So there you are in the middle of a department store trying not to look creepy while trying to find a cologne worthy of date night. A daunting task for anyone with a Y chromosome for sure but for those who have no idea what a note is (and no, not a musical one), What the difference between a "fresh" or "green" scent is, or why someone would call a scent "spicy" or "woodsy". We are about to break it down and give you the goods on all that is smelly. By the end you will have a PhD in perfumery. Giving you the advantage on date night and be sure to allure your lady by scent. Not to mention impress her with your new found knowledge.
What is a "note"? A note is a scent descriptor for what you smell at different phases or wear times, dry down, of a perfume or cologne. There are three phases of which notes will develop and reveal a new scent or series of scents.
What is a "Top note"? Top notes (head notes) are what you smell initially right when you apply the perfume or cologne to your skin. Like the head of a good beer these notes are around for a little while then dissipate just as quick but add to the overall feel in the first phase of the dry down and introduce the middle notes. Top notes are usually in the citrus or ginger family and are very clear and sharp scents.
What is a "Middle note"? Middle Notes (heart notes) are just that the heart of the scent. Middle notes are usually in the floral or botanical family usually lavender to rose laced. These notes can last as long as a half hour or longer. Middle notes also act as a buffer to usher in the base notes which on their own may seem harsh.
What is a "Base note" Base notes (bottom notes) are the ongoing story to your scent journey. They are the actual soul of what the scent was made to invoke. Base notes usually show up about a half hour after you initially apply the perfume or cologne to your skin. Base notes usually are "musk" like in nature and are very deep and heavy. Similar to the finish of a beer, base notes give the richest and longest lasting scents. Base notes can linger into the twenty four hour mark. These types of perfumes and colognes usually use less ingredients that consist of alcohols and more that utilize oils and extracts. If it really seems to last and last Ambergris is probably an ingredient. This particular ingredient got its start as a product of Sperm Whales digestive tracts. Yuck! Yeah we hear you. Today this ingredient is more or less synthetic with the same properties but plant based.
How do they put it all in action? The oils and extracts or each ingredient has differing weight. Something that is a musk tends to be heavy literally by weight in the molecule department. These molecules tend to sink and dissipate much slower. The molecular structure of botanical or floral scents tend to not really sink fast or dissipate quickly but are still lighter than that of a musk so they do dry down faster. Oils and extracts or ingredients that have lighter weight to their structure like a citrus or ginger will dry down very quickly. When a perfumery or brand makes their perfumes they select scents that fall in each category. Use of a lot of alcohol and water and not many oils or extracts? The item you are holding is most likely a body mist or spray not a perfume or a cologne.
What is a "Green" scent? A green scent is a scent that utilizes the fragrance of botanicals that fall more in the succulent plant category. This would also include citrus scents on occasion as well. If it smells like a leaf that is watery with a slight citrus, the scent would be considered a green scent.
What is a "Fresh" scent? A fresh scent, also known as a "Clean" scent is a scent that has that just washed good soap or fresh laundry smell. Some of these scents can be confused with a floral because some have a slight powder finish. If it smells like you just washed up, it is a fresh scent.
What is a "Spicy" scent? A spicy scent, also known as "Oriental" scent is a scent that utilizes musks, ambers, ouds, and cinnamon scents. Including spice scents like black pepper. If it smells like you may be able to season with it, this is a spicy scent.
What is a "Woodsy" scent? A woodsy scent is a scent that utilizes sandal and cedar woods, and spices. This scent smells like earth or bark maybe even a little mossy. Smells like it came from the ground, it is considered a woodsy scent.
What is a "Fruity" scent? A fruity scent is a scent that has a fruit and candy sweet smell to it. Usually a cotton candy tinge. The scent mimics fresh fruit smells that are heavily fragrant. Think berries, apples, pears, pineapple, mango, papaya. Smells like a bowl of fruit and candy, you have found a fruity scent.
What is a "Floral" scent? A floral scent is a scent that utilizes flower extracts and oils from the lily, rose, jade, violet, jasmine, gardenia, cherry blossom, etc., and some fruit blends like orange and mango. If it smells like a fresh bouquet of flowers, this is a floral scent.
There are some scents that do not exactly fit into a category. Vanilla and other musks such as "white" musks are usually the culprit. A Musk is a scent that mimics ambergris, castoreum, and civet. The vanilla base can give more of a warm sugar or balance out a deep moss. This is why so many perfumes and colognes have them in the base notes. They are such versatile scents that they can be in all of the categories.
There are more factors to wearing a scent. If it is winter or summer can drastically change wear time and scent mostly because your skin reacts to hot and cold and the fragrance will interact with sweat or lack there of and the natural scent of your skin. Believe it or not we all fall under scent categories as well. Some of us have a fresh scent some of us fruity it all depends on care products, diet, and naturally occurring and changing chemicals or hormones in the body.
What you smell like and how to use it in your favor is a key part to picking out a scent to wear. After you bathe and dry down sniff your wrist and the crook of your arm. What do you subtly smell? Do you smell like fresh laundry or linen? Do you smell more of a citrus tinge? If you play off of your smell you can enhance it. For some making an opposites attract approach may work in your favor. For example a guy who smells woodsy naturally may do well to select a scent that is spicy or with a heavy vanilla or musk base. This will bring a little sweetness to his smell. Those who have a spicy smell might pair best with other spices. However, if you try a scent that is similar to your natural scent and it is too strong you will need to do the opposites attract method. Also some folks have a more mild scent to them or a dual smell. For example Figs and honey scent boasters. The fig side gives spicy, fruity, and a slight floral. The honey side gives a sweet but also slightly green, fresh combo. These folks are lucky. You can pair them with pretty much anything and it won't be wrong. Any scent compliments them. Woodsy is their balancing scent. It grounds them.
Now that we have schooled you on scent let's talk how to use her favorite scent as a secret weapon. Obviously you might do this on a day you don't need to be anywhere. If you have to go ahead and write down what you smell. Grab a bag of coffee beans. Go to your room and pick up her favorite bottle of perfume. The one she wears on special occasions is really the best to find. If she is always changing it up, the scent she always returns to when she does not know what to wear, that is the one to her. Spritz a little on your wrist, use your wrist for sure. Two reasons. You can smell there easier and wash the area easier. Give the scent a minute or two to dry a little. Now sniff that spot. These are the top notes. What do you smell initially? Do you smell berries or flowers or citrus? Figured it out? Great! This is going to sound crazy but sniff the beans. Now the beans sitting around the fragrance department in stores make sense. It cleanses your pallet and makes taking in a new scent true. Wait about five to ten more minutes and sniff your wrist again, these are the middle notes. Get a general idea of what that smell is. Sniff the beans again wait about fifteen minutes and sniff your wrist a third time. Identify the smell. This is the base of the perfume. Once you have collected this data you can go to the fragrance department and look for a cologne with scent traits that match hers as a men's fragrance. Keep in mind what your natural scent is you may want to see if your scent will pair well with everything. So test a little on your wrist or the crook of your arm. See if it seems strong or does it melt into your own scent. Remember do not drown yourself in it. Key spots to wear it. Behind your jawline close to the ears, chest area is another spot, the Stomach, crook of your arm. You can hit them all with a light spritz (one pump) or pick a spot that you feel would be best for you. Wearing a scent that mimics her favorite is sure to be her favorite on you. Now you are not just the apple of her eye you are her favorite smell as well.
ps... if it is still as clear as mud, ask Gina Niki. Send your scent questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be glad to help you.