Perfume Perfume


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Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oil and aroma c o mp o u n d s , f i x a t i ve s , a n d solvents used to give the human body, objects, and living spaces a p l e a s a n t s me l l . Perfume is associated in many cultures with the sensual and romantic side of life.

Bottles of some notable commercial perfumes: (clockwise from top left) Bois De Violette, Serge Lutens, 1992; Angel, Thierry Mugler, 1994; Shalimar, Guerlain, 1925; Beyond Paradise, Estée Lauder, 2003; No. 5, Chanel, 1921 (Pre-1950 bottle); Cabochard, Parfums Grès, 1959 (original bottle); Bellodgia, Caron, 1927; Arpège, Lanvin, 1927 (original bottle); Nombre Noir, Shiseido, 1981; Mitsouko, Guerlain, 1919; Pour Un Homme, Caron, 1934.

The United States is the world's largest perfume market with annual sales totaling several billions of dollars." Many ancient perfumes were made by extracting natural oils from plants through pressing and steaming. Many natural and man-made materials have been used to make perfume to apply to the skin and clothing. true perfumes are defined as extracts or essences and contain a percentage of oil distilled in alcohol. " While fragrant liquids used for the body are often considered perfume. temperature. Today. Perfume comes from the Latin "per" meaning "through" and "fumum. Some products are even perfumed with industrial odorants to mask unpleasant smells or to appear " u n s c e n t e d . no perfume will smell exactly the same on any two people. humans have attempted to mask or enhance their own odor by using perfume. which emulates nature's pleasant smells. or to scent the air.Background Since the beginning of recorded history. to put in cleaners and cosmetics. . most perfume is used to scent bar soaps." or "smoke. Water is also used. and body odors. The oil was then burned to scent the air. Because of differences in body chemistry.

They soaked aromatic wood. Their word for perfume has been translated as "fragrance of the gods. perfume was primarily an Oriental art. The early Egyptians also perfumed their dead and often assigned specific fragrances to deities. "Perfumes are foods that reawaken the spirit. Europeans discovered the healing properties of fragrance during the 17th century. It spread to Europe when 13th century Crusaders brought back samples from Palestine to England. For hundreds of years after the fall of Rome. France. cinnamon. gum. and resins in water and oil and used the liquid as a fragrant body lotion. Three Wise Men visited the baby Jesus carrying myrrh and frankincense. Ancient Egyptians burned incense called kyphi²made of henna. Doctors treating plague victims covered their mouths and noses with leather pouches holding pungent cloves. cinnamon.History According to the Bible. and Italy. . and spices which they thought would protect them from disease. and juniper²as religious offerings." It is said that the Moslem prophet Mohammed wrote.³ Eventually Egyptian perfumery influenced the Greeks and the Romans. myrrh.

Visitors were often doused with perfume. . furniture. Royal guests bathed in goat's milk and rose petals. aromatics were contained in lockets and the hollow heads of canes to be sniffed by the owner. made from nitric acid and benzene. It was at this time that Grasse. b e c a m e a l e a d i n g p r o d u c e r o f p e r f u m e s . In 1868. It was not until the late 1800s. in England. and dried flowers were placed in bowls throughout the palace to freshen the air. Meanwhile. This synthetic mixture gave off an almond smell and was often used to scent soaps.History Perfume then came into widespread use among the monarchy. Englishman William Perkin synthesized coumarin from the South American tonka b e a n t o c r e a t e a f r a g ra n c e t h a t s m e l l e d l i k e f r e s h l y s o w n h a y. and tableware. The first synthetic perfume was nitrobenzene. which also was sprayed on clothing. a region of southern France where many flowering plant varieties grow." His court contained a floral pavilion filled with fragrances. France's King Louis XIV used it so much that he was called the "perfume king. that perfumes could be mass marketed. when synthetic chemicals were used. walls.

Egyptian scene depicting t h e p r e p ar a t i on o f L i l y p e r f u m e . whether light a n d f l o w e r y o r d a r k a n d m u s k y. narcissus. and hyacinth. Francis Despard Dodge created citronellol²an alcohol with rose-like odor²by experimenting with citronella. newl y in vent ed glass b ottles we re ma de large ly to hol d pe rf umes. lily of the valley. In the United States. The earliest specimens date back to about 1000 B. The crafting of perfume bottles spread into Europe and reached its peak in Venice in the 18th century. In different variations. Just as the art of perfumery progressed through the centuries. so did the art of the perfume bottle. which is derived from citronella oil and has a lemon-like odor. In ancient Egypt. Perfume bottles were often as elaborate and exotic as the oils they contained.C.History Ferdinand Tiemann of the University of Berlin created synthetic violet and vanilla. Today perfume bottles are designed by the manufacturer to reflect the character of the fragrance inside. when glass containers assumed the shape of small animals or had pastoral scenes painted on them. this synthetic compound gives off the scents of sweet pea.

