Fragrance is Like Food

Published by Eric Lundeen on

In our first blog, we encouraged ways to love your fragrance and love it longer. This week, we’ll focus on WHY you love it. What captures your nose and what is repugnant? What draws your interest and what makes you run?

So, how is it that fragrance is like food? To prepare a meal is to compose a fragrance. Let me explain. A chef doesn’t just cook the entrée as it is; he adds ingredients to make the entrée flavorful. So, too, does a master perfumer add notes to make a fragrance creation.

There are three notes that compose a fragrance:

  • Top Notes (also known as Head Notes): The initial scent of the fragrance comes from these. The beginning impression may intrigue or repulse someone, even before it settles. They are light and aromatic, usually containing citrus and/or herbs. Although these are distinctive, they dissipate quickly and transition to the next notes.
  • Middle Notes (referred to as Heart Notes): The base, or “heart of the perfume”, will endear itself to you much longer than the top notes and form a pleasant scent that will also bond with the final notes.  Examples of these are florals (rose, jasmine, and lavender); fruits (mandarin oranges, pink grapefruit, and berries); and spices (cinnamon, pepper, and cardamom). Most often, these notes need 15-30 minutes to fully develop to your skin.
  • Base notes are the final and strongest of the three notes. They contain the fixation of up to eight hours and many times determine the overall quality of the body of the scent. In both women’s and men’s perfumes, these may include vanilla, musk, and cedarwood. Other common notes are oakmoss, tonka beans, and vetiver.

Each of these three notes is combined with water, alcohol, and oils to complete the composition of the fragrance.  My best suggestion when exploring a new fragrance is to allow it to “dry” and calm so you can appreciate the full scent.

A well-seasoned, perfectly cooked seafood entrée will have ingredients that are pleasing to our taste buds, while a fragrance has notes that stimulate our olfactory sense. So, in comparison, ingredients make food delicious while notes make a fragrance delightful! Enjoy!

By Eric Lundeen

Eric Lundeen is the store manager at Perfumes 4U store located at St. Louis Premium Outlets. He is an expert fragrance consultant


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