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perfume vs cologne

Why are Perfumes More Expensive than Colognes?

Most people believe perfumes and colognes are the same things, only that the former is made for women and colognes for men. The truth, however, is that perfumes and colognes are simply types of fragrances.

So, why are perfumes way more expensive than colognes? The short answer is that besides the stronger ingredient concentration and longevity offered, perfumes have an additional creativity factor. Perfume makers take a lot of innovation and time to come up with the best, and most unique scents. 

It is no wonder that perfumes are considered luxurious items. We endeavored to find out more about the real reason why perfumes cost so much more than colognes.

Cologne vs Perfume; What is the Difference?

When buying a bottle of perfume or cologne, have you ever stopped to wonder what the real difference between the two is?

Most people automatically assume that perfumes are feminine and colognes male. But this could not be further from the truth.

Perfumes and colognes are unisex fragrances. The labels that determine whether either is for male or female use, are the ‘pour femme’ and ‘pour homme’ found on the fragrance bottles or boxes.

Some of the main differences between perfumes and colognes are as follows:

IngredientsAlcohol, water, and oil bases. Different extracts from animals such as the sperm whale and the male deer, plant contents such as jasmine flowers, roses, lilies, and oud, and laboratory-manufactured chemicals.Colognes use fewer rare and natural ingredients and more water, alcohol, and oil. They, however, may contain fragrances from tree barks, flowers, and animal parts. 
ConcentrationPerfumes have the highest concentration of essential oils and fragrance essence, compared to any known commercially sold scents. Most perfumes have an average concentration of between 15% to 30%. Colognes have a lower concentration of about 2-4%. This is almost five times lower than that of original perfume.  
LongevityOnce applied, the fragrance of perfume can last between 6-8 hours before fading off. Some perfumes leave a lingering scent even after a round of laundry. Colognes might have a strong scent at the beginning of application, but this only lasts 2-4 hours. Without reapplication, the fragrance of the cologne can fade away into a faint scent, or completely wash off after laundry. 
PackagingUnfortunately, there are so many counterfeit products in the market, that most people who buy bottles of perfumes do not in fact, own original perfume. Most are Eau De Parfum, (another type of fragrance, different in fragrance concentration). Original perfumes come in stopper-bottles with droppers, used to dispense the fragrance on specific points of your body.  Colognes and every other available fragrance such as Eau De Toilette, Eau De Parfum, and Eau De Fraiche, all come in spray bottles.  
AvailabilityOriginal perfumes are very rare and thus less available than other fragrances. Due to the use of contents from sometimes endangered and/or rare occurring plants and animals, perfumes are made in less bulk compared to colognes. Colognes are widely available all over the world as they are easier to manufacture in bulk. 

The Average Price of Perfumes

Depending on the manufacturing company, original perfume bottles can go for anything between $150 and others $100,000. The average price of perfume ranges from $90-$150 per ounce.

The Average Price of Colognes

Colognes are cheaper than perfumes. According to most statistics and store prices, the average cost of colognes ranges between $38 and $80 per ounce.

Most Expensive Perfume in the World 2022

Shumukh-$1.29 million

Most expensive perfume, Shumukh
The Shumukh, Image Courtesy: Arts and collections

If you thought buying a bottle of perfume for $10,000 was absurd, think again. The world’s most expensive perfume bottle in 2022 goes for 1.29 million dollars.

Yes, you read that right. This bottle is made from a magical blend of exotic ingredients such as Indian Agarwood and Turkish Rose among others.

The Shumukh was designed and made by a Dubai Scent Master Asghar Adam Ali, and only one bottle of the extraordinary scent exists. 

Most Expensive Cologne 2022
The imperial Majesty: Image Courtesy, Clive Christian

The most expensive cologne in the world is the Imperial Majesty by Clive Christian, going for $435,000.

Save for the unique smell; the cologne bottle plays a huge role in the total price. The bottle carries pure gold and 5-carat diamonds, which automatically sets the fragrance apart.

What Makes Perfumes More Expensive than Cologne?

1. Artistry

Perfumes vs colognes are like brewed vs instant coffee. While they are both technically the same thing, they are inherently very different. Original perfume-making takes time, talent, imagination, and experimentation. 

Like brewing coffee from scratch to get the perfect taste, making perfume requires a level of artistry in blending the ingredients and balancing the concentrations to create unique and pleasant scents.

Colognes and other fragrances do not necessarily require the detail and distinction found in perfume making.

2. Expensive Perfume Bottles and Boxes

Most colognes come in normal glass or metal bottles and cardboard boxes that have little to no decoration.

Perfumes on the other hand come in specially crafted bottles and boxes that frankly add to the general cost of the product.

From pure leather, hand-cut crystals, to precious stones, perfumes come packaged in the most unique and luxurious of ways. These bottles remain valuable even after the perfume ends.

3. Production Costs

As we have already mentioned, some of the ingredients used in making perfumes can be difficult and expensive to find.

Some flowers, such as the Bulgarian Rose, for instance, only bloom in season. To have them constantly available, perfume manufacturers have to either plant the flowers in greenhouses or source them from different parts of the world with different seasons at an extra cost. 

We also have to consider the talent and skill that goes into making the perfumes. Perfume scientists, whether in-house or outsourced, require considerable compensation for their expert fragrance formulas.

Further down the production line, advertisement, transportation, line workers, and tester bottles all play a role in the final costs of each perfume bottle.

Which is Better, Perfume or Colognes?

Without a doubt, perfumes are the most superior fragrance in the world. They are, therefore, much better than colognes. 

Read Also: Why is Japanese Whisky So Expensive (Is it Worth It?)

Is Expensive Perfume Worth It?

While expensive and cheap are all relative terms to every individual, it is safe to say that expensive perfumes are worth it, when affordable.

Perfumes give you more value for your money thanks to their strong concentration and longevity.

When using perfume, for example, you would require only five drops maximum to carry its fragrance for up to 8 hours a day.

For colognes that have a lower concentration, you will require 5-10 sprays for 3 applications a day to get the same longevity that perfumes give.

Therefore, even though costly, perfumes give you more service than colognes and are thus worth the expense.