fragrance vocabulary: 1 post

Speaking Perfume : A-Z of Common Fragrance Descriptions

The inability of our language to fully capture the nuances of scents can be very frustrating. We associate scents with something – a place, a memory, a flavor – but most people struggle to describe smell on its own terms. Perfumers and professional fragrance evaluators overcome some of the communication issues by being trained to use specific terms to define fragrances. Often this language finds its way to press releases and perfume counters, but lacking an explanation, it is often meaningless. Who would ever guess that “aromatic” in perfumery parlance means green, camphorous, herbal notes, as opposed to “having an aroma,” as a dictionary would define it? Or how would one define balsamic, aldehydic and floralcy?

blue-flowers

A few months ago we chatted about the terms we found confusing, and based on that discussion I made a list of common terms and perfume descriptors. This list is constantly updated, and for more information on a specific term, please click on the link associated with it. Please feel free to suggest other terms to add.

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  • Tourmaline in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Hi Frances, What a wonderful word to describe strong fragrances – “bombastic”! I wear my bombastic perfumes in cold weather. With kind regards, Tourmaline October 21, 2021 at 6:35am

  • Tourmaline in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Hi Jeanne, Well that’s interesting… I didn’t know that Les Néréides created perfume. I only knew the brand for the pretty jewellery that I’ve bought from a TV shopping network… October 21, 2021 at 6:29am

  • Monika in 10 Favorite Modern Patchouli Fragrances: Paestum Rose is extraordinary — to quote Chandler Burr — it “unfolds with a scented crepuscular darkness, a twilight that is an exact balance of disappearing sunlight and incipient evening.… October 20, 2021 at 7:27pm

  • Michele in Top Classical Patchouli Perfumes : Part 1 Patchouli: Michele: Victoria, could you review Mandy Aftel’s Bergamoss Solid. It’s a Chypres and she said she created it to be like ones first created. I’d really like to know. Thank… October 20, 2021 at 5:42pm

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