While you might think that “perfume” is any kind of bottled liquid scent, the world of fragrances is actually much more complex. There are a variety of different kinds of perfume, some of which are much stronger than others. 

The most concentrated form of perfume is called parfum, or “extrait de parfum.” Parfum tends to be 20-30% fragrance (though it occasionally runs as high as 40%). This highly concentrated scent will last longer than other forms of perfume. It’ll often be detectable six to eight hours after you apply it. Other, less-concentrated types of perfume include eau de parfum (15-20% concentration), eau de toilette (5-15% concentration), and eau de cologne (2-4% concentration). 

If you’re interested in trying a strong, long-lasting parfum, here are some brands we’d recommend:


It depends! Everyone has unique tastes in perfume, and different occasions require different fragrances. If you’re just getting started and aren’t sure what kind of scent you prefer, we recommend trying one of our best-sellers. Here are three great entry-level perfumes:

But what if you’re experienced with perfumes, and want to find a bold new scent? For women who have already developed their taste in fragrance and are ready to stand out from the crowd, we’d recommend these three lines:




When confronted by the plethora of fragrances available, it can be overwhelming to choose one that’s right for you. Shelves upon shelves of eaux de toilette and parfums of various perfumeries, families and price tags.


Furthermore, even the most experienced sales consultants may struggle to find the fragrance that’s right for you. We all have our own individual tastes and preferences.


You can read all of the fragrance reviews that we host and elsewhere. Nevertheless, sometimes you need to know yourself before making the leap. After all, fragrances rarely come cheap.

In this tutorial, you will learn the different methods and steps of testing a perfume or cologne. This page even features a handy infographic guide that you can use for easy reference.

Testing Fragrances on your skin

Trying a fragrance on your skin is usually the next logical step after having tested a few blotters. Try to reserve this for a single fragrance that stands out of the crowd. Using your skin as a blotter will help you get to know it more and see how the fragrance evolves.

The heat and the skin’s natural oils allow it to go through its full life cycle to a much deeper extent. Furthermore, the way a fragrance’s oils react to card may be altogether different to your skin. What may smell good on paper might be an unpleasant experience on you.

A skin test limits you to only one fragrance. Naturally, you could always spray different parts of your body. However, the fragrances will contaminate one another. From a distance, you will only smell a mass of perfume and the scents will blend together badly up close.

How Do You Test A Fragrance On Your Skin?

  1. Spray the back of your hand twice whilst respecting the correct spray distance.
  2. Leave to dry naturally & do not rub in fragrance.
  3. Inhale the fragrance without letting it touch your nose.
  4. Refer back to your hand over time to see how it evolves.

Ensure always that your hands have been thoroughly washed before testing a fragrance. With all the things we touch during the day, the hands become dirty and polluted by other smells.

It may be difficult to resist but also avoid washing your hands during testing. Soap and water affect a fragrance’s natural evolution, which may affect the results. This is why applying fragrances to wrists has proven to be an ineffective habit.


Avoid Wearing Fragrances When Testing

Perfume stores are notoriously polluted with all the fragrances flying about. However, these are controllable and usually at a safe distance thanks to air conditioning.


If you’re testing different fragrances whilst wearing one yourself, its lingering presence will have an adverse affect on the results. This is especially the case when undertaking a skin test.

Coffee Beans Neutralise Odours

Why are there coffee beans on a perfume counter in department stores? Well, although some scientists challenge the theory, coffee beans have been proven to work as olfactory palate cleansers.

In his 2006 UC Berkeley paper, “The Influence of Smelling Coffee on Olfactory Habituation”, Noam Sobel maintains coffee as an effective palate cleanser. The coffee aroma soothes nasal receptors allowing odour intensity to remain consistent when sampling perfumes.


However, the technique is not with caveats. Coffee beans can neutralise most odours lingering in the nostrils but are less effective with gourmand and oriental fragrances. This is because such fragrances may contain similar notes to coffee, which will instead enhance the aroma.

If sampling these type of fragrances, smelling clean skin, wool clothes or even lemon has been known to prove effective.


Test Fragrances In The Morning

Your sense of smell often peaks in the morning hours, which means that your perception of fragrances will be sharper. Aim to test fragrances in the morning for a better assessment.

Similarly, due to higher moisture content in the air, our nasal receptors are more refined in the warmer months. You may notice that your sense of smell is better during spring and summer. However, this may swing both ways as some fragrances may have notes that are more effective in autumn and winter by association.


What Are Fragrance Concentrations?

The different iterations of a fragrance usually boil down to concentrations. Aside from other merchandise such as deodorants and shower gels, chances are that this is the sole difference between products.

A bottle never contains pure fragrance but is actually a blend of a scent and a base. The scent usually comprises of essences, aromatic compounds and oils. However, the base is usually either a mix of ethanol and water or simply one of the two


So why don’t we just bottle the scent alone?


Firstly, it would be overly strong and to have even a decent amount would cost a fortune. However, the real reason is that alcohol helps the scent project.


The aromatic compounds alone may smell exceedingly strong but you have almost no projection. You have to put your nose right up to it and by then it becomes an eye-watering experience. The base dilutes it and helps it radiate off your skin as the alcohol evaporates or cooks.


Furthermore, alcohol acts as a stabilising agent that preserves the more volatile oils in a perfume. This also ensures they properly blend together to form accords.


Note that some fragrances turn to alternative fragrance solvents or bases that are alcohol free or organic. This offers a hyper-allergic solution for those with skin sensitivity to alcohol.

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