The Glossary of Perfume.
Poetic and unique, the world of perfume has its own lexical field. The following vocabulary course will help you to understand the world of perfumery a little better.
The Vocabulary of Perfume.
Absolue: A thick, viscous liquid obtained from the extraction of a variety of plants or flowers. Highly concentrated in plants and loaded with odorous particles, it is used in tiny quantities in the composition of perfumes. Its extreme concentration makes the absolue a very noble and expensive raw material. Among the most precious absolues, we count orange tree, jasmine, the rose of May or the iris.
Accord: Harmonious association of two raw materials, thus obtaining a particular smell. The quality of its harmony depends on the balance of the proportions and the olfactory intensity of each of them.
Alcohol: Solvent used in perfumery to dilute the odorant concentrate. As a general rule, all perfumes contain at least 80% alcohol. Ethyl acid is a neutral substance that is perfect for not altering the smell of the olfactory materials. At Typology, the alcohol used in the eaux de parfum is an organic vegetable alcohol from beet.
Aldehyde: Family of synthetic molecules used in perfumery to bring a metallic note, very powerful, warm and slightly greasy. They are used to bring volume, freshness, brightness and sillage to the perfume. Often used with a floral accord, aldehydes have allowed the creation of the most mythical women's perfumes such as "N°5" by Chanel.
Amber (adjective): Olfactory family of perfume, also called oriental, with suave, spicy, powdery and animalic notes, which are gently revealed on contact with the skin. The most famous amber perfume is probably "Shalimar" by Guerlain, as well as the accords of "Poison" by Christian Dior or "Opium" by Yves Saint-Laurent.
Aroma: Pleasant odor emanating from certain substances.
Base: Elementary olfactory element on which a perfumer relies to create his perfume.
Bouquet: An assembly of essences, floral extracts, whose smell is reminiscent of a bouquet composed of several species of flowers.
Boisé (adjective): Olfactory family of fragrance with a dominant scent of sandalwood, cedar, vetiver and patchouli. Our cedar vetiver eau de parfum is an example.
Captivating (adjective): Refers to an intoxicating odor, which produces an overexcitement of the senses.
Chromatography: Quantitative and qualitative analysis technique that allows the separation and identification of different compounds in a mixture.
Chypre (adjective): Olfactory family of perfume based on chords of oakmoss, patchouli, bergamot, rose, etc... It takes its name from the creation of the perfume "Chypre" by René COTY.
Concentration: Proportion of odorous ingredients, also called the "concentrate", constituting the support of a fragrance. We commonly speak of perfume but there are several categories of fragrance differentiated by their concentrations, classified here from the lightest to the most intense: eau de Cologne (between 4 and 6% of concentrate), eau de toilette (between 7 and 12% of concentrate), eau de parfum (between 12 and 20% of concentrate) and perfume extract (more than 20% of concentrate).
Concentrate: A fragrant liquid that is then mixed with alcohol to make extracts, waters, etc...
Concrete: A pasty product obtained following the extraction of odoriferous compounds from a fresh plant.
Cuiré: Olfactory family of perfumes grouping powerful, masculine scents with notes of honey, tobacco and birch.
Distillation: Process of separating substances by boiling, followed by condensation of the vapor.
Dominant: It is the most perceptible note from the olfactory point of view in a composition.
Eau de Cologne: Term designating an alcoholic preparation whose percentage of concentrate in alcohol does not exceed 6%.
Eau de parfum: Olfactory solution reaching a concentration level of 12 to 20%.
Eau de toilette: Perfume containing between 7 and 12% of concentrate.
Effluve: Odor emanating spontaneously from a human body or from certain substances.
Essence: Synonym for essential oil.
Cold extraction: Technique of extraction of fragrant raw materials without heating but by cold compression of a fruit or a bark.
Extraction: The act of isolating the fragrant compounds from a raw material. The most common extraction technique is solvent extraction. In this case, the volatile organic solvent, while evaporating, carries with him the fragrant molecules to be extracted.
Olfactory family: Set of perfumes sharing the same dominant notes. We traditionally distinguish 7 of them: the leathery family, the boisée family, the chyprée family, the floral family, the fougère family, the hespéridée family and the oriental family (also known as amber).
Floral: An olfactory family that includes fragrances whose main theme is a flower.
Formula: List of ingredients composing the perfume.
Fougère (adjective): Olfactory family of perfume with citrus, lavender, woody, oakmoss and coumarin notes. It owes its name to the perfume "La Fougère Royale" by Houbigant, the favorite perfume of Guy de MAUPASSANT.
Fragrance: Pleasant smell as opposed to the term odor which can be pleasant or unpleasant.
Fugacious: Refers to a smell that lasts very little, that disappears quickly.
Hesperides: Olfactory family of perfume in which we find perfumes built on citrus peels, and constituting in principle the dominant of the colognes.
Essential oil: Liquid, concentrated and hydrophobic aromatic extract, result of a steam distillation of different parts of a plant.
International Fragrance Research Association (I.F.R.A.): Organization which regulates the industry of the perfume and which aims at ensuring the safety of the users. It regulates the use of raw materials in perfumery.
Jus: Refers to the alcoholic solution of a perfume concentrate.
Linear: Characteristic of a perfume that reveals the same fragrances from the beginning to the end of its evaporation. The olfactory pyramid is then smoothed.
Maceration/maturation: Stage of perfume manufacturing which consists in letting a concentrate rest in an organic solvent for a more or less long period (from a few days to a few months). The aim is to reach an olfactory balance. This harmony results from the intra-molecular interactions in the mixture.
Raw material: Initial product used to manufacture finished products.
Nose: Nickname for a perfumer-creator.
Note: Characteristic of the fragrance of a perfume. The notes that make up a perfume are classified into 3 categories that correspond to the 3 stages of discovery of the perfume: the top notes, the middle notes and the base notes.
Heart notes: Those that constitute the heart of the perfume and remain for a few hours. They appear only after the top notes have evaporated.
Base notes: Those that persist, that last the longest after the perfume has been sprayed and can remain for several days on an item of clothing.
Top notes: Those that are linked to the first olfactory impression perceived when using a perfume. They are the most volatile and last only a few minutes.
Perfume organ: Piece of furniture on which are arranged the various fragrant raw materials of the perfumer's palette.
Resinoid: Odorous fat obtained after extraction of a dry raw material with non-aqueous solvents.
Sillage: Olfactory trace left after the passage of a person wearing a perfume.
Paper (for tester): Thin strips of paper that are dipped in a raw material or an odorous composition to appreciate its quality and to follow its evolution by olfaction.