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Site: NPA Natural Perfumery Education
Curso: NPA Natural Perfumery Education (NPA)
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Absolute: Botanical Name, Description, and Uses

Title: Absolute: Botanical Name, Description, and Uses


What is an Absolute?

An absolute is a highly concentrated, entirely alcohol-soluble, and usually liquid perfume material. It is obtained through the alcohol extraction of concretes, hydrocarbon extracts, or fat extracts of plant material.

Botanical Name

The botanical name of the plant used to produce the absolute varies depending on the specific plant. Some common examples include:

- Jasminum grandiflorum (Jasmine Absolute)

- Rosa damascena (Rose Absolute)

- Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender Absolute)

Description

Absolutes are known for their rich, intense fragrance and are a staple in natural perfumery. They are derived from plants and flowers through a multi-step extraction process that involves creating a concrete first and then extracting the absolute with alcohol.

Uses

- Perfumery: Absolutes are used as key ingredients in high-end perfumes for their complex and authentic aromas.

- Aromatherapy: Due to their concentrated nature, absolutes are used in aromatherapy to provide therapeutic benefits.

- Cosmetics: Absolutes are also incorporated into skincare and haircare products for their aromatic properties and potential benefits to the skin and hair.

 Goes Well With

Absolutes blend well with a variety of essential oils and other natural extracts. Some popular combinations include:

- Jasmine Absolute: Pairs well with sandalwood, ylang-ylang, and citrus oils.

- Rose Absolute: Blends beautifully with geranium, lavender, and frankincense.

- Lavender Absolute: Complements bergamot, clary sage, and patchouli.

The Extraction Process

1. Harvesting: The plant material is harvested at peak fragrance times.

2. Solvent Extraction: The plant material is processed to create a concrete using solvents.

3. Alcohol Extraction: The concrete is then treated with alcohol to separate the absolute.

4. Purification: The absolute is purified and filtered to remove any impurities.

 Why Choose Absolutes?

Absolutes are chosen for their unmatched aromatic complexity and strength, making them invaluable in creating luxurious and enduring perfumes.

Conclusion

Absolutes are an essential component in the world of natural perfumery, offering intense and multifaceted scents that enhance any fragrance blend. Their versatility and potency make them a favorite among perfumers and aromatherapists alike.

Accord

Title: Accord

Description: An accord, often referred to in musical terms as a chord, is a combination of two or more essences that create a unique scent with its own character and distinctive fragrance. It represents the harmonization and balance within a blend of essences, achieving a cohesive and unified olfactory experience.

Botanical Name: Not applicable, as an accord refers to a blend of multiple essences.

Uses: Accords are foundational in perfumery, used to build the complexity and depth of a fragrance. They form the heart of perfumes, ensuring that different notes blend seamlessly and complement each other. 

Goes Well With: Accords can be tailored to suit various fragrance families, such as floral, oriental, woody, or fresh. They can be blended with single notes or other accords to enhance and elevate the overall scent profile.

Adulteration

Title: Adulteration

Description: Adulteration refers to the practice of intentionally degrading the quality of an essential oil or other perfume material in order to deceive buyers and secure a sale. This often involves the addition of cheaper or synthetic substances that compromise the purity and integrity of the product, contrary to what is indicated on the label.

Relevant Context:Adulteration is a significant concern in the perfume and essential oil industry as it can mislead consumers, diminish the effectiveness of the product, and potentially introduce harmful substances.

Uses: Understanding and identifying adulteration is crucial for ensuring the quality and authenticity of essential oils and perfume materials. It is important for consumers, perfumers, and suppliers to be vigilant and knowledgeable about the sources and composition of their materials.

Common Methods of Adulteration: Examples include dilution with carrier oils, addition of synthetic compounds, and mixing with cheaper essential oils.

Agar oil

Agar Oil

Title:Agar Oil

Botanical Name: Aquilaria agallocha

Description: Agar oil, also known as oud oil, is extracted through water distillation from the fungus-infected wood of the Aquilaria agallocha tree. This tree is primarily found in northeastern India, but it is also native to China and Vietnam. The oil is highly valued in perfumery for its deep, complex, and long-lasting fragrance.

Uses: Agar oil is used in high-end perfumes and traditional incense. It is prized for its rich, woody, and sweet aroma, which adds depth and character to fragrance compositions.

Goes Well With: Agar oil blends well with sandalwood, rose, and other precious woods and floral oils, enhancing the overall complexity and richness of the scent.

Regions: Northeastern India, China, Vietnam

Extraction Method: Water distillation from fungus-infected wood

Unique Characteristics: The infection of the wood by fungi creates a resin that gives agar oil its distinctive and highly sought-after fragrance.

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Agleia Odorata

Title: Aglaia Odorata

Botanical Name: Aglaia odorata

Description: Aglaia odorata is an essential oil distilled from the seeds of the Aglaia tree, which thrives in India, Indonesia, and China. This tree is renowned for its fragrant flowers, which are traditionally used to scent tea. The essential oil derived from Aglaia odorata is cherished for its sweet and floral aroma, making it a unique addition to natural perfumery.

Uses: Aglaia odorata essential oil is utilized in perfumery for its delicate, sweet, and floral fragrance. Additionally, the flowers of this tree are commonly used to infuse tea with a pleasant scent.

Goes Well With: Aglaia odorata pairs well with other floral oils such as jasmine and rose, as well as citrus oils like bergamot and lemon, creating harmonious and balanced fragrance compositions.

Regions:India, Indonesia, China

Extraction Method: Distillation from the seeds

Unique Characteristics:** The oil's sweet and floral scent, combined with its cultural use in tea, makes it a distinctive and versatile ingredient in both perfumery and culinary applications.

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Ajowan

Ptychotis ajowan

Title: Ajowan

Botanical Name: Ptychotis ajowan (syn. Carum ajowan, Carum copticum)

Description: Ajowan oil is steam distilled from the fruits, seeds, and sometimes the entire plant of Ptychotis ajowan. This plant, also known as Carum ajowan or Carum copticum, is native to India and the West Indies. Ajowan oil is recognized for its potent and aromatic properties, commonly used in both perfumery and traditional medicine.

Uses: Ajowan oil is primarily used for its strong, spicy aroma in natural perfumery. It is also valued in traditional medicine for its potential digestive and antimicrobial properties.

Goes Well With: Ajowan oil blends well with other spicy oils such as clove, cumin, and thyme, as well as citrus oils like lemon and orange to create a balanced and invigorating scent profile.

Regions: India, West Indies

Extraction Method: Steam distillation from fruits, seeds, and whole plant

Unique Characteristics: The oil's distinctive spicy aroma and its historical use in traditional medicine make Ajowan a valuable and multifaceted ingredient in both perfumery and therapeutic applications.

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Alcohol

Title: Alcohol

Description: In natural perfumery, alcohol serves as a perfume medium, diluent, solvent, or carrier for a perfume composition. Unlike conventional perfumery, natural perfumers prefer using 190 proof organic grape or grain alcohol, avoiding the use of denatured alcohols that contain chemicals.

Uses: Alcohol is primarily used to dissolve and blend essential oils and other aromatic compounds, creating a uniform and stable perfume composition. It helps to carry and disperse the fragrance when applied to the skin.

Preferred Types: Organic grape alcohol, Organic grain alcohol

Characteristics: High proof (190 proof) alcohol ensures that the aromatic compounds are fully solubilized, providing a clear and consistent perfume solution. The organic nature of the alcohol ensures purity and compatibility with the principles of natural perfumery.

Importance in Natural Perfumery: The use of organic alcohol aligns with the ethos of natural perfumery, emphasizing purity, natural ingredients, and the avoidance of synthetic chemicals. This commitment to natural ingredients helps in creating perfumes that are gentle on the skin and environmentally friendly.

Goes Well With: Essential oils, absolutes, resins, and other natural aromatic compounds

Note: Alcohol in natural perfumery is free from denaturing agents and synthetic additives, ensuring a pure and natural carrier for exquisite and authentic fragrances.

Almond bitter unrectified

Title: Almond Bitter Unrectified

Botanical Name: Prunus amygdalus var. amara

Description: Almond Bitter Unrectified oil is derived from the kernels of the bitter almond tree (Prunus amygdalus var. amara). This essential oil contains amygdalin, which can release toxic hydrocyanic acid. Due to its toxicity, it is used with caution and typically at very low concentrations in perfumery.

Uses in Perfumery: Historically noted for its potent and distinctive aroma, bitter almond unrectified oil is used sparingly in natural perfumery to add a unique scent profile. Its use is highly regulated due to its toxic components.

Concentration: Typically used at concentrations no higher than 3.0000% in perfume formulations.

Regulations: The use of bitter almond unrectified oil is subject to stringent safety regulations. In many regions, its use is restricted or prohibited due to the presence of hydrocyanic acid. It is essential to adhere to these regulations to ensure safety and compliance.

Safety Note: This oil is toxic and should be handled with extreme care. It is not recommended for use in products that come into direct contact with the skin. Proper knowledge of handling and formulation is necessary to ensure safe usage.

Importance in Natural Perfumery: While not commonly used due to its toxicity, almond bitter unrectified oil remains noteworthy for its historical and aromatic significance in natural perfumery. Modern perfumers often seek safer alternatives that replicate its unique scent profile without the associated risks.

Goes Well With: Due to its toxicity, this oil is rarely blended with others in contemporary natural perfumery. Safer, non-toxic alternatives are preferred for creating similar aromatic notes.

Âmbar

amber

Title: Amber

Description: In natural perfumery, the term "Amber" refers to a warm, powdery note in a perfume composition. Unlike what some might assume, amber in perfumery is not derived from fossilized tree resin. Instead, this evocative scent is typically created through the blending of various aromatic oils such as benzoin, labdanum, and vanilla. These ingredients combine to produce a rich, sweet, and resinous aroma that is highly prized in perfumery.

Components: The amber note is usually obtained by combining:

- Benzoin: Provides a sweet, vanilla-like scent with balsamic undertones.

- Labdanum:Offers a deep, resinous, and slightly leathery aroma.

- Vanilla:Adds a creamy, sweet note that enhances the overall warmth of the blend.

Uses in Perfumery: Amber is a versatile and popular note used to add depth, warmth, and complexity to a wide range of fragrances. It is especially prominent in oriental, gourmand, and woody compositions.

Common Misconception: It is a common misconception that amber used in perfumery is derived from amber fossilized resin. In reality, the fossilized resin, often referred to as amber, is not used in perfumery due to its lack of fragrance. The aromatic amber note in perfumes is a crafted blend of natural resins and essential oils.

Importance in Natural Perfumery: Amber is a cornerstone note in natural perfumery, valued for its ability to harmonize and enhance other elements in a composition. It brings a sense of warmth, sophistication, and longevity to fragrances.

Goes Well With: Amber blends well with a variety of other notes, including:

- Woody Notes: Such as sandalwood and cedarwood.

- Spices: Like cinnamon and clove.

- Florals: Such as rose and jasmine.

- Resins: Including frankincense and myrrh.

Safety Note: Natural components used to create the amber note are generally safe for use in perfumery. However, always ensure proper dilution and conduct a patch test to avoid potential skin sensitivities.

Conclusion: The amber note in natural perfumery is an artful combination of natural ingredients, creating a warm and inviting scent. Understanding the true nature of amber in perfumery helps to appreciate its role and versatility in fragrance compositions. 

Ambra

Ambra (Ambergris)

Title: Ambra (Ambergris)

Description: Ambra, also known as Ambergris, is a highly prized and mysterious substance in the world of perfumery. It is excreted from the stomach of the cachalot whale, commonly known as the sperm whale. Ambra is the result of a fascinating and unique process within the whale's digestive system. When a sperm whale ingests squid beaks, a common part of its diet, it can sometimes cause irritation to the stomach walls, leading to the formation of a waxy substance known as ambergris.

Formation Process: Ambergris is formed through a complex process of chemical reactions within the whale's digestive tract. Over time, this substance undergoes aging and weathering in the ocean, resulting in its distinctive scent and texture.

