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