We know how important it is to pick the right perfume, and how difficult it can be to find confidence that the delightful little Nautica number is going to smell as good on you as it did spritzed in the air at the boutique. All too often we get a fragrance that was absolutely lovely, or because Sarah Jessica Parker was wearing it last week, and find out that due to the chemistry involved, what smelled like lillies and roses on her, smells like skunk-cabbage and day old wine on us.
It’s rarely a situation where it’s that disastrous, but it pays to learn a little about the science of perfume, so that the next time you see Beyonce advertising the new Ralph Lauren fragrance you’ll be armed with some clues to tell you whether it’s going to be for you. Thankfully, a lot of this information is online, and some of the keynote fragrances that a perfume may have are well documented there as well. Let’s start with some basic terminology, starting with the “Eau De’s.”
First on our list of industry clips and phrases is “Eau de Cologne.” We’ve all heard the term before, seen it on the labels, but do you know what it actually means? In this case, a “Eau de Cologne”
like Ralph Lauren’s Chaps, is a mixture of water and alcohol with about three to five percent fragrance oil. It’s scent is light rather than cloying, and it most commonly comes with a hint of citrus to take full advantage of that lightness. When describing an Eau de Cologne, the phrase “refreshing” is often involved, and there is nothing overpowering about this subtle cologne.
The next thing we’re going to discuss is “Eau de Toilette,” a well known brand of this particular mix is 360 by Perry Ellis. It’s mixture is only subtly different than the Eau de Cologne above, being composed of four and eight percent oil rather than three to five, and selecting alcohol as a carrier base over the alcohol water mix of the previous entry. The scent may be a little stronger, but it still tends to a light hint rather than an overpowering musk. Citrus and floral scents are common at this stage.
Last of the Eau De’s is the “Eau de Parfum,” represented by Lady Million of Paco Rabanne fame. This example is significantly stronger than the previous Eau’s on the list, with a strongly weighted perfume oil, coming in at 15 to 18%, and carried in an alcohol base. Due to the high percentage of scent in these, they are always more expensive than Colognes or Toilettes. The relatively high concentration of scents allows these fragrances to be far more complex. The Lady Million, for instance, has a floral and woody scent possesses a blend of citron, gardenia, neroli, raspberry, orange flower, jasmine, patchouli and honey.
These are just a few pieces of basic information you can use when researching the right perfume or cologne for you. Some people respond well to a slight, subtle fragrance as offered by a Eau de Cologne, while others chemistry is able to handle the far more potent presence of an Eau de Pafrum. Whatever the case, when purchasing any perfume, but especially those that come so dear as those manufactured by Paco Rabanne or Perry Ellis, you want to make sure that you’re selecting the right fragrance for you.