This is a guest post by Tim Aldiss
Out of all of our senses, scent is the one most strongly connected with memory. A mere whiff of a familiar fragrance is enough to evoke a first kiss, our childhood home, an exotic vacation or being held in our mother’s arms. Scents are an intrinsic (and not always pleasant!) part of life, but the creation of scents is also an art-form all of its own.
There are six major olfactory groups or families into which perfumes can be categorised. Perhaps the most popular group are the floral perfumes, based on flowers such as rose, iris and jasmine. Fruity perfumes include strawberry, peach, apple and cherry, and incorporate the distinctive citrus subgroup of perfumes: orange, lemon, grapefruit, bergamot and mandarin. Oriental perfumes are sensual, warm and comforting. They are usually based around vanilla or musk and often include “gourmand” (edible) notes such as caramel, honey and candy. Aromatic perfumes are herbaceous or spicy, smelling of plants such as sage, lavender, cumin and rosemary. The fresh, clean scent of Aquatic perfumes evokes watery characteristics of the ocean, rain or ozone. Finally, woody perfumes are warm and balmy, and may include sandalwood, cedar and resin.
Perfumers (also known as “noses”) combine natural and synthetic essences in intricate, often unexpected ways to create masterpieces of scent. Some of the most famous perfumers include Pierre-François, Aimé and Jean-Paul Guerlain, Ernest Beaux (who created the iconic Chanel No. 5), Jacques Cavallier, Jacques Polge and Maurice Roucel. Whether or not you know it, chances are that you have smelled their creations before!
Perfumes may be applied to one’s own skin either as Eau de Cologne, the stronger Eau de Parfum, or solid perfumes, in which the scent is blended with a waxy or creamy base. They can also be used to scent hair, linen and clothing. Home scents are another way to use perfume, in the form of room sprays or scented candles. Scented candles not only release fragrance but create a cosy, inviting atmosphere in your home. Popular scented candles include Diptyque, whose cult favourite “Feu de Bois” smells like a burning log fire, and Yankee Candle, who offer candles with fun and nostalgic scents such as Baby Powder, Christmas Wreath, Home Sweet Home and Margarita Time.
While perfume is an art, it is also deeply personal, and there’s only way to find your perfect perfume: smell it for yourself! So get sniffing.
Tim Aldiss Writes for Yankee Candle UK