Learning to tell perfumes is a bit like mastering wine tasting: you need to look the part, and pretend to understand all the jargon being thrown at you. As World Fragrance Day (March 21) approaches, we asked an expert, someone who does know all the technical terms. Rajiv Sheth, founder and creative director, allgoodscents.com breaks it down for you.
Don’t select your perfume in a hurry: The first few seconds after spraying the fragrance are very intense with highly diffusive ingredients like bergamot and lemon. These are called the top notes of the fragrance — they disappear quickly, giving way to the heart or middle notes, which is the main character of the fragrance. About six to eight hours later, the base notes remain. These are low on intensity, but high on tenacity.
Ask for a sample to carry home: Try out a new fragrance for a few days before actually purchasing a bottle. Due to the different notes, a fragrance will evolve in time and you will not have enough time in the shop to discover whether it works well for you.
Test on skin, not on testers: Spray on the pulse points — on the wrists, behind the ears and around the cleavage. Due to the warmth of these areas, the fragrance will diffuse well.
It smells different on different people: Don’t buy a perfume because you liked the smell of it on your friend. Very often, the same perfume smells differently on different people.
EDT vs EDP: Know the difference between eau de toilette (EDT), eau de parfums (EDP)and perfume. These terms refer to the strength of the fragrance, or more specifically, to how much high-grade alcohol and/or water has been added to the fragrance oils. Higher the perfume oil, higher is the price of the product. Perfume has 18 to 25 per cent perfume oil dissolved in alcohol. Any mixture with a lower proportion of oil to alcohol is an eau (water).
Use just enough: Your nose gets used to your signature fragrance. You can only smell it when you consciously pay attention to it. So, for the sake of those around you, never over-spray.