Photo by Alastair Dunning
Which Family Suits You Best?
All fragrances are categorised into family groups. Even singular flowers will still have undertones of other families, which you may prefer.
Single Floral: Is a fragrance dominated by one flower such as a Rose, Lily or Jasmine. These would have been typical of many early perfumes.
Floral Bouquet: Several flowers will be grouped, creating a floral fragrance. A beautiful perfume called Joy by Jean Pateu has floral notes.
Amber or “Oriental”: A warm very distinctive fragrance, generally heavier and longer lasting, may be described as sweet. These may include Ambergris, Labdanum combined with vanilla or Tonka Bean. This may be enhanced by incense resins to give a feel of the exotic Far East. A perfect example of this amber or oriental category would be Opium by Yves Saint Laurent.
Woody: Fragrances that are dominated by woody scents, typically of Sandalwood or Cedarwood, with Patchouli often used when creating in the woody family. Chanel’s Bois-des-Îles, fits the woody family fragrance.
Leather: This family group combines scents such as tobacco, honey, wood and wood tars within the middle and base notes. A typical perfume being Jolie Madame by Balmain.
Green: a lighter and often interpreted as a fresh sporty fragrance, Aliage by Estee Lauder and Calvin Klein’s Eternity, suits the group very well.
Oceanic: Introducing the newest category in modern fragrance history. The first of these was Davidoff’s Cool Water and Christian Dior’s Dune introduced in the late 8o’s early 90’s. You just love the super fresh ocean smelling fragrances, feeling very alive, clean and vibrant.
Citrus: One of the oldest fragrance families, mostly used for eau de cologne to give a fresh clean aroma. An example being, Faberge Brut Fruity: Typically used in younger fragrances, popular aromas are peach, mango, passion fruit and black currant. When it comes to replacing a perfume or aftershave, most people tend to stay in the same group or family. Explore another perfume in the same group to find one you will like and especially if you are not sure when buying a gift.
A perfume is composed of three notes that blend together to give the fragrance its character these will be described by the fragrance houses as top, middle and base notes.
Top note: This is the first aroma you get when testing the fragrance, it is often sharp. This ” Top Note” will usually last for about 10 or 15 minutes before evaporating.
Middle notes: Generally this scent as the top note fades and tends to be much softer. A good example of these “Middle Notes” would be Lily, Rose or Jasmine. When the “Base Notes” combine with the “Middle Notes”, the fragrance gives its main character. After spraying and waiting for a few minutes, the fragrance will smell warmer and the effects will stay on the skin for up to 6 hours.
Base notes: The aroma of this much heavier scent can be noticed after, about half an hour, an altogether much richer aroma. This is the real test of the lasting power of any perfume, especially the fragrances designed for evening wear. The “Base Notes” can last anywhere up to 24 hours.
Day or Night Fragrance?
Many fragrances have been specifically designed to be worn for different times of the day. Before going shopping know when your new perfume will be worn. The fragrances will be notably lighter for day use and stronger for evening use.
What Is Your Budget?
Decide how much you would like to spend and ask for the advice of the perfume assistant to save a lot of time. Usually there are many choices of size and types to buy. For instance the actual perfume will be the most expense in a small container only requiring a dab when it is used due to its strength. Usually a spray bottle of eau de parfum can be great value. This is a weaker version of the actual perfume or if you do not want a spray, the dab-on bottles tend to be cheaper.
I love The Smell In The bottle, But Not On me, Why?
Fragrance reacts in many different ways on being affected by skin types, heat, hormones or diet. Often you can smell perfume or aftershave on someone, purchase it and wonder why it smells completely different on you. This is why it is so important to try before you buy to avoid disappointment.
Why Do Perfumes All Smell The Same?
When you are shopping for a new perfume, do not try more than three at any one time. Take a break and do some other shopping to give the perfume time to warm on your skin. Perfumes can often smell different after ten minutes and maybe not to your liking. Your nose can become de-sensitised after trying a few perfumes making them all seem similar to the last. Many fragrance houses supply small stick size cards, sprayed with perfume, complete with the name of the perfume on the stick
The Quickest Way To Choose The Right Fragrance
Simply ask the in-store perfume assistant to help. The fragrance staff are trained to ask you the right questions regarding your style, taste, usage, occasion and budget. If there is no urgency to buy the staff will usually be able to give a small sample vial to take home to try, just ask.