EdC: Eau de Cologne. First invented in the city that bears its name, Eau de Cologne typically denotes a fragrance concentration of between 2-5%, although certain brands have experimented with colognes containing a higher concentration of fragrance in recent years. ‘Cologne’ has become erroneously associated with masculine fragrances, however the term in its general sense can actually refer to scent for either gender.
EdT: Eau de Toilette. Usually applied to the skin after bathing or shaving, hence its name, Eau de Toilette contains a fragrance concentration of between 5-15%.
EdP: Eau de Parfum. Also known as ‘Parfum de Toilette’, ‘Pure Perfume’, or ‘Millèsime’, Eau de Parfum is more intensely scented than an EdT or EdC, thanks to a high concentration of aromatic fragrance compounds between 15-20%.
EsdP: Esprit de Parfum. A term rarely employed in modern perfumery, Esprit de Parfum is used to denote a fragrance halfway between and EdP and an EdE, containing a very high fragrance concentration of around 30%.
EdE: Eau de Extrait. Also known as ‘Extrait de Parfum’, or ‘Perfume Extract’, this is the highest concentration of fragrance molecules possible, resulting in very intense and long lasting perfumes. Concentrated at between 20-40%.
Notes: A ‘Note’ refers to the individual ingredient that produces a certain aroma, which is then combined with other Notes to construct a complete fragrance. Some scents however are composed entirely of one note or aroma chemical.
Fragrance Pyramid: The layering of different ‘notes’ constructs what is known as the Fragrance Pyramid. Most fragrances follow this formula in their construction, although there are exceptions to this rule, and these are noted where applicable. Typically, the lightest, most transient aromas are placed at the top of the pyramid, whilst the darker, heavier, and longest lasting rest at the widest, lower-most part of the pyramid. Notes are typically broken down into ‘Top’, ‘Middle’ (or ‘Head’ and ‘Heart’, respectively) and ‘Base’ to denote their placement in the pyramid and thus their projected lifespan in a fragrance.
Aldehyde: Fragrant components with organic origin that have been synthesized in a laboratory, Aldehydes provide ‘sparkle’ in the top notes of a scent and render it possible to achieve vibrant olfactory sensations that would often not be possible using natural ingredients alone. As used in many famous scents, most notably Chanel No. 5.
Dry Down: Also known as the ‘End Notes’ of a scent, a perfume’s Dry Down is the period of time after which the middle and base notes have mingled and the scent begins to fade. The Dry Down can take a long or short amount of time, but it will generally constitute the majority of a fragrance’s life on the skin. In this period new and interesting olfactory sensations begin to emerge as the aroma compounds react to the unique chemical make-up of the wearer’s skin.
Sillage: French for ‘wake’, as in the trail left behind by a boat as it moves through the water, Sillage refers to the projection of a fragrance into the space around the wearer. Little projection is known as a ‘tight’ or ‘close’ Sillage, yet this does not denote a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ perfume, as the desired projection of a scent is a matter of taste.