Published on February 15th, 2016 | by Yashodhara Ghosh
Scent of a Woman
If seduction’s on your mind, perfumes cannot be far behind.
Building a monument to feminine vanity? We have it on good authority that it won’t be complete without a few bottles of Chanel, Elizabeth Arden, Lancôme and Calvin Klein…you get the general whiff. Our olfactory system is inextricably linked to the limbic system – that part of our brain which controls our behaviour and our emotions. So if you’re looking to create an atmosphere or evoke a specific mood, then the correct smell could push all the right buttons. Smell happens to be the most primitive of our senses. Back in the day, our cavemen ancestors used their sense of smell to forage for food, and (no prizes for guessing) find themselves mates. Centuries later, things haven’t changed much – even today, a good, heady fragrance is your most potent tool in the art of seduction. What better way to throw caution to the winds of flirtation than leave an invisible, tantalising trail of fragrance as you walk past the object of your affection? So if you want to draw attention to yourself in subtle, suggestive ways, the trick lies in choosing just the right fragrance – one that reflects, even suggests your personality.
Sniff & Tell
Let us tell you straight up that those ubiquitous paper testers they offer you at stores will only show you the tip of the iceberg. To get the complete picture, you have to get up close and personal. Dab some of the perfume onto your skin, and then wait for it to work its magic — gradually and in stages, over hours. When it comes to perfume, your first impression is never the last. And if perfume jargon goes over your head, here’s a little decoder for you…
Head over heels: The first fragrance that hits you when you spray on some perfume is the top note or the head note. The molecules of this fragrance are the smallest, the lightest and also the most volatile in the concoction. So as soon as you apply it on your skin, they are the first ones to waft up and engage your olfactory system, creating the introductory impression. The base note is chosen with care by manufacturers, with the obvious intention of wooing the buyer. So if you fell in love at first whiff, it’s the top note that did the trick.
Heart to heart: There’s more to come. Waiting in the wings, you have the middle notes, ready to engulf your senses just as the happy high from the top notes starts to wane. These molecules are somewhat heavier than the top notes, so while they take longer to come into full bloom and give off their aroma completely, they last much longer, and constitute the body of the perfume. This fragrance lies at the heart of the perfume, and so is aptly called the heart note.
The grand finale: Towards the end of its act, the middle note plays an interesting trick on our olfactory organ, by concealing the mell of the base note, which is the perfume’s most overpowering fragrance. Base note molecules are the heaviest, and so contain the most intense smell in this symphony of smells. Quite literally, they’re the heavyweights on the perfume, and so come out to play at the fag end. As they are really sharp fragrances, they may be a little cloying and unpleasant at the beginning, and the middle note does a good job of masking that till the base note has mellowed down. The base note also lasts the longest, thanks to its weight.
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