There are five major families of perfumes: Floral, Oriental, Woody, Fresh, and Modern Oceanic. Perfumes are made up of three main notes: top, middle, and base. Top notes are the lightest and last the shortest time. Heart notes have a long lasting effect, and are often floral or herbal. Base notes last the longest and are composed of wood, amber, or musk. Some perfumes contain a combination of all three.
When creating a perfume, the essential oils are first extracted from flowers and other plant materials. The process can be done by steam distillation, solvent extraction, enfleurage, or maceration. The solvents are used to dissolve waxy materials within the flower. Once the material is extracted, it is poured into ethyl alcohol to create a more concentrated perfume oil. The process is repeated several times until the desired amount of essential oil is obtained.
When selecting a fragrance, you should consider the people who will be around you. Perfumes that are too heavy for office workers could distract others. In addition, perfumes that have too much fragrance can be irritating to other people. Depending on where you wear them, you may wish to layer them. However, make sure to avoid overdoing it. The last thing you want is to irritate others! You can still wear perfumes that you love as long as they are appropriate for the occasion.
French society was very liberal in its pursuit of luxury after the French Revolution, and the use of perfume began to spread across the continent. King Louis XIV was regarded as the “perfume king,” and the palace contained a floral pavilion for guests. The palace was also filled with bowls containing dried flowers. Visitors were often doused with perfume. The Renaissance era saw the French city of Grasse become one of the world’s leading producers of perfume.
The composition of a perfume is very specific to the plant or animal material being used to make it. The essential oil for a particular perfume is extracted from tens of thousands of flowers. A single pound of essential oil requires hundreds of flowers, and a crop destroyed by disease or adverse weather can jeopardize the entire industry. Another difficulty is maintaining consistency when using natural oils. Similarly, even the same plant species raised in different climates may produce a different scent.
The most common method of extracting essential oils is distillation. The plant materials are placed in boiling water to release the oils. As the steam rises, the essential oils separate from the water and evaporate. One kilo of essential oil requires thousands of flowers. The essential oil is then mixed with alcohol, which serves as a fixative and provides a lasting effect. The higher the concentration of essential oils, the more expensive the perfume will be.
Perfume is a fragrant substance, and its use in ancient cultures has been documented in historical texts. Perfumes were first discovered by the ancient Egyptians, who combed it into their hair to preserve it for months. The Babylonians also learned how to make perfume. The ancient Greeks and Persians took note of the Egyptians’ technique and used it to create perfumes. The Romans, on the other hand, developed perfumery into a fine art.