Saturday, 22 June 2024, 1:13 PM
Site: Natural Perfume Academy
Course: Natural Perfume Academy (NPA)
Glossary: Natural Perfume Academy Main Glossary


Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)

Description: Cassia, also known as Chinese cinnamon, is derived from the bark of the Cinnamomum cassia tree. This tree is native to China and the bark is typically harvested in the autumn when the aromatic compounds are at their peak.

Extraction Method: The essential oil of cassia is obtained through steam distillation of the bark. This process results in a potent, spicy, and warm oil that is rich in cinnamaldehyde, which gives cassia its characteristic fragrance.

Characteristics: Cassia essential oil has a warm, sweet, and spicy aroma that is very similar to cinnamon but stronger and more intense. The oil is typically a golden yellow to reddish-brown color and is known for its robustness and tenacity.

Uses in Natural Perfumery: In natural perfumery, cassia is valued for its rich and complex scent profile. It is often used to impart warm and spicy notes to oriental and gourmand fragrances. Due to its strong aroma, cassia is typically used in small amounts as a base note or heart note to add depth and warmth to a composition.

Blending Suggestions: Cassia blends well with other spice oils such as clove, nutmeg, and ginger. It also complements the sweetness of vanilla and the richness of patchouli and sandalwood. In floral compositions, cassia can add an exotic and spicy undertone when used judiciously.

Safety Considerations: Cassia essential oil is very potent and can be a skin irritant if used undiluted. It should always be diluted in a carrier oil and used in low concentrations in perfumery. Additionally, it is important to perform a patch test to ensure there are no allergic reactions.

Reference: Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

Cassia, with its warm and spicy aroma, is a powerful and evocative ingredient in the natural perfumer's palette, capable of adding depth and complexity to a wide range of fragrance compositions.

Champaca or Champa Absolute

Title: Champaca Absolute (Michelia champaca)

Description: Champa absolute, derived from the flowers of Michelia champaca, is an exotic, rich, and deeply floral natural perfumery material. It is known for its captivating scent that combines warm caramel, peppery vanilla, and orchid notes, reminiscent of carnation and tuberose.

Extraction Method: The absolute is obtained by extracting the concrete, which is produced through solvent extraction of the yellow, magnolia-like flowers. These flowers grow on a medium-sized tree native to Indonesia, India, and Madagascar. In addition to the absolute, a CO2 extract of champaca is also available, which emphasizes the spicy caramel notes over the lily-type floral scent.

Characteristics: Champa absolute is celebrated for its unique fragrance profile. Steffen Arctander describes it as "delicately dry-floral," with nuances that remind one of orange flowers, ylang-ylang, carnation, and tearose. The absolute has a warm, deep floral aroma, while the CO2 extract is spicier and more caramel-like.

Uses in Natural Perfumery: In natural perfumery, champaca absolute is favored for its rich, exotic floral scent. It adds depth and complexity to floral compositions and blends exceptionally well with other floral notes such as carnation and rose. It is ideal for creating perfumes with an oriental or floral character.

Blending Suggestions: Champa absolute blends harmoniously with carnation, rose, and other delicate floral notes. It works well with fixatives that do not overpower its delicate scent, such as sandalwood, araucaria, benzoin, ambrette, and ambergris. In dilution, it reveals a soft, floral tea-like note.

Reference: Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, p.160

Champa absolute, with its rich and multifaceted floral aroma, is a valuable ingredient for natural perfumers seeking to create luxurious and exotic fragrance compositions.


Title: Chord

Description: A chord in perfumery, also known as an accord, refers to a harmonious combination of three or more aromatic ingredients that blend together to create a single, unified essence. This combination is designed to achieve a specific scent profile that is greater than the sum of its parts.


  • Complexity: A chord typically exhibits a complexity that makes it stand out in a perfume composition, providing depth and richness to the overall scent.
  • Balance: The key to a successful chord is the balance between the individual notes, ensuring that no single component dominates the blend.
  • Harmony: The elements of a chord work together harmoniously, creating a seamless and well-rounded aroma.

Usage in Natural Perfumery: In natural perfumery, chords are used to build the foundation of a fragrance. They serve as the backbone of the perfume, around which other notes are layered to create a complex and multi-dimensional scent. Natural perfumers often craft chords from essential oils, absolutes, and other natural extracts to achieve the desired olfactory effect.


  • Floral Chord: A blend of rose, jasmine, and ylang-ylang essential oils to create a rich floral essence.
  • Citrus Chord: A combination of bergamot, sweet orange, and lemon oils to produce a vibrant and fresh citrus scent.
  • Woody Chord: A mix of sandalwood, cedarwood, and vetiver oils for a deep, earthy, and grounding aroma.

