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  1. #1

    Question sillage = top notes?

    Hi

    From what I read, top notes are usually the most volatile ingredients of the scent. So does sillage smell of only top notes?

    Here, by "sillage" I mean the aroma which other people can smell around me from a distance, let's say, of an arm length.
    Are the heart note substances usually too heavy to spread around so much?

    First I thought that top notes are relatively unimportant since I read they may fade away within minutes. Now, after I tried a few different scents, I suspect that many top notes can actually come out in sillage.

    Also, it might be that on my skin the scents do not actually develop very much sillage. Typically, I can hardly smell the cologne I'm testing on the wrist. When I wave my hand in front of my nose, I can smell something "fresh" or "citrus" or whatever -- which I think must be top notes (or is it really heart notes?...) And then only if I directly sniff the skin I can feel the smell of something different -- which I suppose must be the heart notes (or is it the base notes, or the heart+base notes combined...I'm never sure... ).

    Well, as you can see, I'm a newbie in this fragrance business...

    So, what is sillage - only top notes or top+heart? or only heart notes?
    what about base notes - can they come out in sillage too?
    Last edited by kdo; 16th February 2008 at 09:57 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Sillage is independent of the phase of notes pyramid - it depends on the fragrance composition. Sillage is mainly dependent on the notes and their concentration - an EDT concentration fragrance with main notes of citrus wont project as much as an EDT concentration fragrance with notes like amber and incense because amber and incense are denser than notes like lime, orange, etc. It could also be that a fragrance might use comparatively more tenacious notes like lavender or rosemary in top notes - in this case, the top notes will be perceptible longer than in a fragrance where the top notes contain ephemeral notes like grapefruit, lemon, etc. Whatever the case, top notes evaporate faster than heart/base notes which form the heart (no pun intended) of a fragrance's sillage.
    -

  3. #3

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Not necessarily , even though it seems that way.
    First of all, the top notes are the most evident as they are the first ones to appear. Base note do stay close to the skin but they still can wander around you for quite a while. The problem with me is that, since my nose is already used to the EDT, I only catch the base notes on occational whiffs.

    example of that are Varvatos, Weekend and Grey Flannel. The middle notes, are the ones that project the most, which is a good thing because I do not like the top notes of any of them.

  4. #4

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Top notes disappear whilst basenotes stay longer. By the end of the day, basenotes are what people are smelling.
    Current Wishlist: Vetiver Extraordinaire, Rousse & Opus 1870

  5. #5

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Thanks for the replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    an EDT concentration fragrance with main notes of citrus wont project as much as an EDT concentration fragrance with notes like amber and incense because amber and incense are denser than notes like lime, orange, etc.
    Now I'm confused. Shouldn't it be the other way around: a lighter citrus main note project more (to a longer distance) than a denser/heavier amber main note?
    Given the same concentration of both, then citrus aroma wouldn't last very long time (while having more projection), and heavier amber would last longer (having less projection). Is it not correct?


    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    It could also be that a fragrance might use comparatively more tenacious notes like lavender or rosemary in top notes - in this case, the top notes will be perceptible longer
    Ok, that's a good point.


    I guess I just need more practice sniffing the stuff. I can certainly feel, for instance, when the opening smells different from the later dry-down. But I practically cannot pick out particular notes from the scent and I never know if it is already the base notes or still the heart notes or whatever.
    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by irish View Post
    Base note do stay close to the skin but they still can wander around you for quite a while. The problem with me is that, since my nose is already used to the EDT, I only catch the base notes on occasional whiffs.
    Well, with me it's that I think that I feel the "close to the skin" notes (the base notes, I assume) only if I really put my nose into the skin or under the shirt. I don't think I smell any of these notes if I just wave a hand near my face.
    And that's a pity, as with those few scents I have tried I enjoy the "skin" dry-down notes more than the other notes.
    Last edited by kdo; 17th February 2008 at 05:33 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  6. #6

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdo View Post
    Thanks for the replies!


    Now I'm confused. Shouldn't it be the other way around: a lighter citrus main note project more (to a longer distance) than a denser/heavier amber main note?
    Given the same concentration of both, then citrus aroma wouldn't last very long time (while having more projection), and heavier amber would last longer (having less projection). Is it not correct?
    I meant a fragrance as a whole. The aromatic citrus notes will be observable to the nose first i.e. their "sillage" will be noticed earlier than any amber or other heavy notes in the fragrance (if they exist) but overtime its those heavy notes which will be responsible for the majority of the sillage.
    -

  7. #7

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdo View Post

    Well, with me it's that I think that I feel the "close to the skin" notes (the base notes, I assume) only if I really put my nose into the skin or under the shirt. I don't think I smell any of these notes if I just wave a hand near my face.
    And that's a pity, as with those few scents I have tried I enjoy the "skin" dry-down notes more than the other notes.
    Unfortunately nose fatigue is the worst enemy of base notes. You my think they are not there, but it just that your nose got used to them. Furthermore, that is why those fragrances are said to wander close to the skin. they do not have a lot of silage and people can only smell you if they are close. If you are going to be close to someone, it is much better to wear this kind of perfumes.

