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10 Most popular perfume ingredients for a long-lasting smell

Perfumes are an important accessory of our everyday life. Used not only to smell good, but they also make an essential item of our attire. Scents define our personality and temperament. Some people can reveal your veiled traits by reading tarot cards or evaluating your coffee impressions. Others can judge you by the smell you wear. So selecting an ingredient with dominant smell becomes as important as selecting the culinary theme of a meal.

Then perfumes are an expensive and luxurious ad-on. We are talking about a premium-grade product. A smell that does not last beyond a few hours is annoying. It is not possible to reapply a scent now and then. You cannot carry a dispensing bottle to your workplace now, can you? So investing in a brand with lasting smell caters to cost-effectiveness and delivers your money's worth.

Designer teams assigned to perfume ingredients often take inspiration from nature. The constituents are an extract from natural raw material. They are fused with synthetic items to increase their longevity. Having a background knowledge makes it easy to select a perfume that stays true when worn. One may overlook any hefty price tag for such smells that carry a lasting effect.

Let us have a sneak peek into some of the perfume ingredients with a lasting and enduring smell. When you purchase a smell for yourself, try to search for the following constituents. You can get a worthy purchase because everybody loves a smell that lasts a day at least.

  1. Jasmine

 A sweet-smelling white flower. The extract of which makes way to most perfume ingredients for women. Jasmine is one of the foundation notes in perfume making.  It is Termed ‘La Fleur’, the flower in the perfume world.  There is no note which is so influential to our olfactory sense.

There are almost 200 varieties of this flower-bearing plant. Yet not all jasmine extracts are equal.  Two varieties have special use in perfume-making. 

  • Jasminum grandiflorum, which means ‘big-flowered jasmine’. Its cultivation is prevalent in Grasse where the famous brand Chanel has its fields.
  • Sambac Jasmine, also known as Tuscan or Arabian jasmine.

Jasmine is one of the most expensive extracts used in the subject industry. It takes around 8000 flowers to yield a milliliter of the scent. These are hand-picked to maintain the delicate flower. The amount of hard work that goes in its picking and selection is the reason behind its expensive tag.

Yet you observe many brands touting the sweet, sexy and intense smell of Jasmine. They have a fair price tag. There is a reason behind the affordability of Jasmine. Jasmine plant smells different depending on where it’s grown. The character notes range from medicinal to sweet, some musky and green. The creative noses of the perfume designers select the perfect blends for us to wear. Some may use synthetic versions of Jasmine. It further adds to the reasonable price-tag.

  1. Oud

Liquid gold or oud is another expensive perfume ingredient. You may love it or hate it. There is no in-between the two for the smell of oud. The resin is a result of a fungal attack on the wood of the Aquilaria tree. Agarwood is another name for the resultant product with the distinct smell we know as oud.

The smell of oud is strong enough to influence other notes in perfume. That is why it requires a careful and cautious selection of notes.  The smell is irresistible and attractive with bittersweet and woody hints. The earthly tone is heady and sexy, meant for daring personalities. It sure lasts long depending upon the:

  • type of oud resin used
  • the duration of its aging
  • the quantity used in a brand

From an age-old perfume element in Arabic and Indian cultures, oud has made its way into the west as a high-demand item. Synthetic versions retain the woody and leathery qualities. Yet the typical smooth balsamic and warm touch of oud is only specific to the real ingredient.  

  1. Orange blossom and other citrus smells

Clean, fresh with an optimistic aura. Citrus umbrellas a lengthy list of raw ingredients. Citrus-smelling fruits and raw ingredients (lemongrass) are some of the age-old perfume ingredients.  Grapefruit, yuzu, and hassaku are some new additions to the list. Citrus scents get extracted via cold-pressed methods. It helps to preserve their natural freshness.

Often used a top note, citrus smells bring a ticklish yet pleasing effect. An air of genuine cleanliness and easy elegance. Uplifting and stimulating. Citrus reminds you of sunny mornings with a fresh breeze. This note complements its floral counterparts. It brings down the sweetness of the floral smell. It goes well with resin scents in oriental perfumes.  A great adjunct to spicy notes, the zesty smell infuses a seductive tartness to a perfume. 

