Welcome to the Perfumers's Corner!

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.

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