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Fragrance Notes Make Perfumes Unique

Jan 22, 2008
The fragrance of a perfume or cologne is determined by the ingredients it contains and by the balance between those ingredients.

Perfumes and colognes are created from a mixture of alcohol and essential oils. When the scent is applied to the body, the alcohol evaporates and the essential oils are absorbed by the skin. The difference between a perfume and an eau de toilette depends upon the concentration of essential oils found within them.

There are 4 main types of perfume with the following concentrations:

* Perfume - is the most potent type of fragrance available and has a 15-30% concentration of perfume essence. This has the highest price tag and is a good choice for wearing on special occasions.

* Eau de parfum - is lighter than Perfume and has an 8-15% concentration. It is usually less expensive but still has long lasting characteristics - typically from 3 to 5 hours.

* Eau de toilette - has around 8% to 15% essential oils and so has a lighter fragrance. It doesn't linger as long as the more intense products and was originally intended to be a refreshing body splash.

* Eau de cologne and Eau de toilette are generally interchangeable especially in relation to men's fragrances. It typically only contains between 2 and 5% aromatic oils.

Although the above are the main categories of perfume there are many other products which contain varying, though usually small amounts, of perfume concentrates. Examples include soaps, lotions, powders, creams, aftershaves, body splashes and cosmetics.

Another way to describe the differences from one perfume to another is in terms of their fragrance notes.

Using a musical metaphor - the perfume notes unfold over time creating the harmonious chord of the scent. The immediate impression of the top note leads to the deeper middle notes and the base notes gradual appear at the final stage. The 3 notes are:

* Top notes - being the lightest and most volatile fragrance note, it is what the perfume initially bursts open with leading to a person's first impression of a perfume. This makes them very important in the sale of a perfume. Top Notes are usually light and bright, fruity or citrus fragrances. They are strong in scent and evaporate quickly.

* Middle notes - once the top notes dissipate the fragrance gradually develops and is enriched by the middle notes. They are slightly heavier and less volatile than the top notes and tend to stay around longer. They are often thought of as the "heart" of the fragrance and are usually floral or spicy scents.

* Base notes - the fragrance of a perfume that appears close to the fading away of the middle notes. Compounds of this class are often the fixatives used to hold and boost the strength of the lighter top and middle notes. The scents are typically "deep" and rich and usually take at least 30 minutes before they can be perceived. But, some base notes can still be detected more than 24 hours after the perfume has been applied to the skin.

These fragrance notes and differences in the balance between the essential oils and alcohol are what make each perfume smell differently.
About the Author
Never pay full price for your perfume! Find out how to buy discounted perfume whatever your preference be it Estee Lauder, Hilary Duff or Lacoste perfume .
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