All you ever wanted to know about perfume

Chords, drying, wake, notes, top notes …

For perfumers, one of these words refers to an isolated smell in a perfume; another describes the result obtained when these isolated odors combine to produce an effect. But for the rest of the world, these words often seem very obscure, and because of this, the world of perfumery may seem foreign and unattractive.

As Simon Constantine, perfume creator for the Gorilla Perfume range, points out, even the terms used to describe the ingredients may seem strange to the uninitiated: « The perfume organ (the perfumer’s workstation) is full of materials that When they are highly concentrated, they feel downright bad, and we try to mask this phenomenon slightly by adapting our vocabulary, speaking of « faecal » or « animal » notes – whereas what we mean, in reality, can can be summed up as ‘It stinks!’

To better understand all this olfactory blast, this article presents some words of vocabulary (starting with ‘olfactory’, an adjective that refers to the sense of smell) and answers several common questions.

A bit of vocabulary:

Perfume organ: the piece of furniture on which the perfumer works; it is usually full of the ingredients necessary to create the compositions.

Essential and absolute oils: the difference between essential oils and absolutes lies in the way they are extracted. An essential oil is an aromatic material generally extracted by steam distillation. It is often described as the essence of a plant (hence its name). Absolutes, on the other hand, are extracted by solvent, because the natural substances are more delicate and could be damaged by the high temperatures that steam distillation generates.

Notes and chords: In perfume, notes can be understood as analogous to musical notes. Each ‘note’ corresponds to an isolated individual element. Examples of notes include ylang-ylang, sandalwood or lavender. In perfumery, just like in music, the notes are combined to produce chords.

Top notes, heart notes and base notes: these are the three most commonly used words to describe the notes of a perfume: head, heart and background. In the first few seconds when a perfume touches the skin or a test strip, the top notes are those that you feel first. The notes of the heart, the central notes of a perfume, follow, which last longer on the skin than the top notes. They are often considered to be the true personality of a perfume. Finally, it is the turn of the background notes. Slow to evaporate, they ensure the depth of the fragrance and allow it to last longer.

Drying: when the top and bottom notes become harder to discern, the last stage of the perfume action begins. It is this step that is called drying. (If you do not know what are the top notes and heart, look at the definition above it!)

Wake: trace left on the surface of the water by a passing boat; in the jargon of perfumery, smell of a perfume left behind by the person who wears it.

How to choose a perfume ?

Ideally by yourself, asking for advice from our teams in the shop.

Why is the smell of perfume not the same on my skin as in the bottle?

Because your skin is actually the last ingredient of your perfume … But do not panic! Let us explain this strange fact in more detail. Indeed, the temperature, pH, natural aroma and moisture of your skin are important components that influence a fragrance. A perfume can take several hours before all its notes evaporate, and this duration also differs depending on the skin.

Where to apply the perfume?

The idea of ​​applying perfume on our wrists did not come from nowhere: the duration of the effect of a perfume on the skin depends on the temperature of it; therefore, choosing a location where the skin is particularly warm (especially the wrist, where the blood circulation is particularly affected) is a great idea. We recommend applying your perfume on your wrists and elbows, and, more surprisingly, in your hair. If you have not tried it yet, do not hesitate to take a look at our guide to perfume your hair!

After a while, I can not smell my own perfume anymore. Why ?

If you do not feel the smell of your perfume, but your colleagues, your friends and your family still feel it, it’s perfectly normal. When you are exposed to a smell for a long time, your body adapts to it – sometimes called « olfactory fatigue » – and much harder to distinguish it.

Can I apply my fragrances in multiple layers?

Of course. The perfume is an intimate and personal experience: wear it as you wish! We generally recommend applying the same amount as applying only one layer of a single fragrance, so that the different layers do not produce too much effect on your habits.

Keep in mind that your morning routine may already contain many layers: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, shaving and after-shave products, deodorant … Each of these products has its own smell. Our Dirty product line has been deliberately designed to combine different layers in its daily routine. We have identified different elements of our Dirty perfume and we have introduced them in shaving cream, hair styling, ethifrice and shower gel: using all these products, we obtain a beautiful balanced perfume.

If you have any further questions, please send them by phone to +237 6 55 77 28 88 or by e-mail to We will do our best to answer them!


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