Perfumes that use the most common scents do not always obtain the highest number of ratings, according to an analysis of 10,000 perfumes and their online ratings.The study, published in PLOS ONE reveals which odours are likely to bring success.Perfumes are described in terms of ‘notes’, which can be single odour ingredients, such as vanilla, musk or jasmine, as well as more generic smells like ‘floral notes’. Perfume smell is then described in terms of a combination of these notes. Combinations of several notes that are commonly used in perfumes are called ‘accords’.
Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK used complex network analysis to determine the most popular notes and accords.While some common accords, like lavender and geranium, are often present in ‘successful’ perfumes, some less-common notes and accords have a stronger link with perfume popularity, like jasmine plus mint, or musk plus vetiver and vanilla.
The researchers said this could be a new avenue for perfumers to discover scent combinations that are likely to be successful but are not yet widespread.The team acknowledged that brand influences perfume popularity but found no correlation between perfume price and success. However, the smell itself did have a large relation to perfume success.