Aromatic Properties: Ambergris possesses a unique scent that is often described as complex, earthy, and musky, with subtle marine undertones. It is highly valued in perfumery for its ability to enhance and fix fragrances, imparting depth, longevity, and a captivating allure to perfumes.

Historical Significance:  Throughout history, ambergris has been treasured as a rare and precious ingredient in perfumery. It has been used for centuries in luxury fragrances, prized for its exceptional scent-masking properties and its ability to amplify other fragrance notes.

Modern Usage: While ambergris was traditionally sourced from the wild, its use in perfumery has become increasingly regulated due to conservation concerns and ethical considerations surrounding the harvesting of whale products. As a result, synthetic alternatives are often used in modern perfumery to replicate the scent of ambergris.

Legal Status: The trade and use of natural ambergris are subject to strict regulations and laws in many countries due to its association with endangered species. As a result, perfumers must adhere to ethical and legal guidelines when sourcing and using ambergris in their formulations.

Symbolism and Prestige: Ambergris has long been associated with luxury, opulence, and prestige in the world of perfumery. Its rarity, unique scent, and storied history contribute to its enduring allure and fascination among fragrance enthusiasts.

Conclusion: Ambra, or ambergris, remains a captivating and enigmatic ingredient in the realm of perfumery, symbolizing the intersection of nature, art, and luxury. While its traditional use may be limited, its legacy continues to inspire and intrigue perfumers and fragrance connoisseurs alike.

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Ambrette Seed

Ambrette Seed

Title: Ambrette Seed

Description: Ambrette seeds are derived from the plant Hibiscus Abelmoschus, also known as Abelmoschus moschatus. The seeds yield an essential oil prized in the world of natural perfumery for its unique aromatic properties and versatile uses. 

Extraction Methods: Ambrette seed essential oil can be obtained through various extraction methods, including steam distillation of the seeds, solvent extraction of the concrete, and tincture extraction. Each method yields different aromatic profiles and concentrations, offering perfumers a range of options for formulation.

Aromatic Profile: Ambrette seed essential oil is characterized by its rich, musky, and slightly floral aroma, reminiscent of natural musk. It possesses a warm and sensual scent that blends seamlessly with a wide range of fragrance ingredients, including sandalwood, rose, and neroli. 

Fixative Properties: Ambrette seed is highly valued in perfumery for its excellent fixative qualities, which help to prolong the longevity and intensity of fragrances. It acts as a natural anchor, enhancing the overall scent profile and ensuring a lasting impression.

Substitute for Animal Musks: Ambrette seed oil serves as a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional animal musks, offering perfumers a cruelty-free option without compromising on fragrance quality or complexity. Its musky aroma adds depth and sensuality to perfumes, reminiscent of classic animalic notes.

Exhalting Effect: Ambrette seed is renowned for its "exhalting" effect on perfumes, imparting a subtle and ethereal quality that elevates the fragrance composition. It adds a delicate touch of sophistication and refinement, enhancing the olfactory experience for the wearer.

Versatile Application: Ambrette seed oil finds wide-ranging applications in natural perfumery, including as a base note, fixative, or standalone fragrance ingredient. Its versatility and compatibility with other botanical essences make it a prized component in artisanal perfumery formulations.

Conclusion: Ambrette seed essential oil is a cherished ingredient in natural perfumery, valued for its distinctive aroma, fixative properties, and sustainable sourcing. As a cruelty-free alternative to animal musks, it exemplifies the principles of ethical fragrance creation while offering perfumers endless creative possibilities.

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Amyris Oil

Amyris Oil

Title: Amyris Oil

Botanical Name: Amyris Balsamifera

Description: Amyris oil, derived from the wood of the Amyris Balsamifera tree, also known as West Indian Rosewood, is a valued ingredient in natural perfumery renowned for its distinctive aroma and versatile applications. 

Extraction Method: Amyris oil is obtained through steam distillation of the wood of the Amyris Balsamifera tree. This process yields a fragrant essential oil with a rich and complex olfactory profile.

Aromatic Profile: Amyris oil possesses a woody and sweet aroma with a peppery top note, reminiscent of sandalwood. Its warm and inviting scent adds depth and complexity to fragrance compositions, making it a popular choice among perfumers.

Versatile Applications: Amyris oil finds diverse applications in natural perfumery, serving as a valuable base note, fixative, or standalone fragrance ingredient. Its smooth and creamy texture blends seamlessly with other botanical essences, enhancing the overall fragrance profile.

Sustainable Sourcing: The Amyris Balsamifera tree is native to the Caribbean region and is sustainably harvested for its wood, which is used to produce Amyris oil. This eco-friendly sourcing method aligns with the principles of ethical and responsible fragrance creation.

Benefits: In addition to its aromatic qualities, Amyris oil is valued for its therapeutic benefits, including its calming and grounding effects on the mind and body. It promotes relaxation and emotional balance, making it a popular choice for aromatherapy and holistic wellness practices.

Conclusion: Amyris oil is a prized ingredient in natural perfumery, cherished for its distinctive aroma, sustainable sourcing, and therapeutic properties. Whether used as a base note, fixative, or standalone fragrance ingredient, it adds depth, warmth, and character to fragrances, exemplifying the beauty of botanical essences in perfumery.

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Anethum Sowa

Anethum Sowa

Title: Anethum Sowa

Botanical Name: Anethum Sowa

Description: Anethum Sowa, also known as Indian Dill, is a lesser-known botanical species cultivated primarily in India and Japan. The essential oil of Anethum Sowa is steam distilled from the fruit or seeds of the wild dill plant, yielding a unique aromatic profile distinct from its European and American counterparts.

Aromatic Profile: Unlike European and American dill varieties, the oil of Anethum Sowa exhibits a distinctive aroma reminiscent of parsley rather than caraway. Its fresh, herbaceous scent possesses subtle nuances of green foliage and earthy undertones, adding a refreshing and aromatic dimension to fragrance compositions.

Cultural Significance: While Anethum Sowa may be less prevalent in Western countries, it holds cultural significance in Indian and Japanese cuisine and traditional medicine. The aromatic properties of Anethum Sowa are valued for their culinary uses and therapeutic benefits, reflecting the rich botanical heritage of these regions.

Therapeutic Benefits: The essential oil of Anethum Sowa is prized for its potential therapeutic properties, including digestive support, relaxation, and stress relief. In traditional Ayurvedic and herbal medicine practices, it is often used to alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort and promote overall well-being.

Usage in Perfumery: Despite its relative obscurity in Western perfumery, Anethum Sowa offers intriguing possibilities for olfactory exploration and creative expression. Its unique aromatic profile adds depth and complexity to fragrance compositions, lending a fresh and herbaceous character to botanical blends.

Conclusion: Anethum Sowa, or Indian Dill, stands out as a distinctive botanical species with a rich aromatic heritage rooted in Indian and Japanese cultures. Its unique olfactory profile, reminiscent of parsley and green foliage, offers perfumers a creative palette for crafting fragrances inspired by nature's abundance.

Ref: Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavors of Natural Origin 

Angelica root


Title: Angelica Root (Angelica archangelica)

Angelica root, derived from the Angelica archangelica plant, holds a revered place in the history of perfumery and traditional medicine. Known for its rich, earthy, and slightly musky aroma, this botanical treasure has been cherished since antiquity for its unique olfactory and therapeutic properties.

Historical Context:

The use of Angelica root in perfumery and medicine dates back to the Middle Ages. Named after the Archangel Michael, who, according to legend, revealed its medicinal virtues to humanity, Angelica root was believed to possess protective powers against plague and evil spirits. Its roots, seeds, and stems were widely used in herbal remedies, often regarded as a panacea for various ailments.

Botanical Profile:

Angelica archangelica is a biennial or short-lived perennial herb native to northern Europe and Asia. It thrives in damp soil, particularly in areas with cool climates. The plant grows up to 2.5 meters tall, with large, divided leaves and umbels of small, yellow-green flowers. The roots, harvested in their second year, are the primary source of the aromatic compounds used in perfumery.

Olfactory Characteristics:

Angelica root essential oil is extracted through steam distillation, yielding a pale yellow to amber liquid with a deeply complex scent profile. It opens with a fresh, green top note that swiftly evolves into a warm, woody, and slightly peppery heart, anchored by a musky, earthy base. This multifaceted aroma makes it a valued ingredient in natural perfumery, particularly in creating fougère, chypre, and oriental fragrances.

Uses in Natural Botanical Perfumery:

In the art of all-natural botanical perfumery, Angelica root is celebrated for its ability to impart depth and sophistication to compositions. Its grounding, earthy tones complement a wide range of other natural materials, enhancing both the longevity and complexity of the fragrance. Perfumers often blend Angelica root with notes of citrus, wood, spice, and other roots, creating rich, evocative scents reminiscent of ancient apothecaries and herbal gardens.

Cultural and Symbolic Significance:

Beyond its practical applications, Angelica root carries a rich tapestry of cultural and symbolic meanings. In folklore, it was associated with protection, healing, and divine intervention. Its inclusion in perfumes and potions was believed to ward off illness and promote well-being, making it a staple in the perfumer's palette for creating not only beautiful scents but also those imbued with historical and spiritual significance.

In summary, Angelica root (Angelica archangelica) is more than just an ingredient in natural perfumery; it is a bridge to the past, encapsulating centuries of botanical knowledge and aromatic tradition. Its distinctive scent profile and historical lore continue to enchant modern perfumers, preserving the art of antiquarian perfumery in contemporary creations.

Angelica Root Absolute

Title: Angelica Root Absolute

Angelica Root Absolute, derived from the Angelica archangelica plant, is a highly concentrated aromatic material esteemed in natural botanical perfumery. Its profound, earthy scent and historical significance make it a valuable addition to the perfumer's palette, evoking the rich traditions of antiquarian perfumery.

Historical Context:

The use of Angelica root dates back to ancient times, where it was revered for its medicinal and aromatic properties. Named after the Archangel Michael, who was believed to have introduced its benefits to humankind, Angelica root was considered a powerful protector against plagues and evil spirits in medieval Europe. Its roots, seeds, and stems were frequently used in herbal medicine, often seen as a universal remedy.

Botanical Profile:

Angelica archangelica is a biennial or short-lived perennial herb indigenous to northern Europe and Asia. It flourishes in moist soil, particularly in cooler climates. The plant can grow up to 2.5 meters tall and features large, divided leaves and umbels of small, yellow-green flowers. The roots, harvested typically in their second year, are the source of the aromatic compounds used to produce the absolute.

Extraction and Olfactory Characteristics:

Angelica Root Absolute is obtained through solvent extraction of the dried roots, yielding a thick, dark brown to amber substance. It possesses a rich, complex aroma profile. The fragrance starts with a fresh, herbaceous top note, transitioning into a warm, woody, and slightly peppery heart, and settling into a deep, musky, and earthy base. This layered scent profile makes Angelica Root Absolute a prized ingredient in the creation of sophisticated, natural perfumes.

Uses in Natural Botanical Perfumery:

In the realm of all-natural botanical perfumery, Angelica Root Absolute is cherished for its ability to add depth and nuance to fragrance compositions. Its earthy, grounding aroma enhances both the longevity and complexity of perfumes. Perfumers often blend it with citrus, woody, spicy, and other root notes to craft rich, evocative scents reminiscent of ancient herbal apothecaries and traditional botanical gardens.

Cultural and Symbolic Significance:

Angelica Root Absolute carries a deep cultural and symbolic heritage. Traditionally associated with protection, healing, and divine intervention, it was believed to ward off disease and negative energies. This historical lore continues to imbue modern perfumery with a sense of mystical and spiritual depth, making it not only an aromatic ingredient but also a symbol of ancient wisdom and protection.

Summary:

Angelica Root Absolute (Angelica archangelica) is more than a component in natural perfumery; it is a conduit to the past, encapsulating centuries of botanical expertise and aromatic tradition. Its distinctive, multifaceted scent and rich historical associations continue to captivate contemporary perfumers, preserving the essence of antiquarian perfumery in modern creations.

