The modern perfumier has a choice of some 3,000 ingredients, including around 50 completely synthetic chemicals. The average perfume consists of at least 50 of these elements. The elements are grouped into 14 distinctive odour families, which are then split into a further three categories, known as notes. The notes used to create the perfect perfume come from these three categories and are blended with three basic rules in mind:
Head Notes: Head notes are the 'in your face' impact of the perfume and generally create the impression before evaporating within about 15 minutes.
Heart Notes: Heart notes make up the lingering body of the perfume which create the lasting memory and are known to hang around for perhaps three or four hours after the head notes have evaporated.
Base Notes: These provide the under-body of the perfume. They enrich and enhance the other notes, while lingering for a further four to five hours following the evaporation of the heart notes.
The skill of the perfumier is to select and blend these notes to make the beautiful music that becomes the perfume we will all want to buy.
I don't know about you but I am always hard pushed to find a perfume which smells nice on me, especially from the top perfume houses. We travel a fair bit these days but I have got to the stage where I don't bother going into duty free, with some of the aromas I have tested I think I would do better dousing myself with household disinfectant. My favourite perfumes are floral and citrus based and I long to find one which I know I can wear, maybe they should go easy on the head notes and let the heart notes come through a little more, as it is true that perfume does smell better once you have worn it on your person for a while.
I do like a couple of Body Shop ones, although being from the economy end of the market, the scent does disappear after a short while, so constant spraying is a necessity, they are Moonflower which I think has been discontinued, and Citrella which was a limited edition, the original I bought over in Cologne but my last bottle I bought on ebay, although I think it has now been rebranded as Zestini.
Do you have a favourite perfume?