post!
    As we previously discussed, I belong firmly in the Experimentalist camp and 2 of my favorites were:
    1. Joy edp + Apres L’Ondee edt (Joy on top). This one picked up a few immediate fans when I suggested it on an NST thread.
    2. Joy edp + AG Rose Absolue edp. It’s my wedding day blend and I still love it. March 7, 2011 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Victoria: Bela has done a tremendous job with her site. It is a fantastic resource!
    I was also delighted by some of these combinations. Such unconventional, clever way of thinking about scents! March 7, 2011 at 10:08am Reply

  • Victoria: I told you this before, your combinations are genius! 🙂 Love both of them! March 7, 2011 at 2:28pm Reply

  • Lucy: My version of layering is always either beside each other or one on the left and another on the right side of the body, neck, arms, rather than on top of each other. Often I have found this works well within the range of certain perfumers, like Tauer or Parfumerie Generale. You are bold creatures putting one on top of another, and I admire your nerve! March 7, 2011 at 10:51pm Reply

  • Victoria: That's another way I layer sometimes too. It works well!  😉 March 8, 2011 at 10:27am Reply

  • Emma: I don’t see Serge Lutens discussing perfume layering in Elle magazine the way JC Ellena and Frederic Malle do it. Lutens wouldn’t stoop that low in a million years. August 18, 2011 at 4:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: Good for him then! I prefer Ellena or Malle's writing anyway. August 18, 2011 at 5:07pm Reply

  • marie-claire: I like layering. I put Lancome’s Tresor (EDT) first, and then I spray La Rose de Rosine over it. When I wear this I get a lot of compliments about the way I smell, mostly from opposite sex. One time I even had a man, I just passed, running after me to compliment me and asking what I had on. October 28, 2011 at 9:07am Reply

  • Victoria: Wow, what a great combination! Thank you so much for sharing. I must try it too. October 28, 2011 at 9:20am Reply

  • csarina: I have just found this fabulous thread, a great interest of mine. I have just tried the Coco layered with Coco Madamoiselle and it is terrific, more Coco than Mademoiselle but I shall see how it wears. I am going to have fun tomorrow experimenting. Thanks December 30, 2011 at 6:30pm Reply

  • csarina: me again. anyone know would No 5 layer well with Coco Mademoiselle or just Coco, with Allure, for instance. I have Jo Malone WIld Bluebell and it is not quite WILD enough for me, so what would love it up? I also own Parisienne and Tresor in Love and would love to know what would be suitable for these. I was thinking if I got a bottle of Jo Malone’s Grapefruit this might mix very well with all of the above. Any opinions? Thanks December 30, 2011 at 6:34pm Reply

    • E. Pribadi: Omg, I love and have Wild Bluebell..
      I have N⁰5 , not so love but I can appreciate it..
      And yesterday I just add Allure to my collection , which is a blind buy..

      Now I feel unnecessary that I have three of them 😅

      Btw, I have Grapefruit but I never tried to layer it with all of them. What I usually do : combine Jo Malone English Pear Freesia with Lime Basil Mandarin = the results it smells exactly like Jo Malone Blackberry Bay 😍

      The adding of Allure to my small collection is to achieve N⁰5 Eau de Première. I’ve heard Eau Premiere smells like citrusy & lighter N⁰5 with a hint of vanilla in the base. And since Allure EDP has bergamot & vanilla, I think I can layer it with N⁰5 original 🙏 January 16, 2024 at 1:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, Grapefruit would be good with rose fragrances! You can try it on a piece of paper first, just to experiment.
    Good luck! 🙂 December 30, 2011 at 6:45pm Reply

    • E. Pribadi: Ouw would Grapefruit also good with oud rose? I have miniature Jo Malone Velvet Oud & Rose but I don’t like it (it was a gift with purchase). I never use it. Maybe I can combining with Jo Malone Grapefruit and have a new fragrance after? 🙏 January 16, 2024 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Eirin: Dior Addict and Alien layer beautifully. Spicy vanilla and amber, mmmmmm. This combo draws many compliments. March 7, 2012 at 7:40pm Reply

