I have never had that urge to experiment mixing perfumes. I hadn’t come up with the idea of scents layering on my own but once I had been introduced to it I loved it. The idea.
In 2000 Calvin Klein released Truth. It is attributed to 3 (three!) well-known perfumers – Alberto Morillas, Jacques Cavallier and Thierry Wasser – if you ask me, any one of them would have been enough but whatever went on with this perfume creation, not knowing or caring about notes or noses behind perfumes back then, I liked Truth and immediately bought a bottle and a set of five Truth Oil Essences. Each one represented a note in the perfume – bamboo, citrus, sapling, lilac and vanilla. They could be applied one at a time or in any combination with or without the perfume.
As I said, I liked the idea of combining notes, being my own perfumer, enhancing one aspect of the perfume or the other dependent on my mood… The unfortunate part was that oil-based components were so subtle that worn alone they gave almost no projection, I could barely smell them from my wrist pressed to my nose; and applied on top of the perfume they were completely lost (not sure if you remember but Truth wasn’t even the heaviest of this brand’s perfumes out there: CK Obsession or Contradiction it was not – and still…). Applying oils was more hassle than results so while I went through two bottles of Truth EdP my essences stayed hardly touched.
A year later, in 2001, Michael Kors launched a collection of three fragrances called Notes from Michael. The collection included three fragrances (40 ml each), which could be worn alone or combined with each other: Glenplaid, Houndstooth and Tattersall. The set was expensive (I think, $120). A bit too expensive for our budget. But I really liked the idea… My vSO got if for me as a gift for my birthday.
I tried playing the layering game. Tattersall was my favorite so I almost finished it. Glenplaid was fine (2/3 of the bottle found its place on my skin). Houndstooth didn’t attract me at all so the only time I used it was in the combination with one of the other two but since it wasn’t adding anything to the composition more often than not I started skipping that extra step. So the bottle went off almost full.
And then I discovered Jo Malone. I think I loved the brand before I finished sniffing through the complete line: the idea of fragrance combining itself was enough to sell it to me.
Over years I’ve added to my collection more perfumes from Jo Malone line than from any else. You can’t even imagine how many times I wore different Jo Malone’s perfumes layered! Do you want to guess? No? It’s ok, I’ll tell you: three times. I like those perfumes “as is” and do not want to mess with the original composition.
I still like the idea of layering but in reality I’m with Birgit: Who am I to tamper with well-thought out and finely balanced creations? I won’t dare.
For more adventurous perfumistas I recommend reading Victoria’s (Bois de Jasmin) Layering Fragrances : Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena and French Elle and Elisa’s (The French Exit) On the Scent: Adventures in Perfume Layering.
Images: my own