For most men, selecting a cologne fragrance is eerily akin to picking out a piece of jewelry. The man has little idea what he’s doing or even where to begin… other than looking within a specified price range. This general lack of olfactory knowledge is a shame, as the fragrance decision, while not on par with selecting a wife or career, does play a role in a man’s interactions, first impressions and confidence. So, with the importance of fragrance knowledge clearly making “scents” to you now, here’s everything you need to “nose” about fragrances (sorry).
A personal fragrance is simply a mixture of essential oils and other good stuff blended together to create a scent significantly better than a person’s stripped-down body odor. In ye’ olden days, fragrances were used primarily by the wealthy to mask the B.O. (deodorants weren’t in vogue yet) resulting from infrequent bathing. So essentially, the whole fragrance industry was created to make sure certain folks didn’t reek.
Parfum, Cologne, EDT? How’s a gent to know the difference as they’re all things in cans that can be sprayed or dabbed on? Well, there is a difference and the variation lies in the product’s concentration. Concentration determines how strong the scent of the fragrance is and the stronger the concentration, the more intensely noticeable the fragrance is and the longer it will last on the body.
By and large, guys tend to “concentrate” less than women, using mostly Eau de Cologne (EdC). Here are the different types of fragrances and their respective concentration levels:
Describing a fragrance is quite similar to reviewing the merits of a bottle of wine. Fragrances are known to have three sets of notes – Top, Middle and Base. These notes unfold over time, with the immediate impression of the Top Note leading to the deeper Middle Notes and the Base Notes gradually appearing as the legacy of the scent.
Top Notes: The scent perceived immediately upon application, these notes form a person’s initial impression and is thus very important in the selling process. This is often where men make the biggest “rush to judgment” mistake, as that first whiff doesn’t accurately showcase the way things are going to smell after the scent has time to settle in.
Middle Notes: The scent that emerges just prior to the dissipation of the Top Notes. The Middle Notes form the "heart" of a fragrance and act to mask the sometimes unpleasant initial impression of Base Notes, which become more pleasant with time.
Base Notes: The Base and Middle Notes come together to reflect the main theme of a fragrance. Base Notes are typically rich and aren’t usually perceived until 30 minutes after application.
Step 1: Repeat after us: Less is More. Less is More. The idea is for people to appreciate the scent, not be overwhelmed by it. Don’t get fooled into thinking additional volume will make it last longer. That’s nonsense.
Step 2: Fragrances should be put on from bottom to top, with application concentrating on pulse points. The most frequent pulse points for men are behind the ears, neck, armpits and wrists. Hitting all these pulse points is certainly overkill, so pick and choose what’s appropriate.
Step 3: Don’t get overanxious with spraying or such, as a scent needs time to sink in. By applying on pulse points, the fragrance will distribute evenly around the body. Let us repeat… less is more.