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  • Writer's pictureHolly Hutchinson

Concentrations in Perfume

There are a few factors that inform how long you will be aware of your fragrance. If you use the same perfume every day, your brain will pay less attention to it due to olfactory habituation. Smell, at its most basic level, is a survival tool. It’s like a sort of Snog, Marry, Avoid. Before we learned to rely on visual and audio cues, our sense of smell told us if we could eat something, mate with someone, or if we should run away screaming. When you experience olfactory habituation, that’s your brain telling you that this smell is familiar and safe and doesn’t need paying attention to. This is why we tend to notice scents that smell smoky longer than others. Your brain is wondering where the fire is.

This is why it’s also a good idea to swap your scents regularly. It keeps your sense of smell on its toes, and scents you experience in one perfume will inform your perspective when you experience the same smells in other fragrances while also expanding your olfactory palette. Your nose is like any other muscle. The more you exercise it, the more fine-tuned it will become.

Once upon a time, in a boardroom in America, someone in the marketing department decided that all men’s fragrance should be called cologne. For whatever reason, the word “perfume” was deemed too “feminine” for men. The word “perfume” is derived from the Latin “per fumus”, which means through smoke. Most likely an ancient association with incense. However, there’s nothing feminine about that.

Cologne is a fragrance concentration of anywhere between 2 - 5% fragrance oil. And, yes, it did originate in Cologne, Germany. The first one was made by Giovanni Maria Farina in 1709. Classic colognes were the first “unisex” fragrances. Although a luxury, the use of colognes borders on functional. Their compositions are meant to lend themselves to longevity. They’re made to freshen - lots of citruses, brisk aromatics, neroli, woods and mosses. Vigorous, fast-moving succession of smells to reinvigorate the senses. They do their thing and make a quick exit.

Traditionally, all of the iconic “feminine” perfumes - Chanel No.5, Femme de Rochas, Schiaparelli Shocking - also came in a cologne concentration. Most brands made an eau de toilette and eau de cologne to accompany their parfum extraits. Some fragrance houses, even to this day, have different formulations to suit the various fragrance concentrations. Eau de parfum or parfum de toilettes didn’t come around until much later in the 1970s.

The irony of the mainstream perfume industry is that in trying to designate fragrances as “pour homme” and “pour femme”, they’ve only made it more confusing for customers who feel as if they are doing something wrong if they respond to a perfume outside the normal gender binaries. And while it’s almost impossible to deny that masculine and feminine ciphers do exist within fragrance, if you enjoy having a certain fragrance around you, that’s what you should wear. Perfume is adaptable. It accentuates the person wearing it. We wear perfume; it doesn’t wear us. If it’s you enjoy how it smells, and it’s bringing you joy, the perfume is fulfilling its purpose.

Memoize London boasts of 20 perfumes with oil content of 20% and above to give you the most long-lasting and quality scents in Extrait De Parfum. Explore our collection online.


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