Importance: Creating effective chords is a fundamental skill in perfumery. It requires an understanding of how different scents interact and complement each other. Mastering the art of blending chords allows perfumers to craft intricate and captivating fragrances.

A chord, therefore, is not just a random mixture of scents, but a carefully constructed combination that provides a solid foundation and enhances the overall perfume composition.


Title: Chypre

Description: Chypre is a classic fragrance family characterized by a dominating blend of bergamot and oakmoss, rounded off with rich, woody essences such as patchouli and labdanum. The name "Chypre" comes from the French word for Cyprus, inspired by the Mediterranean island where these aromatic materials were traditionally sourced.


  • Citrus Top Notes: Bright and fresh notes, typically from bergamot, which give an initial burst of zestiness.
  • Woody and Mossy Heart: The heart of a chypre fragrance is grounded by oakmoss, lending a deep, earthy, and slightly damp aroma.
  • Rich Base Notes: The base notes often include patchouli and labdanum, providing warmth, complexity, and a lingering finish.

Usage in Natural Perfumery: In natural perfumery, chypre fragrances are valued for their sophistication and complexity. Perfumers use natural extracts and essential oils to craft these multifaceted scents, adhering to traditional methods and ingredients.


  • Top Notes: Bergamot essential oil, providing a fresh and lively citrus burst.
  • Heart Notes: Oakmoss absolute or tincture, delivering earthy and mossy nuances.
  • Base Notes: Patchouli essential oil and labdanum resin, adding depth and a rich, warm undertone.


  • Classic Chypre: A natural blend featuring bergamot, oakmoss, patchouli, and labdanum.
  • Floral Chypre: Incorporating natural floral notes like rose or jasmine into the traditional chypre structure.
  • Woody Chypre: Emphasizing the woody aspects with additional notes such as vetiver or cedarwood.

Importance: Chypre fragrances are celebrated for their balance and longevity. The interplay between the fresh top notes and the rich, earthy base creates a dynamic and enduring scent profile. These fragrances often evolve over time, revealing different facets as they dry down.

Ref: Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

A well-crafted chypre fragrance showcases the art of blending natural materials to create a harmonious and sophisticated scent experience.

Citrus Notes

Title: Citrus Notes

Description: Citrus notes refer to the bright, fresh, and uplifting fragrances derived from the peel, leaves, and sometimes the flowers of various citrus fruits. These notes are often used in natural perfumery to add a sparkling and refreshing top note to fragrance compositions.


  • Bright and Fresh: Citrus notes are known for their invigorating and lively scent.
  • Zesty and Tangy: They often have a sharp, tangy quality that can uplift the entire fragrance.
  • Volatile: Citrus oils are typically top notes due to their high volatility, meaning they evaporate quickly but make an immediate impression.

Common Citrus Essences:

  • Orange (Citrus sinensis): Sweet, bright, and fruity.
  • Lemon (Citrus limon): Sharp, tangy, and refreshing.
  • Lime (Citrus aurantiifolia): Tart, zesty, and vibrant.
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia): Sweet, tangy, and slightly floral.
  • Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi): Fresh, tangy, and slightly bitter.
  • Yuzu (Citrus junos): Complex, with a blend of tartness and sweetness.
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus): Lemony, grassy, and slightly herbaceous.

Uses in Natural Perfumery:

  • Top Notes: Citrus essences are predominantly used as top notes in perfumery, providing an immediate burst of freshness.
  • Blending: They blend well with floral, herbal, and woody notes, adding complexity and lift to the fragrance.
  • Versatility: Citrus notes are versatile and can be used in a wide range of perfume types, from light and fresh colognes to more complex and layered compositions.


  • Uplifting: Citrus notes are known for their mood-enhancing and uplifting properties.
  • Versatile: Suitable for both men’s and women’s fragrances.
  • Natural Antioxidants: Many citrus oils contain natural antioxidants, adding an extra benefit to their use.

Example Combinations:

  • With Florals: Citrus notes can be paired with floral notes like jasmine, rose, or neroli to create a balanced and harmonious blend.
  • With Herbs: Combining citrus with herbal notes like basil, rosemary, or lavender can produce fresh and aromatic fragrances.
  • With Woods: Pairing with woody notes such as cedarwood or sandalwood can add depth and longevity to the bright citrus top notes.

Noteworthy Points:

  • Photosensitivity: Some citrus oils, particularly bergamot, can cause photosensitivity, leading to skin irritation when exposed to sunlight. It’s essential to use bergaptene-free (FCF) versions for topical applications.
  • Sourcing: High-quality citrus oils are typically cold-pressed from the peel of the fruit, ensuring the preservation of their fresh and vibrant scent.


