You are on page 1of 6

Attar Perfume Attar perfume oils and their original history Attar Perfumes and their history, such

as jasmine oil and more. All natural perfumes made originally in India and other parts of the world. Attar also known as ittar is a natural perfume oil derived from botanical sources. Most commonly the se oils are taken from the botanical material thro ugh hydro or steam distillation. Oils can also be expressed by chemical means but generally natural perfumes which qualify as Ittar/Attars are distill ed naturally. The oils obtained from the herbs flo wers and wood are generally distilled into a wood base such as sandalwood and then aged. The aging p eriod can last from one to ten years depending on the botanicals used and the results desired. These all-natural perfumes are highly concentrated and therefore are usually offered for sale in sma ll quantities and have traditionally been offered in decorated crystal cut type bottles or small jew eled decanters. Ittars are popular throughout the Middle East and the Far East of India as well as P akistan. Ittars have been used in the entire Easte rn world for thousands of years. These 100% pure a nd natural perfumes are free of alcohol and chemic als and so the problems faced in the West by perfu me lovers are irrelevant to most Eastern perfume l overs. Natural perfumes are affordable because the y are so concentrated that a small bottle will las t the user several weeks, if not months. Due to th e purity and the nature of oils, there is very lit tle chance of spoilage unless a food based carrier oil is used to cut the concentrated pure oil.

Some of the first lovers of Ittars were the Mughal nobles of India. Jasmine ittar was the favorite p erfume of the Nizams of the Hyderabad state. Tradi tionally in the Eastern world it was a customary p ractice of nobility to offer ittar to their guests at the time of their departure. The ittars are tr aditionally given in ornate tiny crystal cut bottl es called as itardans. This tradition of giving a scent to one's guests continues to this day in man y parts of the Eastern world. Among Sufi worshiper s the use of Ittars during meditation circles and dances is quite common. Most ittars are alcohol-free and are used by many Muslim men and women. Ittar has long been consider ed one of the most treasured of material possessio ns and Prophet Muhammad has been compared to Ittar as one of the most beloved of gifts given to mank ind. Ittars are also used among Hindu, Buddhist an d Sikh meditation practices. History The word 'attar', 'ittar' or 'othr' is basically a n Arabic word which means 'scent'; this in turn is believed to have been derived from the Persian wo rd Atr, meaning 'fragrance'. The story of Indian perfumes is as old as the civi lization itself. Archaeological evidence shows the earliest inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent h eld plants in great reverence. With the passage of time, scented oils were extracted by pressing, pu lverizing or distilling aromatic vegetable and ani mal produce. Early indications of this activity ar e available from the perfume jars and terracotta c ontainers of the Indus Valley civilization, where archeological work has revealed round copper still s, used for the distillation process that are at l east five-thousand years old (reference req.). The se stills are called degs. Following the seasons o f the flowers, traditional ittar-makers, with thei r degs, traveled all over India to make their fres

h ittars on-the-spot. Even now, a few traditional ittar-makers still travel with their degs to be cl ose to the harvest. Their equipment has changed li ttle, if at all. A large number of references to cosmetics and perf umes in Sanskrit literature were found like in the Brhatsamhita is a 6th century Sanskrit encycloped ia by Varahamihira (505 AD 587 AD). Cosmetics an d perfumes making were mainly practiced for the pu rpose of worship, sale and sensual enjoyment. Gand hayukti gave recipes for making scents. It gives a list of eight aromatic ingredients used for makin g scents. They were: Rodhara, Usira, Bignonia, Agu ru, Musta, Vana, Priyangu, and Pathya. The Gandhay ukti also gave recipes for mouth perfumes, bath po wders, incense and talcum powder. The manufacture of rose water began perhaps in the nineteenth cent ury AD. The earliest distillation of ittar was men tioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita. The Harshacharita, written in 7th century AD in northe rn India, mentions use of fragrant agarwood oil. In ancient India, ittar was prepared by placing pr ecious flowers and sacred plants into a water or v egetable oil. Slowly the plants and flowers would infuse the water/oil with their delicate fragrance . The plant and flower material would then be remo ved and a symphony of their aromatic beauty would be held in the ittar. These ittars were then worn as a sacred perfume or to anoint. Ittar figures into some of the romantic stories of a bygone era. Its patrons included great poets li ke the legendary Mirza Ghalib. When Ghalib met his beloved in the winter, he rubbed his hands and fa ce with ittar hina. In Ain-e-Akbari, Abul Fazal, has mentioned that Ak bar used ittar daily and burnt incense sticks in g old and silver censers. A princess's bath was inco mplete without incense and ittar. A very popular i