Nonetheless. and the notes of the scent. but even if they were widely published would be dominated by such complex chemical procedures and ingredients that they would be of little use in providing a useful description of the experience of a scent.Describing a perfume The precise formulas of commercial perfumes are kept secret. which all affect the overall impression of a perfume from first application to t h e l a s t l i n g e r i n g h i n t o f s c e n t . the family it belongs to. connoisseurs of perfume can become extremely skillful at identifying components and origins of scents in the same manner as wine experts. . S h e l v e s o f p e r f u me s The most practical way to start describing a perfume is according to its concentration level.

Germany. Dilutions of the perfume oil can also be done using solvents such as jojoba. By far the most common solvent for perfume oil dilution is ethanol or a mixture of ethanol and water. The concentration by percent/volume of perfume oil is as follows: Perfume extract: 20%-40% aromatic compounds Eau de parfum: 10-30% aromatic compounds Eau de toilette: 5-20% aromatic compounds Eau de cologne: 2-5% aromatic compounds Eau de cologne (EDC) was originally a specific fragrance of a citrus nature and weak in concentration made in Cologne. However in recent decades the term has become generic for a weakly concentrated perfume of any kind.Describing a perfume Concentration levels Perfume oil is necessarily diluted with a solvent because undiluted oils (natural or synthetic) contain high concentrations of volatile components that will likely result in allergic reactions and possibly injury when applied directly to skin or clothing. . fractionated coconut oil or wax.

"True" unitary scents can rarely be found in perfumes as it requires the perfume to exist only as a singular aromatic material. the flowers. Classification by olfactive family is a starting point for a description of a perfume. Many fragrances contain aspects of different families. Floral Bouquet: Containing the combination of several flowers in a scent. Even a perfume designated as "single flower". however subtle. like any taxonomy. In French called a soliflore (as in Dior's D i o r i s s i m o . cannot ever be a completely objective or final process.Describing a perfume Olfactive families Grouping perfumes. but by it cannot by itself denote the specific characteristic of that perfume. w i t h l i l y o f t h e v a l l e y ) . Traditional Th e t ra d i t i o n a l c l a s s i f ic a t i o n w h i c h e me rg e d a ro u n d 1 9 0 0 w a s : Single Floral: Fragrances that are dominated by a scent from nature's most prolific odor-makers. . will have undertones of other aromatics.

wood. this includes fragrances built on a similar accord consisting of bergamot. Woody: Fragrances that are dominated by the woody scents. Houbigant's Fougère Royale pioneered the use of this base. Patchouli. typically of sandalwood and cedar.Describing a perfume Ambery: A large fragrance class featuring the scents of vanilla and animal scents together with flowers and woods. Leather: A family of fragrances which features the scents of honey. . and wood tars in its middle or base notes and a scent that a l l u d e s t o l e a t h e r . coumarin and oakmoss. Fougère: Meaning Fern in French. built on a base of lavender. oakmoss. with its camphoraceous smell. which bring to mind Victorian era imagery of the M i d d l e E a s t a n d F a r E a s t . patchouli. tobacco. Many men's fragrances belong to this family of fragrances. Can be enhanced by camphorous oils and incense resins. This family of fragrances is named after a perfume by Francois Coty by the s a m e n a m e . and labdanum. is c o m m o n l y f o u n d i n t h e s e p e r f u m e s . Chypre: Meaning Cyprus in French. which is characterized by its sharp herbaceous and woody scent.

compound design and synthesis) as well as the natural development of styles and tastes. Oceanic/Ozone: the newest category in perfume history. A very clean.e. Development of newer fragrance compounds has allowed for the creation o f p r i m a r i l y c i t r u s f r a g r a n c e s .Describing a perfume Modern Since 1945. great advances in the technology of perfume creation (i. appearing in 1991 with Christian Dior's Dune. a new classification has emerged to reflect modern s c e n t s : Bright Floral: combining the traditional Single Floral & Floral Bouquet c a t e g o r i e s . modern smell leading to many of t h e m o d e r n a n d r o g e n o u s p e r f u m e s . . Green: a lighter and more modern interpretation of the Chypre type. Citrus or Fruity: An old fragrance family that until recently consisted mainly of "freshening" eau de colognes due to the low tenacity of citrus scents.

