You don’t have to be a cologne collector to appreciate the art of perfumery. Perfumes and colognes are fascinating in many ways, whether you realize it or not.
Many perfume terms and expressions in the fragrance and perfume community are often used in reviewing fragrances and perfumes. You may have come across a bunch of them in the past but didn’t fully understand them.
In this post, I’ll clarify as many essential perfume terms as possible to help you understand any perfume review or any fragrance information in general.
In the following sections, I’ll try to explain as many terms as possible regarding perfumes and colognes.
Table of Contents Hide
- General Perfume Terms
- Perfume Performance
- Perfume Composition
- Perfume Progression
- Perfume Concentrations
General Perfume Terms
A designer perfume or cologne is a product that is produced by a Designer House like Gucci, Dior, Chanel, and Versace. These fashion houses have a separate line of production that is specifically assigned to colognes and perfumes in addition to their other lines, such as clothes and accessories.
A niche perfume or cologne is a product that is produced by a Niche company like Creed, Parfums de Marly, Amouage, and Xerjoff. These companies are specialized in producing colognes and perfumes only, without any other fashion or accessory products.
A perfume or a cologne flanker is a fragrance that follows an original perfume release. The flanker is usually taking its inspiration from the original release but with some twists and modifications to the original formula.
An example of an original release and its flanker:
A signature scent is a cologne that you regularly use in all places and occasions. Because of that, people always connect the smell of the fragrance with you and your presence.
Perfume Batch Code
Companies produce their fragrances and perfumes in batches for quality control purposes. They give every batch a unique number, which indicates the month and the year of manufacture. This is what we call the “Perfume Batch Code.”
A specific batch may go under a few tweaks and changes to the original formula or a slight change in a particular ingredient in some cases.
The projection is the distance in which your perfume radiates away from your body.
The sillage is the scent trail that you leave behind when you leave an area.
The longevity of a perfume is the time in which the scent stays on your skin. From the moment you spray it to when it evaporates completely.
The note of a perfume is a single component that combines with other notes to create a scent. For example: when we say a citrus note or a citrusy note, it means that this note reflects the odor of citruses in the perfume.
An accord is a new smell created by combining several notes to form a specific scent. For example, a perfumer can combine synthetic materials to create a leather-like accord.
A gourmand perfume is a fragrance that contains edible notes such as chocolate, vanilla, or sweets.
When a perfume is reformulated, it means that the cologne company has altered the original formula. In most cases, the reformulation results in a weaker and inferior scent.
The top notes of a perfume are what you smell when you first spray the scent. It’s usually a fleeting smell and doesn’t stay more than a few minutes.
Middle Notes/Heart Notes
The middle/heart notes are the second stage of the perfume lifetime after the top note evaporates. It usually consists of more robust notes, and it can stay for quite a while up to a few hours.
The base notes are the last stage of the perfume and the one that stays the most. It usually has heavier and long-lasting notes, and it often consists of the fixatives used to hold and boost the strength of the lighter top and middle notes.
There is another more straightforward way to describe a perfume’s lifetime. It’s simply The Opening and The Dry-down. The opening is the first phase, and it’s similar to the definition of the top notes. The second phase is the dry-down, and it’s when the opening of a perfume calms down, and the scent itself becomes closer to the skin. It often consists of the heart and the base notes mingling together to create the dry-down.
When we say that a perfume is a Skin Scent, we mean that it doesn’t project from your skin, and no one can smell it around you. It’s also the last thing that you smell before the scent disappears altogether.
There are four main types of perfume concentrations, and those types are:
The Parfum is the most potent perfume concentration in the market. It consists of approximately 15-40% fragrance oil.
Eau de Parfum (EDP)
The Eau de Parfum is the second perfume concentration in strength. It consists of approximately 10-20% fragrance oil.
Eau de Toilette (EDT)
The Eau de Toilette is the third type of perfume concentration and the most common type in men’s perfumes. It contains approximately 5-15% fragrance oil.
Eau de Cologne (EDC)
The Eau de Cologne is the fourth type and the less potent of the four. This type usually contains approximately 2-5% fragrance oil.
You can check out my post on perfume concentrations for more details on perfume concentration types.