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Animalic

hyrax (Procavia capensis) small creature who makes poop that when petrified is used in perfumery

Title: Animalic

In the context of antiquarian all-natural botanical perfumery, "animalic" refers to a category of scents that evoke the raw, primal essence of animals. Traditionally, these scents were derived from natural animal sources and characterized by fecal, leathery, and fur-like notes. Classic animalic materials include hyraceum (hyrax/Africa Stone), ambergris, costus, nagarmotha, patchouli, and civet. These potent, often controversial aromas add depth, warmth, and complexity to perfumes, reminiscent of ancient times when such materials were prized for their distinctive olfactory profiles.

Historical Context:

Animalic scents have been an integral part of perfumery for centuries. In antiquarian practices, materials like ambergris (produced by sperm whales), civet (secreted by the civet cat), and hyraceum (fossilized hyrax excrement) were highly valued for their rich, complex aromas. These substances were believed to possess not only fragrant but also aphrodisiac and therapeutic properties, making them coveted ingredients in historical perfumery.

Botanical Alternatives:

In modern all-natural botanical perfumery, there has been a significant shift towards ethical and sustainable practices, leading to the development and use of plant-based alternatives that mimic the animalic scents of old. These botanical animalic notes offer perfumers the ability to recreate the deep, sensual, and sometimes challenging aromas without exploiting animals. Key botanical alternatives include:

- Patchouli: Known for its earthy, musky scent, patchouli provides a rich, grounding base note reminiscent of traditional animalic perfumes.

- Nagarmotha (Cyperus scariosus): This plant offers a smoky, woody, and slightly animalic aroma, serving as a natural alternative to more aggressive animalic notes.

- Costus Root (Saussurea costus): With its warm, musky scent, costus root is often used to evoke the sensuality of animalic perfumes.

- Jasmine: While primarily floral, jasmine contains indoles, compounds that can produce an animalic effect, adding depth and complexity to botanical compositions.

- Hyraceum (Hyrax/Africa Stone): Although still of animal origin, hyraceum is ethically sourced from fossilized hyrax excrement, offering a sustainable option for a powerful animalic note.

Ethical Considerations:

The move away from animal-derived materials is a positive step in perfumery, reflecting a commitment to ethical practices and animal welfare. By utilizing botanical alternatives, modern perfumers honor the rich traditions of antiquarian perfumery while embracing sustainable and humane methods. This shift not only preserves the intricate olfactory heritage but also ensures that the art of natural perfumery evolves with a conscience.

Summary:

Animalic notes, once obtained from animals, are now beautifully and ethically recreated through botanical means in contemporary all-natural perfumery. This approach allows perfumers to capture the timeless, primal allure of these scents without harming animals, maintaining the integrity and depth of traditional fragrances while aligning with modern ethical standards.

Anise


Title: Anise Oil

Description:

Anise oil, used in natural perfumery, is primarily extracted from the star anise (Illicium verum). Although it is sometimes confused with aniseed oil derived from the anise plant (Pimpinella anisum), star anise oil is the preferred source in perfumery. The oil is typically sourced from Poland or Russia.

Characteristics:

Anise oil has a sweet, spicy, and licorice-like aroma. This distinctive scent is often associated with licorice, not because it naturally smells like it, but due to its historical use as a flavoring for licorice candy. Similarly, vanilla is often described as having a chocolate-like aroma because of its frequent combination with chocolate in various applications.

Aromatic Profile:

- Top Notes: Sweet, spicy, and slightly fruity

- Middle Notes: Warm, licorice-like

- Base Notes: Mildly woody and herbaceous

Uses in Perfumery:

Anise oil is valued for its unique sweet and spicy profile, making it a versatile component in various types of fragrances. It is often used to add a distinctive twist to compositions, lending an intriguing complexity to the overall scent.

Blends Well With:

- Citrus Oils: Lemon, orange, and bergamot

- Spices: Clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg

- Herbs: Basil, fennel, and lavender

- Florals: Jasmine and rose

- Resins: Frankincense and myrrh


Perfume Types:

Anise oil is commonly used in:

- Oriental Perfumes: Adds a spicy, exotic note

- Gourmand Perfumes: Enhances sweet, edible fragrances

- Fougere Perfumes: Contributes to the aromatic and spicy facets

- Floral Perfumes: Provides depth and a spicy undertone


Historical and Cultural Context:

Anise oil has been used for centuries in various cultures, not only in perfumery but also in traditional medicine and culinary applications. Its licorice-like scent has made it a popular choice for flavoring confections and beverages.

References:

Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.


Anosmia


Title: Anosmia

Anosmia is the complete loss or absence of the sense of smell. It can be temporary or permanent and may result from various causes, including respiratory infections, nasal blockages, neurological conditions, or exposure to certain chemicals.

Relevance to Natural Perfumery:

In the field of natural perfumery, anosmia poses significant challenges. Perfumers rely heavily on their sense of smell to create, evaluate, and refine fragrances. Anosmia can disrupt this process, making it difficult or impossible for a perfumer to continue their work. Additionally, understanding anosmia is crucial for creating inclusive products that consider the olfactory limitations of some users.

Characteristics:

- Complete Loss of Smell: Unlike hyposmia (reduced sense of smell), anosmia involves a total inability to detect odors.

- Temporary or Permanent: Depending on the cause, anosmia can be a short-term condition or a lifelong issue.

- Impact on Taste: As taste and smell are closely linked, anosmia often affects the ability to taste flavors, reducing the enjoyment and discernment of foods and beverages.

Causes:

- Respiratory Infections: Colds, flu, and sinus infections can lead to temporary anosmia.

- Nasal Blockages: Polyps, tumors, or deformities in the nasal passages can obstruct the sense of smell.

- Neurological Conditions: Conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and brain injuries can cause anosmia.

- Chemical Exposure: Prolonged exposure to certain chemicals or pollutants can damage the olfactory system.


Implications for Perfumers:

- Work Disruption: Anosmia can halt a perfumer's ability to develop and refine fragrances.

- Safety Considerations: Perfumers with anosmia must take extra precautions to avoid exposure to potentially harmful substances they cannot detect.

- Sensitivity Awareness: Understanding anosmia helps perfumers create products that are considerate of those with olfactory impairments, ensuring a broader appeal and inclusivity.


Managing Anosmia:

- Medical Consultation: Seeking medical advice is crucial for diagnosing and potentially treating the underlying cause of anosmia.

- Alternative Techniques: Perfumers with anosmia might rely on feedback from trusted colleagues or use analytical tools to evaluate fragrances.

- Support Networks: Connecting with others who have anosmia can provide emotional support and practical advice for coping with the condition.

Conclusion:

While anosmia is a significant obstacle in the world of natural perfumery, awareness and understanding of the condition can lead to better support and inclusivity within the industry. By recognizing the challenges faced by those with anosmia, perfumers and consumers alike can foster a more empathetic and accommodating environment.

Araucaria


Title: Araucaria (Monkey Puzzle Tree)

Definition: Araucaria, commonly known as the Monkey Puzzle Tree, is a coniferous tree native to the South Pacific. The essential oil derived from this tree is notable for its unique properties and is used in natural perfumery.

Characteristics:

  • Source: The essential oil is steam distilled from the wood of the Araucaria tree.
  • Physical Properties: The oil is solid at room temperature and has a very pale yellow-green color.
  • Odor Profile: Araucaria essential oil has a delicate, clean, woody scent. It is rich and sweet, with floral undertones similar to nerolidol or cabreuva oil. It shares aromatic qualities with amyris oil, bois de rose, copaiba, good guaiacwood oil, and the sesquiterpene fractions from Java-type citronella oil.

Description: Araucaria essential oil is prized in natural perfumery for its unique and complex scent profile. The combination of woody, rich, sweet, and floral notes makes it a versatile ingredient that can enhance various fragrance compositions. The delicate woody aroma provides a clean and refined base, while the sweet and almost floral aspects add depth and intrigue to the overall scent.

Uses in Perfumery:

  • Fragrance Bases: Due to its solid state at room temperature and its unique scent profile, Araucaria oil is often used as a base note in perfumes, providing longevity and depth.
  • Blending: Araucaria blends well with other woody and floral oils, enhancing and complementing their aromas. It pairs particularly well with oils like amyris, bois de rose, copaiba, guaiacwood, and citronella.
  • Aromatic Profiles: Its rich and sweet woody scent can be used to add complexity to woody, oriental, and floral fragrance types. It provides a natural and sophisticated aroma that is both clean and inviting.

Notable Quotes: Steffen Arctander, a renowned expert in the field of natural perfume materials, describes Araucaria oil as follows: "Its odor is delicately woody, but also rich and sweet (a rare combination) almost floral like nerolidol or cabreuva oil. It has notes in common with amyris oil, bois de rose, copaiba, good guaiacwood oil, and the sesquiterpene fractions from Java type citronella oil."

Conclusion: Araucaria essential oil is a distinctive and valuable addition to the palette of natural perfumers. Its unique combination of delicate woody, rich, sweet, and floral notes allows it to enhance a wide range of fragrance compositions. Whether used as a base note or blended with other essential oils, Araucaria contributes a refined and multi-faceted aroma to natural perfumes.

Arnica


Title: Arnica Oil

Description:
Arnica is commonly associated with herbal medicine, but its essential oil also has applications in perfumery. The oil is steam distilled from the flowers of the Arnica plant and is known for its distinctive and complex aroma.

Characteristics:
Arnica oil is typically described as having a herbaceous, tea-like scent with non-floral notes. Its unique profile adds depth and complexity to fragrances, making it a valuable component in natural perfumery.

Country of Origin:
The primary countries of origin for Arnica oil are Germany, Belgium, and France. Due to its specific growing conditions and limited production, the oil can be challenging to procure.

Perfume Type and Combinations:
Arnica oil is often used in niche and artisanal fragrances where its herbaceous and tea-like qualities can be appreciated. It blends well with other herbaceous and woody notes, complementing oils such as lavender, rosemary, and cedarwood. It can also add an intriguing twist to floral compositions, balancing and grounding sweeter, more delicate scents.

Usage in Natural Perfumery:
In natural perfumery, Arnica oil is prized for its unique aromatic profile and its ability to enhance the complexity of a fragrance. Perfumers may use it sparingly due to its potent aroma and potential sensitivity in some individuals.

Reference:
Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

Aromatic

strongly scented materials; specifically refers to rich, balsamic essences, but can be used to refer to nearly any deliciously scented botanical material

Artabotrys Odoratissimus

Country of origin the Philippines and Indonesia. See: Ylang Ylang 

Artabotrys Suaveolens

See: Ylang Ylang

Artemisia Alba


Title: Artemisia Alba (Wormwood) 

Description:
Artemisia Alba, a perennial plant native to Mediterranean countries, is closely related to the wormwood plant and shares similar silvery leaves. Its essential oil is known for its distinctive aromatic properties.

Characteristics:
The oil of Artemisia Alba is characterized by its very green and bitter notes. This potent, herbaceous scent makes it a unique addition to the perfumer's palette, offering a fresh and sharp aroma that can add complexity to various fragrance compositions.

Country of Origin:
Artemisia Alba is primarily found in Mediterranean regions, where it thrives in the local climate and soil conditions.

Perfume Type and Combinations:
Artemisia Alba oil is particularly useful in chypre and green perfumes. Its green, bitter notes provide an excellent counterbalance to sweet and floral elements, creating a sophisticated and layered fragrance. It pairs well with other green and herbal notes, as well as woody and citrus elements, enhancing the overall complexity and depth of a perfume.

Usage in Natural Perfumery:
In natural perfumery, Artemisia Alba oil is valued for its ability to introduce fresh, green, and bitter nuances to a composition. It is especially effective in creating bold, dynamic scents that stand out for their uniqueness and complexity.

Reference:
Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

Artemisia Annua


Title: Artemisia Annua

Artemisia Annua, also known as sweet wormwood, is a plant native to Yugoslavia. It is distinguished from other Artemisia species by its high yield, which makes it the least expensive of the Artemisias.

