When the Emperor Napoleon of France was about to return from battle, he sent a message to Josephine. “Am returning in three days. Don’t wash.” While modern-day noses may not agree with Napoleon’s sentiments, there is some evidence that lovers are attracted by each others’ natural smell above and beyond the scents of soap, perfume, fragrance, cologne and chewing gum. That we are influenced by naturally-emitted scents called pheromones, so subtle and yet so powerful that we can be drawn to or repelled by people for reasons we don’t even understand.

Old factory research has shown that certain odors can prevent shoplifting, inspire confidences and make us hungry even when our stomachs are full. The perception of fragrance is embedded in the portion of our brains where emotions arise, making smells from childhood immediate memory triggers, and creating a strong emotional pull towards or away from smells depending on the positive or negative associations of the memories they are attached to.

Choosing a perfume is like choosing a lover: you don’t rush; you learn everything you can; you take your own feelings seriously. With an eye to these requirements, the aim of this article is to teach you about the types of fragrance, the fragrance families, the right ways to wear perfume, and how to shop for the perfect perfume.