Common scents? New study finds most successful fragrance notes

By Becky Bargh | Published: 5-Jul-2019

The research looked at 1,000 fragrance notes in more than 10,000 perfumes

In a new study, scientists have found using the most common fragrance notes in perfume will not guarantee its success.

The survey, carried out by the Department of Physics at Imperial College London, looked at 1,000 fragrance notes in more than 10,000 perfumes and their success in online shops.

It found some notes and accords are ‘over-represented’ in the dataset - meaning they appear more often than by chance - but are not correlated with a fragrance’s success.

Meanwhile, common accords including lavender and geranium were found to be present in ‘successful’ perfumes, however, less common notes, such as jasmine plus mint or musk plus vetiver and vanilla had a stronger link to successful scents.

Researchers Vaiva Vasiliauskaite and Tim Evans said this could be a new opportunity for perfumers to discover scent combinations that are likely to be successful.

Vasiliauskaite said: “Our work provides insights into factors that play a role in the success of perfumes.

“It also sets up a framework for a statistical analysis of fragrances based on simple properties and customer reviews.”

She added: “It could be a beneficial tool for systematic ingredient selection and act as an artificial ‘nose’.”

The analysis also found which notes had high enhancement effects; this included floral notes, musk and vanilla.

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