Characteristics:
The essential oil of Artemisia Annua has a green, basil-like odor. This fresh, herbaceous scent is appealing and versatile, though it is predominantly used in more utilitarian applications.

Country of Origin:
Artemisia Annua is primarily cultivated in Yugoslavia, where the conditions are favorable for its growth and high yield.

Perfume Type and Combinations:
Due to its green, basil-like fragrance, Artemisia Annua oil is commonly used as a perfuming material for soaps. Its fresh and herbaceous notes blend well with other green and herbal scents, as well as floral and citrus elements, making it suitable for creating clean and refreshing aromatic profiles.

Usage in Natural Perfumery:
In the realm of natural perfumery, Artemisia Annua is valued for its affordability and its ability to impart a clean, green note to products. It is less commonly used in fine perfumery due to its more utilitarian scent profile but is an excellent choice for everyday products like soaps and household items.

Reference:
Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

Attar

Title: Attar

Description:
Attar, also known as Ittar, is a traditional form of perfume originating from South Asia and the Middle East. It is typically created through the hydro-distillation process, where sandalwood oil serves as the base medium for the extraction of fragrant compounds from flowers.

Characteristics:

  • Base Oil: The primary base oil used in the production of attar is sandalwood oil, prized for its deep, woody, and long-lasting scent.
  • Fragrance Profile: The final fragrance of an attar varies significantly depending on the flowers or plant materials used in the distillation process. Common floral ingredients include roses, jasmine, and other aromatic flowers, which impart a rich, complex, and enduring scent to the sandalwood base.
  • Appearance: Attars are usually oil-based and can range in color from clear to pale yellow or green, depending on the source materials.

Country of Origin:
Attars have a long history in South Asia and the Middle East, particularly in countries like India, where traditional methods of attar production are still practiced.

Perfume Type and Combinations:
Attars are highly concentrated and used sparingly in natural perfumery. They are often worn as single-note fragrances or blended with other essential oils to create bespoke scents. The combination of the floral top notes with the deep, grounding sandalwood base makes attars versatile for both personal wear and in the creation of complex perfume compositions.

Usage in Natural Perfumery:
In natural perfumery, attars are cherished for their purity, depth, and longevity. They are used in high-end perfume formulations, as well as in aromatherapy and spiritual practices due to their natural origins and therapeutic properties.

Traditional Significance:
Attars hold cultural and historical significance in various traditions, often used in religious ceremonies, as offerings, and in daily grooming rituals. They are considered luxurious and are sometimes presented as gifts during special occasions.

Reference:

  • Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.
  • Traditional perfumery practices in South Asia and the Middle East.

B

Balsam


Title: Balsam

Description:
Balsam refers to a natural resinous substance exuded by certain trees and plants. This material can be a physiological product of the plant’s normal growth processes or a pathological product resulting from injury or disease. Balsams are known for their aromatic properties and have been used in perfumery and medicine for centuries.

Characteristics:

  • Appearance: Balsams typically have a viscous, sticky texture and can range in color from golden yellow to dark brown.
  • Fragrance Profile: They are renowned for their rich, warm, and sweet aromatic properties, often with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, or honey. The scent can be both soothing and uplifting.
  • Composition: Balsams contain a mixture of essential oils, resin acids, and other volatile compounds that contribute to their complex aroma.

Examples of Balsams:

  • Peru Balsam: Extracted from the Myroxylon balsamum tree, it has a sweet, vanilla-like scent.
  • Tolu Balsam: Derived from the Myroxylon balsamum var. pereirae tree, known for its warm, spicy, and cinnamon-like fragrance.
  • Benzoin: Obtained from the Styrax benzoin tree, it has a sweet, vanilla, and almond-like aroma.

Country of Origin:
Balsams are typically sourced from tropical and subtropical regions, including Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa.

Perfume Type and Combinations:

  • Usage in Perfumery: Balsams are prized for their fixative properties, helping to stabilize and prolong the life of a perfume’s aroma. They are commonly used in oriental, woody, and amber fragrance compositions.
  • Blending: Balsams blend well with other resins, spices, and floral notes. They are often combined with ingredients like vanilla, frankincense, sandalwood, and rose to create rich, complex perfumes.

Applications in Natural Perfumery:
Balsams are valued in natural perfumery for their depth and longevity. They add warmth and sweetness to blends and are used in both top-end luxury perfumes and therapeutic aromatherapy products.

Traditional and Medicinal Uses:
Historically, balsams have been used in traditional medicine for their healing properties. They are known for their antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and soothing effects, making them useful in treating wounds, respiratory issues, and skin conditions.

Reference:

  • Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

Balsamic


Title: Balsamic

Description: Balsamic refers to a specific quality of fragrance notes characterized by their sweet, warm, and rich scent profile. These notes are often derived from natural resins and balsams, which exude a comforting and enveloping aroma.

Characteristics:

  • Scent Profile: Sweet, warm, woody, and rich.
  • Complexity: Often deep and multifaceted, providing a long-lasting and soothing base for perfumes.
  • Aromatic Qualities: Balsamic notes can evoke a sense of warmth and sweetness, often with hints of vanilla, spice, or honey.

Examples of Balsamic Notes:

  • Tolu Balsam: Known for its warm, spicy, and cinnamon-like aroma.
  • Benzoin: Renowned for its sweet, vanilla, and almond-like scent.
  • Peru Balsam: Offers a sweet, vanilla-like fragrance.
  • Styrax: Provides a sweet, resinous, and slightly leathery note.

Perfume Type and Combinations:

  • Usage in Perfumery: Balsamic notes are frequently used as base notes in perfumery due to their longevity and ability to anchor a fragrance. They add depth and richness to oriental, woody, and amber compositions.
  • Blending: These notes blend exceptionally well with spices, woods, florals, and other resins. Common pairings include ingredients like sandalwood, frankincense, vanilla, and patchouli.

Applications in Natural Perfumery: Balsamic notes are highly valued in natural perfumery for their ability to provide a rich and enduring foundation to perfumes. They contribute to the overall complexity and depth of a fragrance, making them essential in both luxury and therapeutic blends.

Traditional and Cultural Significance: Balsamic materials have been used throughout history not only in perfumery but also in traditional medicine and rituals. Their soothing and healing properties have made them popular in various cultural practices around the world.

Reference:

  • Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

Base Notes


Title: Base Notes

Description: Base notes form the sturdy foundation of a natural perfume composition, offering depth, richness, and longevity to the fragrance. Derived solely from natural botanical sources, these notes are renowned for their earthy, grounding, and enduring qualities.

Characteristics:

  • Scent Profile: Deep, warm, and persistent, evoking the essence of the earth and forests.
  • Longevity: Base notes boast exceptional staying power, lingering on the skin for extended periods.
  • Evaporation Rate: Slow, ensuring a gradual release of aroma over time.

Examples of Base Notes (100% Natural):

  • Woody: Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Patchouli
  • Balsamic: Benzoin, Tolu Balsam, Peru Balsam
  • Resinous: Frankincense, Myrrh, Labdanum
  • Earthy: Oakmoss, Vetiver, Patchouli
  • Musk: Ambrette Seed, Angelica Root, Labdanum
  • Vanillic: Vanilla Absolute, Tonka Bean

Perfume Type and Combinations:

  • Usage in Natural Perfumery: Base notes are indispensable in natural perfumery, providing a solid foundation and enhancing the overall complexity of the fragrance. They harmonize beautifully with floral, herbal, and resinous notes, creating well-rounded and captivating scent profiles.

Applications in Natural Perfumery: In natural perfumery, base notes are prized for their authenticity and purity. Sourced from botanical treasures, these ingredients imbue fragrances with a deep connection to nature. They are meticulously crafted to ensure sustainability and ethical sourcing practices.

Role in the Fragrance Pyramid:

  • Top Notes: Initial, fleeting impressions, often bright and citrusy.
  • Middle Notes (Heart Notes): The essence of the fragrance, floral or herbal, unfolding after the top notes dissipate.
  • Base Notes: The enduring foundation, grounding the fragrance with their earthy and woody allure, persisting long after the other notes fade.

Cultural and Historical Significance: Base notes have been revered throughout history for their profound connection to the natural world. Used in ancient rituals, ceremonies, and healing practices, these botanical treasures have stood the test of time, symbolizing resilience, strength, and harmony.

Reference:

  • Steffen Arctander; Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

Bee goo


Title: Bee Goo

Description: "Bee Goo" is a colloquial term used in natural perfumery to describe a unique substance derived from the remnants of bee activity within a hive. This material comprises a blend of various hive components, including wax residues, pollen, propolis, and fragments of bees themselves. These remnants are typically collected during the extraction of beeswax from the hive and undergo a maceration process in alcohol.

Characteristics:

  • Composition: A complex amalgamation of natural substances produced by bees within the hive environment.
  • Texture: Varies depending on the composition, ranging from viscous and sticky to granular or powdery.
  • Aroma: The scent profile of Bee Goo is multifaceted, incorporating elements of beeswax, floral undertones from pollen, and the resinous, balsamic notes of propolis.
  • Fixative Properties: Bee Goo exhibits notable fixative qualities, enhancing the longevity and tenacity of fragrances to which it is added.

Preparation and Ageing: After collection, the raw materials undergo a maceration process in alcohol, allowing for the extraction of aromatic compounds and fixative properties. The duration of maceration is crucial, with Bee Goo typically aged for a minimum of eight months to achieve optimal fixative qualities and aromatic complexity.

Usage in Perfumery:

  • Fixative Agent: Bee Goo is valued in perfumery for its ability to anchor fragrances, extending their longevity and enhancing their overall olfactory profile.
  • Natural Essence: As a product of the hive, Bee Goo offers a unique olfactory experience, capturing the essence of bees and their environment in a single substance.
  • Artisanal Crafting: Perfumers and artisans often incorporate Bee Goo into natural perfume formulations, adding depth, richness, and authenticity to their creations.

Application: Bee Goo finds application in various perfumery products, including solid perfumes, balms, and botanical blends. It serves as a natural alternative to synthetic fixatives, aligning with the principles of sustainable and eco-conscious fragrance formulation.

Cultural and Historical Significance: Throughout history, bees and their hive products have held cultural significance, symbolizing industriousness, community, and the bounty of nature. Bee Goo encapsulates this rich heritage, offering perfumers a connection to age-old traditions and the natural world.

Reference:

  • Research and insights from natural perfumery practitioners and artisans.

Bergamot


Title: Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

Description: Bergamot, scientifically known as Citrus bergamia, is a citrus fruit prized in perfumery for its distinctive aroma and versatile applications. The essential oil of bergamot is extracted from the fruit's peel through a cold-pressing method, capturing its vibrant scent profile and therapeutic properties.

Characteristics:

  • Aroma: Bergamot oil is renowned for its fresh, citrusy fragrance, characterized by bright, uplifting notes with a delicate floral undertone.
  • Color: The oil typically exhibits a pale greenish-yellow hue, reflecting the color of the bergamot fruit peel.
  • Consistency: Bergamot oil possesses a thin, watery consistency, making it easy to blend with other essential oils and carrier oils.
  • Chemical Composition: The volatile compounds present in bergamot oil include limonene, linalyl acetate, and bergapten (a psoralen compound responsible for photosensitivity).

Variants:

  • Standard Bergamot Oil: Traditional bergamot oil contains natural levels of bergapten, a photosensitizing compound that can cause skin pigmentation and increased sensitivity to sunlight. While prized for its aroma, bergapten poses risks when applied to the skin before sun exposure.
  • Bergapten-Free Bergamot Oil: In response to safety concerns, bergamot oil variants with reduced or eliminated levels of bergapten have been developed. These "bergapten-free" or "FCF" (furanocoumarin-free) bergamot oils offer the same aromatic profile without the associated photosensitizing effects, making them safer for topical use.

