From attars to Perfumes to Colognes the world of perfumes has evolved and changed so much that it can be hard to tell one from another. Read on to become familiar with the different concentrations.
Ittar (Hindi), also known as attar, is the first form of fragrance that came into being thousands of years ago in the eastern hemisphere. Attar is an essential oil derived from botanical sources. Most commonly these oils are extracted via hydro or steam distillation. The small 5-15ml bottles are designed to apply perfume as you only need one drop for each application. The oils are generally distilled into a wood base such as sandalwood and then aged. Attars are extremely concentrated with no alcohol, and they are formulated using botanical sources which are turned into oils.
Extract/Extrait Parfum (20-30% oils) (pure perfume, perfume, parfum, parfum extrait or simply extract) is the second most concentrated and expensive form of perfumes. Due to the high level of concentration only one spray is needed for each application. However it is not just about the concentration since extraits contain more precious and rare natural ingredients, their formulas can also be more complex containing more heart and base notes.
Eau de Parfum (8-15% oils) were born out of the late 1970’s, originating from a pure parfum that were classically produced for the wealthiest in society. It is the youngest of the perfume families that quickly became most popular amongst French fashion houses to describe a perfume that was more prestigious than an Eau de Toilette or Cologne yet had a more accessible price point than a parfum (or extrait).
Eau de Toilette (4-8% oils) refers to the French culture of morning grooming rituals - ‘faire sa toilette’ - immediately alluding to freshness, cleanliness, and everyday usage with a generous application. These have a very generous top notes usually citrus that can often be perceived as very powerful to begin with. However, it holds more volatile notes than an Eau de Parfum or extrait, meaning it tends to be less long-lasting on the skin and notes that may seem initially too overpowering will quickly settle down on the skin to leave a subtle feeling of freshness.
Eau de Cologne (2-4% oils) is the oldest kind of perfume in the Western hemisphere. The classic percentage of a cologne tends to be the lowest concentration in the perfume world. The term “cologne” is often widely misused as a general term to describe a men’s fragrance of any concentration; however, the true meaning of an Eau de Cologne (or Cologne) is a fragrance with huge top notes (largely made up of citrus ingredients) and a tiny base of herbal notes.
In general, the higher the percentage of oils, the longer it will last on your skin, and therefore, the higher the price – but be aware that different concentrations (Perfume, or Eau de Toilette, etc.) may sometimes have differing notes in them, and not simply be weaker or stronger. If a perfume has higher amount of base notes it will tend to last longer. So when you like a fragrance, try the different concentrations before choosing your favorite…