Perfume vs. Cologne: It’s More Than a Battle of the Sexes

The casual fragrance lover may think that the difference between perfume and cologne is a simple and straightforward one; perfume is for women and cologne is for men. It is definitely not that simple. But really, is anything ever as simple as it seems? When you dig a little deeper you’ll find that every fragrance, including what we generally refer to as cologne, is actually just a variation on pure perfume and the category of variation depends on the concentration of oils in the fragrance.

First there is perfume, well what we call perfume anyway. The perfume we buy in stores—or online from Lily Direct—is not actually pure perfume. The pure perfume essence would not smell very good if it was not diluted at least somewhat, but anything called perfume is the most concentrated of all the fragrance options and therefore it is generally the most expensive scent. Something like Sensuous Perfume by Estee Lauder is what we would call a “pure” perfume.

Next down the fragrance line is eau de parfum. This variation uses the same perfume essence but less of it (typically 10-20 percent) and it is more diluted with alcohol and water. The smell of an eau de parfum fragrance is usually lighter and doesn’t last quite as long. Miss Dior Perfume for Women by Christian Dior would be an example of an eau de parfum fragrance.

The next step down the fragrance line is eau de toilette. Even lighter and shorter lasting than eau de parfum, you can feel free to spray it more liberally. Eau de toilette is generally considered the best day-to-day fragrance. Armani Code Cologne for Men by Giorgio Armani  is a delightful eau de toilette scent you may want to try.

Finally, we come to eau de cologne. We generally call this fragrance cologne for short and think of it as the only men’s fragrance. But as you can see from the eau de toilette example above, you can use any variation of perfume to create both men’s and women’s fragrances. Eau de cologne is the most diluted version of perfume. There are specific blends of fragrances that fall in this particular category. Eau de cologne fragrances are very light, fresh and fruity, and they contain the essential oils lemon, bergamot, orange and the absolute neroli. They may also contain the essential oils lavender and rosemary. Eau De Lacoste Blue Cologne for Men by Lacoste is an example of an eau de cologne.

As you can tell, simply referring to fragrances as perfumes or colognes doesn’t even begin to cover the complexity that is the fragrance system. This is why the best perfumers have a background in chemistry and dedicate a good portion of their lives to understanding the complicated mixing process. Luckily, all you have to worry about is finding the perfect scent, or scents, for you.

Great Perfume Houses Part 7

Welcome back perfume lovers! The 7th installment of our bi-weekly presentation of the great perfume houses from around the world is taking us back to Paris. Today we’re going to take a look back at the fascinating history of the Jean Patou Couture Fashion House…

This elite fashion house, named after its founder, was opened in Paris in 1914; but Jean Patou’s career was interrupted by World War I shortly after opening his first salon. Patou served five years as a captain in the army. In 1919 he returned from the war and got right back to his career as a couturier.

With Patou at the helm of his fashion house once again it wasn’t long before fashion-lovers around the globe started singing his praises. His modernist style was innovative while staying simple and elegant at the same time. Patou was regarded as a well-respected visionary in the fashion industry, and for good reason. His love of fabrics and attention to detail made him a truly unique couturier.

In 1925 Jean Patou was among the first couturiers to include perfumes as a part of his collections. But it wasn’t until 1930 that Patou became a fragrance legend. Following the Great Depression of 1929 the Jean Patou Couture Fashion House was experiencing the same struggles to keep its doors open as all the other high-end fashion houses of the time. So Patou decided to send his many regular international clients a gift of appreciation. He asked perfumer, Henri Almeras to create a strong yet simple scent, no matter what the cost; this lead to the creation of Joy which was deemed “the costliest perfume in the world.” This impressive move saved the fashion house during this difficult financial time and it was Jean Patou perfumes that kept the company afloat.

In 1972, 36 years after the death of founder Jean Patou, 1000 became the next legendary scent created by the elite fashion house, replacing Joy as the world’s costliest perfume. It was first introduced as a true haute couture fragrance; made to order upon request. All of Patou’s elegant fragrances are loved to this day, but Joy still remains one of the most popular scents in the world. And it should be noted that while it is most popular for its women’s fragrances and fashions, the Jean Patou Couture Fashion House does offer men’s fragrances such as Voyageur Cologne for Men as well.