Usage in Perfumery:

  • Top Note: Bergamot oil is often used as a top note in perfume compositions, contributing its bright, citrusy aroma to blends.
  • Blending: Its versatile nature allows bergamot oil to harmonize with a wide range of other essential oils, including floral, woody, and herbal notes.
  • Freshness: Bergamot's refreshing scent adds a vibrant, invigorating quality to fragrances, making it a popular choice for citrus-based and unisex perfumes.
  • Aromatherapy: Beyond perfumery, bergamot oil is valued in aromatherapy for its mood-enhancing and stress-relieving properties, promoting relaxation and emotional balance.

Safety Considerations:

  • Photosensitivity: Standard bergamot oil containing bergapten can cause skin sensitivity and pigmentation when exposed to sunlight. It is recommended to avoid applying bergamot oil to the skin before sun exposure.
  • Patch Testing: Prior to topical application, it is advisable to perform a patch test to assess individual sensitivity to bergamot oil, especially in formulations containing bergapten.

References:

  • Essential oil analysis and safety guidelines based on industry standards and scientific literature.
  • Research on bergamot oil variants and their applications in perfumery and aromatherapy.

Bitter orange


Title: Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium)

Description: Bitter orange, scientifically known as Citrus aurantium, is a citrus fruit prized for its aromatic peel and diverse applications in perfumery, culinary arts, and traditional medicine. Unlike sweet orange varieties, bitter orange is characterized by its distinctly tart flavor and aromatic zest.

Characteristics:

  • Fruit: Bitter orange fruit resembles its sweet counterpart in appearance, with a rough, textured peel that ranges from yellow-orange to deep orange hues.
  • Aroma: The essential oil extracted from bitter orange peel exhibits a complex aroma, blending citrusy, floral, and slightly bitter notes with a refreshing zestiness.
  • Color: Bitter orange essential oil typically possesses a pale to golden yellow color, reflecting the hue of the fruit's peel.
  • Consistency: The oil has a thin, watery consistency, allowing for easy blending with other essential oils and carriers.

Chemical Composition:

  • Bitter orange essential oil contains various volatile compounds, including limonene, linalool, and citral, which contribute to its distinctive fragrance and therapeutic properties.

Usage in Perfumery:

  • Top Note: Bitter orange oil is commonly used as a top note in perfume formulations, imparting its vibrant, citrusy aroma to blends.
  • Versatility: Its versatile nature allows it to complement a wide range of fragrance families, including citrus, floral, oriental, and woody compositions.
  • Freshness: Bitter orange adds a bright, refreshing quality to perfumes, enhancing their overall freshness and vitality.
  • Blending: It harmonizes well with other citrus oils, floral absolutes, spice oils, and woody essences, offering perfumers endless creative possibilities.

Culinary and Medicinal Uses:

  • Bitter orange peel is used in culinary applications to flavor foods and beverages, imparting a tangy, citrusy taste to dishes, marmalades, and liqueurs.
  • In traditional medicine, bitter orange extracts are valued for their digestive, anti-inflammatory, and appetite-stimulating properties, often used in herbal remedies and dietary supplements.

Safety Considerations:

  • Bitter orange essential oil is generally considered safe for topical use when properly diluted; however, it may cause skin sensitivity in some individuals, particularly when applied undiluted or in high concentrations.
  • As with all essential oils, it is recommended to perform a patch test before widespread use to assess individual sensitivity.

References:

  • Essential oil analysis and safety guidelines based on industry standards and scientific literature.
  • Research on the aromatic profile, chemical composition, and therapeutic properties of bitter orange essential oil.

Corpo


Title: Body

Definition: In perfumery, "body" refers to the underlying strength, fullness, and substance of a fragrance composition. It denotes the robustness and persistence of the scent on the skin or in the air, contributing to the overall richness and depth of the olfactory experience.

Characteristics:

  • Strength: Body in a fragrance indicates its intensity and potency, with stronger-bodied scents possessing a more pronounced and enduring presence.
  • Fullness: Fragrances with body exhibit a satisfying fullness and roundness in their aroma profile, lacking any sense of thinness or insubstantiality.
  • Persistence: The body of a fragrance influences its longevity, with scents characterized by a strong body typically lasting longer on the skin and retaining their olfactory impact over time.

Factors Influencing Body:

  • Concentration: The concentration of aromatic ingredients in a fragrance formulation directly impacts its body, with higher concentrations resulting in greater richness and depth.
  • Ingredients: Certain fragrance ingredients, such as resins, woods, and base notes, contribute to the body of a scent by imparting depth, warmth, and longevity to the composition.
  • Blending Technique: Skillful blending techniques, including layering, maceration, and aging, can enhance the body of a fragrance by allowing its components to meld and harmonize over time, resulting in a more cohesive and robust olfactory profile.

Importance of Body:

  • Body is a crucial aspect of fragrance quality, influencing the overall sensory experience and perceived value of a scent. Fragrances with body are often perceived as more luxurious, sophisticated, and enduring, appealing to discerning consumers seeking high-quality olfactory experiences.

Usage in Perfumery:

  • Perfumers and fragrance enthusiasts use the term "body" to describe the substantive and enduring nature of a scent, evaluating its strength, depth, and persistence as key indicators of fragrance quality and character.

Examples:

  • Fragrances with a strong body, such as rich oriental blends or deep woody compositions, are favored for their ability to leave a lasting impression and evoke a sense of elegance and sophistication.
  • Perfumers often employ ingredients known for their body-enhancing properties, such as amber, patchouli, and oud, to create fragrances with depth and substance.

Significance:

  • Understanding and enhancing the body of a fragrance is essential for perfumers seeking to create captivating and memorable scents that resonate with consumers and stand out in a competitive market.

Boronia


Title: Boronia

Description: Boronia, known for its captivating fragrance and distinctive brown cup-shaped flowers, is a genus of flowering plants native to Australia. With approximately 95 species, Boronia encompasses a variety of aromatic plants prized for their intense perfume and ornamental value.

Species and Fragrance:

  • Boronia Megastigma: Among the species, Boronia megastigma stands out for its exceptionally fragrant blooms, which are highly valued in flower arrangements and perfumery. The flowers, characterized by their brown hue and yellow interiors, exude a potent and alluring aroma that adds depth and complexity to fragrant compositions.

Extraction Process:

  • In perfumery, Boronia flowers are meticulously harvested and subjected to solvent extraction to obtain a concentrated aromatic material known as Boronia concrete. This concrete undergoes further extraction with alcohol to yield Boronia absolute, a prized aromatic ingredient cherished for its exquisite scent and versatility in perfumery.

Characteristics of Boronia Absolute:

  • Appearance: Boronia absolute typically presents as a semi-liquid substance with a dark green hue, reflecting the rich botanical compounds extracted from the flowers.
  • Aroma: The absolute emanates a fruity and tea-like fragrance with floral undertones, evoking sensations of warmth, sweetness, and sophistication.
  • Versatility: Renowned for its complex and multifaceted aroma, Boronia absolute finds widespread application in natural perfumery, where it harmonizes beautifully with various floral, fruity, and woody notes.

Usage in Perfumery:

  • Base Formulations: Boronia absolute serves as a valuable ingredient in base formulations, lending depth, richness, and a naturalistic quality to perfumes.
  • Pairing: It complements and enhances the olfactory profile of fragrances featuring mimosa, violet, and honeysuckle, creating captivating scent combinations with nuanced floral nuances.

Cultural Significance:

  • Boronia holds cultural significance in Australia, where it is admired for its aesthetic appeal and aromatic allure, often featured in bouquets, floral displays, and botanical gardens.

References:

  • Botanical literature on Boronia species, emphasizing their fragrance, morphology, and cultivation.
  • Perfumery textbooks and industry publications detailing the extraction process and olfactory characteristics of Boronia absolute.
  • Insights from experienced perfumers and fragrance enthusiasts regarding the versatile applications of Boronia in perfumery formulations.

Bottom Notes

Title: Bottom Notes

Definition: In perfumery, "bottom notes" refer to the foundational elements of a fragrance composition that emerge gradually during the dry-down phase and persist the longest on the skin. Also known as base notes, they form the enduring and lingering essence of a scent, providing depth, richness, and stability to the overall olfactory profile.

Characteristics:

  • Tenacity: Bottom notes are characterized by their resilience and longevity, lingering on the skin for hours or even days after the application of a fragrance.
  • Depth: These notes contribute to the depth and complexity of a scent, anchoring the composition with their rich and substantive aroma.
  • Warmth: Bottom notes often exude warm, comforting, and enveloping qualities, adding a sense of depth and sensuality to the fragrance experience.

Role in Perfumery:

  • Structural Foundation: Bottom notes serve as the structural foundation of a fragrance, providing stability and coherence to the overall composition. They anchor the lighter top and middle notes, ensuring a harmonious and well-balanced olfactory experience.
  • Longevity: Due to their tenacious nature, bottom notes play a crucial role in determining the longevity and persistence of a fragrance, extending its wear time and enhancing its overall impact.
  • Emotional Resonance: The deep, resonant qualities of bottom notes evoke feelings of warmth, comfort, and intimacy, creating a lasting emotional connection with the wearer.

Examples of Bottom Notes:

  • Rich Woods: Ingredients such as sandalwood, cedarwood, and vetiver are classic bottom notes prized for their depth, warmth, and longevity.
  • Resinous Accords: Resins such as benzoin, myrrh, and labdanum impart a deep, balsamic quality to fragrances, enhancing their longevity and complexity.
  • Animalic Notes: Animalic ingredients like musk and ambergris add a sensual, musky undertone to fragrances, contributing to their depth and allure.

Usage in Perfumery:

  • Perfumers carefully select and blend bottom notes to create fragrances with enduring appeal and longevity. These notes are often added in higher concentrations to ensure their prominent presence in the dry-down phase.
  • Consumers appreciate bottom notes for their ability to evoke a sense of luxury, sophistication, and comfort, making them sought-after ingredients in fine fragrances and perfumes.

Significance:

  • Understanding the role of bottom notes is essential for perfumers seeking to create well-balanced and long-lasting fragrances that resonate with consumers. By mastering the art of layering and blending bottom notes, perfumers can craft memorable scents that leave a lasting impression.

Bouquet



Title: Bouquet

  • Definition: In perfumery, a bouquet refers to a harmonious blend of flower essences, traditionally used to create rich and complex floral compositions.

  • Historical Context: The term is often associated with pre-modern perfumery, where natural botanical extracts were the primary ingredients in crafting luxurious scents.

  • Characteristics: A bouquet composition is marked by the intricate layering of multiple floral notes, each contributing its unique aroma. Common flowers used include rose, jasmine, and violet.

  • Usage in Natural Perfumery: Bouquets are prized for their depth and complexity. They serve as the foundation for many traditional and contemporary natural perfumes, highlighting the beauty and richness of floral extracts.

  • Examples: Classic examples of bouquet compositions often evoke images of lush, blooming gardens and are used to create perfumes that are both elegant and sophisticated.

C

Calamus


Title: Calamus (Acorus calamus)

  • Definition: Calamus, also known as sweet flag, is a reed-like plant from which the essential oil is extracted. The botanical name is Acorus calamus.

  • Extraction: The essential oil of calamus is typically obtained through steam distillation of the dried roots (rhizomes) of the plant.

  • Characteristics:

    • Odor Profile: The oil has a warm, spicy, and slightly woody aroma, often described as a blend of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with a hint of a leathery undertone.
    • Appearance: The oil is usually pale yellow to light brown in color.
    • Consistency: It has a medium to thick consistency.
  • Historical Context: Calamus has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, perfumery, and incense. It was highly valued in ancient cultures for its aromatic and therapeutic properties.

  • Uses in Natural Perfumery:

    • Fixative: Calamus oil is often used as a fixative in perfumery to stabilize and enhance the longevity of more volatile fragrances.
    • Blending: It blends well with other spicy, woody, and oriental notes, as well as with florals like rose and jasmine. It adds depth and warmth to perfume compositions.
    • Types of Perfumes: Calamus is commonly found in oriental, spicy, and chypre perfumes.
  • Safety Considerations: Some varieties of calamus oil contain high levels of beta-asarone, which can be toxic. Therefore, it is important to ensure the oil used is safe and free from harmful levels of this compound.

