Fragrance 101: The Basics

We get it: fragrance can be confusing - and that’s because it’s marketed to you that way! At Olfactory, we make things simple, so you know exactly what you’re spritzing. Welcome to Fragrance 101! 

Let’s start with the basics of a fragrance: its composition and its concentration. 

In its simplest form, personal fragrance is typically a blend of fragrance oil, water, and denatured alcohol (not the kind you drink, but rather a version created precisely to discourage consumption). Fragrance oils can consist of natural, plant-based oils (think lavender or orange oil), synthetically designed fragrance molecules, or a combination of both. The alcohol and water work as solvents (yes, summon that high school chemistry knowledge!) for the fragrance oil. Because of alcohol’s unmatched evaporative properties (or high volatility), it allows the fragrance oil to be dispersed within the air - this explains how you can smell a great fragrance from all the way down the street! 

So if personal fragrance is just a combination of fragrance oil, water, and alcohol, then why do certain fragrances last longer than others? The key is the concentration of the fragrance oil, namely, the proportion of the fragrance oil in relation to the solvent(s). If you’re like most people, upon hearing ‘EDP’ you’d likely believe it was just another acronym for the next big HBO series (GOT fans, anyone?). And that’s okay! Luckily, fragrance concentrations are really quite simple, split into 5 categories based on the concentration of the fragrance oil: 


Naturally, the less fragrance oil (or the lower the concentration) in your bottle, the shorter your scent will last on your skin. Olfactory fragrances are on the high end of Eau de Parfum (EDP) at a concentration of about 20% fragrance oil - this allows us to keep our prices accessible while still providing a high-quality scent. Plus, they’ll last 6-8 hours on the skin, so you shouldn’t have to reapply during the day like you would with, say, an Eau Fraiche (namely, your average ‘body mist’). 

That’s it for our very first Fragrance 101! What other topics would you like us to cover? Let us know in the comments below! 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published