Millions of us, both men and women and even children, love to wear a fragrance but how is perfume made?
Whether it is for a night out, just to wear when meeting a friend for coffee or for a day in the office, perfumes are a hugely popular product and have been around for thousands of years.
Wearing a perfume can have so many benefits from lifting our mood, complimenting an outfit or grabbing the intention of the secret admirer. It’s become part of our everyday wear and with so many on the market today, we have lots to choose from.
We have already covered how to store perfume correctly and how to use perfume to get the most out of your scent but what about where perfume comes from?
The history of perfume dates back to ancient times, so as far back as 3,000BC and it was the Greeks who first created perfumes in the same way as they are created today.
The creation of perfume
There are lots of raw materials that are required before the manufacturing process starts. Ingredients such as spices, leaves, fruits, resins and flowers are all used during the first stages of creating a perfume.
Without the addition of flowers, it will be very difficult to create a perfume without floral essences and most perfumes are based around floral scents so these are an essential ingredient too.
When we think of fragrances such as Chanel, they make their own perfume from their own flower fields.
This is to make sure they have enough product to create their perfumes. Chanel is the largest fashion brand in the world and Chanel no.5 is an iconic perfume.
Animal products can also be present in perfumes such as musk and ambergris.
Musk is very commonly used as a base note in perfumes. Musk is secreted from animals such as the musk deer.
Incredibly, ambergris is produced in the digestive system of sperm whales which means that whale poo is used in perfumes. The smell matures and as it ages, it develops into a beautiful scent that once diluted with alcohol, is used in perfumery.
It’s not always easy to get scents for perfumes from nature so sometimes synthetic chemicals might be used instead.
We are a world of cruelty- free perfumes nowadays so by using synthetic chemicals this can save the lives of animals that are killed in order for their oils to can be used in the making of perfumes.
Many perfume companies such as FM WORLD are cruelty -free.
How the oil is extracted for making perfume
To begin with, oil is taken from flowers and plant material so that it can be used to create fragrances.
In order for the oil to be extracted from the plant one of the ways in which this is done is by expression. The plants are squeezed until the oil releases. A bit like squeezing juice out of an orange or a lemon.
Other methods that are used for boiling plant parts is to steam the plants to get the oils out. This process is known as steam distillation.
Another method is where plant parts are dissolved in benzene. They are then exposed to ethyl alcohol. This is then burned off so that the perfume oil remains and can be used.
Curious as to why perfume is so expensive ?
When oil from around 660 roses is taken to create a 15ml bottle of French perfume, it’s no surprise why fragrances cost a lot of money.
Along with the celebrity endorsers, fancy packaging and sales assistance, it’s easy to see how a small bottle of perfume can end up with a hefty price tag.
Relevant post – The cost of perfume
How the experts create a perfume scent
It’s not a quick process when it comes to creating perfumes. It can take many years and lots of ingredients before the experts reach a desired scent and formula. Of course, the end result is a genuine perfume that we can wear for around 2 years and be complimented on by others.
The experts must take time and do extensive testing and mixing to create the perfect scent.
Once the formula is created, it is then used to blend the extracted oils. When the experts have reached their desired scent, they mix alcohol into the mixture to dilute the ingredients.
The more alcohol that is added to the mixture, the stronger the perfume will be. If we look at cologne for example, this will contain the most alcohol.
When you purchase an eau de toilette, this will contain less alcohol than cologne and if you purchase a perfume, this will have the least amount of alcohol and therefore will give the strongest scent.
Perfume will contain around 40% of essential oils and a cologne will have around 10% essential oils.
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What happens after the oil and scents have been added
Once the oils have been extracted from the plants and blended in with alcohol, the mixture is then ready for the aging process.
In order to do this, the perfume is set in a dark, cool room. It will then stay there for several months without being disturbed or touched.
Whilst the perfume has been left, this will help to bind the oils and the alcohol together.
Quite normally, the smell will be stronger after the aging process. Adjustments to the blending can take place at this time.
When you see a bottle of perfume in a department store, it’s been through a long process to get there.
It will have been thoroughly tested to make sure that the scent is perfect and how it should be before it is allowed to go on sale to the public.
So the next time you purchase a bottle of your favourite perfume, remember just how long its taken to get onto the shelves and in your possession.
Do you have a favourite scent ? Do you wear a different one every day to match your mood? Let us know in the comments below.