Perfume Expert FAQs: How Much Do You Know about Your Perfume?

Although everyone loves to wear a good perfume, not many people know how it should be worn and how a perfume comes into being. Below you can find a few perfume expert frequently asked questions:

How are new perfumes created?

The perfume designers have always been those lucky ones whose noses have empowered them to create true symphonies of scents that help us feel better, fall in love or just feel beautiful and desired. Creating a new perfume is very similar to the composition of a painting or a symphony. Everything starts with an idea. Perfume design begins with the inspiration of three or four distinct notes that are to be brought together. From here, everything is pure mystery and all the great perfumes that were ever created are highly comparable with the world’s greatest symphonies whose composition started from three or four dominant notes. The art of the perfume designer lays in the combination and the adjacent notes he adds so as to create a work of art that will move women’s hearts and stir men’s senses.

How many ingredients are regularly included in a perfume?

From medieval times, perfume creators were using at least 10 different notes to put together new scents, but the ones that were considered more successful were the long- formula ones. Some of the most famous perfumes in world history would include up to 300 different notes/ ingredients. This being said, this doesn’t mean that a perfume is better if it has more ingredients. Nowadays perfume creatures prefer the shorter formulae with purer notes and quality easier to maintain.

What notes does a fragrance include?

When a perfume is sprayed onto the skin, it will generally bloom in a variety of nuances. The stages of a perfume’s life on your skin will depend on composition and “notes.” These are different phases by means of which a fragrance reacts to the environment and reveals its secrets.

The top notes are generally those that you first feel when a fragrance is sprayed. They are usually the most volatile, the first experience as a bottle is opened. They won’t last for more than 15 minutes.

After these fade away, the middle or heart notes will make way on your skin, and these are in fact the core of the composition, the most dominant and longer lasting notes. Finally, after, ideally, a few hours, the basic theme fades away into the soul notes of a perfume, the foundation of any scent which basically lingers in everyone’s mind and is considered the signature of every good perfume.

How long will my fragrance last?

This is usually something that varies from one person to another. If you have chosen the highest perfume concentration to spray on your skin, this can basically last for days. An eau de perfume will last between 7 to 8 hours, while the eau de toilette can last for two- three, depending on quality. The more concentrated the scent, the longer it can remain impregnated on your skin.


Expert Fragrance Tips: Classifying Scents for a Better Choice of Perfume

What do you feel when you smell a certain perfume and what is the mechanism behind the sense of belonging that some scents can bring into your memories? Why does a perfume love a certain perfume while completely rejecting another? These are all questions fragrance experts have tried to answer in countless scientific studies.

The simple truth is, just like wines, fragrances are grouped into families, each with its own characteristics, each superb in its own way, but usually, each appealing to a certain group of people.

Instinctively, the majority of perfume users will prefer fragrances from some families while disliking scents from others. Below is a short classification, according to expert Michael Edwards’ Fragrance Wheel concept launched in 1983.

There are 4 large families of scents

1)      Oriental Notes
These are usually the most exotic and sensual parts of a perfume, preferred in many luxury scents. These are usually heavier, composed of opulent resin notes, sometimes combined with vanilla and musk.

As part of the oriental family, we have certain aspects that can be defined as:

a)    Floral oriental(spicy orange flower)

b)    Soft oriental (with amber notes)

c)    Woody oriental (generally including sandalwood and patchouli combos)

2)      Floral Notes
These are and will probably remain the absolute queens of perfumery, as they are preferred by women everywhere. They include a vast repertoire. Soft florals include rose and citrus flower notes and are considered the most delicate among the floral scents. Also blossom notes have lately been developed by perfume designers and these also enter this category.

3)      Green/ Fresh Notes
Capturing the essence of freshly cut grass and violet leaves, green captures lighter scents in nature. As part of this family, you can have a wide range of scents:

a)      Fruity: from peaches to pears and tropical fruits, going through an entire palette of strawberries, these fruity cocktails are an ingredient of all sweet perfumes.

b)      Water: these capture the scent of air after a storm. These are used in fresh perfumes dedicated to active men and women

c)      Citrus: from the zest of mandarins to the sweet aroma of orange, the sub- family includes notes of bergamot and grapefruit.

4)      Wood Notes
Often associated with the masculine fragrances, these notes are part of the classical perfumes. You will get notes of cedar, patchouli, pine or vetiver and also a palette of exotic wood notes.

Keeping these scent families in mind when you pick up a perfume will help you better understand your choice and preference for a certain fragrance.

The Perfume Expert Corner: A Few Fragrance Using and Storage Tips

Many people like buying, using or gifting quality perfume, but how many actually know how perfume is kept, after the bottle is opened. Below we have compressed a few important answers to frequently asked questions and several perfume expert recommendations.

1)      How long does a perfume bottle last after it was opened?

The rules here differ, mainly due to the quality and strength of the fragrance in question. There are also a few environmental factors that come into the equation. However, if stored correctly, a bottle of fragrance should last between half an year and a year and a half. For your information, lighter scents, based on citrus notes will last the least, and they can wear off in 6 months’ time. Stronger floral perfumes can last up to a year and a half.

2)      What are the basic rules of perfume storage?

Generally, you are required to keep your fragrance in a dry cool place, away from heat sources and exposure to sun rays. Extreme cold or heat may upset the balance of some of a perfume’s ingredients, especially essential oils and this will alter the ascent. A bottle of perfume needs to be used, once opened, because even the strongest scents will vanish in time. If you prefer several fragrances and have bought them all, or if you would rather use one in summer time, and another during winter, make sure you store the bottle in your refrigerator’s vegetable crisper.

