Welcome to the world of perfume language! Have you ever read a perfume review or description that left you with more questions than answers? Here we will explore some of the basic termes used in the perfumery.
Most perfumes are made up of three different types of notes – top, middle or “heart” and base notes.
Top notes are the lightest and most volatile, meaning they evaporate the quickest. They’re typically citrusy or herbal scents that give the perfume it’s first impression.
Middle or heart notes are the main body of the perfume, and they linger the longest. They’re usually floral or spicy scents.
Lastly, base notes are the heaviest and least volatile. They provide depth and longevity to the perfume, and are typically woody or musky scents.
There are many different ways to describe a perfume’s scent. One common way is to compare it to a animal or object. For example, a perfume might be described as “fruity” like a peach, or “woody” like a cedar tree.
Similar and very common way is by refering to fragrance family.
The Floral fragrance family is perhaps the most popular, and it includes scents like roses, jasmine, and lilies. Floral fragrances are usually light and romantic, and they’re perfect for special occasions.
The Oriental fragrance family is made up of rich, exotic scents like amber, patchouli, and musk. Oriental fragrances are often quite strong, and they’re perfect for making a statement.
The Woody fragrance family includes scents like cedar, sandalwood, and vetiver. Woody fragrances are warm and masculine, and they’re perfect for casual wear.
The Fresh fragrance family is made up of light, clean scents like citrus, cucumber, and lavender. Fresh fragrances are perfect for everyday wear, and they’re often very refreshing.
Nowadays, it’s mostly fragrances for men you’ll find in the fougère category, which almost invariably feature lavender, geranium, vetiver, bergamot, oakmoss and coumarin in the blend.
Another way to describe a perfume’s scent is by its sillage.“Sillage” is the French word for the perfume trail left in the air when someone leaves the room, similar to the ‘wake’ of a boat or the track of waves that it makes behind it as it moves through the wateris. Sillage is often confused with longevity of a perfumes, wich describes how long the perfume lingers on the skin.
When it comes to perfume, there are a lot of terms that get thrown around. And, if you’re new to the world of fragrance, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Here are couple more:
It is a blend, a combination of at least two separate notes that, when combined, compose another distinctive scent. Many perfumers describe it using a color metaphor: two colors beautiful in and of themselves when mixed, produce a third – beautiful in its uniqueness. The more colors one adds, the more distinctive the result is. And when the artist is done mixing the colors, he can start painting his masterpiece. And so can the perfumer.
This word like so many other words is lent from the French language and it stands for Cyprus. It is pronounced sheepra and refers to the earthy, woody scents which dominate the air in the forests after a heavy summer rain
This is the stage when these base notes are finally revealed and when the perfume has been mixed with the chemistry of the skin. This is the stage when you love or hate certain perfume, because this is the true face of the perfume itself.
Eau de perfume, Eau de toilette and Eau de cologne
These terms are completely described in another blog entry right here. Read it and you will understand why every perfume dreams to be Eau de perfume.
‘Different’ and not necessarily wanting or needing to please everyone. Is perfume made by companies dedicated primarily to creating perfume, as opposed to perfume from fashion houses (often called “designer perfume“) or famous people (“celebrity scents“).
Perfumes from very small brands where the owner is also the ‘nose’ or perfumer. Indie stands for Independent. They are therefore not dependent on external ‘noses’.
So, there you have it! A quick guide to understanding perfume language. Let us know how you would describe the Peïthō perfume (s)?