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Perfumes for Special Occasions: Bases Give Fragrances Their Identities

Perfume for an important occasion should be subtle, delicate and unique. The way we will smell when wearing a perfume or cologne depends on the ingredients in the fragrance. The primary smell of a perfume is influenced by the base fragrances used to create its scent. Let's have a look at the main components of many perfumes. Beautiful fragrances are often produced from extremely weird and smelly substances. Sensuous umbra, also known as ambergris, is actually the excretion of a sperm whale. When umbra is fresh it reeks of fish. Dried for a few months it becomes a valuable perfume ingredient with a warm, lush and sensuous aroma. There are many other such unexpected ingredients in any perfume. Your favourite perfume may contain any of these ingredients. While these ingredients may sound quite disgusting, when used properly they smell heavenly. These bases and fixatives are irreplaceable when used by a knowledgeable perfumer.

Most perfumes can be worn anytime if they are worn in moderation. In general, lighter fragrances are more appropriate for daily use, or for career wear. Lighter fragrances include those with light floral or citrus scents. Stronger fragrances with pungent, earthy, woody or musky scents are saved for eveningwear or romantic occasions. Many perfume makers list ingredients of their products so research the ingredients of a scent before you buy. Look at the information below to learn more about the different types of base scents used in perfumes to decide whether or not your perfume is appropriate for that special occasion.

Musk is a fixative. Fixatives are usually natural substances that preserve and extend a fragrance. Therefore, a fixative is a basic component of all perfume. Natural musk is one of the most popular elements of many perfumes. Natural musk is a secretion from the scent glands of a musk deer. Natural musk has a disgusting odour of ammonia or urine. However, when musk oil is dissolved in an alcoholic solution, it turns into a sensuously sweet scent found even in the most delicate perfume compositions.

Tybet and Castoreum are fixatives that smell similar to musk, and are used in the same way in the perfume design world. Castoreum is extremely odorous oil that comes from the abdominal glands found in both male and female beavers. Castoreum has been described by some experts as smelling like tar. Castoreum is diluted in alcohol before it is used to create a fragrance. When used in perfume, Castoreum adds a leather-like smell to cologne. Tybet comes from the civet, which is a small African wild cat. Civets produce tybet from the perineal glands of both the male and female civet. A synthetic tybet or civet scent was developed due to outcries from animal cruelty activists. This synthetic tybet has been used since about 1998.

Spices are frequently used in the perfumer's art, and add a woody aspect to perfumes. Vanilla beans provide that wonderful vanilla scent we all love in cooking and in perfume. Vanilla, with its balmy scent, is a warm and sweet perfume component. Vanilla is a favourite ingredient when used in perfume. Musk and vanilla are especially nice when combined in a fragrance. Cardamom is a member of the ginger family. Cardamom scent is obtained from seeds of the cardamom plan. Like ginger, cardamom has a warm characteristic as well as a slightly fruity aroma. Cardamom is added as a base for fruity and woody scents. Black pepper is being used recently in men's perfumes to add warmth and wood scent to the base of men's colognes.

Vetiver is a grass root with a resinous and powdery scent that dominates men's fragrances.  Vetiver also occasionally occurs in women's fragrances as well. This root adds a green scent to perfumes. Provencal, basil and geranium oil give a flowery note to a scent, and are common herbal ingredients that add to the scent of a fragrance. And oak moss, mace, and sage enhance men's colognes with a pungent herbal aroma.
Resins can be found in perfume. A resin is a tree sap. Myrrh is a tree resin used since ancient times in incense and perfumes. Myrrh smells like brushwood. Benzoic resin that comes from Vietnam is characterized by a deep and intense smell of flowers and vanilla. Also, almost every fragrance contains a dose of sandalwood that makes perfume sweet, resinous and slightly musky. Sandalwood is an evergreen tree from Asia, Australia and Hawaii that adds a soft woody scent to cologne of fragrance.

Flowers are also widely used perfume components. Rose and jasmine are the most frequently use bases in perfume, and are perpetual classic in fragrance design.  Narcissus is also becoming more and more popular with its strong pervasive and aroma that permeates any perfume in which it is used. Some other floral components for scents are mimosa and bergamot. Although mimosa is delicate and elusive, it has its fans. Bergamot is a small inedible orange that has a pungent smell with a slightly floral aspect. Lily of the valley, frangipani, and freesia are also flowers used in floral scented perfumes. Each flower has its own degree of sweetness, so if you aren't familiar with a flower's scent, there are many great websites that will help you decide if you will like a perfume or not.

For more adventurous people there's a wide range of such modern and original smells that come from some very unexpected sources. Some of these possible additions to cologne or perfume are the smell of burnt rubber, metal and stone. One all time favourite scent is that of clean linen. Other scents include hot sand and nail varnish. For those who want a unique scent but aren't quite so adventurous, perfume containing such delicious aromas as chocolate, fruit and vegetables. Obviously, there is a scent, perfume, fragrance or cologne for nearly any personality, style or taste. Know the types of natural smells you prefer. Understand your personality, or the personality of the person that you are buying for. Do your research and head for the fragrance counter of your local department store to try on some perfume. Since a mixture of too many perfumes will only confuse your senses, you may need to make a couple of shopping trips before you decide. You are bound to find a perfume perfect for that special occasion and for everyday wear.