ttar with the Mughal princes was ood, prepared in Assam. Situated on the banks of the sacred River Ganges, 80 km from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, is the now alm ost forgotten ancient city of Kannauj, once the ca pital of the famed Emperor Harshavardhana. Today i t prides itself as the 'Attar City' or the perfume city of India. Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh India is a major producing city of ittar. Here, there is a legend on how the first ittars were made in the ar ea. The forest dwelling Faqirs and Sadhus ascetics used certain perfumed jungle herbs and roots in t heir bonfires during the winters. The shepherds wh o grazed their sheep in that region found the perf ume lingering in the burnt wood long after the asc etics left the place. Word spread about this and s ome enterprising people searched and found the fra grant herbs and roots. Then the experiments on itt ar began and the first ittars to be made were Rose and Hina. Types of Ittars Ittars may be broadly categorized into following ty pes of flavour or ingredients used. Floral Ittars Ittars manufactured from single sp ecies of flower are coming under this category. Th ese are Gulab ex Rosa damascena or Rosa Edword, Ke wra ex Pandanus odoratissimus, Motia ex Jasminum s ambac, Gulhina ex lawsonia inermis, Chameli ex Jas minum grandiflorum, Kadam ex Anthoephalus cadamba Herbal Ittars - Ittars manufactured from combinati on of floral, herbal & spices come under this cate gory. Hina and its various forms viz., Shamama, Sh amam tul Amber, Musk Amber and Musk Hina. Ittars which are neither floral nor herbal also co me under this category. Ittar Mitti falls under th is category and is produced by distillation of bak

ed earth over base material. Ittars can also be classified based on their effect on human body such as Warm Ittars' Ittars such as Musk, Amber, Kesar ( Saffron), Oud, are used in winters, they increase the body temperature. Cool Ittars' like Rose, Jasmine, Khus, Kewda, Mo gra, are used in summers and are cooling for the b ody. Uses The Indian perfumes in the past was used by the el ite, particularly kings and queens. Also it is use d in Hindu temples. Today it is used in numerous w ays: 1. Pan Masala and Gutka is the largest consumer of Indian perfumes. The reason for using it is its e xtraordinary tenacity along with characteristic to withstand with tobacco note. The perfumes used ar e Rose, Kewra, Mehndi, Hina, Shamama, Mitti, Marig old etc. 2. Tobacco is smaller segment for perfume consumpt ion as compared to above industry. The perfumes us ed are mainly kewra & Rose. Along with Pan masala & Gutkha it contributes to more the 75% of perfume consumption. 3. Betel nut is smaller segment for perfume consum ption as compared to above two industry. The perfu mes used are mainly Kewra & Rose. 4. It is used by many people as a personal perfume , particularly by Muslims due to absence of alcoho l. 5. Perfumes have the application in pharmaceutical industry. 6. Perfumes of Rose & Kewra are used in traditional Indian sweets, for imparting flavour. Safety & Application of Ittar

Safety & Application of Ittars Alcohol (common solvent for most perfumes) causes the perfume to evaporate much faster sometimes upt o as much as 10 - 15 times faster. This causes the first impression of the perfume to be overwhelmin g to human senses, but it soon evaporates and lose s power. Given its natural derivation, ittar lasts a long time. Body heat only intensifies its smell. A major difference between synthetic perfumes and ittar is that the oil-based ittar is worn directly on your body. The inside of the wrist, behind the ears, the inside of elbow joints, back of the nec k and a few other parts of your anatomy are direct ly dabbed with ittar. A small drop is enough to be used as a fragrance o n the body. A few drops can be added to water and used with aromatic vapour lamps. A few drops of so me ittars are used with cold drinks, such as milk, to give fragrance. Storage and Shelf Life Ittar has a permanent shelf life and some ittars b ecome stronger and smell better when they are olde r. and they become very aromatic. Future of Ittars Due to increasing cost of Indian Sandalwood citati on needed and high cost of production of ittars ha s had an ill effect on existence of this industry. Competition comes in the form of chemical based p erfume products, which are cheaper compared to nat ural ittars.