Fine fragrances are made in varying strengths, a factor which influences price, packaging and even the way a scent will smell once applied. The main ingredient in any fragrance is an alcoholic water solution, in which the notes are suspended evenly, to keep the scent potent. After this, the percentage of perfume relative to the water, will determine its strength and status.
- The strongest concentration is Parfum, or pure perfume. The scent concentration in a Parfum will be between 18% and 40%, and will comprise a potent blend of essential oils, pure fragrance and alcohol. Parfum is also the most expensive variant in any fine fragrance range. Parfum provides an exceptionally long-lasting (6 - 8 hours) fragrance from very little liquid, and should be dabbed sparingly on the skin.
- Eau de Parfum (EDP) is the next strongest version, with a concentration of 10% to 18%. EDP is usually presented in a spray rather than a splash format and is designed to give a more enduring scent for a more accessible price. It typically lasts 5-7 hours.
- Eau de Toilette (EDT) With a fragrance content of up to 14%, EDT will not last as long on the skin as Parfum or EDP. It contains fewer essential oils, a greater percentage of water and is nearly always presented in a spray, adding to its convenience and appeal, lasting 4 to 6 hours.
- Eau de Cologne (EDC) (in effect often branded now as Aftershave) is weaker than EDT with a fragrance concentration of around 3-5%, lasting 2 to 3 hours.
- A recent development is Eau Fraiche (EF) occasionally referred to as 'perfumed mist'. It has a very low fragrance content and can be alcohol-free. The format is designed as a light, scented refresher and proves extremely popular in the warmer weather.
TOP, HEART and BASE NOTES
Fragrance has a subliminal language all its own defined by the unique qualities of its compilation. Each fragrance typically consists of three layers, and the ingredients in each layer are delineated as its notes. The layers of a fragrance emerge and fade in succession, and the combination of individual notes within each layer is responsible for the change in scent from the time the fragrance is applied, to the point where it has dried completely.
- Top notes are evident as soon as the liquid touches your skin. If you are spraying your fragrance you will first smell the alcoholic solution in which most fragrances are carried. Top notes are usually floral or fruity and are lighter than the other ingredients, causing the primary fragrance burst.
- Shortly after the initial application, top notes give way to heart (or middle) notes. These are usually floral, as most fruity notes are too light for this layer. Middle notes make up the core perfume as it sits on the skin, and it is these layers that define the ultimate dry down, when the perfume settles on to the skin.
- The base notes determine how long a fragrance will last, and provide a background on which the middle notes can be appreciated. Interestingly, most fragrances are similar base notes, popular ones being sandalwood, amber, musk and vanilla. This is because there are only a certain number of notes that will last long enough on the skin to form the base of a fragrance.
The different types of fragrance are sometimes described by their scent and the ingredients that have been used to make up a particular scent. Below are some common soubriquets.
Citrus: The clean, tangy aroma of citrus fruits:lemons, mandarins, bergamot oranges and grapefruit.
Green: The sharp green scent of crushed leaves and fresh-cut grass.
Water: Soft sea breezes.
Floral: The fresh-cut fragrance of flowers from a single rose to a rich bouquet.
Soft Floral: These soft, powdery floral aldehydes blend nature's flowers with the perfumers aldehydes.
Floral and Spicey Oriental: The soft, spicy notes of orange flowers, sparkling aldehydes and sweet flowers.
Soft Oriental: Incense adds a sensual softness to heady flowers, spices and amber. Oriental: The hypnotic fragrances of oriental resins, night-blooming flowers, vanilla, musk.
Woody Oriental: Rich oriental notes blended with the potent wood scents of patchouli and sandalwood.
Mossy and Chypre Woods: Perfumers call these forest notes of oakmoss, woods and citrus chypre fragrances.
Dry Woods: Dry resins, cedar and tobacco make a mossy-woody fragrance drier, sometimes a little smokey.
- Fragrances should be kept away from heat and light. Storing fragrance in the fluctuating temperatures and humidity of a bathroom will cause a scent to degrade rapidly.
- Identical fragrances may smell differently and also last longer when applied to some peoples' skin than others, this is because of the chemical make up and balance of our skin.
- All fragrances listed on our website are sprays unless otherwise stated.