With the exception of the Fougère family. The method was created in 1983 by Micheal Edwards. and Fresh. Oriental. who designed his own scheme of fragrance classification after being inspired by a fragrance seminar by Firmenich. The new scheme was created in order to simplify fragrance classification and naming scheme. Fougère. The five standard families consist of Floral.Describing a perfume Fragrance wheel The Fragrance wheel is a relatively new classification method that is widely used in retail and in the fragrance industry. Woody. as well as to show the relationships between e a c h i n d i v i d u a l c l a s s e s . each the families are in turn divided into three sub-groups a n d a r r a n g e d a r o u n d a w h e e l : . a consultant in the perfume industry. with the former four families being more "classic" while the latter consisting of newer bright and clean smelling citrus and oceanic fragrances that have arrived due to improvements in fragrance technology.

Describing a perfume Floral F l o r a l Soft Floral Floral Oriental Oriental Soft Oriental O r i e n t a l Woody Oriental Fougères Woody W o o d Mossy Woods Dry Woods Fresh C i t r u s G r e e n W a t e r .

vetiver and scents of plant resins are commonly used as b a s e n o t e s . A l s o c a l l e d t h e h e a r t n o t e s . which become more pleasant with time. Base notes: The scent of a perfume that appears after the departure of the top notes. Citrus and ginger scents are common t o p n o t e s ." Scents from this note class appear anywhere from 2 minutes to 1 hour after the application of a perfume. A l s o c a l l e d t h e h e a d n o t e s . Base notes bring depth and solidness to a perfume. and evaporate quickly. Lavender and rose scents are typical middle notes. they are very important in the selling of a perfume.Describing a perfume Fragrance notes Perfume is described in a musical metaphor as having three 'notes'. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. The scents of this note class are usually described as "fresh. Top notes: The scents that are perceived immediately on application of a perfume. The compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and "deep" and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after the application of the perfume or during the period of perfume dry-down. Not surprisingly. making the h a r m o n i o u s c h o r d o f t h e s c e n t ." The compounds that contribute to top notes are strong in scent. . Top notes form a person's initial impression of a perfume and thus." "assertive" or "sharp. very volatile. the scent of middle note compounds is usually more mellow and "rounded. Musk. The middle note compounds form the "heart" or main body of a perfume and act to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes. Middle notes: The scent of a perfume that emerges after the top notes dissipate. Compounds of this class are often the fixatives used to hold and boost the strength of the lighter top and middle notes.

Orchid flowers are not commercially used to produce essential oils or absolutes. Includes the flowers of several species of rose and jasmine.Aromatics Sources Plant sources Plants have long been used in perfumery as a source of essential oils and aroma compounds. they include citrus such a s o r a n g e s . as well as osmanthus. Although not traditionally thought of as a flower. mimosa. as well as the blossoms of citrus and ylang-ylang trees. an orchid. which is used in the synthesis of other fragrant compounds such as helional. A plant can offer more than one source of aromatics. cherries unfortunately do not yield the expected odors when extracted. except in the case of vanilla. blossoms. as well as to attract pollinators. l i m e s . The sources of these compounds may be derived from various parts of a plant. for instance the aerial portions and seeds of coriander have remarkably different odors from each other. the unopened flower buds of the clove are also commonly used. Bark: Commonly used barks includes cinnamon and cascarilla. The most commonly used fruits yield their aromatics from the rind. Plants are by far the largest source of fragrant compounds used in perfumery. l e m o n s . neroli. infections. and orange oils. which must be pollinated first and made into seed pods b e f o r e u s e i n p e r f u m e r y . safrole. The fragrant oil in sassafras root bark is also used either directly or purified for its main constituent. Notable exceptions include litsea cubeba. tuberose. Orange leaves. vanilla. a n d g r a p e f r u i t . . if such fragrance notes are found in a perfume. and fruit zest are the respective sources of petit grain. strawberries. Flowers & Blossoms: Undoubtedly the largest source of aromatics. they are synthetic. Fruits: Fresh fruits such as apples. and juniper berry. These aromatics are usually secondary metabolites produced by plants as protection against herbivores.

