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What's in a Scent?

What's in a Scent?

I think it's interesting to learn what's in the products we buy, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some background with you about the process of perfume making. There are many fragrance categories, but the most popular ones are floral, oriental, fruity, and woods. The first step in creating a fragrance is choosing the natural ingredients that are going to create the scent. These can be anything from flowers, grasses, spices, fruits, woods, roots, leaves, and even animal secretions.

Once the ingredients are chosen and gathered during their high season, the oils must then be extracted. This can be achieved through several methods such as steam distillation, enfleurage, maceration, solvent extraction, or expression. In all of the processes, the substances are heated or pressed to release the natural, essential oils needed to give the fragrance an aroma.

When the oils have been collected, they are then blended by an expert called a "nose". After the desired fragrance is achieved, varying amounts of alcohol are then mixed in to bring us a perfume, or one of the eaux.

Lastly, a fine perfume is left to age anywhere from a couple of months to a few years until the nose feels it is ready for sale. Each perfume has three notes: top notes, heart or central notes, and base notes. While this is an abbreviated version of the complex process, I hope you have a better idea of how fragrances are created. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment.


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