Fragrance families: do you know your 'chypre' from your 'fougere'?

What the giddy aunt is a ‘chypre‘?
Not exactly the most immediately evocative word to get your head around when describing a type of fragrance, but that’s what we’ve been landed with and so that’s what we continue to say. But how many people outside the world of perfumery could tell you what it actually means?
When touring the country talking to perfume lovers across the UK, our co-founders Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay asked this very question just to see, and out of the many hundreds who came to see them, only a couple of people put their hand up to venture an answer. Explains Jo, ‘…chypre is widely acknowledged as the most sophisticated (and beautiful) of fragrance families – and it’s a term the perfume world certainly believes is understood by all and sundry.’
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In fact, we dedicated an entire feature in our magazine, The Scented Letter, just to explaining the mysteries surrounding this scent category – so clearly something is amiss and requires further explanation. Indeed, there are all sorts of terms bandied about in perfumery that baffle the best of us at times. And what’s more – nobody entirely agrees on the ‘rules’ of which perfumes belong in which fragrance family at all.
What about Fougere, Oriental or Gourmand, Woody and Floriental – where to begin…?
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Well, we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the most frequently used fragrance families, with a brief history of their evolution and some iconic examples of perfumes to try in those categories, to see which family you are most frequently drawn to and perhaps discover some new ones to try. So why not get your nose stuck in and give it a go?
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 

Do you know these five tricks for making perfume last longer…?

Perfume can last four to six hours (or even longer), depending on the strength of the juice you’re spritzing, how dry your skin is or even what the weather’s like – perfumes dissipate much faster on dry skins, or when the air is particularly dry. But what can you do if, even in winter, your scent is scarpering more quickly than you’d like?
How long your fragrance lasts depends on your unique odour footprint, as well as the oiliness or dryness of your skin;  perfume likes to ‘cling’ to oil, and perfumes last longer on oilier-complexioned people. The strength of the fragrance is also a factor, and so are the notes:  deep, smouldering base notes – the woods, resins, leather and tobacco etc. – last longer. So a fresh cologne will never last as long as an Oriental.
From the moment you apply: the top notes, or ‘head’ notes last around 5-15  minutes before they disappear. Yet another reason why you should never judge a perfume as soon as you’ve sprayed! The middle (or “heart”) notes last from two to four hours, and convey the main character of the fragrance. The base notes or “dry down” usually lasts from four to six hours.
 
Colorful creative smoke waves on white background. Perfect for design, as graphic element or template background.Well, if you found a fleeting fragrance you loved in summer but hated how quickly it disappeared, do try it again now the seasons have changed and you may find it’s a love that lasts. If not, read on for our handy guide to making sure your scent stays with you…
If you have dry skin, make sure to smooth on a body oil, lotion or rich cream before applying your perfume, to give it something to ‘cling’ to.
Use matching body products, if available – it’s a beautiful way to ‘layer’ on your fragrance; body creams and body lotions, in particular, add emollients which hold perfume.  If these range extensions aren’t available, go for an unscented body cream, butter or lotion which won’t clash with your chosen scent. Think of it as a primer for perfume.
Try spraying your hair as well as your skin – though be careful if the perfume is dark in colour as you may unintentionally dye your hair… Hair is porous and will waft the scent even longer than on your skin in many cases.
Spritz a scarf with with scent and the heat of your body will make the fragrance bloom. Also a handy way to try a new fragrance you’re not sure of. Bored of it? Simply take the scarf off and try something else…
Remember that the nose becomes desensitised and quickly gets used to the notes of your perfume. Although you may not be able to smell it at all after 30-40 minutes, your friends and colleagues may still be able to, so ask a friend if they can still smell it before dousing yourself afresh (tempting as we find it!)
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It’s such a joy to find a fragrance that lasts on your skin the whole day through – or at least takes you on an interesting journey, don’t you think? That’s why we have a wide variety of Discovery Boxes for you to try a whole wardrobe of eclectic scents in the comfort of your home. Buying perfume is not a ten-second activity, so why not try something new and see how long they last on your skin, especially now you’ve read our top tips and are in the know…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale