• Competition: Two bottles of Mandy Aftel's Trèvert up for grabs (competition now closed)

    You may have read about Trèvert, the newest Eau de Parfum from natural perfume company, Aftelier a few days ago. Thank you to our friends at Aftelier, we have two bottles to give away to our readers.

    Mandy told Basenotes about her thoughts on the colour of fragrances: I have always been very interested in the fact that my perfumes are such saturated colors and so are the essences that I work with and I feel that is something that I treasure about working with naturals.

    Inorder to win, we would like you to describe how the colour of a perfume affects your wearing of it. Use the comments box below (log in if you can't see it) to tell us your thoughts. Two lucky winners will win a bottle of Trevert.

    Closing date: 21st February 2010


    Comments 65 Comments
    1. tsuzumi's Avatar
      tsuzumi -
      Colour can have a strong influence on one's psychological mood. I think the red colour of the skin of an apple would actually affect the taste of the apple, as compared to a peeled fruit. Fragrance is mostly about psychology, it seems to me. Therefore it is natural for a designer to use, or at least be aware of the influence of colour in the design of the product and the container.

      In some cases, you can't actually see the colour of the juice because of the design of the container. Even so, the colour of the container will have an effect on the user. The psychological element of fragrance is so important, it is only natural for a perfumer to use colour to enhance the image of the product. For example, the brown tone of Fille en Aiguilles really gets you ready for the autumnal, smoky dried leaves and pine needles of the fragrance. When the juice itself has a noticeable colour, I think it really helps to personalize the experience of the fragrance. You are not just using something from a container of a certain colour, you are actually applying the coloured fragrance to your person. This must enhance the effect of fragrance for most users.
    1. michailG's Avatar
      michailG -
      I remember the first perfume that I ordered from Canada because I couldn’t find it where I lived at that time. It was 30 years ago and the dark amber colour of Obsession was adding to the enigma of the concoction. I don’t normally think of the colour of the fragrance I wear anymore. At least not consciously… but now considering it more carefully I am influenced. The way we react to the fragrance-colour combination has a lot to do with what kind of colours are out there in the fragrance market; in a way we define the market and the market defines our tastes. Since we entered the era of “eau de” it has all become watered down versions of green or ciel or pink… light pastels to accentuate the message of light fragrances. What I see in retrospect is that fragrance marketers guide our tastes into roughly two colour-fragrance types: one is the wide spread light colours and the other is the less mainstream, more artisanal deep colours.
      What makes the colour of Trèvert so unique, and therefore registers Trèvert as a unique and desirable juice, is its deep emerald green shade. It is a powerful green, the one a magic portion would have to be in. I am personally quite taken by the colour of Trèvert. And although I am into citrusy and effervescent fragrances (not necessarily eau de… but then again these are dominating the market), I would still very much like to wear Trèvert and smell its green colour … and its greenness.
    1. the_good_life's Avatar
      the_good_life -
      I was an avid drinker of Single Malt Whisky long before discovering perfume, and color was so important. You inevitable imagined a gold-tinted dram to be heathery sweet, even darker hues suggesting a peaty smoky Islay powerhouse, while a pale straw colored Speyside would suggest an aperetif whisky. The whisky producers knew this, too, and colored their products accordingly, though the trend is now thankfully towards natural color. Why should perfume be different? The thick violet of Sables announces it's syrupy immortelle note, the dark teak of JHL it's genteel wood-panelled library aspirations. Lutens is a master of this. But like in the case of whisky, it's so much more convincing if this is not an engineered impression, but the natural color of a juice speaks to you of its - nature. That luminescent green is the color of Gaia's spring dress for the Beltane dance. It makes me think of birch juice and Irish meadows, the virility of bursting, blossoming fields and forests in spring. Makes you feel alive before you've even smelled the juice. With such vibrant colors, a flacon really doesn't need any more ornamentation.
    1. illyria's Avatar
      illyria -
      Colour can be an important selling point. Potential buyers see a dark juice and expect 'deep and sexy and luxurious', a pale juice, citrus or white flowers, a golden juice, a rich floral. Sometimes the colour is chosen to shock and intrique - dark purple, shocking pink, or that woad scent which starts blue but fades to clear on the skin.

