PERFUMER'S LEXICON

a
Absolute

A concentrate extracted from a concrete or resinoid. These are washed in ethanol, then chilled (to a temperature of −5 to −15°C) to solidify the fatty substances (waxes) for removal by filtration. Finally the remaining alcohol is distilled out to give the absolute.

Accord

When a perfumer blends two or more raw materials to obtain a specific aroma, the quality of its harmony depends on the balance of the proportions and olfactory intensity of each component.

Aldehyde

an aldehyde is an organic compound that forms part of the carbonyl compound family. One of the primary carbon atoms of the carbon chain bears a carbonyl group. The first perfume to have used an aldehyde is Chanel N° 5. Use of aldehydes has resulted in developing the "aldehyde" fragrance family.

b
Base

an elementary olfactory element that is a pre-composed composition that assists the perfume creator to create a perfume.

Blotter (or sniffer strip):

this is a strip of paper designed to be dipped in a raw material or fragrant composition and enables perfume creators to appreciate its quality and monitor its development by olfaction.

Bouquet

aroma with no dominating note.

c
Chilling

the operation that entails cooling an alcoholic solution to enhance precipitation of the least soluble substances (plant waxes) to obtain a clear product after filtration.

Concentrate

designates the base composition to which alcohol will be added to manufacture extracts, colognes, etc.

Concrete

pasty product (solid or semi-solid) obtained by extraction from a fresh plant raw material (jasmine, rose, oakmoss) using a volatile (non-aqueous) solvent that is removed.

Cyprus

olfactory family of perfumes spawned by the creation of the perfume Chypre in 1917 by François Coty.

d
Distillation

separation process of substances blended in liquid form. It entails bringing the blend to the boil then collecting a light fraction known as the distillate and a heavy fraction called known as the residue. In addition to traditional steam or water distillation, perfumery uses fractionation distillation and molecular distillation processes.

e
Eau de Cologne

the ubiquitous alcoholic preparation, created by Jean Marie Farina in 1714, names after the city of Cologne where it rapidly took off. The term eau de Cologne also designates a preparation whose perfume concentration level does not exceed 7%. Most Cologne waters contain hesperidia (citrus oils).

Eau de parfum

has a higher concentration level... 18%.

Eau de toilette

they contain about 12% of concentrate

Essence

synonym for essential oil.

Essential oil

the term (sometimes plant oils) is used to describe the concentrated, hydrophobic liquid of a plant's volatile aromatic compounds. It is either obtained by distillation, or by extraction using solvents (water, alcohol, etc.) or alternatively by expressing. These extracts are not necessarily oily contrary to what the term might appear to suggest.

f
Floral

a major olfactory family that covers perfumes dominated by a flower: jasmine, rose, violet, tuberose, narcissus, etc.

Fougères

which gave its name to Fougère Royale" by Houbigant. A fancy dominant that designates an accord generally comprising lavender, woody, oakmoss, coumarin and bergamot notes.

h
Heart (note)

represents the heart of the perfume that appears and lingers for several hours once the top note has evaporated.

Hesperidia

an olfactory family of perfumes. Hesperidia are made from citrus peel and are generally the main dominant found in Cologne waters.

i
Infusion

this method extracts the main active ingredients of a plant preparation by dissolving in an initially boiling liquid that is left to cool down.

j
Juice

perfumery jargon – it describes the alcoholic solution of a perfume concentrate.

m
Maceration

this technique entails steeping a concentrate in a cold organic solvent or substance for period ranging from a few days to a few months to extract its soluble constituents.

n
Noses

the moniker given to perfume creators (the more usual form).

Note

the characteristic of the fragrance of a raw material or composition (for example: floral note, cedar note, amber note). Olfactory notes break down into top notes (those that give the first olfactory impression and are the most volatile), heart notes (those that form the heart of the perfume and last several hours), and lastly the base notes (those that remain long after the perfume has been sprayed and may linger on a garment for months).

o
Osmology

the study of odours.

p
Pallet

all the raw materials used by the perfume creator.

Perfume

creation finalised by a perfumer. The most concentrated product and generally the strongest of a specific line.

Perfume organ

stand on which the various fragrant raw materials of the perfumer’s pallet are arranged.

Powdery

a perfume that conjures up the smell of talc or rice powder... sweet, cottony and cosmetic smells.

r
Raw material

a material extracted from nature (a natural resource), or produced by it, used in the manufacture of finished products.

s
Sillage (or fragrance trail)

the olfactory impression that hangs in the air after a perfume wearer has passed by.

Soliflor

a single floral note targeted when creating the perfume. Nature is "copied" in an attempt to reconstruct and stylise: a rose, jasmine, violet, lilac or lily-of-the-valley. 

t
Top (or head note)

first olfactory impression of an alcoholic perfume product.