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  1. #1

    Default Perfume & Basenotes 101 + FAQ

    To be continued.

    I'm collecting the wisdom of basenotes as we speak and then it will be written out nicely, organized and posted here for the future. It's not aimed at serious fragrance education like the other sticky but addresses a lot of questions we receive throughout the forum and it will aim to be rather basic and kind of a welcome to basenotes package.

    topics that are on the list
    - storage of perfume
    - glossary and abbreviations specific to basenotes
    - fragrance families
    - collections
    - recommend me a perfume based on one I own
    - special occasions
    - blind buys

    Dear veteran basenoters if you see something that is wrong or could use better wording,more detail or anything drop me a note and I'll correct it. I'm just trying to get things started
    Last edited by Lian; 24th May 2011 at 01:09 PM.
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    Where to apply scent?
    In general there are a few places on the body that are popular application spots for various reasons
    chest: a more intimate place to apply perfume, it also works well if you have a very strong scent you want to tone down a little or if you want people to come closer to smell what you are wearing.

    behind the knees: this is alo a good place to apply perfume if you don't want others to smell your scent too strongly. Also it is said that when you sit you can smell your scent rather well but it won't bother others so much. Very useful if you work in an office

    your wrists: the idea is that these are warm places on your body that will waft the scent better.

    behind the neck: gives good sillage, that means if you walk by someone you will leave a sort of scent trail

    hair and clothing: hair and clothing are excellent places to apply perfume to if you want the scent to last longer. Just make sure it doesn't stain your clothes. Some people are worried the alcohol in perfume will damage hair and you may want to take this into consideration.
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    The Art and Science of the Blind Buy
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    One of the first things that new perfumistas do (yes - the "a" is gender neutral - "perfumisto" is a made-up word) is to make a few unsniffed purchases ("blind buys") which they invariably regret. Quickly, many of these new sniffas will adopt the fairly wise advice to never buy blind. This is a lot like never drinking or never gambling - good advice that will probably save you a lot of grief.

    Nevertheless, many people drink and gamble, with much enjoyment, and would not have it any other way. Some even gamble for a living. Likewise, you will see some advanced fragrance fiends who casually admit to blind buys - and even do so proudly, as they announce how much they love the fragrance.

    It is easy to dismiss this as placebo praise to justify money which may have been spent badly - a vain attempt to cover up what may have actually been an unwise purchase. But I will argue that blind buying is not only easy when you know how - it's a lot of fun. It's like a winning day at the track, or pockets full of poker winnings. If you play your cards right, you can win at blind buys and come out smelling like roses.

    Your greatest weapons in winning at blind buys are your nose and your brain. However, both must be TRAINED, like a sense of balance, or a good neural network. For your nose (which really is your brain, but more like the sensory part), you need to have a quick sense of what it is that you really like, as well as what you don't like. The latter may actually be the more important of the two. You need to be totally honest with yourself about that, too. Don't let yourself get goo-goo nose for a fragrance just because other people do. If you hate the one that everybody loves, or vice versa, don't tell yourself that you like it or hate it, too, if you don't. You need to ADMIT how you really feel when you sniff the fragrance. You will have to refer back to your scent memories of these known fragrances multiple times, checking yourself, over and over, before you pull the trigger. So if you are deceiving yourself, you are just going to get into trouble. Play the game by your own honest rules - not by somebody else's.

    Now the brain. This is the most important part. You need to start keeping track of facts, just like you do in cards or at the track. And there is no limit on what facts. There is no cheating here. Any fact that helps you, helps you. For instance, you need to know WHO is calling things right, and what subset of things they are calling right, just like when you look over a track sheet. Who has a nose similar to yours? For example, if mikeperez23 says a fragrance is FBW (that's full bottle worthy), I'm over half-way to a successful blind buy right there. I noticed, even when I was a total n00b here, that Mike would describe scents just like they felt to me, and that he liked not only some of the same scents, but many of the same houses. Even when Mike and I disagree on the worthiness of a scent, we generally agree on the aesthetics of it - the essential nature. If Mike sniffs something and likes it, I'm probably going to like it, too.

    SO - it's OK to steal better noses than your own. And that even applies to individual notes. There are certain people here who are like note-hounds. They will dig up notes that I may not get immediately, but I can get later. If you have notes that you don't like, and a guy like rickbr or DULLAH sniffs them in a fragrance, there is a chance that you will discover the note later. But if they find a good note, you may find it as well. So look to the experiences of others, and mix them with your own personal taste - with your own "nose". Use other people's noses and brains as a substitute for your own.

