The perfume that lasts a long time

by Paolo Fadelli

There is a pressing demand among perfume lovers, so much so that it now seems like the Phoenix: it is the fragrance that lasts a long time. The subject is binding and cannot be ignored. There are those who are convinced that persistence depends on concentrations, only to be denied in front of some “Extrait” or “Eau de Parfum” that goes away after about ten minutes from having worn it. Adieux!

There are those who believe it depends on the type of skin, for which: “no perfume remains on my skin”. Then maybe they are forced to repent when they find themselves with a bad smell that they do not like and that they cannot get rid of.

Others believe it depends on the price, others on the brand, others on the color.
In reality, things are a bit more complex. Little, however, we try to understand and go calmly.

Let's start with the molecules. The dimensions of the molecules are extremely varied and depend on the number and nature of the component atoms: the smallest molecule is that of hydrogen, there are obviously very complex and large ones. Suppose two guys, one skinny and agile and the other a little chubby.

Then there is - in this strange similarity between molecules and individuals - what we can define as the ability to jump, that is, there are substances characterized by a high "vapor pressure" (measured in Pascal) which are called "volatile", others characterized by a low "vapor pressure" which remain stationary if the temperature does not rise a little. Anyone who is an expert in chemistry will apologize for the approximation, but it is meant to be understood.

Well, it is evident that in front of the skinny carried for the jump (volatile substance), the chubby comes later. But here, let's remember, it's a reverse race, because the desire is for the fragrance to stay and not fly away!
Question: but if it does not fly away and remains attached to the skin, how does someone who is even one meter away from me make it feel?
You see that already here things get complicated.
Let's move on to concentrations. Better an Eau de toilette or an Extrait de Parfum? Better an Extrait, but it must be clarified, because this parameter alone is not enough.


A perfume is given by the dilution of an oil in an alcohol. But what is the maximum concentration of oil that I can dissolve? Answer: it depends on the type of oil. Question: but only from that? No, also from the alcohol content (alcohol percentage) and the temperature. Therefore, in addition to molecules and their volatility, their propensity to be dissolved also comes into play.
So it all depends on the formula.
Inside the perfume there are often hundreds of components, each of which plays a fundamental role, which is why the work of the “Nose” or rather Perfumer - is a serious thing that you learn within companies over the years. For this they are very few and paid ... handsomely.

The romantic idea of ​​making perfumes in the garage by mixing what do I know, maybe a vanilla base with a rose perfume, very popular in recent years, is like playing the little chemist, thinking you can generate a vaccine or a drug that treats the tumor. Oh dear, there is the possibility of this happening, but frankly it is very remote. Then there are those who believe in it, but this is another story.
But let's get back to us and the complexity of the formulas. Think that within them there are substances that perhaps smell very little, that you can hardly feel, but that determine the success of a perfume, are often counted among the so-called commodities.

Going back to the example of the two guys above, it comes to mind when I was part of a volleyball team in my youth. Not knowing how to play, I was a little overweight I was just a sucker! They made me be the mascot. The funny fact is that when I was not there the team lost while they won if I was present. At the end of the season I hadn't scored a point but I was absolutely indispensable. In short, I was a commodity.

Don't worry though, the perfume that lasts a long time exists, and with a little trick it never goes away. Never ever.
We all have it and - apart from Jean Baptiste Grenouille, a wonderful character in Suskind's novel who lacked it - he has been with us since birth. To make him feel intensely there is a little trick, which we reveal in this blog. It is based on washing a little, or rather with a little water, no soap and a lot of haste.

I feel I have to thank Professor Lucio Merlini of the University of Milan who kindly supervised what was written. A relationship of kinship and great affection unites me to him.

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