Perfumes have been accompanying humanity since the dawn of history. It has been discovered that some herbs and resin-rich trees release an intoxicating fragrance, when burned. For thousands of years the perfume making methods have been perfected by successive civilizations, to ultimately become an advanced technological process in modern times, which not only requires highly specialised equipment, but also lots of expert know-how.

Perfumes through the ages

In the times when men were still savages, fragrant smoke boasted magical significance and was used for religious rites. It was believed that fragrant vapours would convey people’s prayers to the gods, and thus help them win their favours. That is how the word “perfume” is derived – the Latin expression “per fummum” literally means “through smoke”. In ancient times beautiful fragrances were invariably associated with religious rituals, e.g. they were an integral part of funeral ceremonies. Perfumes, in view of their high prices, also attested to one’s wealth and high social status. Perfumes usually took the form of essential oils or nourishing lotions, as well as were often used as aphrodisiacs. With the advent of Christianity, perfumes have become a sinful, forbidden pleasure. The tradition of their making has survived thanks to Muslims, the first revolutionaries in the world of scents and fragrances. For it was them who discovered the method of alcohol distillation, which greatly enhanced the process of extraction of essential oils. Avicenna, a Persian medic and scholar, is still deemed the first modern perfumer. Perfumes once again found their way to Christian Europe along with the Crusaders returning home from their military expeditions to the Holy Land.

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The Renaissance, along with the development and advance of chemical sciences, has brought a breakthrough in the development of perfume through refining the distillation and extraction processes. Italy has become a veritable superpower in the domain of scents. Thanks to extensive trade relations, Italian merchants have gained access to rare and valuable perfume ingredients. From there, thanks to Catherine de Medici, perfumes found their way to France, nowadays widely regarded as the world’s capital of scent making. Indeed, in the 17th century, Paris established itself as the very hub of perfume industry, where heavy musk and amber scents seemed to prevail.
In the early 18th c., Eau de Cologne, the Cologne water created by Johann Maria Farina, became extremely popular. A true revolution swept through the perfume industry in the 19th c., though. Further advances of science allowed for the substitution of natural, expensive ingredients with those of synthetic origin. Perfume prices dropped and their availability increased as a result. Besides, a community of perfume makers has expanded considerably. The names of great perfumers of that time, like Francois Coty and Jacques Guerlain, are still revered in modern times. At the turn of the 20th c., perfumes happily married into the fashion scene. Famous designers, including Coco Chanel, promoted their new collections with their signature scents.

How to describe a scent?

A scent, it is just as volatile as hard to describe. Words fail to do full justice to its elusive nature, as it boasts no features freely visible to the naked eye, may not be touched or heard. You may, however, describe your favourite Livioon perfume making use of several ways.

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How is the scent structured

To be able to express the character of perfume as accurately as possible, it is worth gaining some insights into their design. Every scent consists of the three notes, each of which complements the fragrance in a different way.
And so we distinguish:

The top note, the so called “head” – it is the very first note that we sense in perfumes. At the beginning it is very intense, but then it quickly evaporates, altogether disappearing after 15 – 30 minutes,

A middle note, the so called “heart” – it is perceptible after about 10 minutes from the application of perfume, and is less intense than the top note. It gives an all-round harmony to the scent and actually stands for its true bouquet, sticking to the skin for up to 2 hours.

A bottom note, the so called “base” – it enhances the fragrance and fixes it; detectable after 30 – 60 minutes. The base note is responsible for maintaining the scent’s energy for up to 8 hours.

Due to a diverse nature of fragrance notes, they are used in different combinations. Their common characteristics allow to distinguish the specific families of fragrances, which offer more precise terms for the description of perfumes.

 

Fragrance families

Fragrances are classified in terms of their similar nature, as well as origin. Allocation of a particular scent to a respective family of fragrances is determined on the basis of the dominant scent in the heart note. Interestingly, already Aristotle had distinguished six such discrete groups: sweet, sour, sharp, greasy, bitter and stinky. Nowadays, a far more precise classification is in use:

  • flowery fragrances such as rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, violet, iris, tuberose, gardenia or ylang-ylang; they are usually referred to as sweet, fresh, delicate, airy and feminine.

Floral notes are to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 10, 37, 45, 52, 66.

  • itrus fragrances such as orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine, bergamot, are referred to as light, refreshing and energizing; formerly this particular group was deemed best suited for men, but nowadays it characterises a majority of unisex and sports of fragrances.

Citrus notes are to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 9, 69, 73,74 and 81.

  • oriental fragrances (amber) such as tonka bean, resin, vanilla, amber or musk; they are sensual, seductive, heavy and exude warmth.

Oriental notes are to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 16, 21, 35, 54, 97.

  • chypre fragrances such as oak moss, cedar, resin, patchouli or bergamot; this fragrance is a mixture of woody and citrus aromas, commonly associated with courage, determination, panache and elegance.

Chypre notes are to be found in Livioon perfumes No 3.

  • woody fragrances such as cedar, pine, sandalwood, guaiac or rosewood; these fragrances are warm, deep and resinous, usually intended for self-assured, mature and quietly elegant men.

Woody notes are to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 4, 11, 28, 53, 72.

  • fern (fougere) fragrances such as moss, lavender, patchouli, vetiver, sage, geranium, rosemary and thyme; they are also called aromatic and deemed intriguing, extravagant, classy and mostly masculine.

Fern notes are to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 70, 78, 83, 95, 103.

