How To: Learn What You Are Smelling In A Perfume

You are intoxicated by the scent of your favorite perfume, but you have no idea why. You know when a perfume smells sweet, sour, or smoky…but what makes them smell this way? Perfume and colognes are made of many different essential oils and compounds to create an enjoyable essence for its users. There are many different notes and accords that fill a perfume bottle to make it smell the way it does.

What are notes/accords and how do I know which ones are in my perfume?

When we say that a perfume has a certain accord, we mean that a compilation of notes makes the perfume smell a certain way. The notes are the individual scents within the perfume’s composition. For example, if a perfume had notes of jasmine, tuberose, apple, and strawberry then the accord of the perfume would be examined as a fruity-floral fragrance.
Bombshells in Bloom by Victoria's Secret

Accord: Fruity-Floral Notes: red apple, freesia, water lily

To know which notes you are smelling in your own perfumes may not come to you right away. It takes practice to know exactly what you are smelling in a perfume that is compiled with many different notes. You may try starting with a perfume that has very few basic notes, so that you can memorize what those notes smell like. You may also take a stroll by the essential oil/candle aisle in a local store to see what individual notes smell like. Once you have many of the basic notes of down, then you can rule out those notes when trying to smell more complex compositions with notes that may not be so easy to hunt down at your local department store. It takes time to get to know your notes, but it is a fun hobby to have if you are interested in fragrance.
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