    Keeping track of your wardrobe is almost essential for the successful blind buyer. This is another way to use your brain. You need to look at what you have, and decide which houses and which perfumers have gotten into your wardrobe, and how much you loved them after they did. If you have a house or a perfumer who works for you, the chances are that they will please you again. Armed with this information, you are more likely to make a successful blind buy than if you merely look at fake "notes" which have made their way past the marketing department. Yes - sometimes those notes are helpful. But to be very honest, the perfumer is going to determine how they got there, and what they smelled like after they did, and the house creatives are going to decide which perfumer brings the goods. These creatives also define the house, and determine what blends successfully with past releases, without a clash of styles.

    Thus, you will find that new releases by favorite perfumers or in favored houses are likely to please, whereas anything from a failed house or unknown perfumer is suspect, and a risky buy.

    You should also analyze your wardrobe to look for themes, trends, and insights which could predict what it is that you like or dislike. This is probably your greatest source of useful facts. It's not rocket science, and it's not always a lot of fun, but it will give you powerful tools, such as "I hate fresh scents when they're too dry", or "I actually like Australian sandalwood more than Mysore, surprisingly". Pulling these out of your mental Rolodex and comparing them to what others say, can prevent many bad blind buys. These facts are what you should listen to, no matter how hot the girls or guys are in the ad, or how good the ad copy sounds.

    Lastly, there are ways to minimize the impact of a failed blind buy. This is where buying popular and hard-to-find fragrances pays off. Think twice about pulling the trigger on something odd, widely ridiculed, unpopular, hard-to-wear, or otherwise hard to resell. If you can resell something easily, it's much easier to take a chance.

    The bottom line - THINK before you pull the trigger. BE HONEST with yourself. Take your time. Do some research. In fact, do lots of research. If you do, you can make blind buys and be very happy with them.

    Most of all, don't kid yourself. If you're not a player, don't play. But if you are, then play smart, and play to win.
    * * * *

  4. #4

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    Fragrance Concentration

    The notation EDP, EDT and EDC stand for the concentration of your scent and relates to the quantity of the perfume oils in the perfume. Most perfumes are made from a blend of perfume oils and perfumer alcohol. Pure perfume oil is STRONG so it needs to be diluted.

    Perfume = strongest
    EDP = Eau de Parfum
    EDT= Eau de Toilette
    EDC= Eau de Cologne

    I know there is a more eloquent reasoning and explanation and when someone comments on this I will edit this post.
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    Fragrance Classification

    For a very detailed descriptions go here
    A lot of these descirptions came from the perfumescourt.com but it's not a very easy to read website.

    There is a lot of perfume and it helps to know what you like so you can explore scents that are like it. There are many ways to divide the world of perfumes and it seems every year a new one is added.

    In general you can classify fragrances under a group or per note, and you can combine them as well. For instance I love fragrances containing jasmine whether the perfume is a floral, or oriental floral.

    Here is a list of a few groups or families, they also combine together to make a fruit-floral perfume. It means that the perfume has elements from both groups.

    Chypre – Based on a woody, mossy, floral accord, which can include leathery or fruity notes as well. Chypre perfumes have a rich and lingering scent. Chypre by Coty enjoyed such success in 1917 that “chypre” is now a generic name for a whole category of classic perfumes. The compositions are based on oakmoss, ciste-labdanun, patchouli and bergamot accords. The richness of chypre notes mixes wonderfully with fruity or floral notes. This family is made up of distinguished, instantly recognizable fragrances.

    Floral – floral notes, this can be a solifleur where a single flower takes the stage or a blend of flowers. Flower scents have their own aspect or wuality for instance Iris is know to give a powdery effect in the right combination..

    Citrus – Each perfume in this family is primarily composed of citrus scents such as bergamot, lemon, orange, tangerine and grapefruit

    Aromatic – aromatic notes, such as thyme, rosemary, tarragon or mint. Examples include: Calvin Klein CK One, Rochas Eau de Rochas, and Lancome O de Lancome.