  • Victoria: I would never have dared to try it, but now I am curious! Will definitely experiment. March 7, 2012 at 9:10pm Reply

  • Yulya: Thank you for the post! Lovely suggestions, but I am probably a Purist 🙂 I presume that it comes from the uncertainty that I have enough knowledge about perfume. Should I try? I do not know. But sometimes I would love certain notes to last longer and yes, to be enhanced. March 8, 2012 at 11:40am Reply

  • clarissa: Thanks for this post! Great read + all the ideas in the comments. I have a question I’m hoping you could help me with: I was given a bottle of Onda Edp, lucky me, but, I find I want something more from it sometimes and am wondering if anyone has tried layering it or if you would have an idea of what might go well with it?? I would so appreciate some ideas on directions I could go in in terms of what would compliment it. Sometimes the passsionfruit note is quite pronounced and I’d like to add something that would mellow or transform it a bit. I look forward to your reply -Thank you! I enjoy your blog very much. March 11, 2012 at 8:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: Mmm, I am imagining all of the possibilities… What do you want more out of Onda–leather, vetiver, florals? This would help me give you some ideas for layering. March 11, 2012 at 9:11pm Reply

  • clarissa: Dear Victoria;
    “All of the possibilities”! Fantastic. Regarding direction, any ideas you have would be fascinating to hear, but, I guess either leather or florals while steering clear of anything too powdery. Thanks for your reply! March 12, 2012 at 12:25am Reply

  • Victoria: How about Diptyque Do Son or Jo Malone Orange Blossom? I would pick a simple floral for layering with Onda as it is a very complex fragrance. To amplify leather, I would try Knize Ten. Again, just a tiny spray. Do try it first on paper though. Layering can be unpredictable. March 12, 2012 at 10:55am Reply

  • clarissa: Do Son and Jo Malone OB are both accessible to me in stores, here, so I will try! I’ve never tried Knize Ten, though I”ve heard of it over these last years many times. I’ll have to try a sample finally. (On me, Onda EDP isn’t complex, if complex means that it develops on the skin. ? It stays pretty constant. It has a lightness, but, a firm …edge, like a warning not to get too close. On me there’s no “erotic readiness” as there is for Ms. Kern. This is what some people call an “amulet” perfume, I think.)

    I like your suggestions, thank you, and look forward to experimenting with this beautiful fragrance.

    I am just discovering layering for myself and am thinking that layering a perfume that you love could be like expressing your own different moods. It’s maybe a way to have a signature perfume that isn’t static, yet, there’s a continuity. Plus, I’m thinking that layering will allow me to enjoy many perfumes that I wouldn’t otherwise, if they were just on their own. A whole new world! And now I have a use for all the samples I have piling up! Thanks again for a great, fun post! March 13, 2012 at 1:11am Reply

  • Anna Minis: Wonderful post, thank you. I used to layer L’Heure Bleue with Hiris, but now I am treasuring my vintage L’Heure Bleue. Perhaps again with the new one. May 30, 2012 at 7:42am Reply

    • Victoria: What a great idea! Anna, since I’ve read your comment this morning, I’ve tried this combination with the new version of L’Heure Bleue. It’s gorgeous and the melange gives a richer velvety feeling to both fragrance. Thank you so much for sharing! May 30, 2012 at 3:24pm Reply

  • Rachel Mae Lee: Hi Victoria,
    Just to say thanks for a wonderful post – I never thought i’d understand layering perfumes and how to do it, but you have helped to clear the perfume ‘fog’ I was in… I’m now going to try a new citrusy – woodsy combination and will work my way through the above suggestions – inspiring!
    Best regards,
    Rachel August 16, 2012 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Hi Rachel, thank you for dropping by and commenting. I’m so glad that you found this post helpful! I love these tips and use them myself. August 16, 2012 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Melinda Fargo: Those of you too shy to try some of the more ‘powerhouse’ combinations…do try. As in anything it is a question of degrees.

