At Czech & Speake, we offer a product that goes beyond tangibility, tantalising our senses and enhancing our mood. The uplifting nature of fragrance is significant in our daily lives, and these small pleasures are even more so important when faced with challenges and restriction. When online shopping is your best option, how can you be sure to choose the right scent for your nose? Follow our guide to purchasing fragrance online, with helpful tips to aid selection and strengthen your perfumery knowledge.
Establish your taste and use scent memory
To begin with, build a sense of your fragrance taste by recalling and comparing the perfumes worn throughout your lifetime, identifying their key notes and fragrance families. As well as this, consider the kind of scents that trigger something in you based on life experiences. Your sense of smell is closely linked to memory, and a familiar scent can bring back vivid and emotional associations that in turn, define the scents that you like. This could be fragrances worn by loved ones or those you are very fond of, or a scent that transports you to a favourite holiday destination. A whiff of sweet mandarin, for example, could bring you back to summer mornings in the Mediterranean, with its fresh, warm citrus infused air.
Understand your notes and fragrance families
After recognising favourite notes from previous fragrance purchase and building an idea of the scents that you like, it is worth informing yourself on how a perfumes notes fit together, as well as gaining a general understanding of which fragrance families these choice notes belong to.
Notes: The notes in fragrances are divided into three categories: top, middle and base notes. The top notes are the lightest and first that you smell, lasting only a few minutes. These give you an indication of whether you will enjoy the full aromatic experience. The middle notes are the heart of the fragrance which blend into the base notes to form the full body of the scent. The base contains the heaviest notes as their role is to ensure the fragrance leaves a lasting impression. In this case it is worth analysing whether you like the base notes, as these will generally be the most prominent in the formula.
Fragrance families: As well as identifying notes, most brands will also state the fragrance family a perfume belongs to, so it helps to know which you are most drawn to. The key fragrance families include Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh and within these are subcategories and crossovers such as Green, Citrus and Woody-Oriental. If you’ve pinpointed the kind of notes and ingredient mix you like, it should be relatively easy to recognise which family they sit within. If you like floral notes but seek a delicate scent, you would look for Soft Florals as apposed to a Floral-Oriental, as an Oriental scent implies a mix of heavier notes such as spices.
Strength: Be aware that perfume is also categorised into strengths. These include: Eau de Cologne (EdC), Eau de Toilette (EdT), Eau de Parfum (EdP) and pure Parfum. EdC is the weakest and pure Parfum is the strongest, so choose depending on whether you prefer your perfume to be rich and intense or delicate.
Explore a brands philosophy and read perfume descriptions
By exploring the information provided by a fragrance brand, you can gain a strong sense of their identity, which will give you an indication of whether they are traditional or contemporary, the brands nationality, the methods they employ and the overall ‘spirit’ that they wish to project. All of these factors will give you a sense of how their perfumes will smell. As well as reading into the brands philosophy, you should carefully read the fragrance descriptions. These have been put together by experts at the brand to tell the story of the fragrance, so the buyer is able to form a strong picture of the scent. At Czech & Speake, a number of our perfumes were influenced by our founders personal experiences of locations. Mimosa, for example, was inspired by the climate of the American Deep South:
“Created in the 1980’s, Mimosa is one of our earliest fragrances. I remembered the warm, moody, sultry climate of the American Deep South; the humidity which extracts every last note of fragrance from the delicate yellow flowers of the mimosa tree and the long relaxed summer evenings there. Mimosa is our expression of that milieu, an elegant, sensual fragrance to match that relaxed mood.”
Speak to an expert
If you still feel as though you need further guidance before committing to buying fragrance online, experts from the brand will be able to use their knowledge to assist you. After identifying your top fragrance families and notes, you can describe these to an expert and using their experience they will be able to select your best options from their brands collection.
During these times of restriction, the Czech & Speake team will still be at hand to answer any enquires. When browsing the products on our site, an online chat icon will appear at the bottom right hand corner of your screen, with this you can instantly converse with a member of our customer service team. This option is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5:30. Alternatively, our experts will be happy to talk through our collection with you over the phone, Monday to Friday 10am to 6:00pm and Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Czech & Speake Tel: +44 (0)20 8983 7400
Discover our fragrance finder page to guide you through the significant fragrance families, and where each Czech & Speake fragrance fits. Explore our full fragrance collection and read the product descriptions – take note that under our fragrance category drop down, our perfumes have been divided into strengths and families.