Do You Really Need A Fragrance Pyramid?


The answer to this question is still being debated with many Master Perfumers divided over the issue. While some insist that we, the uneducated masses, need this comprehensive pyramid to help us choose the right fragrance there are some that insist that it is completely unnecessary.

The Fragrance Pyramid  

fragrance pyramidWhile this pyramid may not look intimidating, it can get confusing once you take into account that the majority of these descriptive pyramids are created by advertising companies and not the perfumers. Simply because certain notes are listed does not necessarily mean that the fragrance is the same. In case you were wondering where this chart first originated, it was created by the famous master perfumer Jean Carles as an easy way to explain his fragrances to potential customers. The pyramid was designed to show how the notes hit the skin and mingle with each other to create the scent.

Not only is this pyramid occasionally misleading when it comes to the actual fragrance, it also does not take into account other factors that can affect and change the scent. Temperature, moisture, and even a person’s unique chemical makeup can all make a fragrance smell completely different than what the chart suggests.

Adding to the confusion are the new terms and scents being used in the new colognes and perfumes which are vague and often made of descriptions that focus on “blond woods” or “the scent of the ocean air”. Not only are the fragrances almost impossible to list, trying to add these “made up” scents to the pyramid simply makes the chart more confusing. While we are not saying that pyramid charts are useless, we do agree with some Master Perfumers who believe that people should choose a fragrance based on their own personal impressions.

Instead of a Fragrance Pyramid

Fragrance Type % oil % alcohol % water
Perfume 15 – 30 90 – 95 5 – 10
Eau de perfume 8 – 15 80 – 90 10 – 20
Eau de toilette 4 – 8 80 – 90 10 – 20
Eau de cologne 3 – 5 70 30
Cologne splash 1 – 3 80 20

While a list of the included ingredients is necessary, we feel if a chart is absolutely needed than it would be more helpful to know the percentage of oil, alcohol and water in the fragrance than which notes we may or may not smell. Not only does this help clear up the confusion concerning which is stronger Eau de toilette or Eau de cologne, it also helps you decide which scent is appropriate for the occasion. You do not want to wear powerful cologne to a closed door meeting or one that is too weak to be noticed when you are out on the town.

While this is only our opinion, we are interested to hear what our readers think about using fragrance pyramids to find their ideal fragrances. Do you think these charts are outdated, or do you still find them helpful? Let us know what you think and if you are interested in learning more, please visit the included link.



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