    A friend of mine wears the merest dab of that Blockbuster ‘Poison’ on the back of her neck under her hair and she cannot go a day without someone asking her what she is wearing since no-one recognises it as THAT fragrance.

    Applied in whispers, some of the biggest fragrances can be as delicate as, say, Apres L’ondee.

    Really. September 25, 2012 at 9:28am Reply

  • pomusthafa: wonderful September 30, 2012 at 5:43am Reply

  • Karlie: Wonderful site.. Found you by looking up “bien-être” cologne which I bought combevanning in Europe in 1976. Just found it this morning in Aix en Provence in Monoprix, could not believe my eyes. It is such a simple fresh stunning cologne and a French girls favourite. Now trying to find where I can purchase it from when back in Australia. Re Layering….I worked in Qatar in 1976 and the women would layer their perfumes..on their dressing tables they would put all their perfumes in categories and before they went out put four or five on…they always smelt amazing…I understand perfumes having worked in them also….these women knocked me for a six….Kate Moss used to wear Gucci Rush and the Red Dolce Gabbana…that is a stunning mix ..the sweetness disappears and what is left is a beautiful softness of fragrance. I like your blog it is so well organised…congratulations. January 20, 2013 at 6:22am Reply

  • jt: I love layering. One combination that I have tried rather successfully is layering Serge Lutens De Profundis with Hermes Eau De Gentiane Blanche. June 5, 2013 at 12:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: This sounds like a fantastic idea! I can just imagine how the green notes in De Profundis would be uplifted by Eau de Gentiane Blanche. Thank you very much for sharing. June 5, 2013 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Cleo: The first time I smelled Angel ( Mugler) the wearer had mixed it with patchouli and it was intoxicating…unforgettable and unique. I wear Angel “straight” but the patchouli definitely tempered the sometimes too sweet-ness of it.

    Funny this article mentions mixing Angel with Herme’s D’Orange Verte. One of my friends wears that and we love being together and smelling each other. Never tried them together but the spiciness of D’Orange Verte would temper the sweet Angel, I think. July 1, 2013 at 5:01pm Reply

  • Jen: I’ve found Prada Intense or Amber as a base, layers beautifully with Stella by Stella McCartney, adding depth, spice, and staying power to Stella that melds wonderfully on the skin, or at least mine. (Which is not an easy task as my skin renders most rose fragrances sour and all, even TM’s Angel, to a greatly reduced aromatic half-life. My skin = a veritable epithelial black hole.) August 4, 2013 at 10:23pm Reply

  • Sheri: Tried layering for the very first time today – I recently ordered samples of Chanel Sycomore and Bel Respiro (among others), and while neither alone is a “love”, layering the BR over the Sycomore makes a beautiful pine forest over a bed of wild flowers, high in the mountains. Very nice. September 28, 2013 at 8:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love the sound of it. Bel Respiro would be great with a deeper toch of earthy woods. September 29, 2013 at 1:46am Reply

  • Katyk: I tried layering orange sanguine with vanille insensee. I thought the sweetness would temper the citrus somewhat, because orange sanguine doesn’t really work for me– a tad too bitter. Alas, I spent the entire day smelling like one of those orange Creamsicles! December 18, 2013 at 12:36am Reply

  • Alana: I love JCE’s Hermessence line and this article is very inspirational. So far I’ve only managed 4 layered combos that work with my skin chemistry: Hermessence Rose Ikebana + Poivre Samarcande; Hermessence Vetiver Tonka + HiM by Hanae Mori; Hermessence Santal Massoïa + Chloe EdT; & Cartier Zeste due Soleil + BBW White Citrus lotion. April 13, 2014 at 12:18am Reply

