Perfume Notes Explained
The Creation of Fragrance is a Truly Fascinating Science
Perfume is composed of fragrance notes. These are weighted layers of scent which slowly unfold one upon the other. It is a silent symphony designed to enchant us.
These scented signals are how we define the elegance or simplicity of each fragrance. There are three distinct notes: the top note, heart note, and base note. All perfumes consist of one or more of these three basic scented notes.
Much as the first notes of music embrace you at a symphony so do the first magical wisps of fragrance reach out, surround you, and pull you captive into their spell. From the first critical notes as they burst into the air around you till the final base notes float seductively down upon you the fragrance entrances you.
Much as with a symphony where you are pulled within its deepening harmony until you are lost within the mystery such is the mystical influence of a perfume's notes. The scents within a perfume unfold one after another to enticingly draw you deep within the melody that we so fondly refer to as fragrance.
The Three Notes of Fragrance
The Top Notes or first notes of fragrance generally burst forth as soon as you release the scent into the air. These are designed to awaken your senses instantly. This first taste of aroma is generally referred to as the top note or head note of perfume. It is often comprised of citrus, ginger, or another relatively sharp aroma.
This brilliant first appearance of fragrance will linger for just a short period of time because it is comprised of small light molecules which evaporate quite quickly. These are the opening notes of the symphony.
About two minutes to one hour later and as the top notes disappear into the air around you the Middle Notes of the fragrance will then begin to open. These are the body of the fragrance and are generally softer mellower tones compared to the sharp upper notes that preceded them. These middle notes are also referred to as the Heart of the Perfume or Heart Notes and are often comprised of Lavender or Rose scents.
The Base Notes are the final scents of the fragrance to emerge. These are generally rich and deep with aroma as they are comprised of larger, heavier molecules which are slower to evaporate than the Top Notes which came before them.
They also do not usually emerge until at least thirty minutes of the initial application of the perfume. These last scents are generally the binding or base of the perfume, or in other words the strength that holds the fragrance together.
Just as a symphony plays out its magic over the course of an evening so does perfume weave its spell over us. Let the symphony begin.
Discovering an Appropriate Scent
With the thousands of perfumes available to consumers it can be a frustrating experience to shop for a new fragrance. Without some knowledge of what you are searching for simply attempting to discover which scents would be most suited to your unique personality can be a nightmare.
Discovering a new scent for yourself should be an enjoyable adventure but often it becomes a painful experience when you discover that not only must you sift through the tremendous amount of product available, but in order for your senses to truly appreciate the fragrance you should only sample a maximum of three per day.
This was the reasoning why in 1983 Michael Edwards drew upon his lifetime of experience in the perfume industry and created a simple classification system that he felt would help people more easily select their favorite scents.
This quote of Edwards effectively explains why he felt compelled to enter into this area of the fragrance field: "I became intrigued by the problem people have in finding a fragrance that suits them and the lack of advice. Fragrance consultants tend to push the fragrances they personally like. It's quite natural. Our sense of smell is emotional, not logical. We are confident about the fragrances we like. That's why we talk about them and tend to push them. Problem is, what I like will probably not be what you like. And so finding a new fragrance often ended up being a frustrating experience."
So he created the Fragrance Wheel, a classification system where people could see at a glance the basic groupings of fragrance families. As most people seemed to like fragrances that revolve around the same groupings this Fragrance Adviser would serve to more easily lead them to the fragrances that they would be most likely to enjoy.
The Fragrance Wheel and its Groupings
In addition to the three major groups of fragrances Floral, Oriental and Woody, Michael Edwards added a fourth, Fresh notes. He simplified the wording of the different terminologies involved and placed his groupings in the shape of a circle.
The outer circle consisting of the four major groups. An internal circle consisting of 12 classifications or subcategories of the major notes and that flow from one grouping into the next. In the center of the wheel he placed Fougeres.
The four major groups are: Floral Notes, Oriental Notes, Woody Notes, Fresh Notes.
The twelve subcategories are: Floral (fresh flowers), Soft Floral (powdery, delicate), Floral Oriental (spices, flowers), Oriental (spices, vanilla), Soft Oriental (amber, incense), Woody Oriental (spices, woods), Sandalwood, Mossy Woods (oakmoss, forest), Dry Woods (leather, smoke), Citrus (zesty), Green (grasses, leaves), Water (sea breezes, rain).
Fougere: Is the center of the wheel and pertains to fragrances that contain elements from the majority of the four main family groups.
Want to Try Your Hand at the Artistry of Perfume Making?
Michael Edwards: Defining Scent
It Became the New Standard in Classification of Fragrance
The Fragrance Wheel is now widely used in the retail classification of perfumes and has greatly increased the ease in which people can select their chosen scents.
Because most individuals tend to be drawn to perfumes that fall within the same family of scent you have only to find the grouping that is most appealing. Similar fragrances can then be easily located within that classification of the wheel. These will be the scents that you are most likely to be attracted to.
So when searching out a new perfume for yourself simplify the process by discovering the classification that your other favorite fragrances fall into. From there it is a simple process to finding the scents that will be most appealing to you.
The Nose Knows What it Likes
Did You Know That Men are Largely Attracted to Food Scents?
Single ladies you may want to style up your personality with a yummy food fragrance such as vanilla, peppermint, berry, or chocolate. It may be because we are just naturally attracted to food as one of our basic needs.
It turns out that men have a special attraction to food scents compared to women. Studies show that men are attracted to many food scented fragrances with chocolate listed at the top of their favorites.
Women prefer the a man's natural clean scent, the fragrance of ocean breeze, or a light fruity aroma such as kiwi. Both males and females are attracted to the aroma of chocolate so if you want to get someone's attention feel free to surround yourself in the natural love charm of a food scent.
Writer, blogger, wife, mother, and grandmom. I love to write and I love to shop, combining these elements just seemed logical so here I am.