      So, colour gives an impression of the perfume before you even sniff it. Generally the darker/more golden-amber a scent is, the more likely a perfumista is to expect an oriental. And if it's a vivid blue, one expects Toilet Duck! (And sometimes, that's pretty much what one gets...) But it's nice, too, when the expectations are confounded - when the blue juice is not an aquatic mess, or the pink is not Mariah-Carey-in-a-sugar-fit.

      Generally, the colour doesn't affect the way I wear a scent, unless it's an oil that might stain. I might be more likely to try a scent which 'looks like' something I might enjoy, due to it's colour. But once I know how it smells, I forget the colour.

      Mandy's scents are always saturated colours, which I like because I feel I can 'see' the naturals in them. This new one looks really intriquing!
    1. fqgouvea's Avatar
      fqgouvea -
      Alas, color hardly ever matters to me. Well, I do dislike those weird Lutens perfumes that announce that they will stain your clothes, I guess. And I can find the color admirable, as in the green perfume pictured above. But beyond that, I just don't see it. It's all about the nose.
    1. loveisintheair's Avatar
      loveisintheair -
      Colours have always played a major part in our acceptance of most anything. In Perfumes the colour plays an all important part in our buying. A gold or pale/yellow coloured juice gives an air of Royalty even before one smells it. The darker the colour of the juice we tend to accept it as being stronger as well as giving us an air of power once we wear it. In the case of Greens we preceive a cleanly open fragrance hence we assume that an afternoon walk in the country or the park would be the perfect use for this.

      In general though,we all perceive based on some one of our many senses hence those who might not be visual in our perception may be using our sense of smell primarily.
    1. wooznib's Avatar
      wooznib -
      Color is great for aesthetics I guess, but if the juice smells great, Lemme at it!
    1. mediterranée's Avatar
      mediterranée -
      I love the color of some of my fragrances: Chanel's No. 5 and Coco, for example, with their dark luxurious hues. They feel very much a part of the fragrance, and I'm very drawn to that aspect.

      In others, such as Yves Rocher's Rose Absolue EdP or Cacharel's Scarlett, I feel that the color is something that was added to comment on the composition of the fragrance: rose, flowers, fruit... Those, I can take or leave.

      So I guess it's an on-off thing for me. Sometimes a perfume's color will strike a chord, and other times it leaves me unaffected.
    1. Puente's Avatar
      Puente -
      A perfume's color can affect us wearing it in the same way color affects us in most other mediums. Reds, yellows, and other warm colors resemble spice, warmth, earth, woods, etc, where as greens (like Trevert) resemble leafy greens, fresh, spring, and more. Blues are very cool and are most likely to appear in fragrances that have a very fresh, clean, aqua scent to them since blue so easily brings to mind ocean and sky. This is how color in fragrance affects me the most. It connects my mood or thought process to something natural in our world since perfumes originally were only made from natural resources and, thanks to Mandy and many others, are available again in their all natural form.
    1. Heliamphora's Avatar
      Heliamphora -
      I'm also a little wary of some of the heavily coloured Lutens scents (I was slightly horrified when I found Fd'O practically glows in the bottle!), but colour has never stopped me wearing something I love.

      An interesting colour is always going to catch the eye, as in the case of the green juice above, whereas bubblegum pink might make me think twice about picking up a bottle to test it if I knew nothing about it in advance.

