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The word perfume used today derives from the Latin per fumus, meaning “through smoke”. Perfumery, or the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egyptand was further refined by the Romans and Persians.

The Fragrance wheel is a relatively new classification method that is widely used in retail and in the fragrance industry. The method was created in 1983 by Michael Edwards, a consultant in the perfume industry, who designed his own scheme of fragrance classification. The new scheme was created in order to simplify fragrance classification and naming scheme, as well as to show the relationships between each of the individual classes.

The five standard families consist of Floral, Oriental, Woody, Fougère, and Fresh, with the former four families being more “classic” while the latter consisting of newer bright and clean smelling citrus and oceanic fragrances that have arrived due to improvements in fragrance technology. Each of the families are in turn divided into sub-groups and arranged around a wheel.

The first perfumes I can remember buying were: Musk Oil and Rivé Gauché by Yves Saint Laurent. I also used to burn insence stix of Patchouli in my bedroom, ah! those were the days.

Rive Gauche (Left Bank of the Seine in Paris, of course) was named after Yves Saint Laurent’s collection by the same name, envisioned as the perfectly sophisticated addition to a chic woman’s arsenal. Utterly modern, completely abstract and with an icy green powder touch upon finish, it can be worn year round and never tire you. Its aluminum can with the electric blue and silver stripes, a masterpiece of contemporary design, is the perfect visual transliteration of its enigmatic scented message. Created in 1971. Notes Top Note: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Lemon, Leafy Green Middle Note: Rose, Jasmine, Gardenia, Honeysuckle Base Note: Vetiver, Tonka, Sandal, Oakmoss.

What perfumes are on my dressing table now? Why did I choose these specifically? Is there a theme or connection between them?

Maison Martin Margiela Untitled. Based on green floral notes, we can smell galbanum, boxwood, mastic, incense, bitter orange … as if they had been gathered after the rain. Additional notes include jasmine, cedar and musk.

Gucci by Gucci. The woody floral and musky trail of Gucci by Gucci is unmistakably modern, youthfully alluring, and downright pretty. Smell the fruity accents on top (guava and pear.) Catch a whiff of the unsettling note of honeyed patchouli underneath. A heady fragrance that fills your senses and speaks of intimacy, so very sensual. The hip horse bit buckle is the finishing touch on this characteristically Gucci accessory. Notes Top Note: Fruity Notes Middle Note: Lily, Tiare Flower Base Note: Musk, Patchouli, Honey.

Prada Amber Prada brings its unique fusion of tradition and innovation to the world of fragrance, reinventing the ancient art of perfumery by creating a fragrance of yesterday and tomorrow, a scent inspired by the past, that embodies the future. It is a fragrance that intertwines memory, reality, and possibility as it explores the essence of amber.
Notes: Bergamot Oil Italian, Orange Oil, Bitter Orange Oil, Mandarin Flower, Mimosa India, Rose Absolute ABS, Schinus Molle ABS LMR, Peru Balsam, Patchouli Oil LMR, Raspberry Flower, Labdanum Resinoide LMR, Tonka Bean ABS LMR, Vanilla Absolute, Musk, Sandalwood Oil. Style: Classic. Pure. Addictive

Chanel No. 5 is the first perfume launched by Parisian couturier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The French government reports that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold every thirty seconds. It was developed by Russian-French chemist and perfumer Ernest Beaux. It is often considered the world’s most famous perfume.

Beaux prepared ten glass vials for Chanel’s inspection. Numbered 1-5 then 20-24, the gap presented the core May rose, jasmine and aldehydes in two complimentary series, each group a variation of the compound. “Number five. Yes,” Chanel said later, “that is what I was waiting for. A perfume like nothing else. A woman’s perfume, ‘The Scent of a Woman.’

The top notes are composed of aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, neroli and ylang-ylang, the heart of jasmine, rose, lily of the valley and iris, while the base is created from vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber and patchouli.

Other perfumes that are favourites of mine include:

Chanel Allure.

Allure has a rich and complex composition. Fresh and citrusy at the beginning, it opens in lavishing floral heart to wooden and vanilla nuances and leaves lingering and fickle scent. It is best to describe it by the various accords it possesses:
Fresh: lemon and bergamot. Fruity: mandarin and peach. Classical floral: the rose of May, jasmine, water lily, peony, magnolia, orange blossom Woody: sandalwood and vetiver Oriental: vanilla. The perfume was created by Jacques Polgein 1996

Narciso Rodriguez

A modern feminine classic, Narciso Rodriguez For Her is a stylistic triumph composed by perfumers Francis Kurkdjian and Christine Nagel, who incorporated an abstract sweetly floral structure into a silky, woody composition, full of cleaned-up patchouli and sophisticated musk notes. The fragrance, dusted in velvet sensuality, radiates off the skin, enveloping its wearer in an alluring, fresh trail of scent: A little bit like warmed up skin, a bit like expensive soap lingering on, sweet woods and soft promises in the back seat of a cinema during a matinée. Utterly gorgeous! Created in 2003, type Floral- Woody Musk. Notes Top Note: Rose, Peach Pulp Middle Note: Gentle Amber Base Note: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Musk.

I asked my husband about the scent of a woman. He said the smell of musk – it is so sensual!

I think I have chosen well in that case as the majority of perfumes I wear contain either or both Musk and Patchouli.

If you havent seen the film with Al Pacino, “The Scent of a Woman,” I would recommend that you watch this film. View the clip below.


Share with me your favourite perfume.

What perfume will be on your Christmas list?