  • References:

    • Steffen Arctander: Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

Camphoraceous


Title: Camphoraceous

  • Definition: The term "camphoraceous" refers to essences that have a camphor-like aroma. These scents are often described as sharp, fresh, and medicinal.

  • Characteristics:

    • Odor Profile: Camphoraceous notes are characterized by a strong, penetrating, and cooling scent that is similar to that of camphor. This scent can evoke a sense of cleanliness and has a slightly medicinal quality.
    • Common Camphoraceous Oils:
      • Eucalyptus: Known for its fresh, clean, and somewhat sweet camphor-like aroma.
      • Tea Tree: Offers a strong, medicinal, and herbaceous camphoraceous scent.
      • Lavender: Contains subtle camphoraceous undertones that add to its fresh, herbal, and slightly sweet aroma.
      • Rosemary: Features a robust, herbaceous scent with prominent camphoraceous notes.
  • Uses in Natural Perfumery:

    • Blending: Camphoraceous notes are often used to add freshness and a clean quality to perfumes. They can uplift and invigorate a composition, making them suitable for creating vibrant and energizing fragrances.
    • Types of Perfumes: These notes are commonly found in herbal, medicinal, and fresh fragrances. They are also used in aromatherapy blends for their invigorating and clarifying properties.
  • Examples of Use:

    • Eucalyptus and Tea Tree: Often used in compositions that aim to create a sense of freshness and purity. These oils can also impart a slightly medicinal character to a blend.
    • Lavender and Rosemary: Used in formulations to add depth and complexity. The camphoraceous undertones enhance the overall freshness of the scent.
  • References:

    • Steffen Arctander: Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin.

Carnation


Title: Carnation Absolute

  • Botanical Name: Dianthus caryophyllus

  • Production Method: Carnation absolute is produced by an unusual method of alcohol washing of the concrete, which is obtained through the solvent extraction of the flowers. While the flowers are grown in many European countries and the United States, the concrete is exclusively made in France.

  • Yield and Cost: The yield from the concrete is low, making it an expensive oil. Due to its high cost, carnation absolute is frequently adulterated.

  • Characteristics:

    • Appearance: Olive green to green or orange-brown, viscous liquid.
    • Odor Profile: Initially, the fragrance of carnation absolute does not immediately remind one of carnations, presenting a more herbal scent. However, after a few moments, the fragrance of freshly cut carnation flowers emerges, which is sweet and heavy. It has a very sweet, honey-like, somewhat herbaceous, heavy, and tenacious fragrance. In high dilutions (5% or weaker), it more closely resembles the scent of live flowers.
  • Uses in Natural Perfumery:

    • Blending: Carnation absolute pairs exceptionally well with clove, creating a harmonious and complementary note. This combination enhances the sweet and spicy profile in perfume compositions.
    • Perfume Types: Often used in floral and oriental compositions, carnation absolute adds depth, sweetness, and complexity to the blend. It is valued for its ability to provide a rich, honeyed, and herbaceous nuance to perfumes.
  • Aromatic Notes:

    • Top Note: Herbal
    • Middle Note: Sweet, floral (carnation-like)
    • Base Note: Honey-like, heavy, tenacious
  • Country of Origin: The flowers are grown in various European countries and the United States, with concrete production primarily in France.

  • Historical and Traditional Uses: Carnation has been valued for its distinctive fragrance and is a classic ingredient in many traditional perfumes. It has a long history of use in European perfumery and continues to be a treasured component in natural perfumery.

  • References:

    • Steffen Arctander: "Carnation is an olive green to green or orange-brown, viscous liquid of very sweet, honey-like, somewhat herbaceous, heavy, and tenacious fragrance, reminiscent of the scent of the live flowers only to a certain degree and only in high dilutions (5% or weaker)." (Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, p.128)


Carrier Oil


Title: Carrier Oil

  • Definition: Carrier oils are base oils used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin. They are also used as a base in oil-based and solid perfume making.

  • Common Types:

    • Jojoba Oil: Highly stable with a long shelf life. It is technically a liquid wax and is known for its moisturizing properties and similarity to the skin's natural sebum.
    • Fractionated Coconut Oil: A highly stable oil that remains liquid at room temperature. It is light, non-greasy, and has an extended shelf life due to the removal of long-chain triglycerides.
  • Characteristics:

    • Jojoba Oil:
      • Appearance: Clear to golden yellow liquid.
      • Odor: Virtually odorless, making it an excellent carrier that does not interfere with the fragrance of essential oils.
      • Properties: Moisturizing, non-greasy, long shelf life, and absorbs well into the skin.
    • Fractionated Coconut Oil:
      • Appearance: Clear, thin, and colorless liquid.
      • Odor: Odorless, which makes it a neutral carrier that doesn’t alter the scent of the essential oils it carries.
      • Properties: Lightweight, non-greasy, highly stable, and easily absorbed by the skin.
  • Uses in Natural Perfumery:

    • Dilution: Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils to make them safe for topical application, reducing the risk of skin irritation.
    • Base for Perfume: They serve as the base for oil-based perfumes, helping to carry and preserve the fragrance of essential oils and absolutes.
    • Solid Perfumes: Used as a base ingredient in solid perfumes, combined with waxes and other ingredients to create a solid form.
  • Benefits:

    • Shelf Life: Both jojoba and fractionated coconut oils have long shelf lives, making them ideal for natural perfumery where stability and longevity are important.
    • Skin Compatibility: These carrier oils are generally well-tolerated by most skin types and provide additional skin benefits such as moisturization and nourishment.
    • Neutral Scent: Their lack of strong odor ensures that the true essence of the essential oils and absolutes can shine through without alteration.
  • Blending Suggestions:

    • With Essential Oils: Carrier oils can be blended with a variety of essential oils to create customized perfumes and therapeutic blends.
    • For Solid Perfumes: Combine with beeswax or plant-based waxes to create solid perfumes that can be easily applied.
  • Additional Notes: While jojoba and fractionated coconut oils are commonly used due to their superior properties, other carrier oils such as sweet almond, grapeseed, and apricot kernel oil can also be used depending on the desired texture, scent, and skin benefits.

Cassia

Title: 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.


Chord

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.

Characteristics:

  • 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.

Examples:

  • 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.

Chypre


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.

Characteristics:

  • 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.

Composition:

  • 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.

Examples:

  • 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.

Characteristics:

  • 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.

Benefits:

  • 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.

Clássico


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.

Clove


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.

Cloying


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.

Cologne


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.

Concrete

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.

Creamy

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.

Cumin

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.

D

Destructive Distillation

Title: Destructive Distillation

In the realm of natural perfumery, destructive distillation refers to the process of heating natural materials such as seashells, woods, or resins in the absence of air to break them down into volatile compounds. This method involves intentionally burning the material, resulting in the formation of unique aromatic substances with distinct smoky, leathery, and sometimes tar-like bouquets. These materials can add depth and complexity to a fragrance, often imparting a rugged, earthy, or mysterious quality.

  • Seashells: When subjected to destructive distillation, seashells can produce a unique marine, smoky aroma.
  • Woods: The process can yield rich, smoky, and leathery notes, commonly found in materials like birch tar.
  • Resins: Resins like frankincense or myrrh can develop intensified, smoky, and balsamic scents through this method.

Destructive distillation is a technique that transforms the raw natural material into a more complex and concentrated aromatic substance, often used to create deep, enduring base notes in natural perfumery compositions.

Distillate

Title: Distillate

In the context of natural perfumery, a distillate is the aromatic liquid that results from the process of distillation. This process involves heating botanicals such as flowers, leaves, wood, or resins to extract their essential oils. As the material is heated, the steam carries the volatile compounds through a condenser where they are cooled and collected as a liquid. This liquid, the distillate, contains the concentrated essence of the original plant material.

Distillation has a long history and is one of the oldest methods of extracting aromatic compounds, dating back to ancient civilisations. The technique was notably refined by Tapputi-Belatekallim, a Mesopotamian perfumer and chemist who is often considered one of the first recorded practitioners of distillation around 1200 BCE. Tapputi's methods involved the use of a still and other rudimentary distillation apparatus to produce fragrant oils and waters.

In natural perfumery today, distillates are prized for their purity and the richness of their scent profiles. Commonly distilled materials include:

  • Roses: Producing rose water and rose essential oil.
  • Lavender: Yielding lavender essential oil.
  • Sandalwood: Resulting in sandalwood essential oil.
  • Frankincense: Producing frankincense essential oil from resin.

The quality of a distillate can be influenced by factors such as the distillation method, the quality of the raw materials, and the expertise of the distiller. High-quality distillates are essential for creating perfumes with true-to-nature scents and therapeutic properties.

Distillation

Title: Distillation

Distillation is a crucial process in natural perfumery, involving the separation and extraction of aromatic compounds from botanical materials through the use of heated water. This method has been used since ancient times to create essential oils and hydrosols (floral waters) from a variety of plant materials, including flowers, leaves, wood, and resins.

The distillation process involves heating water to produce steam, which passes through the botanical material. The heat and steam cause the volatile aromatic compounds to evaporate and then condense into liquid form as they cool. The resulting liquid, known as the distillate, contains the concentrated essence of the plant.

There are several types of distillation used in perfumery:

  1. Steam Distillation: The most common method, where steam is passed through the plant material, carrying the volatile compounds into a cooling chamber where they condense into a mixture of essential oil and water. The essential oil is then separated from the water.

  2. Hydro Distillation: This method involves submerging the plant material directly in water, which is then heated to produce steam. The steam rises, carrying the aromatic compounds with it, which are then condensed and collected.

  3. Destructive Distillation: A less common method that involves heating materials such as seashells, woods, or resins to the point of burning, resulting in a material with a smoky, leathery bouquet. This technique intentionally alters the chemical composition of the original material to produce unique aromatic compounds.

Historically, distillation has been practiced for thousands of years, with evidence of its use in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia. One of the earliest recorded distillers was Tapputi-Belatekallim, a Mesopotamian perfumer and chemist who lived around 1200 BCE. Her techniques laid the foundation for modern distillation practices.

Distillation remains a fundamental technique in the creation of natural perfumes, valued for its ability to produce pure, high-quality essential oils that capture the true essence of the original botanical material.

Dry Down

Title: Dry Down

The final stage of a perfume’s development on the skin, where the base or bottom notes become most prominent and enduring. This phase occurs after the initial top notes have evaporated and the heart notes have mellowed. In natural perfumery, dry down reveals the deep, rich scents derived from materials like resins, woods, and musks, which are known for their longevity and stability. These base notes provide the lasting impression of the fragrance, creating a signature scent that can linger for hours. The art of crafting a well-balanced dry down is crucial for natural perfumers, as it ensures the perfume evolves beautifully over time, maintaining its complexity and allure.

E

Earthy Notes

Title: Earthy Notes

Refers to perfume notes that evoke the rich, natural scent of soil, moss, and other elements of the earth. These notes are characterised by their deep, grounding, and sometimes musty aroma, reminiscent of the forest floor or freshly turned soil. Common ingredients that contribute to earthy notes in natural perfumery include patchouli, vetyver, oakmoss, and mushroom (cepes). They add depth and complexity to a fragrance, often serving as base notes that provide a solid foundation and enhance the longevity of the perfume. Earth Notes are particularly valued in natural perfumery for their ability to connect the wearer to nature and evoke a sense of grounding and stability.

Eau de Cologne

Title: Eau de Cologne

Also known simply as Cologne, it refers to a type of fragrance composition characterised by its fresh, citrusy, and light scent profile. Eau de Cologne typically contains a high proportion of citrus oils such as bergamot, lemon, and orange, giving it a vibrant and refreshing aroma. The composition generally consists of approximately 3-5% perfume concentration diluted in a mixture of alcohol and distilled water. Originally developed in Cologne, Germany in the 18th century by Italian perfumer Johann Maria Farina, Eau de Cologne is known for its invigorating and revitalising qualities, making it a popular choice for daytime use and warmer climates. It is valued for its crispness and ability to provide a clean, brisk fragrance experience.