3)      Is there a packaging type that will extend the life of my perfume?

A regular bottle without atomizer will manage to maintain the perfume in top condition for a shorter period of time. It is preferable to use a spray form of perfume, because you can limit evaporation and contamination from outside factors.

4)      What are the signs that show a perfume has gone off?

Generally, when color is altered, when your perfume seems thicker or smells sour, this is a sign that it is most certainly off. There are also chances that you may notice your perfume looks cloudy, this doesn’t mean it is spoiled, but that it was subject to condensation with water. This is why you should avoid keeping your fragrance in the bathroom, where water can get inside the bottle.

5)      Can you reuse an atomizer bottle?

Of course, as long as you clean the perfume off it. Make sure to pour rubbing alcohol into the atomizer allow it to stand for a few minutes. After that, you can clean it with water. Sometimes the old fragrance won’t wear off so easily, so you may need to leave the alcohol in the bottle for up to 12 hours. Keep in mind that the bottle should be properly rinsed and dried before pouring in a new fragrance.

Great Perfumes of the World: What Makes a Scent Unique and an Instant Classic?(part II)

In our post last week we were discussing a few classic perfumes. But what exactly makes a fragrance a classic? Is it the innovation, its endurance and the ability to stand the test of time or the fact that beauty is timeless? Some of the perfumes presented before and the ones that will be detailed in this post definitely had one thing in common: they are objects of art that will never fall out of fashion. Is Van Gogh ever out of fashion? Well, the same goes with some of these irresistible scents that manage to please a 20th century stay- home wife and active, professionally accomplished 21st century woman.

Overall, these are the qualities that will lend a fragrance a timeless appeal, resistant to vagaries of trends: innovation, best quality ingredients, market endurance.

There is a reason why women still pay significant amounts for a Dior, Guerlain or Lanvin specific fragrance: they can hardly resist the scent and how it feels on their skin. It makes them feel loved, cherished, it makes them feel beautiful, feminine and important. Below are a few other such irresistible scents that can qualify as absolute classics:

Arpege  by Lanvin
Many people still refer to it as the one thousand flower fragrance. Created in 1927, this perfume was a gift creation from Jeanne Lanvin to her daughter, famous musician Maria Blanche, hence its musical connotations. The perfume was originally packed in a black ball bottle, with a golden sketch engraved on it, representing the perfume creator and her daughter. This luxury perfume is still a best seller for women who wish to feel like royalty.

L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci
Created immediately after WWII, this wonderful scent carries with it a feeling of liberation, of freedom of senses. A unique blend of bergamot, sandalwood and jasmine, this is a very lyrical perfume that every woman who is a free spirit has tried at least once.

Paris by Yves Saint Laurent
What is not to love about a fragrance that celebrates the rose and the City of Lights? The richly scented classic created in 1983 also includes a touch of musk and violet, as well as a great note of iris in its composition and has remained a classic due to its lush and rich palette. 10 years later after its creation, a Paris rose was bred in its honor.

Jardins de Bagatelle  by Guerlain
Created the same year as the above, this was the Guerlain replica to Paris and another incredible tribute to the City of Lovers.  Exalting a profusion of white flowers ranging from jasmine and neroli to tuberoses and gardenia, this was inspired by an iconic place in Bois de Boulogne: the Bagatelle Gardens. Even the bottle is based on an architectural landmark in the area, an 18th century garden  column.

Three Classics that Stood the Test of Time: Great Perfumes of the World (part 1)

Many people don’t realize the fact that one of the most remarkable properties of perfume is the fact that it creates a psychological impact. Our emotion are easily stimulated by a certain fragrance, as scientific studies show they can encourage or calm us, shape negative or positive feelings and induce sweet memories. This is in fact the secret that lies behind many of the scents that today are considered classics.

A good perfume is in fact one that stands the test of time and remains an absolute favorite, no matter the trends. According to an old Chinese proverb, “every perfume is a medicine in itself.”

Below you can find a list of the top fragrances that were able to withstand the passing of time and various fashion trends and are still among the all-time-favorites for every generation of perfume wearers:

1)      Chanel No. 5

The absolute queen of all perfumes was born out of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s desire for a perfume that would become the epitome and the symbol of how women should smell. She called in one of the best perfume creators of her time Ernest Beaux, and he had to create five different scent until the iconic designer approved it. So, now you know why this great classic was called no.5. Blending top notes of neroli and ylang-ylang, this was the first fragrance that was an instant classic and continues to be loved by women throughout the world.

2)      Guerlain Shalimar

Perfume is not only about combining the right scents and bringing the mix to perfection. It is also about magic, and Shalimar has remained the symbol of this, throughout the decades. This unique exotic perfume with amber- oriental notes blended with rose, vanilla and iris was created as a tribute to the Gardens of Shalimar and the legendary love story between an Oriental emperor and his wife. This is a perfect gift for any sensual and luxury loving woman.

3)      Yves Saint Laurent Opium

This is undoubtedly one of those perfumes that will seduce any woman into addiction. Who hasn’t felt irremediably attracted by the red-tasseled bottle hiding within one scent that defines passion? With its first notes that are almost flowery, this perfume will explode into a lush scent reminding one of the fragrant-rich Oriental world and the green bamboo forests. No one can remain indifferent to the explosion of color behind this perfume.

(…to be continued)