What are the different types of perfume?

Have you ever been curious about the different types of perfume? Perfume is more than just a beauty product. It’s an invisible part of our…


Have you ever been curious about the different types of perfume? Perfume is more than just a beauty product. It’s an invisible part of our personal style, and it has a powerful effect on how people see and remember us. For me, memories link with scents so intensely so when I found my perfect scent, I stuck to it. However, with the various types of perfumes available in the market, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. If you’ve ever wondered what a top note is and what makes one type of fragrance different from the rest, then read on. This blog post breaks down the different types of fragrances and what makes each unique. 

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My favourite perfume is Olympea by Paco Rabanne.  I love its sweet smells and long-lasting scent, it has the perfect blend of femininity and strength. It has notes of salty vanilla, fresh green mandarin, and jasmine. But there are many types of perfumes out there so let’s look at what makes a perfume to help you find your ideal perfume, whether it’s for daily wear or a special occasion. Then you can pop over to parfumdreams and find your dream perfume. 

A Deeper Dive into the World of Perfumes

Perfumes have been used for thousands of years, dating back to the early Egyptians who used them for religious ceremonies and burial preparations. Over the centuries, the making of perfume has evolved into an art, with perfumers, or “noses”, spending years learning the intricate process of scent creation. Today, the perfume industry is a multi-billion dollar business, with countless brands and fragrances available.

What is Perfume?

Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents, usually in liquid form, used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living spaces a pleasing scent. The perfume is derived from the Latin “per fumum”, meaning “through smoke”.

The primary ingredient in any perfume is the fragrance oil, which is responsible for the scent. These oils can be derived from various sources, such as plants, flowers, spices, or even synthetic materials. The type and concentration of these oils determine the strength and longevity of the perfume’s scent.

Understanding Perfume Concentrations

The strength of a perfume depends on the concentration of its fragrance oils. This concentration is usually expressed as a percentage, and it can greatly affect how the perfume smells, how long it lasts, and, of course, how much it costs. Different French terms are used to describe this. Here’s a rundown of the different concentrations:

  1. Parfum: Also known as “extrait de parfum” or “pure perfume,” has the highest fragrance concentration. Parfum will contain anywhere from 20% to 30% of the perfume essence and will last up to 24 hours and usually have a higher price point.
  2. Eau de Parfum (EdP): This format is less concentrated than parfum, typically containing 15-20% concentration. It’s still quite potent, however, lasting anywhere from 8 to 12 hours.
  3. Eau de Toilette (EdT): This type of perfume usually has a concentration of between 5% and 15%. It’s lighter than EdP and is often the choice for daywear. Its scent lasts for around 2-4 hours.
  4. Eau de Cologne (EdC): The term “cologne” is often used for men’s fragrances, but technically it refers to a concentration of about 2-4%. It’s lighter still and usually lasts for about 2 hours.
  5. Eau Fraiche: Similar to EdC, but even lighter, with only 1-3% perfume oil in water and alcohol. Its scent will typically last less than an hour.
  6. Perfume Oil: This is a highly concentrated perfume that doesn’t contain alcohol. Instead, the scent molecules in perfume oils are dissolved in a carrier oil, making the fragrance last a long time.
  7. Body Mists: As the lightest form of fragrances, body mists provide a subtle hint of freshness and scent to the skin, but don’t have the lasting power of higher concentration perfumes.
different types of perfume

Understanding the Different Fragrance Types

Perfumes can be classified into distinct fragrance families, each with its own unique character and accord. These families can be visualised on a fragrance wheel, a tool used by perfumers to classify scents and understand how they relate to each other. Here are the main fragrance families and the main differences between them

The Fragrance Wheel

1. Floral

Floral fragrances are centred around the scent of one or more types of flowers. These can vary from the sweet and heady scent of roses to the fresh and crisp scent of lilies. Floral fragrances are often feminine and romantic, making them a popular choice for women’s perfumes.

2. Oriental

Oriental fragrances are characterised by their warm, sweet, and slightly spicy scents. They often contain notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and clove, as well as heavier musk and amber. Oriental fragrances are sensual and exotic, making them perfect for evening wear.