    Aldehyde – Animal, powdery or slightly woody notes often enhance the floral bouquet. The top note is a marriage of aldehydes and hesperidia. This sub-family came into existence with the creation of Chanel No. 5, the first floral-aldehydic perfume with an unusually high amount of aldehydes. Examples include: Chanel No. 5 and Estee Lauder White Linen.

    Aquatic – marine notes, shower fresh scents.

    Green – Green notes can add a sharper freshness, think grasses or pines.

    Fruity – Since 1995, new fruity notes have blossomed in the world of perfumery. Among these notes are apricot, raspberry, lychee and apple. More are added every year and you can determine a certain trend in fruit perfumes. Then you suddenly smell a certain fruity note everywhere. This can coincide with the discovery of a new scent molecule.

    Fougere - Timeless aromatic notes blend with a traditional fougere accord characterized by lavender, woody, coumarin, geranium and oak moss notes.

    Woody Musk – this family includes fragrances with an additional woody and/or musky note, which gives a richer. This is often in combination of a a floral as well.

    Oriental – Also known as “amber” fragrances – stand out because of their unique blend of warmth and sensuality. They draw their richness from heady substances like musk, vanilla and precious woods, often associated with exotic floral and spicy scents.

    Spicy – Spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg

    Vanilla – Vanilla and classical amber notes accentuate the original

    Woody – Warm and opulent notes like amber and sandalwood, or dry notes like cedar are added to the Oriental accord to further accentuate it. Examples include: Bulgari Eau Parfumee au The Rouge, Lancome Hypnose, Thierry Mugler Alien, Guerlain Samsar and Molinard Habanita.
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    Fragrance Effects

    Certain fragrances evoke a certain feeling or a strange smell such as old make up smell, dirty clothes, or raunchyness.

    Below are listed a few..use it as a guide to avoid certain notes or seek them out!

    powdery - iris
    sweat- cumin ( was it cumin?)
    skanky - idoles, occurs in jasmine, neroli too I believe

    To be continued anyway!
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    How to make a good collection

    Based on your favourite note
    by hedonist222

    Start by buying general perfumes you like. These perfumes are not centered around or dominated by a certain note. General goodness.
    Examples: 34 Boulevard Saint Germain - Vento di Fiori - fleurs de sel -

    Then start acquiring perfumes that are dominated by the notes you like.
    You will certainly find that the note you like comes in many variations.
    i.e: the note will interplay with other major notes to render it a floral take on it, or an ambery take or a musky take or an earthy take. Aquire these.

    Examples : Lets say you like Iris as a note and Vetiver as a note.

    for Iris:
    Iris Silver mist - rooty
    Iris Bleu - citric iris
    iris 39 - iris
    hiris - floral iris
    Equistrius - ambery iris with a hint of cocoa

    for Vetiver:
    vetiver oriental - sap and vetiver
    sycomore & encre noire - smoky woody vetiver
    bourbon vetiver / vetiver by etro - straight up rooty vetiver
    grey vetiver - bitter citric vetiver
    vetiver tonka - smooth creamish vetiver

    As you can see, there are many takes on a note. Aquire those that you like. I , for example, have aquired most of the vetivers I liek except the citric (vetiver by dior, grey vetiver) ones because I like my vetiver rooty and earthy.

    Lian: I have a lot of jasmine, I have jasmine mixed with vanilla, amber, green notes, tobacco etc.

    Based on Fragrance Family
    You might find out that the perfumes you like are all in the fougere family, then if you are looking for a new perfume you can research what makes a fougere perfume fougere and find perfumes that are like it. You can also see what fragrances families might be closely linked to it and explore perfumes from that family.

    Based on Occassion
    Another way to build a collection is to have one or two fragrances for different occasions. A lot of people have a different perfume for at work, the weekend, in the evening at home, when they are out in a club. They often look for perfumes from fragrances families that are associated with these activities or fit well in this social setting.

    At work a lot of people are looking for something that isn't offensive so they conclude that Aquatics ( shower freshness) is a very acceptable fragrance family to pick a perfume that would be worn in the office.

    It all depends on what you want to smell like in the situation. For instance sometimes at work I like to wear something that comes across a bit serious, so I wear tabacco scents.