Lichens: Commonly used lichen includes oakmoss and treemoss thalli. wood oils and distillates are indispensable in perfumery. Highly fragrant and antiseptic resins and resin-containing perfumes have been used by many cultures as medicines for a large variety of ailments. nutmeg. Woods: Highly important in providing the base notes to a perfume. cocoa. violets. birch. Commonly used resins in perfumery include labdanum. patchouli. coriander. and citrus leaves. examples of this include hay and tomato leaf. Resins: Valued since antiquity. and a n i s e . myrrh. cardamom. Peru balsam. sage. resins have been widely used in incense and perfumery. caraway. Some of what is called amber and copal in perfumery today is the resinous secretion of fossil conifers. Pine and fir resins are a particularly valued source of terpenes used in the organic synthesis of many other synthetic or naturally occurring aromatic compounds.Aromatics Sources Leaves & Twigs: Commonly used for perfumery are lavender leaf. juniper. gum benzoin. v a r i o u s r h i z o m e s o f t h e g i n g e r f a m i l y. Sometimes leaves are valued for the "green" smell they bring to perfumes. Commonly used woods include sandalwood. frankincense/olibanum. vetiver roots. rhizomes and bulbs: Commonly used terrestrial portions in perfumery include iris rhizomes. agar wood. mace. Roots. rosemary. cedar. and pine. . Seeds: Commonly used seeds include tonka bean. rosewood.

pine resins. For instance. it has now been replaced by the use of synthetic musk due to its price and ethical issues. a compound of synthetic origin. imparts a fresh ozonous metallic marine scent that is widely used in contemporary perfumes. Orchid scents (typically salicylates) are usually not obtained directly from the plant itself but are instead synthetically created to match the fragrant compounds found in various orchids. Civet: Also called Civet Musk. Castoreum: Obtained from the odorous sacs of the North American beaver. Musk: Originally derived from the musk sacs from the Asian musk deer. . Synthetic sources Synthetic aromatics are created through organic synthesis from various chemical compounds that are obtained from petroleum distillates. which is used in jewelry. Calone. Ambergris is commonly referred as "amber" in perfumery and should not be confused with yellow amber. Synthetic aromatics are often used as an alternate source of compounds that are not easily obtained from natural sources. related to the Mongoose. or other relatively cheap organic feedstock. this is obtained from the odorous sacs of the civets.Aromatics Sources Animal sources Ambergis: Lumps of oxidized fatty compounds. Honeycomb: Distilled from the honeycomb of the Honeybee. animals in the family Viverridae. For example. linalool and coumarin are both naturally occurring compounds that can be cheaply synthesized from terpenes. Synthetics can provide fragrances which are not found in nature. whose precursors were secreted and expelled by the Sperm Whale.

castor comes from beavers. resins. leaves. and coal tars are used in the manufacture of perfumes. It is the ratio of alcohol to scent that determines whether the perfume is "eau de toilette" (toilet water) or cologne . For example. grasses.000 known flowering plant species contain these essential oils. Some plants. wood. coal. Therefore. Synthetics also create o r i g i n a l s c e n t s n o t f o u n d i n n a t u r e . Other fixatives include coal tar. Animal substances are often used as fixatives that enable perfume to evaporate slowly and emit odors longer. Some perfume ingredients are animal products. do not produce oils naturally. and animal secretions²as well as resources like alcohol. fruit. such as lily of the valley.Raw Materials Natural ingredients²flowers.000 of the 250. synthetic chemicals must be used to re-create the smells of non-oily substances. spices. petrochemicals. Alcohol and sometimes water are used to dilute ingredients in perfumes. gums. balsams. roots. mosses. resins. In fact. only about 2. or synthetic chemicals. musk from male deer. and ambergris from the sperm whale.

the initial ingredients must be brought to the manufacturing center. cooled. Extraction Oils are extracted from plant substances by several methods: steam distillation. solvent extraction. Animal products are obtained by extracting the fatty substances directly from the animal. maceration. steam is passed through plant material held in a still. often hand-picked for their fragrance. Aromatic chemicals used in synthetic perfumes are created in the l a b o r a t o r y b y p e r f u m e c h e m i s t s . Plant substances are harvested from around the world. enfleurage. whereby the essential oil turns to gas.The Manufacturing Process Collection 1 Before the manufacturing process begins. 2 In steam distillation. and expression. . This gas is then passed through tubes. Oils can also be extracted by boiling plant substances like flower petals in water instead of steaming them. and liquefied.

The flower parts dissolve in the solvents and leave a waxy material that contains the oil. Oils are extracted from plant substances by steam distillation. Heat is used to evaporate the alcohol. or expression. enfleurage. leaves a higher concentration of the perfume oil on the b o t t o m . flowers are put into large rotating tanks or drums and benzene or a p e t ro l e u m e t h e r i s poured over the flowers. extracting the essential oils. solvent extraction. The oil dissolves in the alcohol and rises. which once fully burned off. maceration. which is then placed in ethyl alcohol.The Manufacturing Process 3 Under solvent extraction. .

