Perfumes and Fragrances Terms Explained

Perfumes and fragrances 1

It is plausible to believe that many people have looked up reviews on fragrances at least once in their lifetime. You may be enthralled with the bottle’s look, or you may be fascinated with the great reviews you heard through the grapevine. Word of mouth could have put that nagging thought in your mind to find out more about the scent. So, your curious mind forced you to look at your first review. Reading a perfume review for the first time can be a dauntingly exciting task, especially when you cannot make sense of what most of the article says. It could seem like trying to read a language you never studied. So, the idea here is to assist you in understanding the reviews you read.

Now, some reviews talk directly about the perfume. They are pretty much straightforward – the good, the bad, and the neutrals. Meanwhile, others share a snippet of their life, where fragrance plays a prominent role. It is more like the perfume being the story's main character, where the scent significantly impacts their lives. However, in both cases, you are likely to come up with terminologies that make no sense. Or, maybe those words force you to look into the dictionary to comprehend the meaning of the sentence. This can prove to be a tiresome task.

Also read: Most Popular Men's Perfumes for Summer 2021

Let's make the experience of reading reviews smoother by knowing the common terminologies that are available in almost all fragrance reviews.


  1. Note: Note refers to the particular scent that you may smell in a perfume.
  2. Top Note: These notes are the ones you smell as soon as the fragrance is sprayed. Top notes are the most volatile part of the perfume chemically, and it needs to be scrutinised closely as the sales heavily depend on the first impression set by the top notes. They are also known as headnotes.
  3. Middle Notes: These notes appear in the transitional phase between the top notes and the base notes. They mostly contain a fruity floral aroma. Also, they take ten to twenty minutes to settle your skin and may last for a couple of hours at least. Known for their longevity, these notes are also known as Heart notes.
  4. Base Notes: Filled with molecularly heavy ingredients, the base notes are responsible for the long-lasting nature of the scent of all elements in the mix. While they assist in improving the top and middle notes' longevity, they also emit a scent of their own which lasts on the skin for an extended period of time.
  5. Aromatic: The men’s fragrances contain a predominant olfactory family, which regularly features the use of fresh green and herbal notes, such as lavender, rosemary, etc. 
  6. Accord: Accord refers to the mixture of two or more ingredients to produce a desirable scent that has the perfect balance to sway the customer to buy the fragrance. 
  7. Blend: Blend refers to the scented natural or synthetic ingredients that are mixed together to bring out a pleasant fragrance.
  8. Body: The primary part or heart of the scent is known as the body. It is the part where all the ingredients of the perfume come into play while the volatile elements lose their dominance.


  1. Cologne: Cologne derives its name from Eau de Cologne. During the early 18th century Germany, it was a concentration identifier. Italian perfumer Giovanni Maria Farina is credited with the creation of the first Eau de Cologne in 1709 in Germany. Over time, it has become a softer extension of the perfume, with a concentration of only 2-4%.
  2. Eau: This is a French word that means “water.”
  3. Eau de Toilette (EDT): EDT sits in the middle of the table of concentration chart. It has a relatively lower concentration of perfume oil compared to others. Its usual range is anywhere between 5-15%. Perfume oil of 10% is commonly seen in most EDT.
  4. Parfum: The word sounds were similar to the English word “perfume.” This is because Parfum is the French word for it.
  5. Eau de Parfum (EdP): EdP holds the second position in the concentration chart. It has a perfume oil concentration of 15-20%. It is an exclusive premium concentration that is available in most stores. Moreover, it has a lifetime of about four to five hours – sometimes more, sometimes less.
  6. Eau Fraiche: Eau Fraiche is primarily feminine in nature. It contains a very low concentration of 1-3%. Unlike traditional fragrances, it is mixed with a large portion of water. So, it is more like a refreshing mint that does not last for a long time. 


  1. Floral: Floral refers to the fragrances that usually provide a flowery impression or hint of a specific flower, such as Iris, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine, or Rose. Interestingly, Rose and Jasmine are present in almost all perfumes. Floral is the biggest olfactive/family in the fragrances.
  2. Fruity: Fruit notes are never intended to be the star of the scent. They are mostly like the side characters in a TV show. As such, they are mainly mixed with their floral counterparts. The fruity notes include peach, blackberry, apple, strawberry, or cherry.
  3. Citrus: Citrus, as the name suggests, refers to the elements from the citrus family. The ingredients include lime, lemon, grapefruit, orange, petitgrain, and tangerine. Due to their volatile nature, the citrusy notes are primarily used in the headnotes.
  4. Gourmand: Gourmand is a comparatively new family of perfumes, which is inspired by the world of food. Its star ingredients are chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and praline. These notes are often clustered together with the oriental family of fragrance.
  5. Oriental: This raspy, spicy family of fragrances is popularly known for its use of exotic and outlandish spices, balms, woody resins, and herbs. Although the makers genuinely sourced them from the Middle East, the notes are synthetic extracts nowadays.

Read more: The Most Popular Women's Perfume for Summer 2021

So far, we have covered the parts and types of fragrances. In addition, we have also learned about some of the typical notes in all perfumes. Thus, reading your next fragrance review should be simple and easy to comprehend. Good luck hunting your next signature scent.