Choose Your Signature Scent Carefully

You don’t have to be a scientist to know that scent can have a psychological effect on a person. For me it’s vegetable soup. Of course there are many other scents that recall memories for me, but the strongest, most deeply-rooted scent memory that I have is vegetable soup. Whenever I get even the slightest whiff of vegetable soup I am instantly transported back to my grandmother’s house; I am just a child again and I am playing Go Fish with my grandpa while we wait for Nana to call “lunch is ready!” from the kitchen.

Memory recall isn’t the only psychological effect that scent can have. My friend Daisy has a signature scent. She has worn the original Burberry Perfume by Burberry for as long as I’ve known her; and because she is a happy, upbeat, positive person, whenever I smell that Burberry scent anywhere else I not only think of her but I also feel happy. I’ve discussed this strange phenomenon with some of our mutual friends and it turns out I’m not the only one who reacts like this. Burberry Perfume will probably always put a smile on the face of anyone who knows Daisy.

Scent has both positive and negative emotional, health and cognitive effects. Scent affects your daily life, be it consciously or subconsciously. Whether we’re talking a person’s signature scent, the aroma wafting from a kitchen or anything in between, scent is arguably the most powerful of the five senses. So when you’re choosing which perfume or cologne to wear, choose carefully; you never know what kind of effect your scent will have on somebody.

Be sure to check out Lily Direct for great discount fragrances you won’t find anywhere else.

Great Perfume Houses Part 6

Welcome back! For the 6th installment of our bi-weekly presentation of the great perfume houses from around the world we are leaving Paris and heading to London. Today we are going to explore the illustrious history of Floris London

This famous British family perfumery has been in operation since 1730 when founder Juan Famenias Floris and his wife Elizabeth began selling perfume, combs and shaving products in London’s St. James quarter. Floris London is a family-run perfume house. Not only is it still run by the founder’s descendants, the company is headquartered at the original shop to this day.

Floris London has a long history of elite clientele. Royalty, historical figures and celebrities alike have all been customers of Floris. With clients such as Florence Nightengale, Winston Churchill, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Marilyn Monroe, it’s no wonder this long-standing perfume house is held in such high regard around the world. Floris has received royal accolades and praise from famous figures around the globe.

Although Floris London produced fragrances from the start, in the earlier years of operation the emphasis was on their combs and shaving products. The 1900’s was when we saw the emphasis shift to fragrance. In 1950 the United States started catching on to what Europe had known for years: Floris London was a remarkable perfumery that deserved much praise. By 1989 the demand for Floris perfume was too high for their small flagship store to handle so production was moved to a factory set up in Devon, England; this is where production continues today.

Do you want to smell like royalty? You can find Floris fragrances such as Floris Special No 127 Cologne and Floris Lily of the Valley at great prices on the Lily Direct website.

The Scent of Red, White and Blue

Our exploration of the great perfume houses around the world has taken you around Europe, but the upcoming weekend is all about America so let’s discusses how to honor the good old USofA in scent. Seems like a strange concept, right? How does one go about honoring America in an olfactory way? Well here at Lily Direct we’ve come up with a couple of options…

The most obvious way to waft a big “Happy 4th of July” through the air is to wear a fragrance made in America. Nothing says let’s celebrate the USA like donning your red, white and blue, drinking your Budweiser and wearing a fragrance from your favorite American perfume house while you lounge around your pool and BBQ with your closest friends and family. In need of some inspiration? Try scents from perfumeries such as Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis or Donna Karan.

If you are a man who wants reek of patriotism, we’ve got a more specific idea for you. Choose a cologne that comes in red, white and blue packaging. One such fragrance is Lacoste Live Cologne for Men by Lacoste. The only problem with this red, white and blue scent is that Lacoste is a French perfume house. So for you proud American men out there the ultimate in patriotic scents has to be Polo Sport Cologne for Men by Ralph Lauren. Not only is Ralph Lauren an American perfumery, but the red, white and blue bottle AND box don a RL variation on the American Flag. We’re pretty sure this is what Captain America smells like.

So grab your most American scent and have a safe and wonderful 4th of July everyone!