There’s more to choosing a fragrance than getting your mother or girlfriend to do it for you.

Gone are the days of stockpiling an inherited family favourite. Just because your father wears it does not mean it’s right for you. Fragrances react differently to the body’s chemical composition from one person to the next. So what may smell like patchouli on one person may smell like a rat’s patoudi on another.

Test the fragrance on your skin and not on one of those paper strips dished out in chain stores, as body heat is integral to the aroma given off. Ask for a sample or spray some on yourself and wear it for a while – bearing in mind that a fragrance changes its aroma over time. Why? Because it is a blend of different juices that release and react independently of each other

TAKE NOTE

Fragrances are divided into three notes – a top note, middle note and base note

  1. Top notes refer to the first scent impression of a fragrance once it has been applied to the skin. They are usually lighter aromas that evaporate quickly and usually linger for five to 30 minutes.
  2. Middle notes are sometimes referred to as the heart of the fragrance and refer to the body of the blend. You may notice them from the start but usually these will take about 15 to 30 minutes to fully develop on the skin. These notes usually classify the fragrance according to fragrance families like citrus, oriental, chypre and woody.
  3. Base notes are the aromas in the blend with the greatest molecular weight. They last the longest and also assist in slowing down the evaporation rates of the lighter notes by binding them to the skin. Common base notes include oilier components like Tonka bean, patchouli, musk and vanilla.