Shopping for fragrance a tricky business; after all, with so many to choose from, how do you decide? Here is a guide to perfume types to help you figure out what perfume you should go for; with suggestions for where to wear each one. including some perfume examples.
Perfume Types and When and Where To Wear
The first step to finding your favorite fragrance is to understand the different scent families; that every perfume is based on.
Perfume Types – Fresh Scents
Fresh scents are light and energizing; commonly include citrus notes. Well suited for someone who doesn’t want a strong “perfumey” smell. “Fresh fans are vivacious, energetic, fun-loving, playful, and live each day to the fullest.”
One of the first successful unisex fragrances; CK One awakens the senses with notes of papaya, pineapple, lemon, and floral notes; over a base accord of green tea. A refreshing, clean scent that’s light enough to wear to breakfast.
Revel in the aquatic notes of Acqua Di Gioia, a distinctly fresh and feminine scent for women; from Giorgio Armani that was first bottled in 2010. This sensuous fragrance opens with an invigorating blast of refreshing mint and vibrant Amalfi lemon; that gives way to a pink pepper and jasmine heart and a floral base of peony. The simmering sweetness clings to the skin and stays with you; through morning meetings and afternoon lunches with friends.
Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta is a bright and lively citrus fragrance; designed to worn by both men and women. Rose pepper and pimento allspice blend with bergamot, orange, and tangerine over jasmine; rose and wild orchid heart; patchouli, American cedarwood, white musk. And amber brings up the base with an air of warmth and sensuality to appeal to all sexes. Notes: cedarwood, rosemary, vetiver, orange, lemon
Like Burberry’s iconic trench coat, this scent goes with everything. Sparkling nectarine and green sap layered over floral notes for a fragrance that’s fun, modern and youthful.
Perfume Types – Floral Scents
Those who typically enjoy floral scents are “elegant, feminine, and passionate romantics.” Common floral notes are jasmine, rose, gardenia, and iris. Depending on the notes used; floral scents can smell both very youthful and girly, or can be better suited to a more mature woman.
Tradition and innovation fuse into a dreamlike ideal in Prada’s Infusion D’Iris. Prada’s exceptional quality ingredients evoke the classic ambiance of a luxurious Italian voyage; from the clean freshness of Florentine Iris Padilla to the warm; subtle glow of Sicilian Mandarin. Savor the floral citrus reverie of this scent’s unique, elusive essence. Infusion D’Iris is clean, fresh, and light — and at the same time sophisticated and elegant. The fragrance opens with notes of mandarin, galbanum, orange and orange blossom; which lead to the heart composed of iris, cedar, and vetiver. Captured in an elegant glass vessel reminiscent of retro perfume bottles.
Top Note: Galbanum, Mandarin Orange, Orange Blossom, Lentisk; Middle Note: Iris, Cedar, Vetiver; Base Note: Benzoin, Frankincense
This scent explodes with aromatic flavors from the moment it touches your skin. With top notes of night-blooming wildflowers, violet, and cedar; heart notes of iris, clove, and musk and bottom notes of rose and blackcurrant. This elegant fragrance perfect for fall and evening wear. Love in Black Notes: Night-blooming wildflowers; Violet from Italy, Virginia cedar, Iris from Florence, Clove, Tonkin musk, Blackcurrant, Bulgarian rose.
Grand Amour is an erotic oriental, intoxicating with its generous character redolent of such flowers as hyacinth, lily, and honeysuckle. The first sweet impression is full of the nectarous flavor of honeysuckle. And the waxy-oily feel of hyacinth and lilies; while the balsamic amber base stays with you for a very long time; a little smoky, a little incense-like. Mature. But not quite formal, for women who capitulate to sensual pleasures; as much as they do to sentimental love.
