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Decoding fragrance terminology

Whether you are a novice or an expert, the language of perfume can be very intimidating. All the poetic descriptions about fragrances and the terms that are thrown around to describe them can leave your head in a tizzy. Elitist as the language of perfume sounds, you need to understand what these terms that describe the features that you can only smell and not see, mean before you pick one for yourself.
basic guide to perfume terms
Here’s the basic slang that you need to acquaint yourself with:
Perfume or Eau de Parfum: Even though most people think it is a woman’s fragrance, perfume refers to both men’s and women’s fragrances. Containing about 15-18 per cent perfume compound, it is the most highly-concentrated and thus, longest-lasting form of fragrance.
Eau de Toilette: A little stronger than Eau de Cologne and yet far milder than perfume, Eau de Toilette is a perfumed toilet preparation containing four to eight per cent perfume compound in alcohol.
Cologne or Eau de Cologne: Much lighter than both Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette, with just about three per cent perfume oil in an alcohol or water base, Eau de Cologne is only meant to be applied on pulse points.
Fragrance: It’s the fail-safe word you use when you can’t differentiate between a perfume and a cologne. It is a generic, all-encompassing term.
understanding basic fragrance terminology
Notes: You might have heard sales attendants throwing this term around a lot and wondering what music has to do with perfumes. Simply put, notes in a perfume means ingredients. They are the individual building blocks that make up the scent.
Chords: It refers to the blends of notes that make up a perfume.
Top Notes: This is the first smell that hits your senses when you apply a fragrance. You can smell the top notes only for the first 15 minutes after application since it is the lightest note in the composition of the fragrance.
Middle Notes: While top notes constitute your first impression about the fragrance, middle notes often known as ‘heart notes’ are what you remember about the fragrance. It is the core character of the fragrance.
Base Notes: The third and last phase in the life cycle of a fragrance, the base note is the foundation of the fragrance. The perfume life cycle is like a fading pyramid with the top note on top (obviously) followed by the middle and the base note at the bottom. After 30 minutes of perfume application, when the top and middle notes have faded or evaporated from the skin, you are left with the base notes. Base notes lend character to the perfume.

Written By : Bushra S Khan

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