What is Perfume?

Perfume is a mixture of aromatic oils, fixatives and solvents used to give the human body, clothing, food or living spaces an agreeable scent. Contemporary perfumes contain from tens to hundreds of ingredients and are composed of (1) natural or synthetic (aromatic chemical) fragrance compounds derived from natural plant extracts; (2) aromatic additives, which enhance the odor intensity of other perfume chemicals; (3) fixatives, which slow the evaporation rate and increase perceived olfactory strength; and (4) solvents, which reduce odor volatility, degrease the formulation, and help it retain its structure.

Historically, perfumes were used to mask unpleasant bodily odors. Early perfumes were made from aromatic resins and oils, which had to be burned to release their aroma. The development of distillation techniques, and later the introduction of the perfume bottle, helped to make these perfumes more portable and available. Perfumes were soon used in a variety of ways, including to add a personal touch to clothing, as bath products, as medicines, and as cosmetics.

Today, perfumes are used to smell good, to enhance beauty, and to create an atmosphere. They are found in personal care and household products such as perfumed shampoos, soaps, lotions, hair sprays and colognes. They are also used in the production of food and drink such as cakes, pies, and desserts.

Scent is an extraordinarily complex, olfactory sense that can evoke emotions and memories for us all. Perfume is a powerful way to convey our personal style, and many people choose a specific perfume because it reminds them of a special time or person. Perfume is a very individual choice, with a wide range of styles and price points.

The process of creating a perfume begins with the careful selection of raw materials. This is done based on the chemistry of the raw materials and how they will blend with each other in a perfume. The perfumer then works on the formula, which will be a combination of the top, middle and base notes. Some perfumers write a full formula right away, while others break the composition down to work on each accord individually and then put them back together again in the final formulation.

A typical perfume contains a blend of 30 to 50 chemicals, with a concentration ranging from 5% to 20%, depending on the product. Perfumes are typically sold in a 1.7 oz (30 ml) glass bottle with a pump or spray applicator.

Perfume is a complicated and time-consuming art form, but it can be very rewarding for the perfumer who has an idea of what they want to create and the creative talent to bring that vision to life. The most exciting part of the creation process is probably seeing the final results and hearing customers say that they love a particular perfume. Other moments of excitement are when a perfume starts to come together or when a perfumer solves a problem that they had been struggling with. The final result is a beautiful and unique smell that can be worn with pride.