    • Victoria: What fun combinations! Thank you so much for sharing them, Alana. I can’t wait to try Cartier Zeste due Soleil + BBW White Citrus lotion, since I have both of them. April 13, 2014 at 9:22am Reply

      • Alana: Just tried Hermessence Iris Ukiyoé + GA Aqua di Gioia together for a warmer green watery floral result. I’ve got a few other combinations in mind, but I need to acquire/restock a couple fragrances first. I want to try Davidoff Cool Water Woman + Fresh Sugar Lychee; Nautica Voyage + Fresh Sugar Lychee; Prada Luna Rossa + L’occitane Lavender Shea cream; and possibly Cacharel Amor Amor + CD Diorissimo. What do you think of these combos? Do any sound more promising than the others? April 13, 2014 at 11:39pm Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds great! Please let me know how these turn out. April 14, 2014 at 8:01am Reply

          • Alana: Going to have to wait on a refill of Davidoff and try to find Diorissimo locally before I try those two combos, but the Prada layered w/ lavender Shea is a nice relaxing sunny Provence feel and the Nautical layered with Sugar Lychee cuts the saccharine sweetness of the Fresh while making Voyage more feminine (the lotus is prominent on my skin). April 14, 2014 at 10:09pm Reply

          • Alana: Cuir D’Ange pairs very nicely with Iris Ukiyo or with Eau de Mandarine Ambree – all Hermes scents. I tried it with Elizabeth and James Nirvana White, but it mixed horribly on my skin… funny since I can wear both separately just fine. February 24, 2015 at 2:05pm Reply

  • lillian’smuskrose: My combination of Jo Malone’s Saffron with Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom seemed to almost fool the most beautiful butterfly while I watered my garden on a beautiful summer day. She was black and periwinkle blue as she kept fluttering nearer and nearer to my wrists, almost landing. July 13, 2014 at 8:33pm Reply

  • Olivia: Great article! Today I layed Opium Vapeurs de Parfum with Ellie Saab EDP for a boost of orange blossum and it seems to work beautifully together. Looking forward to trying other combinations too. November 25, 2014 at 5:50pm Reply

  • Marie: To me, I think that one can pretty much blend a complicated scent, then take a simpler scent which is a note of the first one…

    So Diorissimo and original vintage Yardley Lily of the valley. That should work in theory. October 6, 2015 at 10:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: It would work, if you wanted to emphasize lily of the valley more. October 8, 2015 at 9:31am Reply

  • Rozanne: I have Terry du Gunzberg’s Lumière d’Epices. The orange blossom notes unfortunately turn a bit soapy. But layering it with Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine really lifts it up! December 15, 2015 at 11:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for another interesting idea. I have both perfumes, so I will try the pairing. December 15, 2015 at 3:41pm Reply

  • Catherinedo: Hi everybody
    Nice to meet you
    I love perfume so much and very interesting in layering perfume
    Could u please give me some example the best layering perfume from some of the perfume i have?
    I used to mixed Chergui + Lolita Lempika : Sweet, deep, sexy …:p
    I have : Kenzo Amour, See by Chloe’ edp, Glow by JLO, Jour d’ Hermes, Idylle( the first version), Elixir des merveilles by Hermes edp, Ricci ricci, Narciso for her( black version)edt, Florabotanica, Cocomad, Chergui, Chanel sycomore, Alien( the first version)edp, Balenciaga Paris, Lolita Lempika, Ellie Saab le parfum, Armani Mania, L’eau D’issey edp, Le paradis de Nina, Omnia Amethyste by Blv, Gucci Rush 1, Gucci Rush 2, Killer Queen, L.I.L.L.Y by Stella, Jadore, Un Jardin sur Le nil, Classique by Jean Paul( the first version), La petite robe noire edp( the black dress version), Angel edp( the first version)