Top Note: Lily, Honeysuckle, Hyacinth, Turkish Rose; Middle Note: Grasse Jasmine, Indian Mimosa, Broom, Heather; Base Note: Amber, Vanilla, Myrrh, Musk
Perfume Types – Oriental Scents
Those who favor oriental scents are “passionate, confident, and sophisticated.” Oriental perfumes are often warm, heavy, and spicy, and can make them great nighttime scents. Typical notes found in oriental scents are vanilla, amber, cloves, and musk.
Think of oriental perfumes as the fragrance equivalent of cleavage and a killer pair of stilettos. Exotic and distinctly feminine; these sensual blends feature an earthy, animalistic base scent; such as musk or ambergris, often combined with warm notes such as amber. When combined with florals, these scents called “florientals”. The effect is a bold yet mysterious perfume; that makes a big entrance, tosses back a few martinis, and leaves with phone numbers in her pocket. Wear one when you want to seduce; whether it’s a third date or just a rare night out without the kids.
the fragrance reprises familiar and delicate tones of peach blossom and gardenia and sprinkles them with sweet spice (cardamom). Very sophisticated – thanks to its subtle suede feel Type: Floral – OrientalTop notes: Bergamot, Peach Blossom, and Orange Blossom. Heart: Gardenia, Cardamom, Vanilla, Tuberose, Peony. Base: Guaiac Wood, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Cedar. This fragrance works best on fall and winter days and nights.
Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel a Chypre Floral fragrance for women. And continues to this day as one of the best-selling perfume for women in the world.
As opposed to the other Chanel fragrances that were meant to be worn on a special occasion; or special nights out on the town. This fragrance is more relaxed with the notes of orange, mandarin orange, orange blossom, and bergamot.
A light sensual fragrance; a very sophisticated fragrance with fresh rose and lush jasmine notes; that meant to inspire budding sexuality and get an occasional raised eyebrow for mischief. Top Note: Orange, mandarin orange, orange blossom, and bergamot; Middle Note: Mimosa, jasmine, Turkish rose, and ylang-ylang; Base Note: Tonka bean, patchouli, opoponax, vanilla, vetiver, and white musk
Establish yourself as a chic and sophisticated independent woman with Black Pearls; a signature women’s fragrance from Elizabeth Taylor. This delightful combination of floral, woody and powdery accords; lends itself as a defining perfume that encapsulates everything feminine and charming.
Top notes of zesty bergamot, fresh gardenia, and juicy peach open the fragrance for an uplifting and romantic start. Meanwhile, heart notes of lotus, white rose, and delicate water lily enhance the aroma with their floral bouquet. Finally, the base notes of musk, warm amber and sandalwood balance the entire concoction; for a scent that’s captivating and luxurious, just like the designer herself.
A testament to the beauty present in every woman. This lush oriental floral scent is sensuous yet delicate, sweet but also warm and inviting. It opens with top notes of gardenia, bergamot, orange blossom, nutmeg, and fresh greens. The luxuriant heart a lush bouquet comprised of honeysuckle, iris, peony, tuberose, and jasmine; with hints of walnut for balance. Rich, deep base notes of vanilla, amber, guiac wood, and Virginia cedar; provide a satisfyingly lovely, peaceful finish to this unforgettable fragrance journey.
Perfume Types – Woody Scents
Patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood, and amber all common notes found in woody scents perfume types; best suited to “sensual, free-spirited, and nurturing women. ” Some woody scents tend to smell more unisex or masculine.
Bond No. 9’s Nuits de Noho fragrance for women is confident, daring and sensual –. Nuits de Noho opens on notes of bergamot and mandarin; with the pineapple leaf, while a heart composed of jasmine and rosewood rests; over patchouli, grey musk and vanilla base. A modern, ambitious and flirtatious fragrance choice for women
Notes: Mandarin, Pineapple Leaves, Bergamot, Rosewood, Grey Musk, Vanilla, Patchouli, Jasmine
The scent of sun-warmed figs and delicate cassis; entwined with notes of hyacinth and cedarwood; enveloping the wearer in the warmth of the Mediterranean.