3. Woody

Woody fragrances are characterised by their earthy and warm notes. They often contain scents derived from woods and mosses, such as sandalwood, cedarwood, and patchouli. Woody fragrances are often rich and sophisticated, making them a popular choice for men’s fragrances and unisex fragrances.

4. Fresh

Fresh fragrances are characterised by their clean, light, and citrus scents. They often contain citrus notes, green leaves, or aquatic notes. Fresh fragrances are often uplifting and invigorating, making them a popular choice for daywear and for both men’s and women’s fragrances.

5. Fruity

Fruity perfumes are often light, playful, and fresh. They often contain notes of berries, peaches, pears, and apples. Fruity fragrances are often paired with floral notes to create a fruity-floral perfume, which is a popular choice for young, vibrant individuals. I’m personally a big fan of fruity scents. 

6. Gourmand

Gourmand fragrances are characterised by edible or dessert-like qualities. These often include notes like vanilla, caramel, praline, and chocolate. Gourmand fragrances are often sweet and comforting, making them a popular choice for those who enjoy sweet, dessert-like scents.

7. Spicy

Spicy fragrances are characterised by notes of spices such as cinnamon, clove, ginger, or pink pepper. They often bring a certain warmth to the fragrance and can add a unique twist to the scent. Spicy fragrances are often used in combination with other notes to add depth and complexity.

8. Aquatic

Aquatic fragrances are characterised by fresh, clean, and oceanic notes. They often contain notes that mimic the scent of fresh seawater, sea breeze, or the beach. Aquatic fragrances are often used in sporty or summer-themed perfumes.

9. Green

Green fragrances are characterised by fresh and sharp notes of freshly cut grass or leaves. They often contain notes like green apple, tea leaves, and cucumber. Green fragrances are often paired with fruity notes to create a green-fruity perfume, which is fresh and invigorating.

different types of perfume

Top Notes, Middle Notes and Base Notes

Have you ever wondered why some perfumes smell different when you first spray them compared to after a few hours? Well, the secret lies in the composition of the fragrance, specifically in the top notes, base notes, and middle notes. These three components work together to create a harmonious and captivating scent that evolves over time. 

Top Notes

Let’s start with the top notes, which are the first impressions of a perfume. They are the initial burst of fragrance that you smell when you first spray it on your skin. Top notes are usually light, fresh, and fleeting, lasting only for a few minutes to an hour. They are designed to capture your attention and make a memorable first impression. Common examples of top notes include citrus fruits like lemon and bergamot, as well as floral notes like lavender and rose. These notes give the perfume its initial brightness and freshness.

Middle Notes

Now let’s move on to the middle notes, also known as the heart notes. These notes form the core of the fragrance and emerge once the top notes have dissipated. Middle notes tend to be more balanced and lasting than top notes, making them an essential part of the perfume’s overall composition. They provide depth and character to the scent and often include floral, fruity, or spicy elements. Middle notes can include floral scents like jasmine and ylang-ylang, or spicy scents like cinnamon or nutmeg. These notes give the perfume its personality and contribute to its overall theme.

Base Notes

Last but not least, we have the base notes. These are the foundation of the fragrance and emerge after the top and middle notes have evaporated. Base notes are typically rich, warm, and long-lasting, lingering on the skin for hours or even days. These notes provide stability and depth to the perfume, anchoring it and giving it staying power. Common examples of base notes include woody scents like sandalwood or cedar, as well as musk or vanilla. Base notes add complexity and sophistication to the fragrance.So next time you spray on your favourite perfume, pay attention to how it evolves over time – from the initial burst of top notes to the lingering base notes. The interplay between these three layers is what makes each perfume unique and exciting. 

different types of perfume

Choosing the Right Fragrance for You

Choosing a perfume is often a personal journey, as our scent preferences can be influenced by our personal tastes, moods, and even memories. A scent that might appeal to one person might not appeal to another. Therefore, it’s important to sample different types of perfume before making a decision.

