Fragrance, Grooming

The fascination of linear fragrances

The fascination of linear fragrances

Not just a perfect fragrance to wear and also an ideal investment.

A trio of beautifully linear fragrances: the Tom Ford Rose Trilogy series

A question I often get as someone that breathes beauty and grooming would be “how do I get my perfume to smell the same?”. Frankly, it’s a little ironic because the joy of purchasing one would be to enjoy the depth and evolution of it and how it transforms on different skin types or blossoms depending on the weather of the week. However, I’ve noticed the rise of linear fragrances: a set of fragrances with a scent that remains similar from start to finish.

While some might compare them to what they call “a deadline” on a hospital heart monitor, I’d like to think of them as safe scents. What you tested on bare skin, purchased and use is basically what you’ll get. Take the Tom Ford Rose Trilogy series above for example — zesty Rose D’Amalfi, vibrant Rose de Chine, and opulent Rose de Russie — all three of which scents similarly upon the first spritz. A rose in Summer, a rose in full bloom and a rose with thorns.

Another example of a House with a set of linear fragrances: the Ermenegildo Zegna XXX collection leverages the simplicity of charcoal, cyprium, and verdigris for long-line appeal. 

While the first historic linear fragrances to be recorded in the annals of history was in no doubt no thanks to the Americans (Caswell-Massey is thought to be the first with a simple floral one), it was the people of Paris who created something called the “pyramidal structure” of a fragrance. The perfumer Jean Carles — a perfumer at Roure — created it with three simple principles that still form the structure of a perfume. The top notes have high volatility (blink, and you might sometimes miss it), heart notes have a medium one (what you’re smelling for most of its longevity), and base notes that form its dry down.

Some modern-day perfumers even add on that the more natural notes are in a scent, the more “real” it becomes. Now then comes the original idea of what linear fragrances are: something concocted using synthetics is linear. To put it simply, synthetics are used for stability, technicality and allows it to “rest” on the skin longer. They can even be considered more sustainable options if used when Mother Nature herself refuses to yield but that is another story for another time.

With the nuts and bolts and the basics and fundamentals of linear fragrances explained, now comes the final question. What makes the Tom Ford Rose Trilogy series so desirable? Sure, the most straightforward reason would be that like his other waters, these three are seductive enough to dip into. If you want us to go a little bit further, it is how he has taken something so simple like the rose and created something as piercingly sweet as it is domineering or meticulously engineered as it is free-spirited.

Most important would be for us to leave you with one note of advice: take some time to smell it in the heat and the mugginess of the month. You might pick up a random note that comes to the fore or disappears depending on whatever you’re doing. Some might even surface with repeated wear or blossom when you give it another chance. With all things said and the five other options below, the pyramid has flattened and like other hierarchies out there in the world, that is a good thing.