  • leather fragrances such as musk, amber, incense, juniper and birch resin, or labdanum; these are mostly male scents, warm, heavy and slightly stuffy,
  • aldehyde fragrances – for making these types of fragrances aldehydes are used as they bind all individual components of the scent very well; these are intense, modern and original scents,
  • aquatic fragrances – most often they contain calone, a synthetic substance that produces a frost-like, cooling effect; they are commonly described as clean, refreshing, fresh and cool.

Aquatic notes are to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 41, 67, 84.

  • fruit fragrances such as peach, apricot, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, kiwi or mango; these are sweet, cheerful, delicate and girly compositions, often used in the summer type and sports scents.

Emotions and memories

A scent, like nothing else, is deemed evocative of memories, specific emotions and associations. You may make use of them when describing your favourite perfume just as you sense it. This is a very subjective and personal method of characterizing a fragrance, as in the end each one of us has different experiences that affect his or her perception. Do not hesitate therefore to reach out for such phrases as romantic, aggressive, friendly, homely, wintry, warm, sunny, appetizing, wrapping, or even come up with free associations of a beach house, or grandma’s garden.

Borrowed words

Although the vocabulary used for describing the world of scents is rather limited, you may well use the words related to the other senses. In the case of fragrances, we do not really invoke synesthesia, an ability to sense stimuli from one sense through the other, and yet often enough we tend to combine a particular smell with taste or colour. It is well worth making use of these associations when describing scents, letting oneself be guided by the non-olfactory experiences:

  • vision – dark, bright, evocative of a particular colour, clear, hazy, slow, smooth,
  • sound – harmonious, full of dissonance, quiet, loud, subdued,
  • touch – abrasive, gentle, even, rugged, heavy, light, cool, warm,
  • taste – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, fruity, chocolate, raw.

Fragrances are extremely complex, mysterious structures that very much elude precise descriptions. Even though there is a systematic and subjective classification for them, the very nature of a scent still remains rather elusive. Maybe that is what actually makes the world of perfume so intriguing?

How does the scent affect the mood?

Aromatherapy, literally a scent treatment, is by far the most popular domain of natural medicine. For centuries it has been making use of the properties possessed by essential oils, all with a view to improving overall health and well-being of man. It has long been acknowledged that fragrances are of paramount importance to the mood. Knowing how the individual aromas interact, it is quite easy to select the scent that best suits one’s circumstances.

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Essential oils known for centuries

Essential oils were already known in antiquity. In Egypt, they were commonly used for indoor air disinfection, body care, relaxing baths, or for aromatizing one’s underwear. Apparently, Cleopatra herself was very keen on them, filling in pillows with rose petals to make it easier to drift off to sleep. Hippocrates, in turn, recommended oil massages for healing purposes, whereas in India fragrances were deemed the key to opening both the mind and the soul.

The power of essential oils was rediscovered in the 20th c. by a French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse. He had dabbed his burned hand in a lavender oil and noticed that the wound healed much faster, with no scar tissue. The phenomenon fascinated the scientist and prompted him to do further research. Eventually, he published a book entitled
“Aromatherapy”, and that is how the term actually originated.

 

How does the scent affect yourself?

Originally, perfume was made on the basis of high quality natural essential oils, which boasted full aromatherapeutic properties. Nowadays, the use of their synthetic replacements is very much on the rise. And even though they have no medicinal properties, they still affect the mood of perfume users. By wrapping ourselves up in our favourite scent, we actually affect our own frame of mind and overall disposition. There is nothing to stop us from making deliberate use of a scent to improve the mood, enhance concentration, or even boost one’s self-confidence.

Citrus fruit fragrances, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, are deemed excellent stress reducers. They reduce the stress levels, help oneself unwind, as well as energise. They are just great after a hard day at work or school.

They are to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 1, 11, 24, 49, 83, 89, 91.

The sweet smell of vanilla is deemed one of the most effective aphrodisiacs. It also acts as a natural antidepressant, relieves nervous tension and makes you feel cozy.

It is to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 10, 36, 57, 92, 97.

Cinnamon, used mostly in male perfumes, stimulates the mind. It boosts attention, enhances memory and concentration, as well as alleviates a sense of frustration. Are you going on a long trip by car? Cinnamon aroma will help you remain vigilant on the road.

It is to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 91 and 93.

Rosemary, a common ingredient in luxury perfumes, also enhances concentration. It is recommended especially with a high mental effort, e.g. when studying for the exam.

It is to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 84 and 103.

Jasmine boasts proven antidepressant properties. Its intense aroma relieves anxiety and effectively elevates the mood. It is simply irreplaceable in warding off the blues.

It is to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 4, 10, 45, 67, 94.

If you happen to feel despondent or dispirited, reach out for patchouli. This warm aroma is sure to give you the right motivation and boost your mood, and might even give your libido a much needed spark.

It is to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 22, 30, 71, 75, 80.

The aroma of black pepper corns is known as effective aphrodisiac. Go for it when you want to revive both your body and mind, as well as get things stirred up a bit.

It is to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 5, 32, 44, 53, 89.

Popular sandalwood note is perfectly suited for calming down after any nerve-wracking experience. It soothes, relieves tension, and promotes a meditative mood.

It is to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 12, 21, 37, 40, 70.

Lavender is deemed the queen of essential oils. Its fragrance, though mostly found in male perfumes, is rather universal. Fights off mental fatigue, enhances memory, helps calm down, and makes drifting off to sleep much easier.

It is to be found in Livioon perfumes, e.g. No 76, 77, 78, 82, 95.

An individual choice of a particular scent should primarily be based on individual preferences. It seems only prudent, though, to choose among one’s favourite scents, which, by being evocative of positive associations and memories, improve the mood, or boasts specific properties we are particularly keen on at the moment. This way the scent will not only be beautiful, but also highly functional.