Christmas is the perfect time to gift a fine fragrance. But with so many choices it can be hard to find the right one. Here's your ultimate guide to fragrance buying for yourself or that special someone.
Fragrances come in four different concentrations: Perfume Extract, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette or Eau de Cologne. The amount of solvent mixed with perfume oils determines which of the four fragrances you're buying.
Perfume / Perfume Extract The highest concentrate that contains 20-40% of aromatic compounds and can last between 4-6 hours.
Eau de Parfum Contains 10-30% of aromatic compounds and can last between 4-6 hours.
Eau de Toilette Contains 5-20% of aromatic compounds and can last between 4-6 hours.
Cologne Contains 2-3% aromatic compounds and can last between 1-4 hours.
Types of Fragrances
Perfumes and aftershaves can be identified by their families. Here we've explained the major categories from floral and fruity through to spicy and oriental.
Fragrances and perfumes are often referred to as top notes, heart notes or base notes. When you spray or dab on a perfume the heat from your body causes the solvent to evaporate. The rate of evaporation and the strength of the perfume odour determines the note classification of the fragrance.
Top notes These are the scents that you can smell as soon as you apply them. They instantly give you an initial impression of the perfume, but it lasts for a very short time. The scents of this note class are usually described as sharp and assertive.
Heart or middle notes These describe the smells that emerge after the top notes have disappeared. The heart note complements the sharpness from the top notes and they are usually more mellow and smoother. Typical heart notes are lavender and rose scents.
Base Notes These are the smells that develop slowly and will linger until the end of the day. When you choose a perfume wait until the base notes have developed so that you are sure you like the whole scent and not just the initial top notes.
Types of fragrances Perfumes and aftershaves can be identified by their families. Here we've explained the major categories from floral and fruity through to spicy and oriental.
Floral fragrances These fragrances like Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb use some of nature's loveliest blooms including roses, gardenias and jasmine, to create the ultimate feminine fragrances. For men, fragrances combine notes such as lavender and orange blossom.
Fresh & fuity fragrances Mouthwatering fragrances like YSL's Mon Paris features luscious notes of ripe, berried fruits combined with hints of spice to develop scents that are warm and individual.
These fragrances like Viktor & Rolf's BonBon are zesty and zingy and include notes of lemon, mandarin and sparkling grapefruit.
Oriental fragrances Rich and seductive. For women, oriental fragrances like YSL's Black Opium feature a mix of exotic notes combined with florals to create a sexy scent. For men, oriental fragrances blend warm, spicy notes with clove, musk and cardamom to create sensual aromas.
These types of fragrances feature ingredients that are good enough to eat. Think edible notes like notes honey, coffee, chocolate, praline and vanilla. Great gourmand fragrances we recommend are YSL's Black Opium with it's addictive black coffee notes and Lancome's La Vie Est Belle that combines fruity and floral notes with delicious praline.
Woody fragrances This fragrance family is rich with woody and smoky aromas of ingredients such as sandalwood, musk, cedar and leather. Think forest floors and mossy banks.
Rich and sensual fragrances that uses exotic spices including musk, sandalwood and pepper help to create the most potent scents.
Top Tips & Advice • When applying perfume, spray onto your 'pulse points'. These are the areas where your heart rate can be felt and includes your wrists, neckline, inside your elbows, behind the ear and back of your knees. • Don't rub your wrists together as this breaks the notes.
• Keep your perfumes and aftershaves away from sunlight to prolong its shelf life. Typically fragrances can last up to 6 years.
• Don't try to test out too many fragrances or perfumes in one go, your nose will get confused. • When sampling perfumes and aftershaves in store, request for them to be sprayed onto blotting strips. This means you can sample as many perfumes as you like and the scents won't clash together. Once you have found a scent you like ask for a test spray on your skin. • Take your time trying out perfumes or aftershaves; let the base notes have time to develop and don't just buy a perfume for the scent of the initial top notes.