Advices on building perfect fragrance collection15.09.2021
Bergamot, sandalwood, vetiver, jasmine, vanilla, neroli and musk – which scent is your favorite? For those who enjoy olfactory engagement, choosing one signature scent can feel a bit like picking a child to play with. The trend today is to create a fragrance collection that is as unique as the moods you have.
This task can seem daunting, especially if your knowledge of perfume vocabulary is limited. We’ve reached out to top perfumers to provide guidance and help you understand the lingo of perfume. Experts share their tips for building a perfume wardrobe from big-box brands to cult favourites.
What are the different fragrance categories?
You will likely choose between two types of perfume categories: eau de toilette, (EDT), and eau de parfum, (EDP). EDTs and EDPs are distinguished by the concentration of ingredients, which can affect the longevity of your fragrance. Tanis (director at Maison Francis Kurkdjian) explains that EDPs have a higher concentration of raw materials, which makes them more intense and lasts longer. They are also more expensive. Tanis, however, notes that EDTs tend to be less concentrated and have a shorter scent life. However, this can vary depending on the skin. EDTs tend to be less expensive than EDPs.
Consider the type of fragrance that you are buying when deciding between EDT and EDP. Little advises that an EDP is best for natural fragrances. You will need the right concentration of raw materials to ensure longevity and sillage (the scent’s lasting effects). Synthetic-aroma chemical can be too overbearing, sometimes even excessive.
EDTs are much less concentrated, so they’re easier to use and more comfortable.
Sivrican (the founder of Capsule Parfumerie) agrees with the idea of having both EDP- and EDT options for building a perfume wardrobe. She suggests creating a collection of perfumes, colognes and face mists as well as scented hair oils and body oils.
Understanding Fragrance Notes
The notes are what make a perfume smell. There are three types of notes: top (or heart), middle (or base) and bottom (or dry down). Tanis explains the process:
- The top notes are the first fragrance you notice when it is opened.
- The fragrance’s intensity and character is given by the middle notes.
- The base notes are used to balance the fragrance and add depth.
She suggests that you think of the composition as a pyramid. This is an analogy that can be helpful: “All notes in a perfume are contained in an olfactive Pyramid. A fragrance’s composition is actually called a pyramid. A composition is composed of ingredients or notes that combine the fragrance.”
To help you better understand the scent, make sure you have a description of every note when you are choosing a fragrance.
Considerations when building your own fragrance collection
It is subjective to find your signature scent. You can still find your signature scent by going about your wardrobe systemically, even if it means listening to your inner voice and turning inwards. Little recommends that you do a little self-inventory about your scent preferences. “Unapologetically and honestly ask yourself this question: What makes you most attractive? The scent that you love is something so personal, subconscious and cerebral, it can be difficult to find.
Second, consider fragrance to be something that “accentuates your mood”. So, perfume (and its key ingredients, more precisely) is “an invisible, indispensable part of your wardrobe.” According to the perfumer, people should view fragrances as “personalities”. How can you understand the personalities of fragrances? It all boils down to how a fragrance makes you feel. Little explains that there are personalities that accent, others that are disruptive and some that are shy and reserved.
Sivrican says that if the scent evokes joy, excitement, wonderment or nostalgia, it is worth buying. She says, “If you have tried it on but have not purchased it yet and you are still thinking about it, you should buy it. It’s calling to you and you will regret it if it doesn’t.”
Layering scents should be considered in a few variables. The creation of the fragrance line is a major consideration. Little says that the Heretic Parfum line was created “with 100% naturally derived material, which makes them ideal for layering.” He says, “I designed the collection so that you can mix and match any fragrances to create beautiful signature scents.” His fragrances are only made from natural ingredients, which means they can be layerable. Natural (non-synthetic ingredients) do not last as well as synthetic, so layering is a good idea to increase your scent’s longevity.
Tanis mentions that Maison Francis Kurkdjian perfumes can be layered or combined, but “they were not designed with this in mind.” Kurkdjian perfumes should be worn alone. She does not advocate layering fragrances. It’s up to each individual to make the decision.
Sivrican recommends that you purchase a new fragrance every time you travel to a different place. When you smell the fragrance, you’ll always be able to recall the time and place you were there.
You will appreciate the power of fragrance to bring out your emotions, memories and improve your sense of well-being the more you use it. Although rules can help you understand the chemical composition of a perfume and the various types of scents available, it is important to use your intuition when creating a fragrance collection.