Getting the Lowdown on Your Favorite Fragrance


Mohit Kamboj

Getting the Lowdown on Your Favorite Fragrance

Sometimes fragrances are the least understood when it comes to fashion and beauty. You might already have a preferred scent when you’ve got a fun evening planned. You know what you like and what others appreciate, but do you understand what forms a perfume or cologne’s characteristic aroma?  Have you thought about how it is perceived by others?

Nearly half of American shoppers wear fragrances regularly, but not everyone gives fragrances much thought besides price and impact.

How Is Fragrance Perceived?

Whether you’re a fan of modern fragrances or brands inspired by 18th-century France like Parfums de Marly, you should understand the elements that make up a product’s scent. Perfumes and colognes usually fall under certain fragrance families. These classifications indicate the starting or base quality of a certain fragrance. Popular ones include amber (sometimes called Oriental), aquatic, citrus, floral, fruity, gourmand, green, leather, and woody.

Your favorite perfume or cologne can be further broken down according to its scent accords or scent notes, which exist in three layers:

  • Top or head layer: These are the aromas that are perceived first, and responsible for making a first impression. They usually evaporate quickly.
  • Middle or heart layer: The scent notes in the middle layer usually determine the fragrance family of a particular product. You’ll usually detect the middle accords before the top accords fade.
  • Base layer: After some time, a scent will combine with your skin’s oils, leaving a perception of depth. The base notes are what you perceive during this final phase. On their own, base accords may be unpleasant, but they meld with other layers and your unique body chemistry for a positive impression.

For example, Delina EDP by Parfums de Marly for Women is a floral fragrance with a fruity top layer, a deeply floral middle layer, and a sweet musky base.

What Are the Metrics of Fragrance?

Knowing how a perfume or cologne performs or affects others is also important. You should know these terms related to how your fragrance is perceived and its strength:

  • Longevity: Sometimes interchangeable with the term “performance,” this is a measure of how long a scent lasts. The concentration of a fragrance is an important factor, but other factors such as the weather, body chemistry, skin moisture levels, and location also affect longevity.
  • Projection: This term describes how far a fragrance is projected into the air when standing still.
  • Sillage: This term refers to the trail that a perfume or cologne leaves in the air behind you.
  • Dry-down: This refers to the final stage of a fragrance when the top and middle layers have faded away. Some products have a sweet dry-down, while others may have a musky or woody dry-down.

What Fragrance Should You Buy?

If you’re shopping for something seductive and romantic, you might think carefully about the fragrance’s dry-down because you’ll be close to someone else for an extended period of time. If you’re looking for something to wear at the office, think of how others detect your fragrance throughout the day. Find the right fragrance that fits each circumstance.