    Seasonal

    collection with fragrances dedicated to be worn during specific seasons

    Summer
    Scents that can either stand the heat or are refreshing to the wearer

    Winter

    Spring

    Autumn

    Gender

    Some people prefer to wear only masculine fragrances or only female fragrances. Others are happy to mix it all up. In general wear what smells and makes you feel good and let your collection reflect that.
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    I like this perfume a lot, recommend me something else

    If there is a perfume you like a lot and you want recommendations based on it you can also use the basenotes directory to search for fragrances like it and look at their reviews.

    I'll talk you through how it works.

    Say the scent you like is Diesel Fuel for Men

    Go to the fragrance directory and use the basic search function to search for diesel fuel. Select the perfume you like so much and read its description. You will notice it mentions the notes of the fragrance. Copy these notes and return to the fragrance directory.

    Now you need to find and select the Advanced Fragrance Search, it's in the tab right next t the basic search. Click it

    You see there is a space to enter in fragrance notes so copy and past the notes from Diesel Fuel. Make sure to remove the normal text about middle notes and all that stuff.

    It is helpful to remove some of the notes, because otherwise you'll probably end up with the Diesel Fuel for life as a search result. Just try and think what you like about the fragrance and try to guess what notes correspond with it and search for those.

    I searched for anise, lavender and wood and I got 32 results. Now you have 32 perfumes you can read the reviews of. It just happens that Caron third man is one of the results and is my favourite scent for men.

    If your search result is rather huge you can narrow it down further by looking at the year they were released. If you want something that is likely to be very easily available then enter in a recent release date.
    Last edited by Lian; 24th May 2011 at 01:08 PM.
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  9. #9
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101 + FAQ

    Lian, I am having trouble following your steps.
    If there is a perfume you like a lot and you want recommendations based on it you can also use the basenotes directory to search for fragrances like it and look at their reviews.

    I'll talk you through how it works. Say the scent you like is Diesel Fuel for Men.
    Go to the fragrance directory and use the basic search function to search for diesel fuel. Select the perfume you like so much and read its description. You will notice it mentions the notes of the fragrance. Copy these notes and return to the fragrance directory.
    When I go to my target perfume there are no notes listed for it (in this case, New York) and then...

    Now you need to find and select the Advanced Fragrance Search, it's in the tab right next t the basic search. Click it
    When I click on the Advance Fragrance Search I am taken to the Home Page.
    "Classics aren't classics because they seem old but because they seem always new". Tania Sanchez

  10. #10

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101 + FAQ

    Every time I do the advanced search this is what shows: Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in [path]/bn_fragsearch.php on line 350

    Warning: mysql_num_rows(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in [path]/bn-inc/getrows.php on line 8

    Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in [path]/bn_fragsearch.php on line 371


    What gives?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    Hi Lian thanks for this awesome information.I am new here.

  12. #12
    Basenotes Member
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    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101 + FAQ

    Hello Lian! This is great - thanks for the info you posted. Especially for the info regarding fragrance classifications. I have a question though - In your original post you mentioned that you may write about perfume storage in the future. Have you written about this yet? Is there another thread that discusses this? Thanks so much!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101 + FAQ

    Yet another entire vocabulary to learn and acronyms to memorise, thanks to the internet, The reverend mother of enablement!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101 + FAQ

    Thank you very much for this valuable source of learning...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you very much...

  15. #15

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101 + FAQ

    Thanks much for the info. As to applying on the face, I did not see that mentioned. I've always done this, especially in the splash days.

  16. #16
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101 + FAQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Wasatch View Post
    As to applying on the face, I did not see that mentioned. I've always done this, especially in the splash days.
    In the old Aqua Velva, Brut and Old Spice days of my youth, did the same, No more!

    (2245)
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals don't warrant or deserve other individuals' acknowledgement or respect.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    Quote Originally Posted by Lian View Post
    Fragrance Concentration

    The notation EDP, EDT and EDC stand for the concentration of your scent and relates to the quantity of the perfume oils in the perfume. Most perfumes are made from a blend of perfume oils and perfumer alcohol. Pure perfume oil is STRONG so it needs to be diluted.

    Perfume = strongest
    EDP = Eau de Parfum
    EDT= Eau de Toilette
    EDC= Eau de Cologne

    I know there is a more eloquent reasoning and explanation and when someone comments on this I will edit this post.

    Where does "extrait" fit in this scale?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Perfume & Basenotes 101

    Quote Originally Posted by Zilpha View Post
    Where does "extrait" fit in this scale?
    It fits in with perfume.
    "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see." -Benjamin Franklin

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