This glossary defines some commonly used terms in the world of fragrance and candle.
An accord is a blend of fragrance notes, or ingredients, that combine to form their own distinctive scent. Accords are usually created to represent scents that can't actually be distilled- leather notes, for example, cannot be distilled from actual leather and are therefore usually an accord of other notes.
Aldehydes are aromatic chemicals that provide sparkle and lift to perfumes, and depending on their type, also provide their own scent. Aldehydes C-12 and lower (the C stands for carbon) provide sparkle; Aldehydes C-14 and higher add a fruit note. Chanel No. 5 and Guerlain Mitsouko are famous perfumes with aldehydes.
A substance that can cause an allergic reaction in one individual but have no negative effect on another.
Refers to fragrances that are based on a concept of a “watery and airy” scents. Also known as Ozone, or Ozonic.
The therapeutic use of pure essential oils and herbs, described by proponents as “healing, beautifying and soothing” the body and mind, has its roots in the folk medicine practiced in primitive cultures. The history of aromatherapy stretches as far back as 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. It wasn’t until the 1920’s, however, when the term was actually coined by a French chemist, R.M. Gattefosse.
The term for the heaviest ingredients, molecularly, in a fragrance formula, as well as those that one may notice after the top notes and middle notes. Base notes help to fix other notes in the perfume formula, making them last longer, and they enhance the scent of other ingredients.
A mixture of floral notes.
The amount of time it takes for the wax in a candle to be consumed completely. A candle's burn rate is affected by factors such as exposure to draft and heat, neglect in trimming the wick, leaving the candle burning longer than necessary and environmental factors.
One of the freshest families on the scent spectrum whose scents are very sharp and fleeting, giving any fragrance an immediate sparkle. Mostly used as top notes, common ingredients used are from citrus fruits such as orange, mandarin, and bergamot.
A classic accord featuring a citrus top note, such as bergamot, contrasting with a mossy base of, most importantly, oakmoss.
A technique used to pour wax at a cooler temperature or pouring into a chilled metal mold for a more rustic look rather than a smooth, creamy surface.
A term used to describe a scent and its strength before the candle is lit for the first time.
To allow a candle, soap, or lotion to set, or age, to help enhance the fragrance. Most products will get stronger with age.
The last phase of a fragrance's lifecycle, the drydown refers to the final hours of a fragrance's detection, when the top and middle notes have completely disappeared and only the longest lasting part of the base remains.
Eau de Cologne (EDC)
The least concentrated style of fine fragrance, with a perfume oil to alcohol ratio of only 2-5%. Due to its lightness, an eau de cologne is typically bottled in large sizes and meant to be splashed on throughout the day.
Eau de Parfum (EDP)
A fine fragrance with a 10-15% concentration of perfume oil to alcohol.
Eau de Toilette (EDT)
A fine fragrance with a 5-10% concentration of perfume oil to alcohol.
Also known as 'EOs'. Essential oils are basically plant extracts. They're made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves or fruit) to capture the compounds that produce fragrance.
A fragrance with a 15-45% concentration of perfume oil. Extracts are generally the most concentrated form of perfume available to purchase.
The lowest temperature at which the vapor of a combustible liquid can be made to ignite and can refer to both wax and fragrance oils. For wax, it is the temperature it must reach before it combusts and catches fire. For fragrance, it is the temperature it must reach in order to catch fire when coming into contact with a spark or even an open flame.
Fragrances characterized by the prevalence of well-defined floral notes
A style of fragrance named for the French word for fern. Fougères are usually herbal scents featuring lavender, oakmoss, and woods. From the French for fern.
A fragrance family is a category of scent It's part of a classification system that allows us to distinguish scents from one another based on their compositions and how we perceive them. There have been various attempts over the years to break down the world of fragrance into classifiable categories. As there is no universal system, it is common to see a single fragrance categorized in multiple conflicting (or non-conflicting) ways, which is why it's best to use the families as loose guidelines and not rely on them too heavily.
Learn more on Fragrance Families here.
The amount of fragrance used per the amount of base. Example: to use a 10% fragrance load for 300g of base, means you need 30grams of fragrance oil.
Exactly as the name suggests, this family comprises of fruity ingredients. Think juicy, sweet and edible ingredients such as peach, apple and berries. Fruity notes bring sparkle and youth to fragrances.
Green notes create a fresh and sharp aroma, with crispy and vegetal notes, such as freshly cut grass. And garden herbs.
A gourmand fragrance is one that primarily evokes food, usually dessert. This can include notes of vanilla, chocolate, fruit, caramel, and more.
A note that is natural cool or leafy, such as chamomile or clary sage.
Also known as “heart notes”. They are the primary notes that define the way a scent is described and categorized. Usually refer to florals, spices and botanicals. These notes often act as the support system for top or bottom notes, giving them a boost and providing balance. Common middle notes are light fruits and spicy or herbal scents.
Musk is used to extend the life of fragrances and to add a sensual feel, and perfumers now use a large array of synthetic musks in perfume that range from dark and animalic to fresh and laundry-like.
Used shorthand for any perfume ingredient derived from natural, non-synthetic sources.
Also known as “perfumers”. A nose is the person responsible for creating the formula of a fragrance. The nose is the one with the training and expertise to actually combine the precise ingredients.
A single element, or ingredient, of a fragrance, the building block level of a scent. Sometimes a note refers to actual discrete ingredients such as rose and orange blossom. Other times, it’s loosely used where “accord” would be more accurate.
The required temperature for pouring the fragranced and or colored wax into the vessel or mold. This is different for every wax type so be sure to follow the instructions for your specific wax.
A process whereby you fill the cavity created by wax shrinkage to ensure you have a level, smooth candle.
A family of exotic spices including clove, cinnamon, and pepper that when come together can be reminiscent of Christmas or cooking spices. Warm and comforting middle note ingredients that add a spiciness to any scent.
Refers to how long a fragrance lasts, either in the bottle, or when exposed to elements such as heat, light and air.
The molecularly lightest note in a perfume formula, like bergamot or mandarin. They’re the first notes you smell in a composition.
Dominated by woody scents such as sandalwood and cedarwood as well as patchouli and vetiver, this is a family that is most commonly adored by men. Woody notes have a dry and soft aroma that brings warmth and power to a fragrance.