Fine fragrances are compiled and sold in varying strengths, a factor which influences price, packaging and even the way a scent will smell once applied.
The main ingredient in any fragrance is an alcoholic water solution, in which the notes are suspended evenly, to keep the scent potent. After this, the percentage of perfume relative to the water, will determine its strength and status.
The strongest concentration is Parfum, sometimes called simply ‘perfume’ or ‘perfume extract’. The scent concentration in a Parfum will be between 18% and 25%, and will comprise a potent blend of essential oils, pure fragrance and alcohol. Parfum is also the most expensive variant in any fine fragrance range. The retail price of a Parfum can easily exceed £100, while beautiful, elaborate packaging, often quite different from the less expensive concentrations, usually reflects its luxury status. Parfum is compiled to provide exceptionally long-lasting fragrance from very little liquid, and should be dabbed sparingly on the skin.
Eau de Parfum (EDP) is the next strongest version, with a concentration of 15% to 20%. Edp can be presented in a spray or a pour format and is designed to give a more enduring scent for a more accessible price.
The most popular and affordable concentration is Eau de Toilette, or simply EDT. With a fragrance content of up to 14%, edt will not last as long on the skin as Parfum or edp. It contains fewer essential oils, a greater percentage of water and is nearly always presented in a spray, rather than a pour format, adding to its convenience and appeal. Most self-select fragrances are only available in edt.
A recent development in the Eau Fraiche, sometimes called ‘perfumed mist’. The Eau Fraiche has a very low fragrance content and many are alcohol-free. The format is designed as a light, scented refresher and proves extremely popular in the warmer weather.
Eau de Cologne is weaker than edt, with a fragrance concentration of around 5%, while for men, Aftershave splash will have a similar concentration.