The Manufacturing Process 4 During enfleurage. By this process. the fruit or plant is manually or mechanically pressed until all the oil is squeezed out. the grease and fats are dissolved in a l c o h o l t o o b t a i n t h e e s s e n t i a l o i l s . . 5 Maceration is similar to enfleurage except that warmed fats are used to soak up the flower smell. 6 Expression is the oldest and least c o mp l e x me t h o d of extraction. As in solvent extraction. The glass sheets are placed between wooden frames in tiers. flowers are spread on glass sheets coated with grease. e a u d e t o i l e t t e . a n d c o l o g n e . It is the ratio of alcohol to scent that determines perfume. Then the flowers are removed by hand and changed until the grease has absorbed their fragrance. now used in obtaining citrus oils from the rind.

. More "notes. Most full perfumes are made of about 10-20% perfume oils dissolved in alcohol and a trace of water.80 % a l c o h ol a nd 2 0 % w a t e r. "notes de coeur. a "nose" will once again test the perfume to ensure that the correct scent has been achieved. they are ready to be blended together according to a formula determined by a master in the field. Following this." or top notes." base notes." central or heart notes. Aging 8 Fine perfume is often aged for several months or even years after it is blended. Toilet water has the least amount² 2 % o i l i n 6 0 . Each essential oil and perfume has three notes: "Notes de tete.The Manufacturing Process Blending 7 Once the perfume oils are collected. and base notes (woody fragrances) provide an enduring fragrance. and "notes de fond. After the scent has been created." of v a r i o u s s m e l l s . Top notes have tangy or citrus-like smells. The amount of alcohol in a scent can vary greatly. it is mixed with alcohol. Colognes contain approximately 3-5% oil diluted in 80-90% alcohol. m a y b e f u r t h e r b l e n d e d . with water making up about 10%. known as a "nose. central notes (aromatic flowers like rose and jasmine) provide body." It may take as many as 800 different ingredients and several years to develop the special formula for a scent.

most animal oils in general are difficult and expensive to extract. even though natural ingredients are considered more desirable in the very finest perfumes. bred in Ethiopia. For example. and if the season's crop is destroyed by disease or adverse weather. In addition. saving much expense and the lives of many animals. . Thousands of flowers are needed to obtain just one pound of essential oils. Problems are also encountered in collecting natural animal oils. perfumeries could be in jeopardy. Also. perfumery can often turn risky.Quality Control Because perfumes depend heavily on harvests of plant substances and the availability of animal products. Synthetic perfumes have allowed perfumers more freedom and stability in their craft. civet cats. sperm whale products like ambergris have been outlawed since 1977. beavers from Canada and the f ormer Soviet Union are harvested for their castor. The use of synthetic perfumes and oils eliminates the need to extract oils from animals and removes the risk of a bad plant harvest. The same species of plant raised in several different areas with slightly different growing conditions may not yield oils w i t h e x a c t l y t h e s a m e s c e n t . are kept for their fatty gland secretions. Deer musk must come from deer found in Tibet and China. consistency is hard to maintain in natural oils. Many animals once killed for the value of their oils are on the endangered species list and now cannot be hunted.

Not only may the perfumes of the future help people cover up "bad" smells. more research is being conducted to synthesize human perfume²that is. which rules emotions. The theory behind aromatherapy states that using essential oils helps bolster the immune system when inhaled or applied topically. Less concentrated forms of perfume are also becoming increasingly popular. and creativity. Like aromatherapy. The sense of smell is considered a right brain activity. use. they could improve their physical and emotional well-being as well as their sex lives. Aromatherapy²smelling oils and fragrances to cure physical and emotional problems²is being revived to help balance hormonal and body energy. release pheromones to attract the opposite sex. Humans. encouraging more widespread and frequent. . Smelling sweet smells also affects one's mood and can be used as a form of psychotherapy. memory. make people feel good. Using perfume to heal. these factors decrease the cost of the scents. Perfumes are being manufactured more and more frequently with synthetic chemicals rather than natural oils.The Future Perfumes today are being made and used in different ways than in previous centuries. and improve relationships between the sexes are the new frontiers being explored by the industry. New perfumes are being created to duplicate the effect of pheromones and stimulate sexual arousal receptors in the brain. Combined. often daily. the body scents we produce to attract or repel other humans. like other mammals.