Okay, I’m not going to lie – I've been wearing the same ‘eau de toilette’ since I was 14 years old. I've always been completely overwhelmed by the concept of picking my personal scent. How the hell am I supposed to choose a single perfume to represent my entire being? My style, my personality; all in a single bottle? Impossible!
That is, until I discovered the personal ‘Perfume Portrait’ services at Peony Haute Parfumerie. The guru of Artisan perfume, Jill Timms welcomed me into her emporium this week in an attempt to save me from “cheap and dreadful top notes sold by mainstream marketing”.
A personal ‘Perfume Portrait' is a very in-depth one-on-one consultation with the fragrance queen herself. Jill asked me to name some perfumes that I have liked or have liked on others. She dissected each answer to find the common essences (using the Michael Edwards Fragrance Database). We spent some time trying different fragrances and Jill studied my reactions carefully. It was a meticulous and fascinating process.
She also taught me some key rules along the way;
1. The Fragrance Pyramid;
All perfumes are made of three layers; Top (head), middle (heart) and base notes.
The top notes are the stronger more striking aromas, it’s the initial impression you get of a perfume. However, due to the volatile nature of these molecules – the scent only lasts for a short period of time.
The middle and base notes contain the long lasting scents which create the real essence of the entire perfume. Jill’s tip of the day? “Always wear a fragrance for at least 15 minutes before purchasing it”. After the initial spray, you will notice the scent slowly fades - most of the time, the fragrance completely changes and sometimes, it almost disappears. This depends on the acidity in your skin as well, some fragrances will dissipate after 15 minutes. So always let your perfume sit on your skin for a little while, before committing to it!
2. Long lasting fragrances;
Finally, now I know the difference between; eau de cologne, eau de toilette, eau de parfume and perfume! These are categories of quality and strength. Eau de colognes and eau de toilettes contain roughly 7% -10% essence whilst parfumes and perfumes contain around 15-40% essence which makes them longer lasting on the skin.
3. Where you should be applying your perfume;
I was shocked to find that your neck is the worst place to apply perfume! The skin around that area is very sensitive and wearing perfume (with its high level of alcohol) can cause serious damage to skin when exposed to the sun. According to Jill the best places to apply perfume are;
- Wrists; transfer from one wrist to the other by patting gently, avoid rubbing as it causes friction and heat which ruins the perfume
- The back of your neck; this is the area that keeps the perfume subtle yet mysteriously prominent when you are speaking to someone and especially when you greet your friends/family with a hug or kiss.
- The back of your knees! I was surprised by this tip, but it’s very effective if you are wearing a skirt or dress. It leaves an light trail of fragrance when you walk, very posh!
All-in-all, it was a very insightful day at the parfumerie. Finally, I have graduated into the elegant world of fragrance! What did I take home? A beautiful 100ml bottle of Amouage, Honour. A decadent parfume with white floral notes and a subtle oriental kick. I love it!
Hope this article has inspired you to discover your personal scent.
Good Luck x