Back in the day I admit, I would never really listen to the perfume sales lady when she tried to describe the notes I was smelling from the blotter she held under my nose. Or how the designer whose perfume I was testing was trying to recreate the aroma of the Northern Italian timber that burned in the fireplace of his childhood home.
So what, I would think. Why would I want to wear his old memories? Back then, a fragrance simply had to do two things: smell good and make me feel good wearing it. If those two things happened, I bought it.
So with that unsophisticated olfactory mindset, it’s rather funny that I would turn out to be a fragrance creator. Now, I have a total appreciation for how a fragrance is built. It’s not an easy endeavor especially when with working with naturals.
After four years of being deep in the trenches with customers so curious to try Pour le Monde’s certified 100% natural fine fragrances, I’ve learned that people are excited to learn about fragrance composition. They want to experience the notes on their skin and love guessing what kind are in the recipe. While you can’t smell a fragrance through your screen, if you’re armed with a little education about categories and notes, you certainly can get a feel for how it may smell when buying online.
How to Shop for Natural Perfume Online
1. Fragrance Categories: Fragrances can be classified in different categories so if you tend to gravitate towards floral, chances are those listed that way will be right for you. Here are a few category groupings:
- Floral: Such as roses, jasmine, lilac, lilies, freesia, orchid. These tend to be a little heavy to medium pending on the blend.
- Fruity: Smells like fruits like citrus, apple and berries. These, especially those comprised of citrus, tend to be on the lighter side.
- Green: Fresh grass or leaves, a little earthy and not too over powering.
- Herbaceous: Any variety of herbs.
- Gourmand: Foody notes like honey, vanilla, chocolate. Gourmands are known for being big fragrances.
- Woody: Comprised of different types of wood; airs more masculine.
- Oriental: Amber and spice; tend to be bold for those wanting to make a statement.
Once you have picked your category, then it’s time to really study the notes.
2. Deciphering the Notes: These are ingredients that make up a fragrance. Think of notes as making a cake. Your base is flour and eggs to hold it together, your middle is flavor of the cake and the top is the icing, or the first thing you smell. When you take a bite, the ingredients all work together to create a sweet taste. Alone, you may not want to eat each stage (except for the icing of course!). That’s how we work with fragrances: top, middle and base notes.
Top notes are the opening notes but many in the beauty industry refer to them as “the sell” notes. Just like the icing, the top notes are what you smell first and generally last about 2 hours. That’s why when sampling, it is so important to wait for the fragrance to develop.
Middle notes are the “heart” of the fragrance, so if you only buy a scent because of the top note description, you may be in for a sensory surprise. The middle notes are the most prominent recipe to the scent and will last for hours. This is why your eyes should skip right to this stage’s description.
Base notes are the glue of the fragrance so they tend to be on the heavier side like woods, patchouli, vanilla, vetiver, amber (which Pour le Monde cannot use) and synthetic musk (which Pour le Monde will never use!). They eventually are what’s left after the two stages have evaporated.
The more descriptive the fragrance is, the more you can envision how it will smell. Do know however, that every note in a perfume is not listed. It’s a proprietary blend so perfumers only list the most prominent.
Just like people have different taste buds and may not like the type of cake you made (except me, bring it on!), the same is said with fragrance. It’s really about the reaction to the skin, your chemistry and of course, your nose.
Lastly, in recognizing the gravitation to purchase beauty products online, I think it is our job as fragrance purveyors to really give our customers a feel for the scents we’ve worked so hard to create. At Pour le Monde, we try to go in-depth with our note descriptions and because our collection was built in moods (not my childhood memories!), we categorize that too. Because at the end of the day, a fragrance should make you smell and feel good!
Want to get a taste of Pour le Monde for yourself? For a limited time, buy one full-sized bottle and get a FREE travel set of all three scents. Just shop and EcoDiva will add your gift to your bag! We hope you enjoy experiencing each and every note!
Written by Wendi Berger, founder and president of Pour le Monde Perfumes.