The custom grown TOM FORD BLACK ORCHID is the show-stopping note in this incredibly luxurious scent. While sultry woods and rich fruit accords help to bring out the skin’s natural perfume; the jet-black, art-deco inspired bottle adds to the fragrances overall glamour.“Black Orchid is opulent, classically dark; its fragrance is in line with the best creations of the best perfume houses. Luxurious and sensual fragrance with rich dark trace of black orchid and spices, modern and timeless; “This is not about an ordinary orchid, it’s about something a little more strange and rare. I wanted the blackest orchid, and those aren’t easy to find.”
The notes of truffle, ylang-ylang, bergamot, black currant, orchid, fruity notes, lotus wood; dark chocolate, incense, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, and vetiver; make this perfume for women simply irresistible. Recommended Use: Evening wear or romantic wear; Top Note: French jasmine, black truffle, ylang-ylang, black currant, and effervescent citrus; Middle Note: Black orchid, spicy floral orchid accords and lotus wood; Base Note: Woodsy notes of patchouli and sandalwood, dark chocolate, incense, amber, vetiver, vanilla and balsam
Knowing Perfume by Estee Lauder, Launched in 1988; Knowing has been known as a classy; polished fragrance perfect for the sophisticated woman’s evening at the opera or dinner an exclusive eatery. Woody notes of amber, oakmoss, and sandalwood permeate; this fragrance with refined elegance; while notes of jasmine and rose to bring the indolic balance of floral sweetness.
Romance Perfume by Ralph Lauren, Fall under the immense seductive spell of Romance, a mesmerizing women’s fragrance. This delectable perfume blends spicy, floral and woody accords for a rich and rejuvenating scent; that’s sure to turn heads with its passionate composition.
Top notes of lush red rose, yellow freesia petals, tart citrus lemon, soothing chamomile, and potent ginger introduce the scent; with a refreshing mix of therapeutic wonders, meant to give you peace of mind and show off its effortless grace.
Middle notes of the bright lotus flower, delicate white violet, exuberant carnation, and breezy lily; incorporate a sophisticated bouquet that decadent and meant to attract.
Finally, base notes of sensual white musk, earthy oakmoss, patchouli, and various exotic woods; complete the concoction with a warm, comforting atmosphere; that transcends your basic perfume and inspires you with its powerful charm and chic ambiance.
Understanding Fragrance Notes
You will often see top, middle and base notes being used to describe a fragrance.
The top notes of a fragrance, also known as the head or opening notes; are what you smell immediately after spraying your perfume; they evaporate quickly but will form the first impression of the fragrance.
The middle, or heart, notes appear once the top notes have disappeared. These notes are considered to be the main body of the fragrance, lasting longer than the top notes and are usually well-rounded.
Base notes are what left at the end; it is this smell that you remember the most. The base notes are the longest-lasting, mixing with middle notes to create the full body of the perfume.
You can read more about fragrance notes here
Shopping for new perfume can be overwhelming with all of the scents available. Not only are there countless scents available, but there are also different fragrance concentrations. Underneath the name of the perfume on a bottle will normally be the fragrance concentration. A fragrance concentration refers to the strength that a fragrance has. Perfumes with a higher fragrance concentration contain more perfume oils and less alcohol. Fragrance concentrations are broken into categories including parfum, eau de parum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche.
The Parfum, also known as Extrait de parfum or pure perfume, has the highest fragrance concentration. Parfum will contain anywhere from 15% to 40% fragrance, however, concentration is generally between 20% to 30% for most parfums. Of all scents, parfums last the longest; usually six to eight hours. Parfum generally also commands the highest price of all the fragrance types due to the high concentration of fragrance. People with sensitive skin may do better with parfums as they have far less alcohol than other fragrance types and therefore are not as likely to dry out the skin.
