What is the difference between the various perfume concentrations? In my new FT column Eau de cologne vs eau de toilette vs eau de parfum I explain that it’s mostly about marketing. Forget about the proportion of oils, the lasting power or the diffusion. Such categorization is of recent vintage, and its main objective is to sell more perfume from the same pillar brand. By way of example, today I’m wearing Chanel Cristalle EDT on one arm and its EDP version on another. They have fewer overlaps than Cristalle and Estée Lauder Jasmine White Moss. In other words, don’t rely on the concentrations to buy perfume. Use your nose.
Eau de cologne, eau de toilette, eau de parfum, extrait de parfum. What do the terms mean? Open any perfume book and I guarantee that you will read an explanation that these French words denote different concentrations of fragrant oils in the finished product and a corresponding strength. Some authors might even give you a chart showing that cologne is two per cent oil and lasts for only two hours, while extrait de parfum is 25 per cent oil and requires a skin graft for complete removal. It sounds convincing until one confronts the truth. Perfume concentrations are a marketing tool and often do not mean anything exact. The proportion of oil doesn’t play as great a role as the ingredients in the composition. As such, different concentrations denote neither how long a perfume will last nor how many “rare and precious” materials it contains. To continue, please click here.
Image via FT