A Guide to Fragrance Strengths & Types
Shopping for your next fragrance can be a tricky business; after all, with so many to choose from, how do you decide? Our guide to fragrance strengths and types, with our easy-to-use fragrance wheel, will help you figure out which fragrance you’d like to try next.
The first step to finding your favourite fragrance is to understand the different scent families that every scent is based on. The four main types are warm, woody, oriental and fresh, with each effect brought out by different combinations of fragrances. Fresh scents, like Davidoff Cool Water, generally rely on aquatic and citrus notes, whereas warm scents like DKNY’s Be Delicious use more florals and juicy fruit scents. Next take a look at our fragrance strength chart to understand the longevity of different fragrance types.
Fresh fragrances usually comprise of citrus, water and green notes. This means they have refreshing, zesty and vibrant smells. Citrus-based fragrances are usually created with lemon, mandarin and bergamot, while water fragrances are made with aquatic notes like sea spray; think L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake, or Acqua di Gio by Armani.
Fresh green fragrances are often reminiscent of herbal and leafy scents for a crisp, uplifting smell. They can sometimes be referred to as aromatic fougère fragrances, created with notes of lavender, rosemary or basil.
Floral fragrances are one of the most popular families, and one of the broadest. Any fragrance that has a sweet and flowery scent will belong under this family, using notes such as roses, jasmine, lilies and peonies.
Floral fragrances can range from being light and delicate, to more complex and intense.
Oriental fragrances are warm, sweet and even a little spicy. A more luxurious fragrance family, oriental fragrances vary from floral oriental, soft oriental and woody oriental.
Perfumes and aftershaves in this family are rich and sensual, often made with interesting notes of cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla alongside the likes of jasmine, orchid and orange blossom.
Woody fragrances are another warm family, with a mysterious and captivating scent that is often favoured amongst aftershaves in particular. Using wood-based smells like cedarwood, sandalwood, vetiver and amber, it’s a great choice for wearing in the evening.
Woody fragrances are split into mossy woods with an earthy, sweet undertone, and dry woods which often have a smoky, leathery smell to them.
Understanding Fragrance Notes
You will often see top, middle and base notes being used to describe a fragrance.
The top notes of a fragrance, also known as the head or opening notes, are what you smell immediately after spraying your perfume or aftershave; they evaporate quickly but will form the first impression of the fragrance.
The middle, or heart, notes appear once the top notes have disappeared. These notes are considered to be the main body of the fragrance, lasting longer than the top notes and are usually well-rounded.
Base notes are what is left at the end; it is this smell that you remember the most. The base notes are the longest lasting, mixing with middle notes to create the full body of the perfume of aftershave.
You’ve no doubt already heard the terms ‘eau de parfum’ and ‘eau de toilette’, but what do they actually mean? These different fragrance types denote the strength, and how long they are likely to last once you’ve sprayed them.
Fragrances are created by mixing perfume oil with alcohol; the more perfume oil, the stronger the fragrance and the longer it will last.
Eau de Parfum (EDP) is the strongest type of perfume we sell. Eau de Parfum contains between 10-20% of perfume oil, and is a popular choice with both perfume brands and customers. Eau de Parfum will generally last around 8 hours.
Eau de Toilette (EDT) is next, containing around 5-15% of perfume oil. Eau de Toilette fragrances often have a quick burst of beautiful smells before fading; meaning they can make a great first impression. Generally, these fragrances will last somewhere between 4 and 7 hours.
Eau de Cologne is a much lighter choice than the previous two. Eau de Cologne has only around 2-4% of perfume oil, and is often used as a body splash to freshen up at regular intervals. As a rule, Eau de Cologne doesn’t last long; perhaps around 2-3 hours.
The lightest concentration we sell is Eau Fraiche. There is only 1-2% of perfume oil in this type of fragrance, and is incredibly light. This is perfect for those who don’t want a heavy scent! Eau Fraiche will only last a couple of hours at best, but they are great for creating a subtle, delicate fragrance.