Learn your fragrances, lads


Most men are clearly fazed by the range of fragrances [don’t call them perfumes] available at the counters.

Don’t be worried. Introduce it sometime in a discussion with your wife or not-wife and find out what her personal tastes and phobias run to.

Below is a starter to get you up and running:

Perfume is a combination of fragrant oils diluted in a high-grade alcohol in a concentration containing about 15-25 percent oil, the alcohol being about 90-95 percent pure. This is a parfum. Any mixture with a lower proportion of oil to alcohol is an eau (water).

EDC – Eau de cologne is the least concentrated form of a fragrance
(2 – 5% perfume oil dissolved in water and alcohol), then comes…
EDT – Eau de toilette (4 – 10%), followed by….
EDP – Eau de parfum (8 – 15%), and finally the most concentrated….
PARFUM or Perfume (15 – 25%).

Sarah Blackmoore [no link, sorry] categorizes the six types thus:

#  Earthy or woody type perfumes evoke smells of the forest, and are usually very refreshing. They often tend to appeal to the older generation, and may make ideal gifts.

#  Oriental fragrances use strong spicy scents, and are ideal for special social occasions, but be cautious giving them to anyone you don’t know well – these intense perfumes can be a very personal choice.

#  The so-called “greens” are much lighter than the orientals, and are well suited to more casual wear. Because they make a less dramatic assault on the nose, they are also safer to give as gifts!

#  Modern “oceanic” fragrances are becoming more and more popular, particularly among younger people who appreciate the intense but often quite unusual scents, which instantly bring to mind seaside scenes. Naturally these are an excellent choice in the warmer months when thoughts turn to holidays.

#  Spicy fruity perfumes are also a good warm-weather choice, and can be a good all-round choice for the woman who wants to wear something with some traditional base-notes but is a little different to the classic floral scents.

#  Finally, those classic floral fragrances are suitable for almost everyone and any occasion. But be wary of cheaper brands; this most feminine of all the main groups works best when the ingredients used are of high quality, and that means less expensive brands can smell exactly that.

For a longer article on the groupings, this hotch-potch, by Grant Osborne and other writers, could help.

The trouble is, your lady is possibly not going to want most of the above and many women I know have their own specialities which seem to go best with their bodies.

That’s the essential thing.

She might like one grouping for work use, one for evenings and so on. She might like one type but it doesn’t agree with her.  The only surefire way is to discuss it with her over a period of time.

Then you can go to that counter and buy with confidence.

5 comments for “Learn your fragrances, lads

  1. September 16, 2010 at 20:47

    If in London I would suggest a shop in Belgravia called Les Senteurs. Staff are friendly and very helpful and sell a stunning range of scents. I’ve bought stuff for the not wife there and a few scents for myself too.

    I would recommend Knize 10

  2. MTG
    September 16, 2010 at 21:40

    Exploiters decanting vats of the stuff into tiny bottles and fools buying it at silly prices, must bring great joy to each other.

  3. September 16, 2010 at 21:47

    All very confusing for someone who has no sense of smell 😉

  4. September 17, 2010 at 00:05

    Mrs Gruff chooses her smellies, i just pay for them. She’s happy with that arrangement and so am I: it makes life easier for both of us.

  5. September 18, 2010 at 22:09

    I have one for winter and one for summer now.

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