      I think that overall "not sure" sums up how I feel about perfume colour!
    1. odysseusm's Avatar
      odysseusm -
      Colour is an important aspect of a scent for me. There are two aspects of this issue: the colour of the liquid, and the colour-image the scent evokes in my mind. Not always do the two coincide, but I think it is good when they do. Out of all the colours of the spectrum, green is the one that has the greatest range of pleasant associations for me. It evokes images of nature such as warm grassy fields and cool pine forests. Green throbs with a Dionysian intensity which suggest the vital forces of growth to me, and I am elated and relaxed at the same time. A favorite saying which I use as a tag line, is a portion of Dylan Thomas' powerful, impressionistic poem: "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." For these reasons, Trèvert seems like the most marvelous emerald of a scent, and it attracted my notice the moment I heard about it.
    1. cheskie's Avatar
      cheskie -
      Color captures our imagination, links into smells and tastes, becomes tactile and pervades the very ground we walk on. It always is present, willingly or unwillingly.Writing this takes me back to swimming in the Red Sea where the stingrays are electric Blue and the sea shadows it in complimentary hues, and when I bring to my senses the fragrance of sea-there lies that Blue. Hot, dry fiery Red and partnered with sea, the Lava flows on the Big Island, the fragrance of Volcano, embedded with crimison fragrance memories.The tincture of Pittasporum leaves generously leaving a rich lime green behind for the perfumer to capture in the creation.Nature's gift, what a splendid celebration! Color Me!
    1. Sarah Rees's Avatar
      Sarah Rees -
      Trevert smacks of herbaceous candor. The green is emblematic of its natural origins and would compel me to sample it with the expectation that it was leafy, grassy maybe but with hints of galbanum or some other crisp finish. Trevert's green murmurs the offerings of spring and would attract me like the sublime jolt from a wheat grass shot but seldom does color dictate how I wear a scent.

      A perfumes scent dictates the way it should be worn, its color merely hints at its character, infusing it with some expectation.
    1. swo99's Avatar
      swo99 -
      The color of the perfume signifies to me the type of scent it is and, also, the time of year (or day!) to wear it. For example, green perfumes signify a fresh, leafy smell that celebrates the coming of Spring. Deep brown, ambery colored perfumes, on the other hand signify a sensuous, rich, deep oriental or floriental perfume to be worn on those cold winter days, and in the evenings when you want to evoke a romantic mood. Light or no-colored perfumes signify a perfume composed of white florals that can be worn almost any time of the year. I'm still waiting for someone to make a high-quality perfume in my favorite color of all-PURPLE! The color purple is traditionally associated with royalty, but to me, it symbolizes a scent that is balanced between warm and cool notes. It is after all a combination of the two primary cool and warm colors: blue and red!
    1. actiasluna's Avatar
      actiasluna -
      Color, like shape, influences what we perceive about an object. Let's say you are asked to sit at a table with a red object in front of you. It's also round and apple-shaped, in a distinctively red-delicious-apple sort of shape. So your mind says "ah, this is an apple. I know how these are supposed to taste and to smell. I know what to expect."

      So, you are then blindfolded, and asked to place a swimmer's nose clip on your nose, and then asked to taste the item you just saw.

      Unbeknownst to you, the item that is fed to you is actually an apple-section-shaped slice of potato. But in your mind, you see the red apple, you have a sense memory of the smell of a ripe red delicious apple... so you taste apple.

