The Art of Perfumery

The Art of Perfumery

Find your signature scent by exploring the world of fragrance and learning what makes a good perfume



The realm of smell is a world of emotions. Smells are intertwined with the memories of your past and the emotional journey of your life. Similar to the songs you listened to when you were young certain smells will evoke memories of days long gone. But while many people have a basic feel for the soundtrack of their lives, very few consciously think about something you might call ‘scent track’ of your past.

You may start your journey towards your signature scent by contemplating the smells that can touch you emotionally.




Why do you need a signature scent?

Don’t forget that humans are connected to the world by their senses and the sense of smell is a particularly powerful one. In our present day, the senses of vision and hearing take centre stage but the subconscious power of the art of perfumery is something that you shouldn’t underestimate ~ especially when it comes to creating a well-rounded image of yourself. It is part of your journey of self-exploration and knowing who you want to be.

Basic knowledge about the art of Perfumery

There is some basic jargon that you should know to better understand the art of perfumery. The origin of today’s jargon lies in the French, the language of nobility during the rise of perfumes in Europe. The world of perfumes is divided into four classical types that signify the strength and longevity of a scent.

Parfum has the highest percentage of aromatic compounds ~ typically 20-30% but at times up to 40% ~ and is, therefore, the richest in smell but also the priciest choice. Each application should last for a whole day. As they contain less alcohol they can be the better choice if you have sensitive skin.

Eau de Parfum has a concentration between 10% and 20% {typically 15%} and should flatter your senses for about 5 hours. It’s one of the most common fragrance types to be found as it has a good balance between longevity and price.

Eau de Toilette contains 5-15% {typically 10%} of aromatic compounds and will last only for 2-3 hours. Its lower price makes it a very popular choice.

Eau de Cologne has a concentration of only 3-8% {typically 5%} and will need frequent refreshments if it is supposed to last through the day, as it lasts only up to 2 hours.

Note: While there are more types of fragrances these four are the most common ones and will get you started in understanding the world of perfumes a little better.




Shop by scent and feeling

Finding the fragrances that fit your type and combines well with your natural odor is not easy but there are a few simple things that will help you to make the right choice.

The art of perfumery is governed by the different fragrance notes. In analogy to music they can be classified as top, middle and base notes. They are defined by the different aromatic compounds and their harmonious composition plays an essential role.

Top notes are dominant right after the application and shape the initial impression. Middle notes or hearth notes come from the main body of the perfume and take over after the top notes dissipate and cover up the initially often unpleasant smell of the base notes. The compounds of this last type of scent are often vailed until up 30 minutes after the application

Besides those types, notes can be classified by their family. For our needs, a simplified overview will suffice to get a feeling for the art of perfumery.

Floral: The fragrances of this group have a light top and complex body. They create a light-hearted but sensual atmosphere with a feminine touch. The essences of rose, jasmine or orange blossom entrap your senses and take you on a journey through the meadows of spring and summer time.

Earthy: Mostly dominated by woody and mossy smells like sandalwood, bergamot or oakmoss. They are reassuring and give a sense of peace while creating an air of mystery around you.

Fresh: Often crisp and vitalizing scents with aromas of mint, citrus, leaves, and spices. These fragrances have an energizing effect and will create an atmosphere of motivation and concentration.

Cozy: Homey fragrances that often contain strong and dominant scents like vanilla, coffee, and tobacco. These perfumes have often a feel of winter and might remind you of a comfortable night in front of the chimney or a cozy Christmas at home. They make you feel comfortable and at home and therefore can give you reassurance when you need it.

Note: You’ll find that many perfume retailers list the different notes of each of their perfumes. Once you know which of the fragrance families you prefer, it’ll be easy to identify which scents belong within them.





What does it mean to find your own signature scent?

You might think to find the one perfume to rule them all is what it takes to create a remarkable signature but you couldn’t be more wrong. Similarly to not wearing the same apparel to all events you are invited to, you should build up a collection of perfumes that accommodates what you will need for different settings. Scents can have a very different feel and you wouldn’t want to wear the same to a spring picnic in the park as you would to a business meeting in the office or a formal dinner party.

So, how do we find our signature scent?

Trust yourself! Ignore the advertising campaigns and try not to overanalyze your choice. Making an informed decision is important but more important is that you feel comfortable with your choice. If you just like a scent on first smell ~ go for it.

Don’t make hasty decisions! Nevertheless, you should remember that the scent of a fragrance will change over time as the lower notes take over and the scent of your body oils combines with the perfume. To really test a new perfume you should test it and see how it changes over the day. Also, observe how it affects your mood or behavior.

It’s a question of occasion! While fragrances are an extension of your personality you know as well as me that you won’t show all parts of yourself in all situations. While some fragrances might feel right at home there are different occasions like work where you might want to put on a more serious note. You should find a wardrobe of perfumes that amplifies what you try to represent in different situations.




Follow the tricks of the trade

  • Apply your fragrance to the warm spots of your body: wrists, neck, décolleté, behind your knees and to your ankles.
  • If your fragrance has a tendency to evaporate too quick, blend two or three drops to a scent-free moisturiser and apply all over your body.

Why is having a signature scent so important?

I believe it’s the final touch in our overall demeanour. We put effort into our bodies; clothes, hair and makeup, and our signature scent can top it all off, wrapping the whole package together. It’s the commitment to knowing your identity, the desire to feel great and presenting your uniqueness to the world. This self-awareness and affirmation of looking and smelling good in order to feel great is a reward in itself!




Do you embrace the idea of a signature scent? Leave me a comment below.

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* I love bringing together a bunch of conflicting items and weaving my own sense of one-ness to them. *


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