Making perfume is an art and a science, and so is choosing a scent for personal use. Whether you're searching for your signature scent or shopping for a specific occasion, this perfume guide can help you choose your ideal fragrance.
Understand Perfume Families
Perfumes are divided on a perfume wheel into four main categories which are then divided into four sub-categories. All perfumes pull notes from multiple categories, but the most prominent categories will determine how a scent is classified.
- Floral - The floral family includes fresh flowers, sweet fruits, creamy florals and spicy florals.
- Oriental - This family comprises warming spices, musks, incense, vanilla, earthy patchouli and fragrant sandalwood.
- Woody - The woody family includes cedar, oakmoss, vetiver and smoky scents like tobacco and leather.
- Fresh - This family contains fresh herbs, fresh grass, citrus scents, and water notes that smell like rain or the ocean.
Know Perfume Types and Strengths
While most scents are called perfumes, there are variations in composition that this perfume scents guide can help you understand.
- Eau de parfums contain as much as a 20% concentration of perfume oil and offer excellent longevity and projection.
- Eau de toilettes can contain as little as 5%, are lighter and remain closer to the skin.
There are other concentration levels but most fragrances will fall into the EDP or EDT categories.
Match the Perfume with the Occasion
Even the best perfumes are rarely appropriate for all occasions. While there are no hard and fast rules, use this perfume guide as a place to start. Woody or oriental fragrances tend to be best in the autumn and fall and floral or fresh scents are great for spring and summer.
An eau de toilette is typically seen as a daytime scent for casual outings and office wear. An eau de parfum can span from daytime to nighttime and casual to formal depending on its composition and scent profile.
Sample, Sample, Sample
One thing this perfume guide cannot take into consideration is the way that a scent will interact with your individual body chemistry. It is part of the magic of perfumery that a single scent can smell, develop, last and project differently on one person than it does on another. That is why sampling scents is the best way to choose the right one for you. Here's the way to do it:
- Do some research and choose two scents that intrigue you from each of the main scent families.
- Go to a well-stocked perfume counter and ask to sample these eight scents.
- Spray the scents onto a perfume card, not your wrists.
- Let the cards dry and give each a shallow sniff.
- Choose the two fragrances that appeal to you the most and test them on your wrists. Don't rub them in and let them dry before you smell them.
- Now, walk away from the counter. You need to wear these fragrances for several hours for the notes to develop fully.
No perfume guide would be complete without a suggestion as to where to acquire your newly-found favorites. LaBelle Perfumes has been a purveyor of fine fragrances since 1985. Our inventory is comprehensive and their lower prices might mean you can add two fantastic scents to your collection instead of just one.