Title: Classic

A scent that follows a traditional perfumery template, utilising a higher percentage of floral notes to create an essence with timeless appeal. 

Classic perfumes often adhere to well-established fragrance structures and are celebrated for their enduring elegance and refined compositions. They typically include a harmonious blend of top, middle, and base notes, with a focus on florals such as rose, jasmine, and violet, evoking a sense of nostalgia and sophistication.


Title: Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Clove is an essential oil derived from the dried flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree, native to Indonesia and cultivated in several tropical regions. The oil is obtained through steam distillation and is highly valued in natural perfumery for its warm, spicy, and slightly sweet aroma.

Clove oil is rich in eugenol, which gives it its characteristic scent and also contributes to its strong antiseptic and analgesic properties. In perfumery, clove is often used as a middle note, adding depth and complexity to floral, oriental, and spicy compositions. It blends well with other essential oils such as cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, and ylang-ylang, creating rich and inviting fragrances.

In addition to its olfactory qualities, clove has a history of use in traditional medicine and culinary applications. However, due to its potent nature, it should be used sparingly and with caution in formulations, as it can be a skin irritant in high concentrations.


Title: Cloying

Cloying refers to a scent that is excessively sweet, heavy, and overwhelming to the point of being almost suffocating or oppressive. In the context of natural perfumery, a cloying fragrance may contain a high concentration of sweet, rich notes such as honey, vanilla, or certain florals like jasmine and tuberose.

While these notes can be beautiful in moderation, when overused, they can dominate a composition, making it feel unbalanced and overpowering. A cloying scent lacks the necessary counterbalance of lighter, fresher, or more neutral notes that help create harmony and complexity in a perfume.

Perfumers aim to avoid cloying compositions by carefully balancing sweet and heavy notes with elements that add freshness, brightness, or even a touch of bitterness or spice. This balance ensures the fragrance remains pleasant and wearable over time.

In evaluating and creating natural perfumes, understanding the potential for cloyingness is essential for crafting scents that are appealing and enjoyable rather than overwhelming. Adjustments in formulation, dilution, and the use of complementary notes can help mitigate the risk of a fragrance becoming cloying.

CO2 Extraction

Title: CO2 Extraction

CO2 extraction, also known as supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, is a modern and efficient method used to obtain fragrant compounds from natural raw materials. This process involves the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) at low temperatures and high pressures to act as a solvent.

In the supercritical state, CO2 possesses unique properties of both a liquid and a gas, enabling it to penetrate plant materials more effectively than traditional solvents. This method offers several advantages:

  • Purity: The resulting extracts are exceptionally pure, as the CO2 evaporates completely, leaving no solvent residues.
  • Low Temperature: The low operating temperatures help preserve the delicate aromatic compounds that might be damaged by the higher temperatures used in steam distillation or other extraction methods.
  • Efficiency: CO2 extraction can efficiently capture a broad spectrum of aromatic constituents, including both volatile and non-volatile compounds.

CO2 extracts are highly prized in natural perfumery for their rich, true-to-nature aroma profiles. They often contain a more comprehensive range of aromatic components compared to essential oils obtained through steam distillation, providing greater depth and complexity to the fragrance.

Due to the precision and high quality of the extracts, CO2 extraction is commonly used for botanicals like frankincense, rose, chamomile, and vanilla, among others. These extracts contribute significantly to the creation of sophisticated and authentic natural perfumes.

In summary, CO2 extraction is a state-of-the-art technique that harnesses the power of carbon dioxide to produce highly aromatic and pure extracts, enhancing the palette of natural perfumers with superior quality ingredients.


Title: Cologne

Cologne, often referred to as Eau de Cologne, is a type of fragrance that utilizes a light, refreshing composition primarily featuring citrus oils and a high percentage of water. Originating from Cologne, Germany in the early 18th century, it is one of the oldest types of perfumed products.

A traditional cologne typically contains 3-5% perfume composition diluted in alcohol and distilled water. The essential oil content is lower compared to other types of fragrances like Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum, making cologne a lighter, less concentrated scent ideal for frequent application throughout the day.

The primary ingredients in a classic cologne are citrus oils such as bergamot, lemon, lime, and orange. These top notes provide an immediate burst of freshness and are often complemented by herbal, floral, and woody notes that add complexity and depth. Common supporting notes may include lavender, rosemary, neroli, jasmine, and sandalwood.

Cologne is favored for its invigorating and uplifting qualities, making it a popular choice for warm weather and casual settings. Its light formulation also makes it suitable for those who prefer a subtle scent or have sensitivities to stronger fragrances.

In summary, cologne is a citrus-based fragrance characterized by its light concentration and refreshing scent profile, offering a versatile and pleasant aromatic experience suitable for everyday wear.