Saturday, 22 June 2024, 1:17 PM
Site: Natural Perfume Academy
Course: Natural Perfume Academy (NPA)
Glossary: Natural Perfume Academy Main Glossary


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.


Title: Concrete - (pictured Bulgarian Rose concrete)

Concrete is a highly concentrated, waxy substance obtained through solvent extraction of botanical materials. This fragrant material is created by immersing plant materials, such as flowers, leaves, or roots, in a solvent like hexane. The solvent dissolves the aromatic compounds, along with waxes and other lipophilic (fat-loving) substances. After the solvent is evaporated, what remains is a semi-solid, waxy substance known as concrete.

Concretes are known for their rich, full-bodied aroma, capturing a wide spectrum of the plant's scent profile, including some of the more delicate and volatile top notes that may be lost in steam distillation. They are typically used as an intermediary product in the production of absolutes, which are further refined to remove the waxes and non-fragrant components.

Due to their concentrated nature, concretes are used sparingly in natural perfumery, providing depth and longevity to fragrance compositions. They are particularly valued for their ability to impart a true-to-nature scent, closely resembling the aroma of the fresh plant material. Concretes can be used directly in perfumery or further processed to obtain an absolute, which is a more refined and liquid form of the essence.

In summary, concrete is a solvent-extracted, waxy substance from botanical materials, prized for its rich and authentic aromatic properties in natural perfumery.


Title: Creamy

In the context of natural perfumery, the term "creamy" typically refers to a rich, smooth note that evokes a sense of silkiness and sensuality. This luxurious quality often carries a subtly sweet undertone, adding to the overall richness and depth of a fragrance. Creamy notes can derive from various natural sources:

  • Vanilla: Known for its warm, sweet, and comforting scent, vanilla imparts a velvety smoothness to perfumes.
  • Sandalwood: This precious wood adds a soft, woody creaminess, often enhancing the longevity and complexity of a fragrance.
  • Coconut: With its tropical, milky aroma, coconut brings a luscious, exotic creaminess to perfumery blends.
  • Lush Florals: Flowers like jasmine and frangipani naturally possess nectarous, creamy qualities, contributing to the opulent and indulgent character of a perfume.

Creamy notes are often used to balance and round out compositions, providing a sensual, enveloping experience that enhances the overall fragrance profile.


Title: Cumin

Botanical Name: Cuminum cyminum

Description: Cumin is an aromatic spice derived from the dried seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant, belonging to the Apiaceae family. Known for its distinctive warm, earthy, and slightly bitter aroma, cumin has been utilised in various cultures for its culinary, medicinal, and perfumery purposes.

Historical Context in Perfumery: In ancient perfumery, cumin was valued for its potent and lingering scent, which added depth and warmth to fragrance compositions. It was often used in combination with other spices and resins to create complex and exotic perfumes. Ancient civilisations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans incorporated cumin into their perfumery practices, recognising its ability to enhance the aromatic profile of their creations.

Extraction Method: The essential oil of cumin is typically extracted through steam distillation of the seeds. This process yields an oil rich in aromatic compounds, including cuminaldehyde, which contributes to its characteristic scent.

Aromatic Profile: Cumin essential oil has a strong, spicy, and slightly sweet aroma with a warm, nutty undertone. Its scent is both penetrating and long-lasting, making it a valuable component in natural perfume blends.

Uses in Natural Perfumery:

  • Base Note: Cumin is often used as a base note in natural perfumery, providing a warm and grounding foundation for more volatile top and middle notes.
  • Spicy Accents: Its spicy and earthy scent can add complexity and intrigue to perfumes, especially in oriental and exotic fragrance blends.
  • Complementary Blending: Cumin pairs well with other spices like coriander and cardamom, as well as with resins like frankincense and myrrh, creating rich and multifaceted fragrances.

Cultural Significance: Beyond its use in perfumery, cumin has held cultural and medicinal significance across various ancient societies. It was often used in rituals and ceremonies and believed to possess protective and healing properties.

Modern Usage: Today, cumin essential oil continues to be a cherished ingredient in natural perfumery, appreciated for its unique aroma and its ability to evoke a sense of warmth and tradition. It is used sparingly due to its potent scent but remains an important component in the palette of natural perfumers.

By understanding the historical and aromatic significance of cumin, modern natural perfumers can create fragrances that pay homage to ancient traditions while appealing to contemporary olfactory preferences.