ACCORD. In perfumes, an accord is when two or more notes are blended together to create an entirely new scent.
ALDEHYDES. Aldehydes are molecular compositions that can by synthetic or can be found in nature. They are added to fragrances to increase the sparkle and lift. Aldehydic notes are reminiscent of a storm that is coming, a hot iron, or electricity.
AMBER. A full bodied, powdery, warm fragrance note.
AROMATIC. The term in perfumery refers to the rich aroma displayed by Balsamic notes.
BODY. The main fragrance theme—the middle or "heart" of a perfume. Also used to describe a fragrance that is well-rounded or full.
CITRUS NOTES. The fresh, slightly sour notes displayed by Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Pomello.
CLASSIC. A classic fragrance can be considered in the same vein as classic painting or music. A style of fragrance structure that has depth and usually a higher percentage of floral absolutes (3-10%) than are found in modern style fragrances.
COLOGNE (WOMENS). A light form of a specific fragrance with about 3% concentration of perfume compound in an alcohol water base. (see also Eau Fraiche).
COLOGNE (MENS). More concentrated than womens colognes (5-8%), similar to the strength of toilet water (Eau de Toilette). An After Shave for men by comparison will usually only have 3 - 5%.
CONCENTRATION. Fragrances are available in four major strength concentrations: parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette and eau de cologne or eau Fraiche (in descending order of strength). The concentration refers to the perfume-oil-to-alcohol ratio in each bottle. The higher the concentration, the longer it will last on your skin.
DEPTH. Refers to the quality of an odor profile that is complex, sophisticated, rich and full bodied.
DRY. A sensation produced by certain perfume ingredients which give a drying effect. Often associated with wood, iris notes and aroma chemicals with the active group 'formate'.
DRY DOWN. The final phase of a fragrance—the Bottom Note, the character which appears several hours after application. Perfumers evaluate the base notes and the tenacity of the fragrance during this stage.
EAU DE PARFUM. An alcoholic perfume solution containing 15 to 20+% perfume compound.
EAU DE TOILETTE. An alcohol/water based perfume solution containing 8-15% perfume compound.
FOUGERE. From the French for "Fern." Fougere fragrances use the fern/forest-like notes of oakmoss combined with herbal notes such as lavender and coumarin.
FRESH. A lightness often associated with green and citrus notes. Fresh floral usually applies to a green floral such as is found in Lily of the Valley and the top note of Rose.
FRUITY. In perfumery refers to the sweet-sour edible fruit scents (excluding citrus). e.g. apple, strawberry, pineapple, banana. Full-Bodied. Well-rounded fragrance possessing depth and richness.
ESSENTIAL OIL. The highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants obtained by distillation or expression. Frequently used loosely (incorrectly) to apply to concretes and absolutes.
EXTRACTION. The method by which essential oils are separated from the plant using solvents which can then be removed by evaporation. Strictly speaking distillation and expression are methods of 'extraction' but the term is generally reserved for the use of solvents.
FLAT. Uninteresting, lacking in lift, diffusion or distinction. Implies a negative quality if compared to smooth which refers to a harmonious character.
FLORAL. Having flower based notes. Indicates a note that is associated with smoothness and naturalness.
FLOWERY. Resembling flowers or petals.
FRAGRANCE. Synonymous with Perfume and Extract. Better used to describe the smell part of the perfume rather than the product perfume.
GREEN. The odor of fresh cut grass, leaves. Green notes add lift and vibrancy to a fragrance composition and appear in most combinations to add naturalness.
GOURMAND. This is a popular category of fragrance that smells sweet and could be found in a kitchen—or baking in an oven. Think: honey, vanilla, chocolate or various fruits like raspberry.
HEADY. Exhilarating, sparkling, stimulating. Making one feel light headed.
HEART. The core of a perfume composition which gives it its character.
HEAVY. An odor which is intense, often sweet and balsamic but lacks lift and vibrancy.
INFUSION. A solution obtained by steeping the material in a hot solvent. Making tea is an infusion.
JASMINE. Two main types are used in perfumery. The European type: Jasminium Officianale (var. Grandiflorum) and the South Asian type: Jasminium Sambac. From which Absolutes are extracted. Represented in perfumery by the aroma chemicals. Benzyl Acetate, a series of cyclic ketones "Jasmones", Amyl & Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde.
