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Fragrance Buying Guide

We want you to choose the right scent, and our handy fragrance buying guide will help you choose the perfect fragrance for yourself or a loved one.

Buying a new scent

Due to the chemical make-up of our skin, scents smell different on each of us.  So you may smell Chanel No. 5 on a friend and find it smells completely different on you.  A good way to test a perfume before you buy is to test it on your skin, rather than a fragrance card.  The full notes are released upon hitting the warmth of your skin, which gives you a better idea of what it will smell like.  Then let the fragrance sit for a while.  The first thing you smell when you spray a fragrance is the top notes of the scent.  It takes a little more time for the heart and base notes to develop, which will give you the full and true smell of the fragrance.

An important thing to remember is that choosing a fragrance is not only about choosing a brand, or bottle that you like.  It’s about picking a fragrance that truly represents your personality.

Fragrance Notes

As soon as you apply your fragrance to skin, the smell changes and develops.  This happens in three stages, which form the three main "notes" of a fragrance. These are called the Top Note, The Heart (or Middle Note) and the Base Note.

The Top Note is the initial smell that you get from a perfume, normally lasting only approximately 8-15 minutes. These are normally citrus, light florals or powdery scents.

The Heart Note is the main body of the fragrance and usually a more mellow scent, mostly consisting of heavier florals such as rose or lavender. These notes normally develop approximately 30 minutes after the perfume is sprayed, after the top note has cleared.

The Base Note is the last part of the perfume to develop and usually contains the stronger scents such as leather or musk. These notes help to anchor the fragrance and linger for hours on the skin.

What types of fragrances are there?

Fragrances are generally divided into one of four families of scents:


A blend of flowers gives a romantic, light and slightly sweet scent.


Fresh notes, or citrus and green notes, these are uplifting and add an effervescent quality to fragrances.


Spices and peppers originating from more exotic parts of the globe, these are warm and sensual.


More masculine, these warm, dry and musky notes warm up perfectly on your wrist, giving a hint of mystery.

Eau de Parfum or Eau de Toilette?

Fragrances come in various different intensities.  We’ve listed the different options below to make it easier to choose what is right for you.


  • Highest concentration (20-40%)
  • Lasts 6-8 hours
  • Highest priced perfume
  • Best for sensitive skin because of the low alcohol concentration

 Eau de Parfum

  • High concentration (10-30%)
  • Lasts 4-6 hours
  • Suitable for everyday use
  • Most common type of perfume

 Eau de Toilette

  • Medium concentration (5-20%)
  • Lasts 4-5 hours
  • Suitable for summer months
  • Most popular type of perfume

 Eau de Cologne

  • High concentration of alcohol
  • Lasts 2 hours
  • Sold in larger bottles and you need to spray more
  • Popular with men

 Once you’ve made that purchase…

To keep your scents lasting as long as possible, keep your perfume bottles in a cool, dark place.  Out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperatures.

For a truly luxurious feeling, combine your fragrance with the matching body lotion or bath oil.