It’s a long courtship, the business of choosing a perfume. Here’s something no one bothered to tell you: People who walk through scent counters hoping for a quick buy are bound to end up with a barely touched bottle in their stash, which is why some sales associates advise clients to go back an hour or so after the initial sample spritz to gauge if the scent fits. It’s skin meeting the scent, and a few minutes won’t do—a couple of laps around the mall is recommended.
All this trouble for perfume? It’s a science, and quite a complicated one. Fragrance in a bottle won’t automatically smell as good on skin, which is why it’s never ideal to spend on a scent you whiffed off a friend. The digestible nitty-gritty includes body chemistry and an understanding of perfume notes.
Perfumery is about expert layering: Scents consist of a top note, a mid note and a base note, and all reveal their distinct fragrance as they linger on the skin. Body chemistry determines how the scent bounces off the skin, cool and warm tones react to different notes—but don’t consider it final, as weather, hygiene and lifestyle factor in the mix, too. Instead, follow our matchmaking advice: At the store, allow the perfume to touch your wrists and sparingly graze your neck. Then take it out, maybe to dinner—movies, if you have time. At the end of the day, get nosy and see if you like what’s there. That’s when you’ll know if it’s really yours.
Our choice of scents, for your spritzing pleasure.
VERSACE Yellow Diamond Intense Eau de Parfum, P4600, Rustan’s Essenses
YVES ROCHER Naturelle Eau de Toilette, P1495, Rustan’s Essenses
TOMMY HILFIGER Tommy Girl Neon Brights Eau de Toilette, P3989/30ml, Rustan’s Essenses
BALENCIAGA B. Balenciaga Eau de Parfum, P7098, Rustan’s Essenses