LEATHER. Pungent animal smokiness characteristic of the ingredients used in the tanning process of leathers. Achieved in perfumery with castoreum, Labdanum, phenols and quinolenes.
LIFT. To have the quality of life, brilliancy or diffusiveness.
LIGHT. The quality of not being heavy or dominating. Often a synonym of Fresh.
MIDDLE NOTE. The middle or "heart" notes make up a main blend of a fragrance that classifies the fragrance family or accord. It usually takes from ten to twenty minutes for the middle notes to fully develop on the skin.
MODERN. A modern perfume as differentiated from Classic is a perfume based on new notes or harmonies often from newly available aroma chemicals. Modern perfumes are frequently identifiable from their lack of heavy, narcotic notes and their predominance of lighter florals.
MOSS. The scent suggestive of the aromatic lichens, and mosses, primarily oak moss and tree moss, reminiscent of the forest floor.
MUGUET. French for Lily of the Valley. One of the three most used florals in perfumery. Unlike Jasmine and Rose however a natural absolute or essential oil has never really been commercially available. The smell in perfumery is approximated by Hydroxycitronellal and more recent additions to the perfumers' palette Lyral, Lilial.
NOTE. Borrowed from the language of music to indicate an olfactory impression of a single smell, or to indicate three distinct periods in the evaporation of a perfume - top note, middle note, bottom note.
OLFACTORY. Of, relating to or connected with the sense of smell.
ORGANIC FARMING. Cultivation without the use of artificial herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides.
ORIENTAL. Fragrance family or style based on balsamic notes with vanilla, oakmoss and animal notes. Also applied more generally to perfumes that are heavy, full bodied and tenacious.
PALETTE. The range of aromatic materials from which a perfumer selects to use in the formulation of a perfume.
PERFUME. (Extract) Most highly concentrated form of fragrance, containing between 20 - 50% perfume compound. The strongest and the longest lasting.
PERFUMER. Someone who creates a perfume or a fragrance.
PHEROMONE. Chemical substance secreted by an animals to produce a response by other members of the same species. Sexual attractants are the most widely studied and described. There is some discussion as to whether the term should be used for humans. The response is gender specific meaning that males and females respond to different chemicals.
POWDERY. Is an effect produced when a heavier sweet or woody note is blended with a lighter note such as citrus, fruity or light green note. Such as is obtained when mixing vanilla with lemon in a sorbet (sherbet). The powdery notes associated with Baby products are produced by mixing vanilla and balsamic notes with geranium and ylang ylang.
SAFE SYNTHETICS/MOLECULES. Molecules can be created artificially or occur naturally in nature. They take the beauty of a natural element, reconstitute the structure, and recreate the molecular makeup to mimic the natural state and preserve Earth's natural beauty. They are used in order to protect natural resources and conserve our beautiful Earth. These molecules are always safe and IFRA approved.
SILLAGE. Pronounced "see-yazh," this refers to the trail of scent left behind from a perfume.
SEXY. for the soft warm, sensual notes of synthetic musk notes (musk ketone, galaxolide etc.).
SPICY. Piquant or pungent notes such as clove oil, cinnamon, thyme oil. They are warming or hot in character and usually come from aromatic (benzene ring) based chemicals in their structures - e.g. Eugenol in Clove Oil, Cinnamic Aldehyde in Cinnamon Oil, Thymol in Thyme Oil. Do not confuse with Herbal notes that are neutral or cool scents.
SWEET. Can be used to describe a fragrance that has richness and ambrosial characteristics associated with sweet taste. When smelling the evaluator (person smelling) should learn differentiate between a vanilla type sweetness, a floral sweetness or a fruity sweetness.
TENACITY. The ability of a note or perfume to last or retain its characteristic scent.
TOP NOTE. The impression of a fragrance when first smelled or applied to the skin usually the most volatile ingredients in a perfume. Top Notes - Citrus notes, light fruity notes but also very high impact materials in the formulation that show themselves in the first stages of evaporation - e.g. aldehydes, eucalyptus etc.
VISCOSITY. Pertaining to the thickness or thinness of a liquid.
VELVETY. A soft, smooth, mellow fragrance without harsh chemical notes.
WOODY. A scent which is linked to the aroma of freshly cut, dry wood such as Cedarwood Oil Virginian, Sandalwood or displaying these notes such as or vetiver or patchouli.