  1. Cedarwood

Aromatic, woody and musky amber smell. That is cedar.  One of the oldest perfume ingredients, cedarwood has a somber yet fresh effect. Often used as a base note in masculine scents.  It also handles the heady characteristics of female scents because of its pliability. Steam distillation of the tree's wood, roots and foliage yields the oil with a balsamic smell.

The dry woody smell complements any cheerful top and middle notes. It pairs up with citrus, floral and spicy notes beautifully. Its calming aroma balances the sharpness and intensity of aromatic ingredients. A dependable and pliable scent that can reinforce other combinations. You will hardly find a perfume without a hint of woody character. Choose cedar wood for its lasting impact.

  1. Patchouli

Woody scents dominate perfume ingredients with lasting odor. Another name to this list is patchouli. The woody smell comes not from wood but a leaf of an exotic Indian bush. An old scent that arrived in Europe along with Napoleon Bonaparte. It became a hippy fad in the 60s and 70s in the US. Considered a controversial scent, Patchouli was synonyms with a common heady and overwhelming scent. But do not let hearsay fool you about Patchouli. It is the basic unit of a class of perfumes, the chypre fragrances. The olfactory profile of patchouli depends upon:

  • the cultivation techniques,
  • time of the harvest,
  • the process of drying and
  • distillation techniques

Only 3-4 top pairs of mature leaves yield the highest quality oil. The extraction of patchouli oil is intricate and detailed.  Only a few distilleries take on the highly skilled work. A single drop of pure patchouli oil delivers a smell that lasts for months. So it makes our list of lasting perfume ingredients.

The scent of patchouli is earthy and herbaceous with a rich and intense green heart and a woodsy base. The smell gets better with the aging of the oil.  It takes a fruity nuance. The oil has a balsamic and herbaceous tone with a minty-woody undertone.  It blends with a flair with oriental, chypre, and fougère-type fragrances. Pairs up beautifully with powdery perfumes. Patchouli's tone harmonizes well with other earthy scents. Some of them include vetiver, sandalwood, cedarwood, clove, lavender, rose, labdanum, etc. 

  1. Sandalwood

Another smooth woody note that comes with a promise of lasting scent. The use of Sandalwood is widely prevalent in religious and traditional circles of Asia. The sweet intoxicating smell complements floral notes. The wood is aromatic with an enduring retentivity. Often used as a base note, the wood is a symbol of vitality and life according to Indian religious beliefs.

The rich balsamic smell blends in with several essential oils. These include

  • Spices as Clove, black pepper, and Peppermint
  • Floral as Lavender, Geranium, and  Jasmine
  • Herbs as Sage, Coriander, and Fennel
  • Woody as Patchouli
  • Bergamot
  • Frankincense
  • Galbanum
  • Myrrh

It acts as an excellent fixative to other constituents in perfume. 

The oil has a calming and relaxing effect. Its use as an aphrodisiac agent is common in aromatherapy. So next time you are heading for a romantic occasion, wear a perfume with sandalwood note to make a lasting impression.

  1. Leather

A musky dark smell, leather has a powerful seductive effect. Surprisingly, the scent is not derived from any leathery raw material. The smell comes from birch tar, juniper or other synthetic aldehydes. It may be a harmony between different extracts that deliver the smoky leather effect. Black tea, patchouli, and tobacco often synchronize to give a leather-jacket sensuality.

The leather scent is often synthetic. The leather note used in perfumery is an artificial scent, created as an amalgam of flowers and skin. Yet it is soft and exciting to smell. It has a nostalgic feel to it. Leather is one of the oldest perfume ingredients. Its use dates back to the 15th or 16th century. The use of floral essential oils masked the organic smell of leather.

