The history of perfume provides that the ancient Greeks deemed the making of perfume an art. So before going out to the perfume shop to purchase, remember the Greeks beliefs as well as my own, and that is that finding great fragrances takes an open mind and a keen sense of smell.
The purposes of the art have been thought to be didactic, cathartic, distracting, profane, sanctifying and elevating. Like all arts, perfume should engage our attention to a most satisfactory end first creating expectation and then satisfying it in a way much different and better than for which we hoped.
Establishing scents is most difficult; some say it is magic. Some also say it is science, but most agree it is art. Often a mixture of two items, say one flower fragrance and one fruit, will for a time smell as the flower, then the fruit and then inexplicably, a third presence will evolve and ultimately be the desired scent. This is what I would refer to as a designer perfume fragrance.
The next great fragrance cannot be predicted. One might think making scents is easy; however, three things must be in place to make the happy medley happen. Someone must be daring enough to conceive of new ideas; someone must be able to notice the one good idea among the mediocre ones; and someone must have the skill to carry the idea to fruition. Years of training are needed to become a perfumer; and even then, a perfumer must be surrounded by those who can recognize a good thing when they smell it.
Among perfumes there are those considered exquisitely beautiful, and there are those that will appeal more than others. Some will leave you entirely cold, even wishing you will never hear from them again.
There are those perfumes that smell great in the first few minutes then fade rapidly. Some seem to attack with the thrust of a knife. Others are entirely boring. Some are uncomfortably sweet and some fall apart after a short time, and some are not worth much at all.
The rare scents and those that are the most marketable are the ones with something interesting and new to say to you each time you wear them.
When you finally find a scent you love, buy it. One of the true benefits of perfume is that it is an affordable luxury. You may find a brand fragrance scent best suited for you in a pharmacy or at a luxury boutique.
There are various guidelines for selecting a fragrance. For instance, if you are attending a concert or movie, either wear something soft or no fragrance at all. Always be cognizant of those around you. For dining out, wear something that compliments food or, once again, nothing at all.
A fragrance worn to a party is another matter entirely. Depending on the décor, the scent may be flirty and fruity. The workplace requires another strategy. It depends on your type of work and persona you want to project a classic, oriental or combination of the two may be appropriate.
Remember, keep an open mind. Perfume adds that mischief and surprise that are needed to keep life fresh.