Perfume Production Process

  1. Notes

    • Perfume is a fragrant liquid made from an extract that has been distilled in alcohol and water. A perfume is composed of three notes. The base note is what a fragrance will smell like after it has dried. The smell that develops after the perfume has mixed with unique body chemistry is referred to as the middle note. And the top note is the first smell experienced in an aroma. Each perfumery has a preferred perfume manufacturing process, but there are some basic steps.


    • Collection of raw materials is the first step in the perfume making process. Fragrance can be obtained from flowers, grasses, mosses, leaves, tree barks and fruit peels. Once raw materials are collected, the fragrance is extracted by distillation, absorption or extraction using solvents.


    • In the distillation method, raw materials are steamed. As the steam rises, the scent is carried into a glass tube where the mixture condenses as it cools. The mixture is then put into flask where the essential oil naturally rises to the top and is skimmed off for use in the perfume.


    • Absorption is used for raw materials that can't with stand the heat of the distillation process. They are steeped in heated fats or oils, then filtered through fabric to obtain the scented solid. The solid is then washed in alcohol. When the fat is removed, the perfumed alcohol remains.


    • Fragrance also is drawn when plant matter and volatile solvents are combined in a rotating tank. The solvent extracts the essential oils and dissolves the plant matter, leaving a wax-like oil. Once the oil has evaporated, a perfume paste remains.


    • Musk and castor are animal secretions frequently used in perfume making. Synthetically produced aromas also are used.


    • Once the perfume oil is extracted, the blending process commences. A perfumer, known as "a nose," uses an extensive knowledge of fragrance characteristic to blend anywhere from 20 to 800 raw materials to compose a scent. Once the scent is developed and tested, batches are robotically mixed.

      The pure perfume oil is then diluted with alcohol and water. If a full perfume is desired, 10 to 20 percent of the oil is dissolved in alcohol with a minute amount of water. Cologne is 3 to 5 percent oil, 80 to 90 percent alcohol and 10 percent water. An eau de toilette is 2 percent oil, 60 to 80 percent alcohol and 20 percent water. Then the perfume is ready to be aged, filtered and bottled.

    Putting the Theory to Use

    • If want to create your own fragrance, essential and synthetic oils can be obtained from perfume making suppliers. Experiment by combining oils, then smell and test the combinations on your skin. Once the desired aroma is achieved, mix the oils with the appropriate ratios of alcohol and water. Purchase perfume alcohol from perfume materials suppliers. Or clear drinking alcohol that has no smell, such as vodka, can be substituted. Once poured into a bottle, the fragrance is ready to be enjoyed.

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