Eau de Parfum

Title: Eau de Parfum

Eau de Parfum (EdP) is a category of fragrance known for its higher concentration of perfume oils compared to other types. Typically containing between 8-15% perfume composition blended with alcohol, Eau de Parfum strikes a balance between potency and elegance. In some formulations, a small amount of distilled water or floral hydrosol (less than 5%) may be added to enhance the fragrance profile without diluting the intensity of the scent. This concentration level gives Eau de Parfum a longer-lasting and more pronounced fragrance presence on the skin compared to lighter formulations like Eau de Toilette or Eau de Cologne. Eau de Parfum is favored for its depth and sophistication, making it suitable for both daytime and evening wear, offering a richer olfactory experience that evolves over time.

Eau de Toilette

Title: Eau de Toilette

Eau de Toilette (EdT) represents a popular category in modern perfume making, known for its balanced composition and versatility. Typically comprising a perfume oil concentration ranging from 4 to 8%, blended with alcohol, Eau de Toilette strikes a middle ground between lightness and longevity. To refine the fragrance profile, a small percentage of distilled water or floral hydrosol is often incorporated, enhancing the scent without compromising its character. Eau de Toilette is widely favored for its fresh and vibrant notes that offer a pleasant and enduring fragrance experience suitable for daily wear. Its moderate intensity makes it an ideal choice for various occasions, providing a refined scent that evolves gracefully over time on the skin.

Enfleurage

Title: Enfleurage

Enfleurage is an ancient method used to extract aromatic essences from botanical materials. This meticulous process involves placing fragrant flowers or botanicals on sheets of glass that have been coated with a layer of fat, often animal fat. The petals are repeatedly replaced and the fat is allowed to absorb their fragrance over time, resulting in a solid, scented pomade. Enfleurage is valued for its ability to capture delicate floral scents that are not easily extracted by other methods, preserving the purity and subtlety of natural fragrances.

Essence

Title: Essence

In perfumery, essence refers to the concentrated aromatic oils extracted from natural raw materials such as flowers, fruits, spices, woods, and resins. These essences are the fundamental building blocks used by perfumers to create fragrances. Each essence contributes its unique scent profile, ranging from floral and fruity to woody and spicy, ensuring diversity and complexity in perfume compositions. Extracted through various methods such as distillation, expression, and enfleurage, essences form the core ingredients that define the character and quality of natural perfumes.

Essential Oil

Title: Essential Oil

Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds extracted from botanical sources through processes like distillation or cold-pressing. These oils capture the characteristic scents and therapeutic properties of plants, making them prized ingredients in natural perfumery and aromatherapy.

Steam Distillation: This method involves passing steam through plant material in a closed system. The steam causes the release of essential oils from the plant cells, and upon cooling, the mixture separates into water and essential oil, with the oil floating on top.

Expression (Cold-Pressing): Used primarily for citrus fruits such as lime, bergamot, and orange, this technique involves mechanically pressing the rind of the fruit to extract the essential oil. Unlike steam distillation, expression does not involve heat, preserving the delicate aroma of citrus oils.

Essential oils vary widely in scent and therapeutic properties, providing natural perfumers with a diverse palette to create fragrances that range from citrusy and fresh to floral and woody.

Expression

Title: Expression

Expression is a method used to extract aromatic materials, specifically essential oils, from plant sources, primarily citrus peels. Unlike steam distillation, which uses heat and steam, expression involves mechanical pressure to squeeze out the volatile oils contained in the rind or peel of fruits.

Process: Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and bergamots are commonly processed using expression. The fruit peel is mechanically pressed to rupture the oil-containing glands, releasing the essential oil along with some of the fruit's aromatic compounds. The resulting oil is then collected and used in natural perfumery, cosmetics, and aromatherapy.

Expression is favoured for citrus oils because it preserves the fresh, vibrant aroma of the fruit without exposure to heat, which can alter or degrade the delicate citrus scent. This method ensures that the extracted oils retain their true fragrance and therapeutic properties, making them valuable ingredients in fragrance compositions and other applications.

Extrait

Title: Extrait

Extrait, also known as extrait de parfum or pure perfume, represents the highest concentration of scent in perfume making. It typically contains between 15% to 30% perfume composition blended with alcohol or another diluent.

Characteristics: Extrait is revered for its rich and intense fragrance profile, offering a potent olfactory experience that lingers on the skin for an extended period. Due to its high concentration of aromatic compounds, only a small amount is needed to achieve a lasting scent, making it one of the most luxurious and long-lasting forms of fragrance.

Application: Extrait is often preferred for special occasions or evening wear, where its deep, complex notes can unfold and evolve over time. Its luxurious nature and high concentration make it a coveted choice among perfume enthusiasts and connoisseurs.

Production: The production of extrait involves meticulous blending of essential oils, absolutes, and other aromatic ingredients with a carefully measured amount of alcohol or diluent. This meticulous process ensures that the final product maintains its intensity and integrity.

F

Fixative

Title: Fixative

Fixatives are natural materials or compounds used in perfumery in small quantities (typically 1% to 3%) to enhance the longevity and stability of a perfume composition on the skin. These substances help to anchor the volatile aromatic components, slowing their evaporation and extending the overall duration of the fragrance.

Types of Fixatives:

  • Distilled Water and Floral Hydrosols: These are byproducts of essential oil distillation and impart a subtle aroma while contributing to the overall scent profile.
  • Resin and Wood Tinctures: Extracts from resins such as benzoin or tinctures from woods like sandalwood add depth and warmth to perfumes, while also serving as fixatives.
  • Styrax Benzoin: A resinous material with a sweet, balsamic scent that helps to blend and harmonise perfume compositions.
  • Vegetable Glycerin: Known for its moisturising properties, vegetable glycerin also acts as a fixative in perfumery.

Function: Fixatives work by binding to the skin and slowing the evaporation rate of the more volatile fragrance components. This helps the perfume to linger longer and maintain its character throughout the day.

Application: Perfumers carefully select fixatives based on their ability to complement the overall fragrance and enhance its longevity. The choice of fixative can significantly influence the final scent profile and performance of a perfume.

Natural Origins: In natural perfumery, fixatives are derived from botanical sources, aligning with the tradition of using natural materials to create luxurious and enduring fragrances.

Flacon

Title: Flacon: 

A flacon refers to a bottle, typically crafted with delicate or ornate design elements, specifically used for storing perfumes. These bottles are often designed to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the fragrance they contain and may feature intricate decorations or elegant shapes. Flacons are generally equipped with tight-fitting stoppers or caps to preserve the fragrance from evaporation and oxidation.

Origins: The term "flacon" originates from the Old French word "flagon," which historically referred to a container for liquids, particularly wine or perfume. Over time, it evolved specifically to denote a perfume bottle, emphasising its importance in the presentation and preservation of fragrances.

Characteristics: Flacon bottles vary widely in size, shape, and material, ranging from small, portable vessels to larger, decorative containers. They are designed not only to hold perfume but also to showcase the craftsmanship and artistry associated with perfumery.

Importance: Beyond functionality, flacons serve as collectors' items and symbols of luxury, often adorned with intricate detailing, engravings, or labels that reflect the brand identity and the essence of the fragrance they hold.

Usage: Perfumers and fragrance houses carefully select flacons to complement the aesthetic and sensory experience of their perfumes, ensuring that the design harmonises with the fragrance's story and target audience.

Cultural Significance: Throughout history, flacons have symbolised elegance, refinement, and the art of perfumery, making them prized possessions and desirable gifts in both personal and ceremonial contexts.


Flat Note

Title: Flat Note

In perfumery, a flat note refers to a fragrance component that lacks vibrancy, depth, or complexity. It is characterised by its dull or uninspiring quality, often perceived as lacking liveliness or distinctiveness within a perfume composition.

Characteristics:

  • Lack of Lift: Flat notes typically do not contribute to the overall brightness or freshness of a fragrance.
  • Absence of Body: They may lack richness, depth, or intensity, making them less prominent or noticeable in the scent profile.
  • Monotonous Quality: These notes may impart a dull or uninteresting aspect to the perfume, failing to evoke a memorable or captivating olfactory experience.

Causes:

  • Poor Quality Ingredients: Flat notes can result from the use of inferior or improperly sourced raw materials.
  • Imbalanced Composition: Inadequate blending or formulation may lead to certain notes overshadowing others, diminishing their individual characteristics.
  • Storage and Ageing: Improper storage conditions or prolonged ageing of perfumes can cause ingredients to degrade, resulting in flat or stale notes.

Perfumer's Perspective:

  • Perfumers strive to avoid flat notes by carefully selecting high-quality ingredients and achieving a harmonious balance of fragrance components.
  • Through skilful blending and experimentation, perfumers enhance the complexity and dynamism of perfume compositions, ensuring each note contributes to a cohesive and engaging olfactory experience.

Evaluation:

  • During perfume development, perfumers and evaluators assess for flat notes to refine and improve the fragrance's overall quality and appeal.
  • Consumer feedback plays a crucial role in identifying and addressing flat notes, guiding perfumers in creating perfumes that resonate with diverse preferences and expectations.

Enhancement:

  • Techniques such as layering complementary ingredients, adjusting concentrations, or incorporating aromatic modifiers can help mitigate flat notes and elevate the perfume's sensory allure.
  • Continuous innovation and adherence to quality standards contribute to the creation of perfumes that captivate and leave a lasting impression on the wearer.

Floral

flower based composition

Floriental

A word coined in modern perfumery to describe a scent that is classified as, or exhibits traits of being both floral and oriental in nature.

Fougere

(pronounced foo-zhayr) any ferny, mossy scent with lavender at its heart; usually includes patchouli, labdanum, vanilla, tonka and benzoin

Fresh

typified by light and airy notes found in green and citrus essences such as galbanum, violet leaf, lemon, lime, grapefruit, bergamot

Fruity

fruit essences, usually does not include citrus oils; some examples of fruity essences are davana, magnolia, black currant bud, Roman chamomile; some fruit essences can be obtained through the use of tinctures of fruit like fig, dried currant, and berries

G

Gardenia

There are many species of gardenia, but the most cultivated for its beauty and scent is Gardenia jasminoides called also Cape jasmine.

Its intoxicating scent is found as absolute, but you can make oil extraction yourself if you have a plant.

Its aroma is a kind of lemony jasmine and very strong . Half a dozen flowers are enough to modify completely the smell of one litre of vegetable oil or butter.

Geranium

Geranium, which comes from thePelargonium graveolens and is usually classed as a middle note in natural perfumery, is described as having a floral sweet, fresh and fruity note. It is sometimes used to enhance the more expensive rose perfumes. There are many different types of geranium notes ranging from fruity citrus and light to a more floral rosy and some times even a little spicy.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit cold-pressed citrus paradisi 

Verde

fresh scent of cut grass or fresh leaves; violet leaf absolute is a green note with a green cucumber-like scent; cardamom typifies a spicy/green note; coriander is a classic green note

Gums

sticky, resinous substances; plant sap exudates; balsams can also be called gums

H

Harsh

pungent or chemical character within a perfume composition

an essence typified by a coumarin character; tonka, lavender absolute, liatris

Head Note

the first notes you smell in a perfume; they’re the opening note, the lead or hook note; relatively fleeting, usually lasting no more than 10 or 20 minutes

Heady

intoxicating and stimulating

Heart Note

notes which normally classify or identify the perfume family or theme of the composition; for instance, if your theme is a white floral, then you would blend some combination of jasmine, neroli, tuberose, gardenia tinctures and other ‘white’ flower oils as the main component of this note

Heavy

intense and oftentimes cloying note

Herbal oil

A macerate or infusion of plant material in a plain vegetable oil. See macerate.

Herbal/Herbaceous

typified by green and somewhat camphoraceous scents in combination; lavender, rosemary, sages and mints are common herbal essences

Honey

sweet, syrupy note

I

Incense

notes incorporating sweet, powdery and resinous essences

Indole

Indole is an aromatic heterocyclic organic compound.

