Fragrance has long been associated with gender, and studies conducted in the 1980s found that women who wear perfume can influence men’s judgment of their personality. When combined with positive non-verbal cues, the male subjects devalued female job applicants wearing perfume, and this effect was stronger than for those who did not wear fragrance. However, the findings are difficult to generalize. There are several factors that influence the connotation of scent.
Perfumes contain tens to hundreds of ingredients. Some of them are natural aromatic plant extracts, whereas others are synthetic aromatic chemicals classified according to structural groups. Adding fixatives, which may be natural or synthetic, increases the perceived odor strength and increases the stability of perfume oil. During the distillation process, raw materials are steeped in oils or fats, which then pass through a filtering fabric. Afterward, the scented solid is washed in alcohol.
In addition to the notes in a fragrance, the concentration level of a scent can affect the duration of its elicited response. For example, a perfume with a higher concentration of an aromatic compound than an eau de toilette may have a longer duration on the skin. Similarly, a fragrance with a similar accord may have similar effects on the brain, but the level of the aromatic compounds is lower. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support this conclusion.
Perfumes are usually grouped according to their olfactory properties. The top notes, also known as the head notes, are the first impression of a perfume and are comprised of small, light molecules. Unlike the top notes, the middle notes are softer and more subtle, and are more noticeable after several minutes or an hour. For example, a rose perfume contains only a single flower, while a vanilla scent is composed of many other aromatic materials.
The ingredients that make up a fragrance are largely synthetic. However, some natural sources are also used. One example is calone, which imparts a fresh ozonous metallic marine scent. In addition, synthetic aromatics such as linalool and coumarin are cheap and plentiful. The same holds true for orchid scents. These compounds are often sourced from plants, but the production of synthetic fragrance oils is much more widespread and cheaper.
Another type of fragrances is known as gourmand. These are scents that have a food-like quality, often containing components such as lemon, cola, or vanilla. These fragrances are also commonly associated with other flavors such as chocolate and nuts. They are sweet, fruity, and spicy, and can open a person’s appetite and touch the soul. These fragrances have a very sweet smell, and are perfect for those who love to eat or drink.