the art of fragrance buying

As the holiday season approaches many contemplate which perfume to get for loved ones. Despite the plethora of choices glistening in cosmetic counters like precious jewels, we often pick a fragrance that we have seen in print advertisements or smelled on a friend. However, selecting a scent, or to be more precise the scent that is just right for the wearer, is an art.

A Feminine Choice

The Olfactory Research Fund based in New York City is dedicated to the study of the sense of smell and human reaction to odors. This highly specialized institution defines aromacology as a science exploring “the inter-relationship of psychology and the latest in fragrance technology to transmit through odor a variety of specific feelings…relaxation, exhilaration, sensuality, happiness and achievement…directly to the pleasure center of the brain.” Meaning, quantifiable and verifiable findings show that olfactory pathways to the brain can trigger a myriad of sensations. Indeed, fragrances can transmit feelings through smell. Therefore, a legitimate question to ask before making a purchase is, “Which sensation do I want to evoke?”

Legendary for Sexy

Most fragrances fall into four categories: feminine, sophisticated, clean, and sexy. Feminine scents are usually a mix of fruity and floral notes, accented with a whiff of sweet or a touch of powder. Research indicates they enhance work performance and increase motivation. Popular picks in this group are Michael by Michael Kors, Creed Spring Flower and Marc Jacobs. Sophisticated perfumes are preferred by bold women, who want to make a statement. The olfactory equivalent of a pair of strappy Gucci stilettos, sophisticated scents feature complex, unexpected combinations like woody Orientals and floral aldehydes. Favorites in this group are Donna Karan Black Cashmere, Dolce & Gabbana Sicily and Hermès Calèche. Clean fragrances evoke the feeling of a fresh shower or clean white linens. Dynamic concoctions made of citrus, green herb and watery floral blends, these nasal energizers also help curb the appetite. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, CK Escape, Chanel No. 19 or DKNY Woman anyone? Sexy essences have a warm, smoldering and intoxicating quality. Infused with sweet and spicy notes, as well as animal odors like musk, they are inextricably tied to sensual magnetism. Some legendary names that speak for themselves are Poison, Obsession, Shalimar and Musc Rivageur.

Now that you understand how the various scents work their magic, it is time to address the issue of application. For starters, it is crucial to know that perfume has the longest lasting quality, as it is the most concentrated form of the fragrance. Nonetheless, dousing the neck with splashes of perfume is not the only way to achieve lasting power, otherwise known as persistance. Fragrance layering is the key to leaving behind an intoxicating trail of scent, namely a sillage. The use of two or more fragrance forms like bath & shower products, body lotion, body mist, Eau de Toilette and perfume - all in the same scent - can increase longevity and intensify the experience. Just make sure to apply the perfume on pulse points (wrists, behind ears, base of the throat, crook of elbow, bosom and behind the knees.)

It is always a good measure to be sensible when applying fragrance. Though each individual’s personal taste, body chemistry and skin type dictates how much is needed and/or preferred, a person’s scent circle should not exceed an arm’s length from the body. Permeating the entire room is considered impolite and tasteless. Body chemistry affects the interaction of the skin with the fragrance. Just because Chanel No. 5 smells divine on on one woman does not mean the fragrance will be right for everyone. Thus, it is imperative to test a fragrance at least until the top notes dissipate revealing the heart – approximately 10 minutes. Lastly, to fully integrate a perfume into your life and fragrance wardrobe, you should live with it a while. Only with time can you ascertain the times of the day and the occasions that are right for a perfume and you. A stellar holiday party perhaps?

Here is a short list of some of Fashionlines’ favorite fragrances. If any one of them tickles your fancy, be sure to ask a sales representative for a tester and try the scent before making a decision.

Missoni is an irresistible blend of luscious fruits, exuberant florals, and tantalizing gianduia. The sublime scent captures the sensuality of a holiday in Italy with notes of vibrant Italian bergamot, dewy rose, zesty bitter orange, addictive gianduia (a sweet chocolate containing hazelnut and almond paste), and fluid amber.

Guerlain Insolence
Created by Maurice Roucel, creator of L'Instant by Guerlain, this unconventional fragrance is infused with zingy notes of violet and jubilant red berries like raspberry. A hint of orange blossom and rose impart a striking intensity, while sensual iris and tonka bean resins finish the scent, making Insolence the ultimate luxury fragrance.

Tocca Touch
A sensuous and faintly exotic scent based on pomegranate found in the Garden of Eden, the exotic Tahitian tiare flower, and rizzi balsam from ancient Egypt.

Thierry Mugler Angel
Angel, which launched a new fragrance category called the "oriental gourmands," seduces us with angelic flavors found deep within the heart of our memories, as well as sensual and passionate notes.

Bvlgari Eau Parfumee Green Tea
Green tea leaves, known for their healing and relaxing effects are the source of the base note in Bvlgari's first cologne, Eau Parfumee. Launched in 1992 with the delicate and discreet, yet lively and citrusy scent of green tea, this cologne is for both men and women. Other notes include: Italian Bergamot, Tunisian Bitter Orange, Spanish Orange Blossom, Ceylon Cardamom, Jamaican Pepper, Russian Coriander, Bulgarian Rose, Egyptian Jasmine, Green Tea, Smoked Wood.

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