Perfume Education and Tips: What Is Accord and How It Influences Fragrance?

Choosing a favorite, signature perfume is very often regarded like a difficult task. This is because our olfactory sense can easily trick us into liking one fragrance that we smell at first. Then, when we get home with our perfume acquisition: surprise!- the perfume doesn’t seem to have the same appeal. There are many things you need to learn about the art of perfume making, but one of the most common notions is that of an accord. What is an accord in perfume? How does it influence your olfactory sensation? Here are a few things a perfume enthusiast should know.

Just as in music, accord is a combination of different tones, which, combined together sound and feel like a single note, due to harmony. In perfumery, an accord is a blend of different notes that, combined together, lose their individuality and give a unified odor impression. Every art has a form of accord- think of the combined colors in painting. And perfume making is definitely an art.

When you hear someone say that a perfume has a strong accord, they are actually saying the harmonic combination of more notes is so perfect, that together, they smell complete, they work very well as a new note.

Generally, an accord in perfumery is made of five, up to seven notes. Some daring designers would create an accord out of much more notes, but this can be tricky. The notes are brought together in a combination that forms the basis of the perfume, and the rest of the notes are added to the accord. Think of an accord as the real strong skeleton, the foundation of a building, or the main theme of a symphony: things are built around that unifying note. Just like the architect or the composer, the perfume designer will add new, tiny notes to it, to create the unique fragrance.

  • Amber, aromatic, cyphre are just a few very commonly used accords. Below are just a few examples:
  • The Amber accord- includes notes of spicy cinnamon, amber, vanilla, as well as balsamic notes. (Calvin Klein Obsession is one such perfume)
  • Ambrein includes civet, bergamot, vanillin, balsamic notes, as well as wood and rose. (a typical perfume based on this accord is Shalimar)
  • Cyphre is based on the harmony between oak moss, roses, jasmine, bergamot, cedar and laudanum. This is a common note in men’s perfumes.
  • Fouegere is a combination of patchouli, lavender, coumarine and hay.

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