      Color (and scent, and memory) are that strong.
    1. Sybarite's Avatar
      Sybarite -
      Generally colour isn't really ultimately important in my choice of or enjoyment of a particular scent. (And especially if I already know I enjoy said particular scent). ...
      However, to be totally honest, I suppose ideally I do prefer my perfumes to be rather as richly as possibly hued by the natural colours imbued by it's natural ingredients. For when they're just far too pale and devoid of any colour, they unfortunately immediately betray the fact they probably contain far lessor percentage of naturals, if any whatsoever !? ...
      So I suppose what I'm really saying, is that my ultimate preference really lies with richly coloured fragrances. But only if and when these colours are derived from a natural source. For I hope they then therefore tend to reflect an extra richness in ingredients.
      And this, I think, is especially important when it comes to vibrantly coloured fragrances, which can become quite "tricky". ... When the colour's source is known to be natural, (as can be seen with that gorgeous mouthwateringly luminous "Trèvert" scent above), the vibrancy of that lush green is totally alive, rich and immediately completely inviting. ... This is colour in fragrance at it's most successful and effective !
      However, were the exact same colour to be used instead with a completely synthetic non-natural fragrance. I believe it would then possibly run the risk of merely looking totally artificial and probably seem quite "cheap" instead. Nowhere near as inviting, and probably rather quite noxious really !
    1. HartBlends's Avatar
      HartBlends -
      For me the color adds intrigue and depth. Especially when it comes to natural perfumes - the color tells of the ingredients lets your imagination start to wander about the scent long before it reaches your nose.
    1. pkiler's Avatar
      pkiler -
      Hi, Of course, color plays a role in fragrance, as color does so well in any sensory/sensual pursuit. I think that color should play MORE of a role in fragrances, especially as the perfumes of recent past have made it a point to be in fact colorless, which only points to their highly synthetic components.

      While I am not opposed to Synthetics, what I am opposed to is cheap synthetics, and the demand that fragrances be colorless. If better ingredients were used, as in MORE NATURALS, then the naturals would provide more color.

      I got into making perfumes and fragrances because of the dearth of availability of great fragrances for Men in the horrible 90's sports fragrance time.

      To co-opt a Television advertisement;

      Better Ingredients - Better Fragrance - (Add in your favorite REAL perfumer)

      Color adds to fragrance the same as smell adds to a meal.
      They comingle and form the experience and inform the impression and attitudes.

      (I've spent 30 years studying the Psychology and usage of Color)

      Paul Kiler
    1. LeBeau's Avatar
      LeBeau -
      All of our senses have a profound affect on how we experience the world surrounding us.

      Visual color has the ability to greatly influence our moods and can transform our emotions into a direction different than that in which we were currently heading. Certain colors (and groups of colors) tend to affect the masses similarly.

      Nature, and plant life in particular, is brilliant in the way it incorporates color into the external membranes of plants, so that the animal world will see the color and be drawn to it for a singular specific reason, consume it, and the affect of the color will be continued onto the olfactory sensation and next the taste buds and the overall affect finishes in consumption and how it changes our nervous system. Thereby, impacting us in exactly the way the plant was intended in the greater scheme of things.

      And, although visual stimuli can be seen (no pun intended) as an individual sense, all of our senses do work in concert with one another to create a unique experience for each and every one of us.

      For me, I pick a perfume for the mood I wish to enhance for a particular occasion. I look upon my perfume shelf and I gaze upon my collection. If I am looking to be carefree and light hearted, I would pick the lavender color of Guerlains Le Petite Robe Noir; yet, if I wish to feel sexy and desirable, I reach instead for the golden amber of Chanel Bois Des Ilse; finally, if I am looking to feel classy and gracefully subdued I look for my black bottle of Creed's Love in Black.

      I am certain that quite a lot of thought (and research) is done by perfume companies to figure out what color would go best with each fragrance. And if they can not use the color in the juice itself, they incorporate it into the bottle, cap, packaging, or marketing material.

      Nature, of course, has already picked the color which works best...therefore, natural perfume companies already have an edge up by allowing that which is already there to perform the important first impression: visual color.
    1. mikeperez23's Avatar
      mikeperez23 -
      I must say that the color of the juice really doesn't affect my choices in fragrance, at all.

      Of course, I am a human being, and I think that as a consumer I am making choices based upon all of the marketing elements in a fragrance (face, box, bottle, color of juice, etc) but I never have allowed the color of a fragrance to influence my choices.

      One thing I want to add: I don't like it when fragrances color stains clothes (ie: Sarassins by Serge Lutens, Absinthe by Ava Luxe, etc). That can be rather annoying.