This is not the first time we have discussed ‘layering’, an idiosyncratic self-customizing of the way you present yourself in perfume terms to the outside world. Obviously, there are endless possibilities ( some much more successful and pleasing than others : haywire selections often putrid disasters ); but it is always fun to experiment.

One possibly overlooked aspect of wearing two or more harmonious – or interestingly clashing – fragrances is that you get to smell them more clearly on yourself. There is no doubt that the nose becomes accustomed to a scent to the point where it can be almost undetectable to the wearer even if it is still present in the minds of those who encounter you. The good thing here is that your scent has probably been judiciously applied. The bad point : what’s in it for me ?

From the beginning of the year in the workplace I have been in green rose; I love the crisp distancing of galbanum enhanced roses, and drained to the dregs my beloved bottle of Parfums De Rosine’s Roseberry, which I always feel so comfortable in. Although much more comparatively more masculine with its blackcurrant/ oakmoss base, the cassis palm leaf gardenia oddity that is Gucci Rush 2 -its temporary replacement – feels great with a suit; it’s just that my nose picks up, as the day goes on, the woodiness of the base – an inch on the uncomfortable side for me – and loses the leaf freesia tartness of the opening. I almost become paranoid : does this smell right on me ?

This morning, a hot muggy day but in too frigid air conditioning, I instinctively opted for a generous spray of Puredistance Antonia on my right wrist: a galbanum drenched green soap rose entwined in ivy on a bed of vetiver and vanilla. It smells aloof, but comforting. Contrasted with Rush 2 sprayed subtly on the rest of my person, the warmer powder of the extrait strength green vanilla on one strategic point both complemented the sharper, androgynous chic of the leaf sheen elsewhere, while also bringing its entirety- as an anchor – more sharply into focus. On the bus this morning, I was in a dream of my own making.


Filed under Flowers


  1. Not sure if that’s reckless bravado or a feat of derring-do.
    Perhaps both?
    PW Tea Rose is the only scent I feel safe mixing.

    • I use that too as a kind of ‘augmentation’.

      It’s true what you say, though; Antonia at the end of the day on me smelled akin to Kenzo Elephant and YET – I really enjoyed my ‘(not so secret) wrist’!

  2. OnWingsofSaffron

    I love the idea of layering but am not so sure about the actual results. Say, Hermès Cardamusc with Cartier Oud & Musc: playing it safe. Or Hiram Green Dilettente with Lutens Fleur d‘Oranger: okay, nothing ground-breaking. I feel freer mix and matching the Sana Jardin fragrances, but there again I‘m not sure about the end results? Is really better?

    • I think if it is a question of ‘playing scents off’ each other in a direct duel, no (although I do sometimes do that with Guerlains like Shalimar and Vol De Nuit on the same day). It’s more about highlighting the main scent by just having a smaller other reference point to bring it into focus. Cartier Oud and Musc is divine: I can imagine wearing that and then just on my hand applying some of the Cardamusc later on – immediately both scents will highlight the other but the overall scent profile probably won’t be negatively altered.

  3. It depends. Body chemistry can be the ultimate trump card

  4. I haven’t figured out any deliberate layering but have done some accidentally, either by picking up the wrong bottle to reapply or forgetting that I’d already put on perfume. No happy discoveries so far – Masque Milano Ray-Flection plus Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau was alright as the green and blackcurrant played well together. Ray-Flection and Calvin Klein Contradiction ended up too sweet somehow even though neither are sweet on their own.

  5. I do this all the time. Sometimes even several fragrances at a time. Glad I’m not the only one, dear Neil.

  6. I have never had much success in layering any time that I have tried it in the past, that was until the other night. I was trying a sample of Oriza Le Grand Peau d”Espagne, and it was nuclear on me, on a very hot evening, truly, not the best choice of scent on a hot night, Spanish leather. I was going to reach for the rubbing alcohol, but then I had the brilliant idea to soften and brighten the whole thing, as it started wearing down, with Tocade by Rochas, vintage of course. It was perfect!!!!!!! The flourescent rose vanille of Tocade, really rounded out the heavy, baroque quality of the Peau d’Espagne so nicely I was floored. I would buy the Peau d’Espagne just to wear with Tocade, because it was just that wonderful.
    I do not know how daring I will be in the future, but that inspired me to work with samples that are not really enjoyable.

    • This is a brilliant thing to read; I love the idea of that combination. Tocade is also ‘difficult’ for me in a way – apparently simple, but actually very involved, so imagining it with a big Spanish leather I imagine you must have just been swishing along regally like a brocaded infanta (what the hell does your other half do in this situation?!)

      • He has a rather dull sense of smell, unless I shove it under his nose, so he rarely notices. Sometimes he surprises me though. It’s funny you said “swishing along regally like a brocaded infanta” because our home is filled with reproductions of Velazquez’ infantas. I have Las Meniñas in our bedroom facing me right now, along with 2 Infanta Maria, and 2 Infant Margarita. I always dreamt of being an infanta, a Hapsburg one of course.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s