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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.


Join The Conversation
trace-face62028 trace-face62028 9 years
Question: How do I get that job?! I could so be a nose! I seriously smell everything. Well, unless it's offensive of course. But ever since I was very young, I've had the olfactory senses of a dog. I can identify almost any scent.. and I love perfumes. I think I'd love that job. :D
cocomademoiselle cocomademoiselle 9 years
Another great lesson from the beauty archives, thanks BellaSugar! I already knew about that because I find it magically interesting and like to read about it, but i' m no "nose". (Great book turned in a movie: "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" by Patrick Suskind, so well written you can smell it!!!)
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
pebby01 pebby01 9 years
a friend and i tried to make perfume as a science project in 7th grade. we got the recipies from the library, or internet or something. in one way, we used lard and flower petals. in another way, we put flower petals in a small bottle of vodka for a week. at the end of the week, it still smelled just like vodka! yeah, none of the ways worked and we ended up messy and smelling like a drunk.
Professorluv Professorluv 9 years
That is pretty coolio! It would be fun to make your own perfume!
veronicaraye veronicaraye 9 years
that would be so fun to learn..
emalove emalove 9 years
Very interesting!
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