general perfume knowledge
the term comes from the latin (per fumum) and means “through smoke”. previously, people burnt resins and produced fragrances that way. a perfume is the most intense form of a fragrance.
eau / eau de toilette / eau de parfum
“eau” is french and means water. in the world of fragrances, a perfume with a higher alcohol and water concentration is called an “eau”. an eau de toilette has a fragrance concentration of around 5 – 10 % and is in the medium range in terms of intensity.an eau de parfum has the highest fragrant oil concentration (around 10 – 15 %).
the solvent for fragrances. perfumes have a higher percentage of alcohol (90 – 96 %) and eau de toilettes have a lower concentration of alcohol (70 – 80 %).
distillation is the process whereby valuable fragrances are extracted from plants. delicate rose petals or lavender are laid out in large filters over hot steam. this way the precious fragrant oil is extracted without the loss of the crucial delicate essences of the fragrance.
used to store fragrances. precious materials have always been used for this, but nowadays glass is used almost exclusively for perfume flacons due to the high alcohol content of fragrances.
the so-called “limbic system” is linked to our brains and controls all our feelings and sensations. fragrances reach it directly through the nose and thus influence our emotions immediately. this means fragrances can invigorate and calm us, but can also prompt us to recall long-forgotten memories and moments.
this profession originally emerged from the glove-making trade. in the 18th century, gloves were scented to mask the smell of the leather oil. the perfumer’s job required sensitivity and an excellent sense of smell, and even today it is not really a job that can be learnt.
great perfumers are also known as “noses”. their skill involves the expert differentiation of fragrances and the knowledge of which fragrances can be produced by mixing various fragrant substances.
quality is an important criteria in fragrance production. so sometimes it can take years to create a very high-quality fragrance. the successful interplay of precious fragrant components makes a scent into a unique work of art and an exquisite fragrance experience.
finding your scent
spraying, waiting, sniffing, deciding. every fragrance has its own “flow” after being sprayed. that’s why it’s important to wait at least 20 minutes. this gives the top and middle notes time to develop and the scent shows its true character.
fragrances are best applied where the blood flows close to the skin: behind the ears, on the inner wrists, on the décolletage. fragrances also develop perfectly in freshly washed hair.
the fragrance’s reach
an intense fragrance with a strong presence has a reach of up to one and a half metres once applied. a modest fragrance can be perceived up to 30 cm away.
fragrances have a limited shelf life. they should be stored in a place that is not too warm or bright. once opened most fragrances will keep for up to 36 months.
the perfume industry categorises different types of fragrance into fragrance families. these fragrance families describe the general impression of the scent based on the substances it contains. the five typical families among women’s scents are oriental, floral/floral-aldehyde, floral-oriental, chypre and floral-chypre.
floral: the family of floral perfumes is the biggest fragrance family. the main component of the fragrance is a flower or an entire floral bouquet.
floral-aldehyde: floral-aldehyde scents belong to the sub-family of floral fragrances. aldehydes make a scent radiate and allow the character of the flowers and buds to shine.
floral-chypre: chypre notes combined with floral notes give a sensual, warm effect. the citrus notes give the floral scents a refreshing character.
floral-oriental: floral-oriental scents are also known as florientals. these fragrances combine the floral notes with sensual oriental notes.
chypre: chypre scents consist of plant scents that originally come from cyprus. they are powerful and long-lasting. usually, they are fresh and citrusy.
oriental: oriental scents are soft, powdery and have vanilla accents. a heavy sweetness is a notable feature.
the perfume industry uses its own language to describe fragrances. for example, if a fragrance smells like roses, it’s known as floral. here you can find the most important terms to describe fragrances.
aquatic: these scents evoke the sea and are fresh and positive. watermelon is often a component of aquatic fragrances.
floral: floral scents are romantic, fresh and light. they evoke the world of buds and flowers.
bouquet: an exquisitely mixed composition of various floral scents. harmonious, soft and floral.
exotic: far-off lands, sunny beaches, aromatic woods. “exotic” describes scents which contain rarer scent components such as tonka beans or vanilla.
fresh: these fragrances are often positive and light. they are dominated mainly by green notes from grasses or citrus fruits.
fruity: these scents evoke tasty, juicy fruits. berries, apples and peach give these perfumes a tranquil, soft and sweet note.
bright: bright fragrances represent lightness and a carefree attitude. they come from brightly-coloured flowers and fruits and offer a delicate, light scent experience.
woody: woody scents seem warm, elegant and sensual. sandalwood is a typical component of woody fragrances.
mossy: these fragrances evoke moist, mossy forest floors. mossy scent components are used in almost all these fragrances. they have the capacity to give scents depth, fixing them in place.
musky: these scents linger for longer and have a sensual and romantic effect. they cling to the skin and are very intense.
oriental: secretive like “a thousand and one nights”. these fragrances are exotic, secretive and quite heavy, and are particularly suitable for the evening.
crisp: it is citrus notes in particular that characterise these light and cheerful scents. they stimulate, bring cheer and provide for a particularly bright mood.
sweet: natural “sweet” scents often have floral and vanilla notes. many fragrances are given a breath of seductiveness with a little sweetness.
vanilla: sweet, dreamy, sensual and yet powerful: this is the effect of vanilla notes in fragrances. vanilla scents are positive and create a bright mood.
vetiver: this is extracted from the roots of vetiver grasses. it has a balmy, woody scent, giving perfumes an earthy note.
warm: woody or musky notes give scents a so-called “warm” character. oriental perfumes in particular are seen as “warm”.
citrus: the citrus family includes not only crisp limes and lemons, but also bergamot, a cross between lemon and bitter orange. citrus scents are light, lively and fresh.
a fragrance pyramid is made up of three different notes: the top, the middle and the base notes.
top note: the first impression a fragrance gives immediately after being sprayed on the skin. the top note can be perceived for around 10 – 15 minutes and is often characterised by citrus notes.
middle note: after the top note has evaporated the middle note comes to the fore. this is also known as the “character” of the fragrance.
base note: the base note is the last to be perceived. typical base notes are “heavy” scents such as vanilla or the scent of woods.