Perfume Layering: Truth or Dare?


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.

CK Truth Oil Essences

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.

Michael Kors Notes from Michael

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.

Jo Malone Perfumes

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

WTD, Episode 2.5: Voile d’Ambre and Vanille Noire by Yves Rocher

One day, not too long ago, I wasn’t feeling well and for the most part of that day I stayed “perfumeless.” Since for me it’s a very unusual situation, I felt there was something missing. I was thinking for a while on the scent to choose: on one hand, I wanted something nice and comforting – so trying anything new was completely out of question; on the other hand, I was afraid to ruin one of my favorites by wearing them while I was sick. So I made a slightly cowardly choice: I chose perfume, which I knew was pleasant and which I liked when I wore it before. And at the same time I wouldn’t have been upset too much if I’d hated my $5 mini bottle afterwards. It hasn’t happened. The perfume got me through my bad day without living unpleasant associations. I’m grateful to it and ashamed a little. That day I’d chosen…

Voile d'Ambre & Vanilla Noire by Yves Rocher

Dive in to keep reading…

WTD, Episode 2.2: Iris Noir, Tendre Jasmin and Naturelle by Yves Rocher

Yves Rocher has caught me with that Secrets d’Essences collection just by the fact of releasing it in similar mini bottles. I had to have them. I bought all five. I do not have too much of a story for most of them so I decided to group them either inside the collection or with other scents.

Iris Noir, Tendre Jasmine and Naturelle

Iris Noir – created in 2007 by Olivier Pescheux and Nathalie Gracia-Cetto, notes include bergamot, coriander, ambrette seed, iris root, patchouli and tonka bean. On my skin it starts sweet (rather gourmand than flower) but then quickly subsides to the generic floral scent. It is pleasant; it smells fine and I can even talk myself into thinking it has some interesting trace scent on my skin several hours into wearing. I just cannot think of any reason to wear it. I tried it from a mini bottle (splash) so maybe it works better sprayed as a body mist but for me it is not interesting enough to look for the ways to make the purchase worthwhile even with YR’s prices and constantly available discounts.

Tendre Jasmin – created in 2008 by Jacques Cavallier, notes include jasmine (jasmine and more jasmine – top, heart and base notes), lemon, mandarin, orange blossom and mimosa. For my nose it starts more green than citrusy and then warms up and blooms. I think it’s a nice perfume but on my skin it’s a little too sweet. Will I wear it? Well… I might. I do not plan on throwing away that cute mini bottle – that’s for sure, but I have no other plans for the perfume.

Naturelle – created in 2008 by Michel Girard, notes include green apple, jasmine, peach blossom, cedar, amber and musk. In addition to these notes mentioned on Yves Rocher site, basenotes lists also lemon, bergamon and marigold – maybe, can’t say it one way or another. Apple is definitely there and it’s not of an annoying type. The scent is very fresh, bright and summery. Drydown is also pleasant enough on the skin. Wearable, uncomplicated, inexpensive. I tested it from a splash mini bottle. And I think it’s the size it’ll stay in – I do not need much more of this perfume.

For real review read Angela’s review for Iris Noir at NST.

I haven’t found a real review I liked for Tendre Jasmine or Naturelle so, as always, feel free to post a link to the relevant posting.

Image: my own

See all episodes:

Weeklong Test Drives, Season 2: Yves Rocher
WTD, Episode 2.1: Venice by Yves Rocher
WTD, Episode 2.3: Rose Absolu and Pur Desir de Rose by Yves Rocher
WTD, Episode 2.4: In the Search of the Perfect Lilac
WTD, Episode 2.5: Voile d’Ambre and Vanille Noire by Yves Rocher
WTD, Episode 2.6: Nature by Yves Rocher