History observes the origin of leather smell as either Russian or Spanish. With a sharp and distinct aroma, the Russian leather spoke of authority and command. It incorporated birch tar as a water-proofing element for their military boots. The Spanish leather scent originated from the scenting of chamois. It included integration with the essence of herbs, flowers, and fruits. Civet and musk also made to the list. Modern-day perfumery witnesses Arabian leather scent with complementary spicy nuances, sharp and strong.

Leather is a common accompaniment of women's chypres. It adds to the lingering base of floral fragrances. Though often considered a male note, leather and tobacco go hand-in-hand in many female chypres. Other complementing notes to leather include animalic smells like

  • ambergris,
  • musk,
  • civet,
  • honey, and
  • woods

The nuances vary between floral, smooth velvety to smoky characters.

  1. Amber

Sweet and warm with a cozy character. It is an oriental note by default. Known by many poetic names, some of which include

  • Tears of the sun,
  • Tiger's soul,
  • Hardened honey,
  • Petrified light,
  • Window to the past,
  • Nordic gold

Amber is a plant resin that has fossiled over millions of years. Synthetically, the note combines many perfume ingredients as

  • labdanum,
  • benzoin,
  • vanilla,
  • styrax
  • fir
  • Tonka
  • Peru balsam

The resin comes in many colors. Used to make ornaments in different parts of the world, amber has a place in perfume making as well. Its prevalent use in oriental perfumes has given rise to amber Orientals, a new perfume category.

 Combining amber with aldehydes, sandalwood, galbanum, and vanilla gives a bright warm feel. Deep and sensual, a bit powdery yet erotic and sexy to wear. Ambergris is the synthetic version of this plant resin. It combines vanilla to deliver a smooth sweet lasting smell. Soft and gentle, amber note slowly envelops and lingers for long because of its pronounced character. It adds to the originality of composition. Amber fixes floral notes into lasting odors, especially when used in large quantities. 

  1. Lavender

The smell of lavender is as pleasing as the sight of its fields. Just as there is no color except lavender to describe its hue, the smell of lavender is an experience. A clean aromatic smell that varies between licorice and medicine notes. An important ingredient in herbal medicine. The use of lavender in aromatherapy introduced it as a perfume ingredient.

The odor profile of lavender changes its dominant trait according to the soil origin. French version carries a sweet floral aroma. The Dutch variety has a sharp odor owing to its high content of camphor and other terpenes. The hybrid type has a refreshing note.

 Lavender oil is fresh, and sweet, a complement to floral fragrances. The Fougère type of perfumes is identifiable by their herbal lavender top notes and oakmoss base. The exact odor of lavender oil varies depending on the

  • source of lavender,
  • the altitude at which it is grown, ( the higher the altitude, the more expensive lavender essence)
  • the distillation techniques

Lavender note is not gender-specific. Its use is quite prevalent in colognes and perfumes for men where it delivers its dry and balmy base. If you thought lavender is old-fashioned and boring, think again. The pure lavender essential oil has an olfactory profile range from

  • spicy,
  • peppery,
  • herbaceous,
  • misty,
  • smoky or green

 The lavender essential oil makes a nice olfactory harmony with citruses. Some other complementary notes include:



  1. Herbs and spices

It looks like anything with a smell makes it to the list of perfume ingredients. Herbs and spices are culinary ingredients for sure. Yet as appetizing as they are to our taste buds, they make a perfectly enticing scent element as well. Smells invigorate our perception and stir up our memories. That is why herbs and spices are essentials in perfumery.

Dried, hand-picked or used fresh, they have an irresistible appeal to our psyche. Spices are classified as:

  • Hot or short
  • Cold or long

The designation caters to the sensation delivery power of the ingredient. Hot has an intense smell, like cinnamon, that lasts for a short period. Cold ones, like cardamom, deliver a cooling sensation with lingering effects. There are a million ways how spices can get their message across via different combinations.

Herbs are aromatic scent essentials. They may have a spicy or herbaceous character. They can characterize other notes in a combination. 


Tabassum Khan
Tabassum Khan

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