What is a fresh scent in perfumery? Perceptual freshness is correlated with substantivity

Autores UPV
Revista Sensors


Perfumes are manufactured by mixing odorous materials with different volatilities. The parameter that measures the lasting property of a material when applied on the skin is called substantivity or tenacity. It is well known by perfumers that citrus and green notes are perceived as fresh and they tend to evaporate quickly, while odors most dissimilar to ¿fresh¿ (e.g., oriental, powdery, erogenic and animalic scents) are tenacious. However, studies aimed at quantifying the relationship between fresh odor quality and substantivity have not received much attention. In this work, perceptual olfactory ratings on a fresh scale, estimated in a previous study, were compared with substantivity parameters and antierogenic ratings from the literature. It was found that the correlation between fresh odor character and odorant substantivity is quite strong (r = −0.85). ¿Fresh¿ is sometimes interpreted in perfumery as ¿cool¿ and the opposite of ¿warm¿. This association suggests that odor freshness might be somehow related to temperature. Assuming that odor perception space was shaped throughout evolution in temperate climates, results reported here are consistent with the hypothesis that ¿fresh¿ evokes scents typically encountered in the cool season, while ¿warm¿ would be evoked by odors found in nature during summer. This hypothesis is rather simplistic but it may provide a new insight to better understand the perceptual space of scents.