The first traces of the use of perfume date back to ancient Egypt. The dead were embalmed and incense was burned during religious ceremonies. The Greeks followed by the Romans carried out their ceremonies by burning essential oil made from flowers. It was the Middle Ages, but especially the Renaissance that really saw the development of perfume.
Thanks to navigators and traders, people discovered new scents from Asia and America such as vanilla and spice. It was the creation of synthetic products in the 19th century that enabled the development of modern perfumery. That’s how, at the beginning of the last century, a few emblematic perfumes were born: L'heure bleue by Guerlain (1912), Chanel N°5 (1921), Arpège by Lanvin (1927). Discover the biggest perfume variety here!
Perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne... These are terms that many of you have certainly heard, but do you know their exact meaning ? This sorting makes it possible to know the percentage of their olfactory composition, which means the content of perfumed ingredients in the concentrated alcohol they contain, and therefore their power and durability.
Perfumes consist of three basic ingredients: water, alcohol and perfume concentrate. The ratio between these components determines the power of the perfume and its hold on the skin over time.
As each perfume has a different level of concentration, these are the perfume categories by classification:
Eau de toilette generally contains between 5 and 10% of aromatic compound. It is a form of eau de parfum which is relatively even cheaper and lasts less on the skin, around 4 hours.
The Olfactory Families
When we are shopping for perfume, sales assistants usually ask us what type of perfume we like most: floral, woody, amber, etc.
Today, the entire industry relies on 4 beautiful olfactory families:
Fresh perfumes (which include citrus fruits and aromatics), Floral perfumes, Woody perfumes and Oriental perfumes.
But in fact, there are actually 7 olfactory families that characterize the different categories of perfume:
1. Citrus fragrances: composed of fruit zest: lemon, orange, bergamot, grapefruit.
2. Floral fragrances: essentially composed of flowers: jasmine, rose, violet, lilac, lily.
3. Fern scents: lavender, oak moss, geranium, rosemary.
4. Chypre fragrances: labdanum, patchouli, bergamot.
5. Woody fragrances: warm notes of sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, cedar.
6. Amber scents: oriental fragrances, sweet, powdered with vanilla, oud, pepper, cinnamon.
7. Leather fragrances: composed of dry notes of tobacco, smoke, burnt wood.
The Olfactory Pyramid
The Olfactory Pyramid refers to the way the top notes, heart notes and base notes are diffused. As soon as you wear the perfume, you can first smell the top notes. After about 15 minutes, you start to discover the heart notes.
After 30 minutes, the base notes reveal themselves. This olfactory pyramid creates the structure and balance of each and every perfume. By revealing itself gradually, it makes the fragrance unique and lively.
Fragrances are made from a carefully created blend of fragrant essential oils with solvents - usually alcohol and water. The life cycle of a perfume is threefold (think of it as a disappearing pyramid of notes). At the top, the top notes, passing to the heart with the heart notes, and finally with the base notes.
Top notes represent the very first impression of a perfume. These are notes that evaporate very quickly but are often very strong.
Top notes are usually easily recognized because they often contain herbs or even citrus fruits. When you spray a perfume, you first smell what is called the “top note”. It's the lighter, airier smell that enters the air and hits you. It can last from 15 to 120 minutes, depending on the concentration of your perfume.
Typical top notes to look out for include citrus and fruity scents, as well as light florals like lavender.
Most of the time, the heart notes encompass fruity floral or vegetal notes. Once the effect of the top note wears off, you can smell the heart of the perfume, which is its main essence. These notes will begin to emanate about half an hour after spraying the perfume and will last for about four hours.
The most common middle notes tend to be heavy florals, as they give the perfume the most distinctive smell when paired with your skin chemistry.
However, once they appear, they can stay on the skin for a long time. When you wake up in the morning after using a perfume, there is always a lingering, familiar scent that the perfume leaves behind.
This scent is the base notes, and they start to come to the fore front once the middle notes start to fade. They can last up to about 12 hours after spraying the perfume.
Typical base notes include heavy scents like musk and woody scents and other fragrances like vanilla and vetiver.
Tips for Preserving your Perfume
1. Do not place your perfume in contact with direct light. The darker the place you place it in, the better.
2. Never place your perfume near a chimney, radiator, or any other source of heat.
3. Do not subject your perfume to temperature changes.
4. Avoid placing your perfume in a place that is too humid like your bathroom; the best is to place it in your bedroom.
5. Do not shake your perfume; it is a fragile product that likes to be treated gently.
Tip for Choosing the Right Perfume
Let yourself be seduced! Choosing a perfume is first and foremost a matter of love. But to decide, wait at least 15 minutes after wearing it: it is only then that the heart notes are felt. And they are what gives the identity of a fragrance.
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