The fragrance industry has a language of its own that is used to describe, quantify and qualify the processes, ingredients and sensations with regard to aroma. These commonly used terms help perfumers, evaluators and clients exchange ideas.
ABSOLUTE– A concentrated fragrance material derived from natural plant product, processed by means of enfleurage, alcohol extraction or steam distillation.
ACCORD– “Fantasy Accords” are based on natural aromas that cannot be extracted in true olfactive form. The cumulative result of balancing ingredients to achieve an “original” effect is the “creation” aspect of perfumery .
ANOSMIA– Insensitive to odors. Specific anosmia is insensivity to a particular substance, such as musk.
AROMATIC- A fragrance with a strong aroma of herbs, spices or camphor.
BALANCE– Balance is the result of the perfect adjustment of odor strength of combined ingredients.
BITTER– An odor which causes a bitter taste on the taste buds when smelled.
BLEND– A mixture of natural and / or synthetic aromatic ingredients.
BLOOM– Good top note diffusion with middle notes becoming full and rich.
BODY– The heart and main part of the fragrance. The characteristic note when the most volatile top note components have lost their dominance and all of the middle components of the fragrance come into play.
BOUQUET– A harmonious blend of several single floral notes in a fragrance compound.
BOTTOM NOTE– Also called the base note or dry down of the fragrance. This note contains the fixatives of the fragrance and imparts long lasting qualities.
CHEMICAL– Synthetic smelling, lacking the richness of naturals.
CLOYING– A term used to describe excessive sweetness in a fragrance.
COMPOUND– A mixture of aromatic ingredients that form a fragrance composition.
DIFFUSION– Also described as “throw” or “lift”, this term expresses the fragrance’s ability to radiate from the bottle or from a finished product.
DISTILLATION– The process of purifying a volatile material by applying heat to turn it into vapor, then recovering the material to pure liquid by condensation which yields essential oil.
DRYDOWN / DRYOUT– Another term for bottom note.
EARTHY– The aroma of freshly turned soil.
ENFLEURAGE– The traditional method of separating the absolute aromatic material from the flowers by placing petals between layers of fat to which they impart their odor. The layering is repeated with fresh petals until the fat is rich in the flowers’ essential oils. The odor is then extracted from the fat with alcohol, after which the alcohol is distilled off, leaving the aromatic absolute.
ESSENTIAL OIL– An oil obtained from a variety of natural sources such as flowers, leaves, seeds, roots, bark or buds.
FIXATIVE– A material incorporated into a fragrance compound to retard volatilization of the fragrance or stabilize the fidelity of the fragrance character.
FLAT– A fragrance that is lacking distinction.
FRAGRANCE– A composition of various synthetic and natural aromatic materials that create a definite odor effect.