Fragrance Files – How Fragrance Is Made

Fragrance Files

Fragrance Files is a series of articles that highlight the most interesting and unique perfumes from our extensive fragrance collection.

When you see “fragrance” or “parfum” on a product’s ingredients list it typically means a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Even products marketed as “fragrance-free” or “unscented” may contain fragrance along with masking agents that prevent the brain from perceiving odors. This link

Fragrance is everywhere in modern life — in addition to perfumes and colognes, it’s used in soaps, hair care products, deodorants and cleaning products. In fact, it’s estimated that some 3,000 different chemicals are used in perfume production. Despite this wide use, very few people understand how perfume is made.

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Many fragrances contain natural odorants but the majority are synthetically produced. These synthetics are often created to mimic natural odorants, for example calone, which provides a fresh ozonous metallic marine scent, is synthetically made to mimic terpenes, and salicylates, which provide the green floral notes in orchid-like perfumes, are also synthesized from natural compounds such as linalool and coumarin.

To make a perfume, the oils of the fragrance’s scent-bearing plants are mixed with a solvent, most commonly ethanol (alcohol), and diluted to a concentration called an EdP, EdT or EdC. Depending on the perfumery, the oil concentration of these perfumes can vary, though the difference is minimal between an EdP and an EdC from the same company.

Other components in perfumes include a fixative, which is used to support the perfume’s base notes, and a diluent, an ingredient that decreases the volume of the perfume and helps it spread evenly. Finally, a preservative is added to keep the perfume from spoiling quickly. These perfume components together create a fragrance accord that is designed to smell good and be pleasing to the wearer. By learning about the different scent families and fragrance notes, you can better decide which perfumes suit your tastes.