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Fragrances and Perfumes- A whiff of aroma
Buying Guides in Fragrances & Perfumes

"No elegance is possible without perfume. It is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory." Coco Chanel

A perfume is, in essence, a concoction of fragrant essential oils and aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to bestow the human body with a pleasurable scent. The odoriferous compounds used to prepare perfume can be manufactured synthetically or extracted from plant or animal sources.The word perfume used today derives from the Latin word Per Fumus, meaning 'through smoke'. Perfumery, the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt and was further refined by the Romans and Persians.Although perfume and perfumery also existed in India, most of our homespun fragrances were largely incense based. The earliest distillation of Ittar, (Arabic term for scent) found notable mention in the Hindu Ayurvedic text CharakaSamhita. If you are a discerning buyer who believes in meticulous spade-work before making the final purchase, do not let the extensive terminology befuddle you. Here is a quick run through to equip inquisitive consumers with enough expertise to buy a nice bottle of awesome perfume.

Know Your Perfume

Based on the concentration of ingredients in the fragrance, perfumes and fragrances can be broadly classified as follows:

Scented products

These include lotions, creams, powders, body splashes, aftershaves, soaps, and other scented cosmetic products that contain variable and very small amounts of fragrance, very often not more than 3%.

Eau de cologne

Eau de cologne is a solution of roughly 3% perfume compound in an alcohol-water base. It is essentially much lighter than a concentrated perfume. Men's cologne, characteristicallycontaining 5% to 8% perfume compound, is more concentrated than that of women and is similar to the strength of Eau de toilette (explained below).

Eau de toilette

Eau de toilette is an alcohol- or water-based perfume solution containing around 3% to 8% perfume compound. Less concentrated than Eau de parfum, it is often used to create a lighter version of a fragrance.

Eau de parfum

Eau de parfum is an alcoholic perfume solution containing 10% to 15% of the perfume compound.

Perfume

Perfume is the most highly concentrated form of fragrance, containing between 20% and 50% perfume compound. It is the strongest and the most enduring option, apart from being the most expensive.

Cherry-pick your Fragrance

With the most premium of fragrances being proffered by sundry designers at diverse price points, perfume aficionadoscertainly find themselves absolutely spoilt for sheer choice and indulgence, and they aren't really complaining! If you have a budget, the perfume market has a fragrance for you. Here is a swift lowdown on the broad categories perfume buffs may choose from:

Mass fragrances

Not every consumer prefers to shop at a fancy supermarket or a high-end drugstore for a commonplace austere perfume.Mass merchandisers seem to have taken a cue, and are busy imparting a smart volte-faceto run-of-the-mill stuff through nifty packaging and long-drawn-out product lines. Adidas, Coty and Revlonare the forerunners extending a superlative basic line of perfumes at extremely hunkered price points for the modest end-user.

Prestige fragrances

With ostentatious names like Desire, Obsession and Pink, prestige fragrances are nothing short of luxury itemsboasting of price points beginning roughly at two thousand rupees for a whit of ounces and steadily spiralling upwards from there. These fragrances are composed of a more complex scent and invariably combine very exotic (read extortionatelyexpensive!) ingredients for flamboyantconsumers, who cherish all the frills and superfluities that money can buy!

Celebrity fragrances

Eternity by Abhishek Bachchan, Creed Love In White by Angelina Jolie, Glow by J-Lo and, never to be missed, the eternally bestselling White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor are some of the elite limited edition perfumeslaunched and endorsed by illustriouscelebrities in recent years. Celebrity scents might not replicate the authentic smells of our favouritesuperstars,nonetheless, they do represent a rock-solid connection between celebs and their ardent fans, which proves to be the perfectmoney-spinningrecipe for the makers.Brands such as Coty, Avon and Elizabeth Ardenprefer to partner with celebrities on novel lines of fragrances to capitalize on their immense popularity.However, make no mistake! There is a lot more to celebrity-inspired fragrances than a mere name on a bottle. As is par for the course with all upscale perfumes, loads of extensive R & Dgoes into creating a pleasing, high-grade scent swearing mass-appeal.

Some Nippy Facts about Scents

Fragrance manufacturers are acutely mindfulthat both men and women love to make their own distinctive style statement through their choice of fragrance. All fragrances are deliberated primarily to conjureboth carnal and emotional responses, and here are a few key characteristics of fragrances for women and men:

Centred on the base scent, fragrances for women can be fragmentedinto the following expansive themes:

" Floral scents: These scents contain the soothing aroma of beautiful flowers and are perfect for day-long wear. Prevalent options in this segment remain Bvlgari Pour Femme by Bvlgari, Cacharel by Eden, Eternity by Calvin Klein and Oscar by Oscar de la Renta.

" Fruity scents: Teeming with fresh fruity notes, these perfumes simply refresh and entice, and are bound to pep you up for a casual evening out.Users can choose from a host of popular brands such as Escapeby Calvin Klein, Diorella by DIOR, BOSS Woman by BOSS and Be Delicious by DKNY.

" Spicy scents: These are warm and opulent perfumes infused with exotic spices, and remain your ideal bet for a high-octane evening party. Ladies can pick from a multitude of options like212 Sexy by Carolina Herrera , Opium by Yves Saint Laurent and Dolce Vita by DIOR.

" Woody scents: These perfumes are earthy, warm and dry smelling and contain mossy and stringy notes. Wear them anytime, anywhere to exude a style and charisma of your own. Arden Beauty by Elizabeth Arden, She by Emporio Armani , Pour Femme by Lacoste and Obsession by Calvin Klein are some of the available options in the given category.

Men seem to be catching up fast by exercising a perceptive choice in finalising the right fragrance to go with their mood and personality. As a matter of fact, across diverse age-groups, men's fragrances are increasingly becoming an indispensable part of their wardrobe, and come in a variety of themes, such as:

" Spicy scents: Suffused with aromatic spices, these perfumes primarily sport a base sandalwood fragrance warmed by bold spicy notes such as pepper, nutmeg, cloves or cinnamon. Popular options are Cool Water by Davidoff, CLASSIC for Men by Bath & Body Worksand Hugo by Hugo Boss.

" Citrus scents: These perfumes comprise predominant notes of citrus and fruit oils, including lemon, orange, apricot, peach, grapefruit and lime. They tend to be light, juicy and tangy fresh! CK One by Calvin Klein, Masculine by Dolce &Gabbana and Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani are superb options in the given segment.

" Woody scents: These are characteristically masculine fragrances dominated by woody and outdoor notes, quite analogous to leather. They usually contain wood oil and distillates. Wood elements like sandalwood, patchouli, rosewood, cedar and camphor are typically used to create the woody smell. These are ideal for all-day wear and men can take their pick from a swarm of warm and unpretentious woody scents such as Bvlgari by Bvlgari and Obsession by Calvin Klein.

" Leather scents: Leather scents in various tones, from floral, velvety compositions to tart, smoky ones are placed in this group. Promising an enduring heady and masculine smell, these are ideal for evening wear. Polo by Ralph Lauren and Quorum Cologne by Puigare some of the popular options in this category.

A Parenthesis

A perfume is akin to a lingering afterthought, which has an immensely emancipating effect on our senses. Wear it like a second skin for your moment of freedom and sensuality amidst the trials and tribulations ofcontemporary living, and watch your conspicuous silence talk! Just be certain to make a well-informed and incisive buying decision and simply whiff away to glory!