The Language Of Cologne – Understanding Fragrance Terminology

Mont Blanc perfume

When I first started learning about fragrance, the hardest part for me was simply understanding the language.

Like any specialized field – the perfume industry has a vocabulary that gives the men and women who discuss it a common language to build their discussions from.

Very useful when describing a products whose characteristics cannot be seen.

From the outside however – this specialized language can make the conversation appear elitist and it is a barrier to the regular guy who just wants to learn what fragrance is best for his needs.


In this video we cover:

Fragrance Terminology

Perfume – Historically genderless, used to describe both men’s and women’s fragrances traditionally.  The best term – unless in North America talking to regular guys as we are just too hard headed to think that a perfume can be worn by anyone but a woman.

Fragrance – unisex term for perfume.  A generic catch-all term.

Cologne – Oldest term for perfume, used in North America for masculine scents.

Notes – Similar to music, use to describe individual building blocks of scent.

Chords – combinations of notes used to create holistic effects.

Perfume Life Cycle – perfumes have three timed sections – a life cycle of points – think of an evaporating pyramid.

Top Notes – first 15 minutes, the first part we smell when applied.

Middle Notes – core character of the fragrance, what people often remember.

Base Notes – recognized after 30 minutes, the foundation of the fragrance.


A Great Comparison of Fragrance to Cinema

Bottle = Movie Billboard

Brand = Film Producer

Perfumette = Movie Director

Perfume = The Film Itself

Composition – Movie Script

Notes = Movie Cast

Designer Fragrances = Hollywood, mass appeal, big business

Niche Fragrances = Independent Films

FiFi Awards = Oscar Awards


Cologne Options?

Perfume appeal has widened.

Internet has opened up the world – if you know what you want you can find it.

Looking for a variety of men’s scents to small good? Click here to purchase men’s cologne