Our Guide to Fragrances and Perfumes: What to Know

perfume bottle

At some point, you’ve likely shopped for the perfect cologne or perfume to express your personal preference in aromas. Whether you intend to establish a signature scent or wear a particular smell everywhere you go, it’s essential to understand what perfume is exactly and how it’s different from fragrances. 

A perfume is a liquid mixture concocted to release a pleasant scent, formed from different substances, usually fragrant essential oils taken from plants, spices, or synthetic aromatic compounds. There are various cosmetic fragrances on the market that you apply to your body to emit a pleasant smell, like cologne, perfume, and aftershave. Here’s what you need to know about fragrances and perfumes: 

The Different Kinds of Perfume

Perfumes are grouped into five, primarily based on their concentration of aromatic substances and compounds. For instance, parfum or extrait has a 20 to 30 percent concentration of fragrance, which is the highest concentration, making it the most expensive. The product is usually heavier and oilier than other perfumes, so it is used sparingly. However, the smell lasts the longest, averaging 8 hours and until 24 hours. 

After parfum or extrait is eau de parfum or parfum de toilet, which has a 15 to 20 percent concentration of fragrance. It has more concentration of alcohol and water than parfum, making it cheaper and lighter with a shorter duration of roughly 4 to 5 hours. The eau de parfum is the most common fragrance, often forming the base for other fragrance types.

Eau de toilette has a lower concentration of essential oils and a higher concentration of alcohol with a 5 to 15 percent concentration of fragrance. This means it dissipates much faster than the others, lasting only 2 to 3 hours. However, it is more affordable and more suited for daywear. Eau de cologne has an even lower fragrance concentration, creating an exceptionally light formulation. It is mainly used in fragrances like aftershave or splash-on fragrances, dissipating quickly and lasting only 2 hours. ‘Cologne’ generally refers to eau de cologne, though it usually refers to a fragrance worn by any man in the English language.

Lastly, eau fraiche carries the lowest fragrance concentration of all types since it is diluted with water instead of alcohol or oil. Eau fraiche is commonly used as mists, splashes, and veils that are extraordinarily light and dissipate within an hour. These fragrances are also added to cosmetics and household products.

How Perfume is Manufactured

There are four main stages involved in manufacturing perfume. The first stage is the collection, where the manufacturer collects the initial ingredients from different plant substances and fatty extracts of animal products. 

The extraction stage follows, where distillation is primarily used to extract perfume. However, in steam or dry distillation, the manufacturer heats the material to high temperatures, which condenses into gas to let out the desired essential oils, which cool and liquefy. Water distillation is best for more delicate substances, where the plant material is submerged in boiling water. Other extraction methods include expression, where the material is compressed and the oils are squeezed out. Maceration is a technique where the material is soaked in carrier oils. Lastly, enfleurage is where the manufacturer draws the material out into a fat or oil base.

The third stage is blending, where the manufacturer blends the oils according to a specific formula using numerous ingredients. The scent then combines with alcohol. The last stage is aging, where the smell will sit for months or years to achieve the desired aroma. The aging period permits the continuous blending of the chosen chemicals to alter the scent.


There are many different kinds of perfumes on the market, and knowing the differences will help you choose the right one. By using our guide, you can select the appropriate fragrance for different occasions and ensure they last as long as you want.

Alexandria Fragrances sells fragrances for men and women from your favorite designer brands–Christian Dior, Jo Malone, Chanel, and many more. We also sell premium grooming products and luxurious diffuser oils. Shop now to get yours!

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