Lesson 3

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Different Olfactory Notes

Colognes are made of different ingredients that form ‘notes.’ As the foundational components of what you smell when you spray, each note has its own unique scent, purpose, and longevity. 

Olfactory notes are divided into three sections: Top, Medium (or ‘Heart’), and Base notes. 

Each of the three sections contains individual scents that come together to create the overall fragrance of cologne. 

  •  Top note The top or basic note is the initial, lighter smell of the fragrance that hits the nose first. The top note lasts around 15 minutes to 2 hours. Typical top and middle notes include floral scents, fruity scents, marine/aquatic notes, and spices such as cinnamon. Examples of these notes include citruses, powdery scents, and light florals.
  • Medium note – Also referred to as the middle or heart notes; these showcase the main elements of the fragrance. These notes develop after the top note clears (after around 30 minutes) and can last 3-5 hours after being sprayed. Heart notes most often include heavier floral scents. 
  • Base note – The last note to develop. This is where you smell the bolder notes of the scent, which become more noticeable when the fragrance has been on the skin for a while. Base notes last from 5 to 10 hours and typically feature sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla, tar, leather, smoke, tobacco, and musk.

The scent will evolve and change over time as the notes dry up. Typically, the mark of a low-quality fragrance is if it remains monotone throughout its life.

Silage, Projection, And Longevity Explained

Silage: the trail your fragrance leaves behind. Think of this as the wake of a boat traveling through water – the ripple effect that a boat leaves behind is similar to a fragrance’s sillage. A good sillage means the scent trails for longer.

In short, when you walk past someone while wearing a fragrance, the silage determines how long they will smell that fragrance as you walk away from them.

Projection: How far your fragrance pushes out into the air. Projection determines how much radiation your fragrance has. If the projection is good, more people around you will be able to smell your fragrance. 

The difference between silage and fragrance can be pretty hard to get your head around, so let me simplify it for you:

  1. Silage is the trail of scent left when you walk past and away from someone.
  2. Projection is the bubble of scent that radiates outwards while you’re stationary (for example, while sitting down in a coffee shop)

Longevity: the length of time the fragrance lasts on your skin – it’s as simple as that!

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