Eau de Parfum
After parfum, Eau de parfum (EDP) has the next highest concentration of fragrance. Eau de parfum generally has a fragrance concentration of between 15% and 20%. On average, Eau de parfum will last for four to five hours. It is also generally less expensive that parfum and while it does have a higher concentration of alcohol than parfum; it is better for sensitive skin than other fragrance types. Eau de parfum is one of the most common fragrance types and is suitable for everyday wear.
Eau de Toilette
The Eau de toilette (EDT) has a fragrance concentration of between 5% and 15%. It is cheaper than Eau de parfum and is one of the most popular types of fragrance available. EDT fragrance will normally last for two to three hours. Eau de toilette is considered by some to be for daywear while Eau de parfum is considered nightwear. The term eau de toilette came from the French term “faire sa toilette” which means getting ready.
Eau de Cologne
The Eau de cologne, or EDC, has a much lower concentration of fragrance than the above types of perfume. EDC generally has a 2% to 4% percent concentration of fragrance and a high concentration of alcohol. It is cheaper than other types of fragrance however the scent generally only lasts for up to two hours. EDC generally comes in bigger bottles and more of the fragrance needs to be used. Originally eau de cologne referred to a traditional recipe that used herb and citrus notes; with little anchoring with base notes.
The Eau fraiche similar to eau de cologne; in that the scent will generally last for up to two hours. Eau fraiche has an even lower concentration of fragrance than eau de cologne, normally only 1% to 3%. While eau fraiche has a low fragrance concentration, it does not contain a high amount of alcohol. Along with the fragrance, the remainder of eau fraiche is mostly water.
Along with the types of perfume listed above, there are mists, aftershaves, and other types of fragrances available. Higher-end fragrances can cost a significant amount of money; so doing research beforehand will ensure that you get the type of fragrance you are looking for. Along with fragrance types, there are also fragrance notes which determine the final scent. With all of the types and scents available, shopping for perfume is not always easy but it is possible.
Perfume Types – How to Pick a Fragrance For Every Season
Each season has its own feelings and emotions, and with them go different scents. While springtime is a time of rebirth, with flower blossoms and warming light, the summer season is warm and filled with flowers and green plants. Fall is more saturated, with deeper colors and scents of musk and patchouli. Winter’s cold whiteness is reflected in scents of citrus, vanilla, and spice. Here are some helpful tips for choosing a fragrance for each of the four seasons.
Spring is a time of new beginnings, with the ground beginning to warm, and flower blossoms and tree buds beginning to form. Suddenly, the earth is green again, and colors begin to appear in outdoor gardens. For springtime, choose a fragrance that reflects this new awakening and feelings of joy, such as those that include notes of lily of the valley, peonies, and violets.
During the long, warm days of summer, many people find themselves spending more time outdoors, celebrating holidays or just spending time with family. Choose a summer fragrance that mimics the happy, sweet, and sexy feelings of the summertime. Scents that contain sweet summer florals, such as roses and orange blossoms, mixed with fresh fruit scents like raspberry and peach can be a delightful summer fragrance. In addition, a tropical fragrance with notes of honeysuckle, island flowers, and sea salt can also be a pleasant reminder of sun-soaked days spent on the beach or vacation.
As the leaves begin to change colors and fall from the trees, the landscape turns deeper and more saturated with colors of deep reds, oranges, and browns. Fall is the time for deep, saturated and seductive fragrances, such as those containing spicy and musky notes. Look for a fragrance that contains hints of sandalwood, musk, amber, and jasmine.
Citrus and other fruity scents reflect the winter season and the holidays it brings, such as Christmas and New Years. Select a fragrance that is reminiscent of these holiday scents, such as pomegranate and vanilla bean, lemon, or orange. Spicy scents can be overpowering during the warm months but bring a warmth to the crisp winter air. Try a scent with notes of spicy cinnamon or cardamom. As the seasons change, select a fragrance that accompanies each one’s attributes.
As the seasons change, select a fragrance that accompanies each one’s attributes.