However, understanding the different types of perfume and fragrance families can help guide this process. By knowing what each type of perfume is and what it typically smells like, you can narrow down your options and find the scent that best suits you.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right perfume:

1. Identify Your Preferences

Start by identifying what types of scents you are drawn to. Do you prefer light, fresh scents, or do you prefer deep, musky ones? Do you like sweet, gourmand scents, or do you prefer spicy or woody ones? Understanding your own scent preferences can help you narrow down your options and find a perfume that you will love. You can even get solid perfumes – gone are the days of carrying around bulky glass bottles or worrying about spills in your bag. With solid perfume, you can simply apply it directly onto your skin, without any mess or hassle. 

2. Consider the Occasion

Different scents can be suitable for different occasions. For example, light, fresh scents are often suitable for daytime or casual wear, while deeper, more complex scents might be better for special occasions or evening wear. Consider where and when you plan to wear the perfume, and choose a scent that fits the occasion.

3. Test Before You Buy

Before buying a perfume, it’s important to test it on your skin to see how it reacts with your body’s natural chemistry. A perfume can smell very different on your skin than it does in the bottle, so always try a sample before making a purchase. Apply the perfume to your wrists, wait a few minutes for it to develop, and then smell the scent to see if it’s to your liking.

4. Consider the Concentration

Perfumes come in different concentrations, which can affect how strong the scent is and how long it lasts. If you want a long-lasting perfume that you don’t need to reapply throughout the day, consider choosing a perfume with the highest concentration, such as a parfum or an eau de parfum. If you prefer a lighter, more subtle scent, an eau de toilette or eau de cologne might be a better choice.

What is the right scent for you?

Perfumes are a powerful tool for self-expression, allowing us to project our personality and mood to the world. Understanding the different types of perfume and how they differ can help us make more informed choices when shopping for a new scent. Whether you prefer floral, woody, fresh, or oriental fragrances, there’s a perfume out there that’s perfect for you. So why not start exploring the different types of perfume today? You might just find your new signature scent.

Remember, a great perfume isn’t just about the scent. It’s about how it makes you feel, and the memories it helps you create. So go on, start your fragrance journey and find a scent that truly resonates with you. Good luck!

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  1. I didn’t know much about perfumes, but this post was so informative. Thank you for sharing the different types and what the concentrations are, I found this super helpful.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

  2. Amazing post! I’m currently looking for a new perfume and this was very helpful. I remember learning the difference between EdP and EdT years ago and this was a great refresher. Thank you for sharing!

  3. This was such an informative post! I typically use body mists but I think I might want to try an EdT or EdP soon so it lasts longer. I think personality is definitely a big part of choosing a scent – I personally lean towards fresh, floral, fruity ones. Thank you so much for sharing this, I learnt a lot x

  4. I knew there were different types of perfumes like EdP and EdT, but I didn’t know really the difference between them, so I learned something new! I personally prefer fruity and floral scents that are longer lasting, so parfum or EdP sounds perfect for me!

  5. Good knowledge sharing! I recently learned about perfume two weeks ago at work. And I discovered that to make perfume is similar with writing a fiction story. All you need is inspiration and philosophy.

  6. I have definitely learnt something new. I love perfumes and I usually experiment alot. I’m terrified to walk into a pefume shop because I’m easy to sell to but this was very informative and useful. It makes sense as to why pefume smells different when you first spray it etc.

  7. wow! I realized how little I actually know about perfumes thank you so much for taking the time to break this down. I had no idea how many kinds there are and what the differences are. I’m saving this for later this is awesome!! Great post!

  8. Oh wow, I had no idea there were so many different types of perfume! I think that most of mine are probably body mist, though my favourite perfume is Ghost Sweetheart which my sister got me. Floral scents are my favourite I think. x

  9. nicely written! Fascinating breakdown of perfume types! From fresh citrus to rich oriental scents, this article provides great insights into the diverse world of fragrances. Love how it helps in choosing the perfect scent based on personal preferences.

  10. I knew about the different types of perfume and the different levels, however I didn’t actually know the different percentages. That’s really interesting! This is such an informative post. I tend to go for fresh and fruity scents although I have one from the body shop which is very earthy and totally different to anything else I have – It’s lovely!


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