- A guide to perfume

Perfumes: what they are and how to buy them

When asked what she wore in bed, Marilyn Monroe once famously replied 'Chanel No.5'. It's a remark that evokes all the mystique and sensuality of perfume, magical concoctions that play strange tunes on the 40 million receptor cells contributing to our sense of smell. Perfumes are composed of dozens of ingredients: extracts of flowers, spices, herbs, fragrant woods and resins - or their synthetic chemical equivalents. It might come as a surprise to learn that the floral sensation of Chanel No.5 depends upon a synthetic aldehyde.

Perfume Ingredients

What exactly are myrrh, musk, vetiver and ylang-ylang? Discover the secrets, plus the astonishing range, of perfume ingredients

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How Perfume is Made

The complexities of the mystical art of creating perfumes go some way to explaining their fabulous cost.

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A bottle of perfume

Analysing Perfume

Top notes, base notes, citrus, floral, chypre, eau de toilette and eau de Cologne: learn the language of perfume.

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50 Top Perfume Brands

The stories behind the great names in perfume.

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How to Choose Perfume

Advice on how to discover the fragrance that is perfect for you.

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History of Perfume

The modern perfume industry has its roots in an ancient craft.

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