You might have observed that we don’t go out of our way to advertise which of our fragrances is considered an eau de cologne, an eau de toilette or an eau de parfum. The reason for that is simple, and perhaps best explained by Victoria Brolova (of Bois de Jasmin fame) in a recent article for the Financial Times:

“Perfume concentrations are a marketing tool and often do not mean anything exact. The proportion of oil doesn’t play as great a role as the ingredients in the composition. As such, different concentrations denote neither how long a perfume will last nor how many ‘rare and precious’ materials it contains.”

In other words, how a fragrance is classified shouldn’t be your first reference point on whether you’ll like it. (Or as we always say: all that matters is what you like.)

That said, if you’re as fascinated by scent as we are, you’ll appreciate a basic understanding of what’s what. Here’s what you need to know:

-Eau de cologne. A fragrance with less than 5% fragrance oil. (The rest, as with any fragrance, is water and alcohol.) This is the lightest of the major classifications.

-Eau de toilette. A fragrance made with approximately 5 to 15% fragrance oil. (These definitions are somewhat loose—there isn’t a regulatory agency enforcing how brands label their products.) Like eau de cologne, an eau de toilette will be a little lighter, a little brighter (and, according to the industry, more masculine).

-Eau de parfum. A fragrance with somewhere between 10 and 20% fragrance oil. Typically more intense, and often said to last the longest of the major classifications. As you probably guessed, eau de parfum is considered more feminine.

But here’s the thing: At the end of the day, it’s all fragrance. Each of our fragrances is an eau de parfum, but the important thing is what you respond to, and what you like—not what the fragrance industry thinks you should like.

So go on. Explore. And as you do, consider something else Brolova wrote: “The best part of fragrance is the freedom it gives to create your own rules. And to break them.”