    Thank you so much^^! December 27, 2015 at 8:24am Reply

    • Donna Mutino: Thierry Mugler Angel body cream on my neck and ends of my hair…. Body Cream only!
      The smallest drop of essential Patchouli oil….really tiny amount…between my breasts or my tummy….AND THEN….
      I SPRAY 2 shots of Sycomore on top of my head.
      I get many compliments on this combo all the time. November 13, 2017 at 1:14pm Reply November 13, 2017 at 1:17pm Reply

  • billyg: I love Ambre Nuit mixed with Encore Noir. Rose and Oud are popular so I tried these two in an atomizer and they are amazing!!! June 14, 2016 at 12:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like a great combination. June 16, 2016 at 4:25am Reply

  • Liz: I have only tried layering a few times and one that works well for me is Bvlgari Jasmin Noir over the Body Shop Red Musk. It deepens and warms up the JN and lessens the powdery effect I get.

    Just last night my daughter and I bought a big bunch of the best smelling roses. She’s only 5, but has already asked occasionally to wear perfume. So we were talking about how nice the roses smell and I asked if she wanted to smell a rose-based perfume. I sprayed some Chloe on her and she could tell that it smelled a little like the rose, but mixed with “other stuff” and then I sprayed Nirvana Rose from Elizabeth and James (I have a sample I’ve been testing and thinks it’s lovely but the vetiver is overpowering the rest on me) on my pillows and had her smell that too. The most heavenly combination was the result if the two mixing in the air. Think that will be my new favorite combination. It amps up the Rose in the Nirvana and gives more woodsy coziness to the Chloe – and more lasting power too. Love this article! October 11, 2016 at 2:38pm Reply

  • Ann: Late to the party…but glad I came!

    Great post and such fun ideas – most of which I can’t realize, but I can use the concepts – or I can purchase Keihls cucumber spray – do you think they mean the toner? I do have the cactus/ginseng spray, that is pretty refreshing. June 12, 2017 at 11:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: I believe it was an actual perfume, now gone. June 15, 2017 at 1:38am Reply

      • E. Pribadi: Omg, I love and have Wild Bluebell..
        I have N⁰5 , not so love but I can appreciate it..
        And yesterday I just add Allure to my collection , which is a blind buy..

        Now I feel unnecessary that I have three of them 😅 January 16, 2024 at 1:16pm Reply

  • Donna Mutino: Thierry Mugler Angel body cream on my neck and ends of my hair….
    The smallest drop of essential Patchouli oil….really tiny amount. AND THEN….
    I SPRAY 2 shots of Sycomore on top of my head.
    I get many compliments on this combo all the time. November 13, 2017 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Rozanne Charbonneau: Hello Victoria, I just made a body cream with Shalimar (just like you taught us) and then layered Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine over it. It is just lovely! November 14, 2017 at 4:21am Reply

  • Kisa: The idea of layering Aromatiques Elixir and Mitsouko just seems so wrong. Mitsouko doesn’t need any enhancement. It so completely perfect. I just experimented with my first layering (mainly to stretch the dollar). I was pleased with the result. Sehr Al Kalemat (black) by Arabian Oud and Molinard’s Habanita. September 25, 2018 at 9:59pm Reply

  • Hope: Just came across this thread. I’m going to reveal my all-time-favorite combination, which I’ve worn for years. Women stop me all the time to ask what I’m wearing. So, here’s the (patchouli) mix: Les Nereides Patchouli Precieux & Hilde Soliani’s Cristina. .. Before this combination, I wore Patchouli Nobile 1942 with Cristina .. Patchouli Nobile is sharper, probably finer, than Les Nereides’ patchouli, which is a warm, almost touch-of-vanilla scent. If you don’t know it, Cristina is perfection in a bottle, never overpowering. I would swim in it if I could afford the gallons necessary to fill a pool. November 8, 2018 at 9:35am Reply

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