The other day, one of the readers of this blog posed the following:
What do you know about perfume? Most people know what perfume is and many people use it themselves. When men use perfume, it is typically called cologne and the term “perfume” refers to a female’s brand. There are also perfumes for the home and car, etc. but the most common associated with the word is the kind you use on your body.
I have to admit that I have struggled with the same issue. Cologne vs. perfume, male vs. female. I know that colognes and parfums are made up different perfume concentrations, but how does that translate to terminology?
I took this question as an opportunity to further educate myself and decided to reach out to Elena Knezevic, Editor of Fragrantica.com. She graciously provided the following explanation:
There is no strict definition. Here in the US we usually say men’s colognes (without referring to their concentration), but some houses (French for example) offer eau de parfum, or even perfume (parfum or parfum extrait) for Men. We now see a strong trend to avoid the gender definition in fragrances, especially in luxury sector. It doesn’t mean they are unisex, we are free to decide. In this case they are all eau de parfum. For example, Tom Ford Fragrances, they have no gender, but Tuscan Leather is mainly chosen by men, and Champaca Absolute – by women. Terre d’Hermes was launched as pure perfume extrait, and this s a perfume for men. Armani Prive collection, Serge Lutens
fragrances, it even has come to Arabian houses (they usually divide fragrances by gender), but the Omani house Amouage has its luxury Opus collection (6 fragrances so far) without reference to gender.
There was a time when men used colognes and bought them in drug stores and pharmacies together with cosmetic products, so it was more about hygiene, than luxury accessory. Perfumes were exclusively for women (in general of course, not totally).
What are your thoughts on this matter?
Thanks to Elena K. for her valued input.