Sense of smell ties people strongly to memories, for example the whiff of mother’s traditional Christmas fruit cake and grandmother’s pickles are unforgettable. People of all age or gender love smelling something wonderful, which is why fragrance has been bottled up.

According to a survey, it is estimated that perfumers release more than 390 new perfumes every year for men and women. These new fragrances join the other thousands already present in the scent family.

It is assumed that cologne is for a man and perfume is for a woman. According to perfumers the terms ‘Perfume’ and ‘Cologne’ means the level of concentration and not to who will wear them. Alternatively, people check the label because the gender is specified on it. This makes buying gender-specific scent very easy. An oriental product like Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille is designed for both men and women.

How perfumers make perfumes and colognes?

Fragrance oils are the base of perfumes and colognes. Aromatic substances are either made using traditional methods, which need lot of raw materials for producing small amount of pure oil. On the other hand, there is the synthetic way to produce aromatics, which are chemically similar to natural fragrance but is very expensive to produce.

Basically, perfume oils are very intense and even have unpleasant smell at times. A trained perfumer will dilute and mix them with water and alcohol. The mixture will then transform into a different character. For example, the Gucci Intense Oud is a luxurious Unisex scent worth woody tones as base and can be worn on any kind of social event.

Two or three fragrance oils are used to create a fragrance. Some perfumes need to age just like wines and a few are best, when they are mixed freshly. Modern perfumes are alcohol-based. Alcohol helps perfume oil to meld in distinctive new scent. It also helps the aroma to disperse, more widely.

Concentration

Fragrance (perfume oil percentage) concentration categorized under scent family

  • Extrait – 40%
  • Eau de parfum20% – 30%
  • Eau de toilette – 10% – 15%
  • Eau de cologne – 3% to 8%
  • Body mist – 2% to 3%
  • Aftershaves & lotions – Less than 1%

Cologne Vs Perfume

Concentration is the main distinguishing difference between perfume and cologne. Besides concentration other difference are cost, duration, and personalization.

Cost

Alcohol used in perfumes is not expensive but pure fragrance oils cost thousands per ounce. Therefore, perfumes are expensive than colognes of the same brand. Depending on ingredients, a not-so-popular brand may carry a costly price tag than a designer’s cologne.

Duration

Alcohol evaporates quickly but fragrance oils linger on the skin. The more percentage of oils mean lasting duration is more. Therefore, extracts have great staying power, when compared to body mists, colognes, and powders. Lotions and after shaves are only meant to offer light fragrance, after application. They are not designed to last all through the day.

Which perfumes to choose? Are there any rules?

Perfumes with strong woody, musky, or leathery aroma are considered as masculine products. Fresh, sweet, light, floral, and fruity aroma is labeled to be feminine. Actually, choosing a perfume is subjective experience. It cannot be dictated by marketers.

If a guy selects feminine fragrance then it does not indicate that he feels feminine. It can be because the delicate fragrance balances his unique body chemistry. Alternatively, a girl can be drawn to strong masculine perfume like Armani Code Profumo because she desires a powerful fragrance, which is available on scent market, today. Perfume selection is hard and cannot be predicted on wearer’s gender.