Understanding what scents are in a perfume or aftershave can be a tricky business. There is a lot to think about when shopping for your next fragrance, with fragrance notes adding to the list. Once you’ve cracked the different fragrance families and notes, you’ll find it so much easier to develop your collection of perfumes or aftershaves.
While it might sound confusing and very technical, being able to decode fragrance families can make it much easier to choose the right scent for you. Notes are simply the various components that make up the perfume, and the right combination can be an absolute dream on your olfactory system.
You will often see 3 different types of notes within a perfume; top, heart and base. It is important to understand the function of each, as it can help you to understand the smell behind your perfume and how it will evolve over the hours that follow spritzing it on yourself.
Top notes are created with light ingredients that can be smelled as soon as you have sprayed the perfume, but they evaporate soon afterwards. This is what usually creates your first impression of a fragrance, but does not make up the whole scent.
Heart notes, also sometimes known as the middle notes, appear once the top notes have disappeared. Heart notes create the body of the perfume and can usually be sensed for longer.
Along with heart notes, base notes also contribute to the main body of the perfume. They often introduce a little more depth to the fragrance, and aren’t usually detected until around half an hour after you have first sprayed the fragrance.
Once you have got to grips with this, you can get a good idea of what the fragrance will smell like throughout the day.
The fragrance families are a much easier way to define perfumes and aftershaves, and usually describes the types of notes used. The main families are floral, oriental, fresh and woody.
Some are self-explanatory; floral fragrances, for instance, are often created with romantic and flowery notes like roses, lilies and jasmine. They are characteristically light and feminine, and usually chosen for summer or everyday perfumes.
Fresh fragrances are usually created with citrus and green notes, and are typically refreshing and energising. Think of scents like lemon, bergamot, sage and rosemary.
Oriental fragrances are perfect for special occasions or the winter season. This is because oriental perfumes and aftershaves are usually warm, sweet and sometimes spicy, making them the ideal choice for evening wear. Popular notes include jasmine, orchid, orange blossom and vanilla.
Woody fragrances are often found amongst men’s aftershaves because of their captivating and masculine scents. Using notes such as amber, cedar and sandalwood, you usually find woody fragrances mixed with tobacco and leather for a deeper and more mysterious scent.
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