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  • Acca Kappa - Black-Pepper & Sandalwood

Fragrance 101

It’s really easy to get confused by all the different types of men’s fragrances out there. In fact, today we tend to use the term “cologne” to mean men’s fragrance but cologne was actually named after a perfume originating from Cologne, Germany in 1709 by an Italian perfume maker named Giovanni Maria Farina. He was the first to coin the term eau de cologne.

So let’s begin with some basics. Cologne is made of extracts, oils, alcohol, preservatives and water. As the percentage of aromatic compounds increases so does the intensity and longevity of the cologne. First, we have perfume or parfum which is usually over 20% of aromatic compounds and it’s also the most expensive. Next, we have eau de perfume or parfum and it’s usually 10-20%. Eau de toilette is typically 7-12% of aromatic compounds followed by eau de cologne which is commonly 3-7%. The key here is the less percentage of aromatic compounds cologne has, the less potent and expensive it will be.

Next on our list are the fragrance categories or what is known as the “fragrance wheel.” The four categories of fragrances are: Floral which contains the fragrances of fresh flowers. Oriental is made up of spices, exotic flowers and woods. Fresh is comprised of citrus, green (such as leaves) and water. And finally, Woody is made up of woods, mossy woods and dry woods.

Lastly we need to explain what “notes” are. A fragrance progresses through three stages called “notes”. Each note denotes a group of scents which can be sensed with respect to the time after the cologne has been applied. The Top Notes usually form your first impression of the cologne and are usually the lightest of the notes. Common fragrance top notes include citrus, fruits and herbs. The Middle Notes are sometimes called heart notes because they are the heart of the fragrance and are sensed after the top notes evaporate and last longer. Middle notes usually include floral or fruit and spices. The Base Notes are the final fragrance notes and appear once the top notes are completely evaporated and mingle with the middle notes to create the full body of the cologne. Common fragrance base notes are woods and musk.

This may have been a bit TMI (too much information). But I can guarantee you that you’re going to be a hit at your next dinner party with all you know now about colognes especially if you’re wearing one with some strong base notes ☺.

At Gentil Uomo, we are pleased to carry colognes that are all made in Italy and we’re so excited about a new line that we recently brought in from northern Italy, called Acca Kappa. Acca Kappa is located in Treviso, Italy, near Venice. This amazing company is in its fourth generation of making grooming and fragrance products, which all began in 1869! Drop by the shop to take a look (or a smell) or visit us at gentiluomo.ca or shop.gentiluomo.ca. Alla prossima – until next time. Arrivederci.