Use your nose
Fragrance has always been a bit mysterious, a dark knight, and is a sense that people rarely talk about. People might bring up in conversation a tasty dish they have tried or a new song they have heard but rarely do they discuss something nice that they have smelt. Fragrance and perfume should be placed up there with wine and food, visual art and fabrics.
We find it amazing that scent has such a powerful effect on memory and emotions. Some fragrances may conjure up memories of childhood, different seasons or old flames! Definitely something not to be underestimated.
Generally perfume is described as a musical metaphor, with three main notes that when 'played' together create a harmony or 'accord'.
Middle notes or Heart notes
Usually the opening of the fragrance is called the top note. These are the lighter aromatic particles that reach your nose first and last the shortest amount of time before moving onto the heart notes. The heart notes are deeper and longer lasting. They develop and create the actual character of the fragrance. Finally, the longest lasting are the base notes which give the fragrance its underlying tone and finish.
The length of time and overlap of the notes differ from fragrance to fragrance.
To help with the description of different perfumes, Michael Edwards in 1983 came up with the fragrance wheel classification.
Floral oriental, Soft floral, Floral
Water, Green, Citrus
Dry woods, Mossy woods, Woody Oriental
Oriental, Soft oriental, Floral oriental (back to the beginning)
Aromatic Fougere (stand alone)
So, budding connoisseurs, get sniffing and explore the world of fragrance!