Last updated on Jun 29th, 2016 at 02:25 pm

A simple guide to understanding your favourite fragrance

When it comes to selecting a scent, the maximum amount of research undertaken by most people is strolling into the department store, choosing a few bottles or brands that catch their eye, taking a sniff and bam, decision made.

What we see in magazines or online sways our decision too – a new launch or catchy design is likely to attract us even more in-store. Matthew Dees from the AMKA Fragrance division says that we’re missing a beat when it comes to matching our scent with our style or personality, “a fragrance is made up of much more than just how it smells when the lid is removed. Having, at the very least, a basic understanding of the undertone and make-up of a scent is important to selecting the right aroma for you or your partner.”

The first step is to understand the different formats in which fragrances are delivered.

There are four different strengths that dictate how intense the scent is and the price point

Eau de Cologne – refers to men’s fragrance with a perfume oil concentration of between 2-5%. These scents only last a few hours but the top notes are prominent.

Eau de Toilette – Sometimes referred to as EDT, these products contact between 5-10% oils.

Eau de Parfum – 10-15% essential oils and can last five or more hours at a time on one application. This is typically the strongest fragrance, and most prolific product you’ll find at the perfume counter.

Perfume – the finest, most expensive and strongest formulation available with essential oil content ranging anywhere from 25-40%. Perfume can last a full day and allows the wearer to experience all three levels of fragrance (top, middle and base notes).

Huilles essentielles - Fabrication

At this point, you might be wondering what the top, middle and base notes are. The structure of a fragrance has historically been likened to that of a pyramid – the base being bigger than the top.

Top notes – which are the ones you’d smell as you opened the cap – make up 15-25% of the fragrance. Middle notes make up around 30% and arrive after the top notes have faded. Base notes contribute up to 55% of the total fragrance and stick around for longer. Here are a few examples of these notes:

Base notes: Patchouli, Vanilla, Sandalwood.
Middle notes: Chamomile, Rose, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang
Top notes: Grapefruit, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea Tree

“Bear in mind that it takes time for a fragrance to settle on the skin, and as such, you should allow up to an hour to really get the honest scent. You might leave the store loving one fragrance, but soon be swayed by an annoying middle note that reveals itself shortly after,” says Dees.

The Shower to Shower, Playboy and Playgirl ranges of deodorants and roll-ons, three of the various fragrance products developed by AMKA, are based on a series of the most popular fine fragrances in the world today.

“The very same rules that apply to perfume are also relevant when selecting a deodorant,” says Dees. “Our research and development team investigate base, middle and top notes to perfectly combine to achieve the scents for our brands.”

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