Gender and Perfume
In the early 20th century, perfumes were marketed to women and eau de colognes to men. Within these categories, women were offered: Parfum/Extrait, Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette. Men had Eau de Cologne and Cologne and from the1940s, Aftershave for men arrived with the lighter Eau Fraîche joining the shelf in the 1970s.
From the 1980s onwards, people were less interested in who a scent was meant for and more in simply wearing something they loved, without concern for who it was supposed to adorn. The industry caught up in the 1990s and since then the convention of a scent being for a particular person has largely lost its appeal.
As perfumery terms are nothing if not confusing, most perfume manufacturers now do as we do and write both names on a bottle: Eau de Parfum/Cologne Intense, whether the juice inside smells of lemons or lilies!
There are currently dozens of perfume types, below are the main categories:
- Floral: Evoking a wide range of flowers: delicate rose or sweet pea to vibrant, intense scents like jasmine and lily.
- Woody: Warm, strong & earthy, notes like sandalwood, cedar, and patchouli. Often deep and rich - can be very strong.
- Citrus: Usually bright and refreshing, with lemon, grapefruit and bergamot most used.
- Oriental: A variety of floral, but their style is opulent and sensual. Notes considered exotic are: benzoin, oud, spices, and amber.
- Green/Fresh: Clean, crisp and fresh, incorporating green leaf, aquatics and citrus notes.
- Chypre: (Originally named after scents typical in Cypress) These blend citrus top notes with oakmoss, patchouli and labdanum to create a bright but complex scent profile with a distinctive earthy, woody character.
- Fougère (from fern): Traditionally a men's fragrances, with the combination of lavender, clary sage, bergamot and coumarin for a fresh, herbaceous, and slightly woody aroma.
- An Eau de Cologne is a mixture of both fougère, Citrus and Chypre, with an emphasis on citrus and usually includes rosemary.