  8. #8

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    I meant a fragrance as a whole. The aromatic citrus notes will be observable to the nose first i.e. their "sillage" will be noticed earlier than any amber or other heavy notes in the fragrance (if they exist) but overtime its those heavy notes which will be responsible for the majority of the sillage.
    Yes, ok, it makes sense.

    I guess my problem then is that, when it's time for the heavier notes to kick in, they stay so close to the skin that I don't smell any sillage from them at all.

    Basically I don't perceive the overall scent as continuosly developing from top to the base, but rather it is as if I'm wearing two scents developing in parallel: one "main scent" which is stronger in the beginning and which, I can smell, produces some sillage until it evaporates; the other -- "skin scent" which stays very close to the skin all the time and then finally fades away. To my nose this "skin scent" doesn't contribute to the sillage. Well, maybe other people around me would be able to smell it.
    I will have to find some test subjects and ask them to smell it on me!
    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by irish View Post
    Unfortunately nose fatigue is the worst enemy of base notes. You my think they are not there, but it just that your nose got used to them.
    Yeah, this probably plays a role too.

    Damn, choosing a fragrance is so complicated. Perhaps I should try scents with more prominent "heavy" notes and with less "fresh" notes.
    Last edited by kdo; 17th February 2008 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  9. #9

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    As I understand it sillage is a product of volatility. Longevity (persistence) is determined more by the density, though the two are related.

    Lighter, more volatile molecules will indeed fly off your arm faster and farther which is why they don't last as long on your skin. Heavier molecules will depart the mixture at a slower rate and travel a shorter distance, hence can smelled more near to the site of application. However, they may also hang around in the air in a denser concentration than the more volatile ones once they have left your skin. Sillage translates as "wake" as in the wake of a ship, or a trail.

    Most fragrances would have lots of sillage for a very brief period of the top notes, then less but still enough (hopefully, if you want it) as the heart notes warm up from your body heat and develop. the heavier heart notes take longer to warm up with the energy of your body heat. Base notes usually have relatively very low volatility - and this is their function- to hold and slow down the dispersal of the top and heart (while adding to the fragrance of course) so that it lasts longer.
    Last edited by hirch_duckfinder; 17th February 2008 at 07:55 PM. Reason: made it better
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

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  10. #10

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Best way to tell if the fragrance is still there...ask somebody else. Your nose will lose the scent.
    Current Wishlist: Vetiver Extraordinaire, Rousse & Opus 1870

  11. #11

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    I would say that sillage is generally the base notes or dry down, but that's based on my experience of course.

  12. #12

    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Nice & informative thread, I wish it continued now.......
    My current top 10 (with no particular order):
    Givenchy Xeryus Rouge
    Dior Homme Intense
    Dior Fahrenheit
    Costume National Scent Intense
    Terre d'Hermes EDT
    CK Eternity for Men
    Creed Aventus
    YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme (Old Tin Can)
    Thierry Mugler Pure Malt
    Costume National Homme

  13. #13
    Basenotes Junkie
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    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder View Post
    As I understand it sillage is a product of volatility. Longevity (persistence) is determined more by the density, though the two are related.

    Lighter, more volatile molecules will indeed fly off your arm faster and farther which is why they don't last as long on your skin. Heavier molecules will depart the mixture at a slower rate and travel a shorter distance, hence can smelled more near to the site of application. However, they may also hang around in the air in a denser concentration than the more volatile ones once they have left your skin. Sillage translates as "wake" as in the wake of a ship, or a trail.

    Most fragrances would have lots of sillage for a very brief period of the top notes, then less but still enough (hopefully, if you want it) as the heart notes warm up from your body heat and develop. the heavier heart notes take longer to warm up with the energy of your body heat. Base notes usually have relatively very low volatility - and this is their function- to hold and slow down the dispersal of the top and heart (while adding to the fragrance of course) so that it lasts longer.
    I believe this post to be a correct interperatation of how notes develop/work. Very well written.

  14. #14
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: sillage = top notes?

    Whatever produces it can be for me both a pleasant and unpleasant reminder of the person giving it off.

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