Top Tips: How To Choose A Perfume Online Without Smelling It

The internet has made our lives easier in many ways. And being able to shop online is one of them. But there are some things the internet can’t replace. Like the experience of choosing your next signature perfume. It’s easy to spend hours smelling scents before you settle on the perfect one. So how do you choose a new fragrance online when you can’t smell it?

Meet scent designer Johanna Monange. Her experience extends more than 20 years, from creating perfumes for some major design houses. She’s also the founder of Maison 21G, a brand that revolutionizes personalization in Haute perfumery.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to purchase perfume without visiting a store.

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Overpowering Scents In Perfume

Monange says overwhelming scents are likely caused by combinations of potent ingredients. These components typically include coumarin, amber, vanilla, praline, all-oriental notes, animalic notes, and powdery notes.

So it’s best to avoid fragrances containing a mixture of 2 of these ingredients. One would ideally want a perfume comprised of fresher, lighter notes such as bergamot and floral scents. Rather than strong notes like oriental and woodsy scents. This way, your fragrance won’t overwhelm people around you, let alone yourself.

Tips For Choosing A ‘Fresh’ Scent

According to Monange, you should add citrus notes to your fragrance, such as bergamot, lime, lemon, grapefruit, and blood orange. Ginger is also a great option in this case. Ingredients containing high numbers of green notes bring a lot of freshness. But they’re not the only ones.

Calone and floralozone are synthetic notes that have a strong, fresh, and maritime scent. The most famous molecule for adding freshness is MNA, which can be found in Chanel No.5. The aldehyde odor is metallic and cold. So this lifts heavy scents to create a beautiful, fresh aroma.

Your Guide To Choosing A ‘Sweet’ Scent

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Vanilla is the most iconic, universally loved the scent. For fragrance designers, when they design a sweet perfume, like Monange, it commonly has vanilla as the active molecule. Cinnamon is also great for adding a different type of sweetness to fragrance compositions. This warm spice brings an electric kind of sweetness. Notes naturally found within fruit like apricot and peach, in combination with synthetic notes like methyl anthranilate, provide a very sweet scent.

When creating sweet fragrances, other key ingredients include popular gourmand notes such as Veltol or ethyl maltol. These have a burnt caramel aroma and create an almost addictive response in our brains. The more we smell these fragrances, the more they grow on us. Everyone adores this fragrance family, which is among the most popular.

Should You Take Packaging Into Account?

When purchasing perfume online, look for clues about the company’s marketing strategy. Consider the packaging. From the container all the way down to the liquid inside. This can give you clues as to what type of scent can be found from the brand. Such as blue for fresh bouquets or green for natural scents. And black and gold can signify luxurious perfumes.

Understanding Common Fragrance Families

Understanding all the different fragrance families can be a minefield. Attending a fragrance workshop can help you navigate the options. But until you can get to one, here’s a breakdown of the most common ones.


This fragrance family is ideal for summer and makes for a nice midday or morning aroma. Monange acknowledges that the smell doesn’t linger for very long because the molecules are so transient.


Floral is a wonderful family of notes for any occasion and season. A wide variety of floral scents, from powdery to animalic, means that you can find your favorite no matter what time of day.


Monange explains that this particular fragrance is best worn at night or in formal settings. This isn’t ideal for a work environment, as it may overwhelm people with its intensity.


This fragrance is created with a mix of either floral or fruity notes for daytime wear. Or spicy oriental notes for nighttime.

Buying A ‘Flanker’ Fragrance As A Gift

According to scent designer and founder of Maison 21G, Monange, flanker perfumes are just not unique enough. They all smell the same and are a marketing strategy to get consumers coming back for more.

If you love the original, don’t go for a different version. And it’s more exciting to try something new than to stick with an alternate version of something you’re comfortable with.

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