Absolute: a concentrated perfume material obtained by solvent
extraction. Certain flowers are too delicate for steam distillation, and
solvent extraction is an alternate way of obtaining perfumery
components from these flowers.
Aldehyde: in perfumery, the term aldehyde refers to a waxy or fatty
impression in a perfume. I think of this as the "perfumey"
characteristic that you find in perfumes near the beginning of the 20th
century. An example of an aldehydic perfume would be Chanel #5.
Accord: a balanced combination of three or four notes that lose their individual identity to create a completely new impression.
Aromachemical: any chemical possessing a useful odor, which is safe to
use as a fragrance ingredient in proper dilution. These chemicals must
comply with regulatory and legal restrictions.
Base notes: these are the longest lasting of perfumery ingredients. They
are the last fragrances to leave the skin, and also serve the function
of extending the life of middle and top notes.
Carrier: a blending medium to which drops of perfumery components are
added. The carrier provides a buffer for the skin , which otherwise
might be irritated by undiluted perfumery components. The carrier can be
oil-based, (jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil,
etc.) or perfumers alcohol.
Chord: a series of notes (perfumery components). Perfumes are made up of
base chords, middle (heart) chords, and top (head) chords
Chypre: a French word for 'Cyprus', after the island. In perfumery, this
type of fragrance is traditionally a blend of Oak Moss, Sandalwood and
Musk as base notes, middle notes of Rose and Jasmine, and a Citrus top.
The classic fragrance of this type is "Chypre de Coty", created by
Francois Coty in 1917.
Essential oil: an oil derived from a natural material through the use of steam distillation.
Fragrance oil: a blend of aromachemicals and sometimes natural
ingredients. Ex. Rose fragrance oil might be a blend of geraniol and
phenylethyl alcohol, perhaps with a touch of natural Rose absolute.
Fougere: (fern in French) constructed around a base of lavender,
coumarin and oakmoss. Many men's fragrances belong to this family of
fragrances, which is characterized by its sharp herbaceous and woody
scent. Houbigant's Fougere Royale was one of the first of this type of
Fragrance testing strips -- scent strips: thin strips of absorbent paper
that are dipped into perfumery components or finished fragrances in
order to evaluate their scent.
Fixatives: base notes that make a perfume last longer. Examples are the musks, woods, patchouli, mosses and resins.
Middle notes: these notes provide the body, or theme, to a perfume composition. Many florals fall into this category.
Oceanic/Ozone: the newest category in perfume history, appearing in 1991
with Christian Dior's Dune. A very clean, modern smell leading to many
of the modern androgynous perfumes.
Perfumer's Bases: blends of aromachemicals that can be used as "building
blocks" in creating a fragrance. For example: a Rose base is made up of
many different components to simulate the aroma of rose.
Top (head) notes: these notes create the perfume's first impression and
in general do not last very long on the skin. The citruses make up a
large part of this category