It naturally occurs in human feces and has an intense faecal odour. At very low concentrations though, it has a very flowery smell, and is a constituent of many floral scents (such as orange blossoms) and perfumes.

It tends to lend a "dirty" quality to a perfume.

Infusion

whole botanical materials immersed in a hot medium, diluent or carrier; botanical material in warmed oil is considered an infusion

Insoluble

raw materials (essential oils, resins, absolutes, concretes, etc.) which do not dissolve in a diluent (alcohol, solvent, oil, water, etc.)

J

Jasmine

JasmineThere exists some 200 species of jasmine. Jasmine oils are extracted commercially from the jasmine Zambac (Arabian Jasmine) and jasmin grandiflorum (Common Jasmine).

Jasmine oil cannot be extracted by steam distillation. The main modern comercial method of extracting Jasmine oil is via solvent extraction.

Jasmine concrete is produced by solvent extraction of the fresh flowers.

Concrete of Jasmine sambac is a deep orange translucent mass of a jam like consistency. The sambac smells heady and intoxicating. Deep exotic floral with indolic, animalic undertones.

Concrete of grandiflorum is dark orange mass of jam like consistency. Grandiflorum is heady, intoxicating and fruity an exotic floral with peachy fruity notes.

Jasmine absolute is extracted from the concrete using alcohol.

Jasmine wax is a by product of this process.

Jasmine flowers of all varieties can be tinctured for use in perfumery.

Dried jasmine flowers usually don't have much of a smell and are mainly used in tea.


K

Kadamba

kadamba

The Kadamba or Anthocephalus Cadamba tree is native to Northern India. An essential oil and a hexane extraction is produced from the flowers but the yeild is very small. The perfume from the flowers is intoxicating at night. 

According to Steffen Arctander "This is one of the rare perfume materials which deserves a permanent and prominent place on the perfumer's shelf." 

He describes it as "woody floral and sweet odor with a short lived top note. The dry out is delightfully sweet floral, reminiscence of champaca and neroli. The tenacity of this fragrance is almost incredible." 

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

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L

Labdanum

LabdanumLabdanum comes from the natural exudation of the plant Cistus landaniferus which is a small shrub growing wild in countries of the Mediterranean and the middle east. It grows well near the sea. The Labdanum gum or resinous material is further extracted by solvents to form an absolute. The absolute is commonly used in as a fixative in perfumes of the amber classification. Stefan Arctander says of Labdanum Resin Absolute on P 333 of Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin: “The odor of labdanum is sweet, herbaceous-balsamic, somewhat ambra-like and slightly animalic, rich and tenacious.”

Lavender

LavenderThere are many different types of lavender plants and of those plants there are many types of lavender essential oil and absolute used in natural perfumery.

Lavandin Arbaralis (Lavandula hybrida) is not often used in perfumery as the smell is medicine like and sort of falls into the same set as tea tree, eucalyptus, camphor.
Both absolutes, the Spanish Lavender Seville (Lavandula luisieri) and the Bulgarian Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) share similar nuances to each another but seem nothing like any one of the essential oils. The absolutes are more woody spicy, with the Bulgarian Lavender having an interesting almond note on the dry out.
The French Lavender essential oil develops cool herbal notes which were clean and crisp and the Indian Kashmir Lavender develops a clean but sweet note on the dry out.
Arctander says about Lavender essential oil "lavender essential oil blends well with Bergamot, and other citrus oils, clove oils (for "Rondeletia" type perfumes), fluve, liatris, oakmoss, patchouli, rosemary, clary sage, pine needle oils, etc. "
He also says in relation to Lavender oil "Labdanum products are excellent fixatives..."
Arctander says of Lavender absolute: "Lavender absolute...of very rich, sweet- herbaceous, somewhat floral odor; in dilution it bears a close resmblance to the odor of the flowering lavender shrubs. It's woody-herby undertone and courmarin-like sweetness duplicate the odor of the botanical material far better than the essential oil. The absolute is sweeter but less floral the the essential oil, and the two materials can form a very pleasant combination".

Leather

A blend that is reminiscent of leather often including tobacco and smoky scents such as cade. Most noted leather scents include Peau d'Espagne and Cuir de Russie (see http://perfumeshrine.blogspot.com/2007/12/leather-series-5-cuir-de-russie-vs-peau.html for more info.)

Lemon cold-pressed

citrus limonum 

Lime cold-pressed

citrus aurantifolia 

Locking

A phenomenon where two or more ingredients interact to create an overwhelmingly strong scent that overtakes a blend.
M

Macerate

To steep or soak aromatic plant material in a liquid (usually water or a plain vegetable oil) to create a plant extract containing the water or oil soluble constituents. The macerate will usually differ chemically from an essential or expressed oil made from the same plant material due to this. It is possible to create a macerate from plants that do not usually yield an essential oils by distillation. Examples are Meadowsweet and Comfrey. Macerates are also known as Infused or herbal oils.

Massoia bark

Massoia bark cryptocaryo massoio – prohibited (should not be used in fragrance)

Middle Note

(same as heart note)notes which normally classify or identify the perfume family or theme of the composition; for instance, if your theme is a white floral, then you would blend some combination of jasmine, neroli, tuberose, gardenia tinctures and other ‘white’ flower oils as the main component of this note

Mossy

typified by oak moss, tree mosses and forest floor essences

N

Narcotic

intense and intoxicating essences such as rose, jasmine, hyacinth and other rich florals

Note/Notes

refers to the melody within the composition, the song of the perfume, the theme, or to a particular part of a perfume or aromatic used within the composition ('galbanum is a note in this perfume'), or it refers to how the composition is perceived, i.e. ‘floral notes’, ‘woody notes’, ‘green notes’

O

Odor Description

According to Steffen Arctander in Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural origin: " Part of the "romance" or "thrill" in perfumery work lies in the fact that, not only are all the materials different in odor but hardly ever will two perfumers give identical descriptions of the same material or the same perfume"

Olfactory

relating to the sense of smell

Opoponax

OpoponaxOpoponax comes from the Commiphora Erythrea tree which grows wild in parts of Africa. Good quality crude botanical resin is dark red. It is rich and sweet and very aromatic with resinous animalic notes.

Opoponax Resinoid is used in perfumery as a fixative. It is used most often in oriental style perfumes or perfumes with mossy forest base notes.

High grade opoponax essential oil is worth looking for if preparing your own resinoid is not possible. Make sure that good quality opoponax is used in the distillation process. Myrrh and opoponax are very closely related. Opoponax is spicy and animalic compared to myrrh which is fresh and clean. Opoponax must be used with great care in perfumery as it can quickly take over a blend.

Organ

system of storing bottles of perfume making materials typified by stepped shelving

Oriental

typified by amber notes and spice

Orris

Orris RootThe aged root of the Iris (Iris florentine) Pallida is used to produce orris absolute,orris concrete (Beurre d'Iris)and orris resinoid.

The powdered aged root is used in cosmetic preparations and as a fixative in herbal sachets and pot pourri.

Orris absolute is one the most expensive perfumery materials and is rarely found in todays perfumes. The absolute is extracted by solvent washing the orris butter from which the resulting liquid absolute is carefully vacuum distilled. Orris absolute is described as a very pale yellow oil with a delicate floral smell.

Orris concrete is produced by steam distillation of the prepared orris root which have been aged 3 years. Because it is steam distilled it is not technically a concrete, rather it is so called because of its solid consistency.

Orris butter is produced in France, Italy and Morocco.

The smell of aged orris is warm, sweet and violet like due to the high percentage of alpha-irones it contains.

Orris resin, which is extracted from the aged root using a solvent like ethyl alcohol, is technically a true concrete. It is called a resin due to it honey like consistency. The 'resin' is cheaper than the steam distilled butter.

Sources: Steffen Arctander's Perfume and Flavor materials of natural origin.

Otto

results of steam-distilled rose petals, particularly Bulgarian and Turkish rose
P

Paleta

collection of raw materials used by the perfumer to create perfume

Parfum/Perfume

(see Extrait) highest concentration of scent to diluent in perfume making; 15 to 30% composition blend to alcohol or diluent

Perfumer

an artist who creates perfume

Persistence

This term is used to describe the longevity or staying-power of a particular perfume on the skin.
For example: "this scent has remarkable persistence".

Phototoxicity

legsPhototoxicity results from an overheating reaction between a chemical (either ingested or topically applied) and ultraviolet light. The reaction can cause severe burns and in some cases may cause permanent scaring.

Phytotherapy

"This term is a compound of two Greek words meaning "plant" and "healing" and is used to describe all forms of treatments using plants. In France this term is used to describe what we would call Medical Herbalism but aromatherapy is often included under the same heading"...Patricia Davis in "Aromatherapy, an A to Z".

It can be argued that perfumes created using vibrant, natural plant materials and extracts with no synthetic or chemical additives could also be regarded as a branch of Phytotherapy.

Pommade

Fatty substance obtained through enfleurage; the pomade is then used for solid perfume making, or it is further processed by soaking the pomade in high proof alcohol for several weeks to obtain a fragrant tincture which is filtered and used to make alcohol based perfume. 

Powdery

a note obtained through the blending of sweet, woody notes with fruity, green or citrus notes; typified by the use of vanilla, patchouli, benzoin, labdanum, cananga/ylang-ylang, rose, sandalwood and/or bergamot

R

Raw Material

botanical or animal based material used in perfumery; essential oils, absolutes, tinctures, infusions, concretes, pomades, CO2 extractions, etc. are all examples of a raw material

Resinoids

(see Balsam and Gums)sweet, warm, woody, resinous materials; exudates of trees.

Rose

roseRose oils are extracted from the Rosa Damascena (Bulgarian) and Rosa Centifolia (Moroccan) also known as 'rose de mai'.

Rose otto is the essential oil steam distilled from fresh roses.

Rose concrete a solvent extraction of fresh roses.

Rose absolute is extracted from the rose concrete using alcohol.

Rose otto is distilled from the Bulgarian rose or rosa damscena. The otto is an almost clear pale yellow liquid. When it is very cold it solidifies but it is easily warmed to liquid again. Rose otto smells rich, floral, warm and spicy with honey undertones. The smell of fresh roses becomes more apparent at when the otto is diluted. Rose otto is the most expensive extract of roses.

Rose concrete from Rosa Damscena is a deep orange colored mass of a jam-like consistency, can be greenish yellow. The smell is sweet rich floral very like fresh roses with warm honey spicy undertones.

Rose Concrete from Rosa Centifolia a deep orange colored mass of a jam-like consistency, can be greenish yellow. The smell is sweet floral, rich woody tea like.

According to Shiseido there are 6 scent classification of a rose scent:

  • Damask Classic
    The typical scent of the rose, comprised of strong and sweet Rosa centifolia that becomes an essence base, and the exuberant scent of Rosa gallica.
  • Damask Modern
    Basically the same as Damask Classic, but since its composition is different, it gives off a more passionate, sophisticated scent.
  • Scent of Tea
    The scent of hybrid tea roses that opened the door to modern roses. Its scent is refined and graceful with the base note of green violet. Many modern roses have this type of scent.
  • Fruity Scent
    Has the characteristics of both Damask Classic and the Tea Rose, and gives off the aroma of peach, apricot and apple.
  • Blue Scent
    Roses of a unique blue scent have the characteristics of both Damask Modern and Tea.
  • Spicy Scent
    The strong scent of cloves are contained in the scent of Damask Classic.

Rosewood

Tree from the Hylea Brasiliensis, the Amazonian Jungle, from Lauraceae family, with the wood rich in linalol and smelling like rose. The species reaches 30m.

Used as fixative in many perfumes, it sweetens the aroma of flowers, enlightening the dullest of blends.

Used in Aromatherapy to stimulate the immune system.

The tree is threatened with extinction because of its scent and many uses ( furniture, floors, guitar making, etc), but there are some self sufficient plantations like in Ducke Conservation Park in a river island called Silves where they extract ECOCERT essential oil of rosewood, preciosa and other scented trees of the Amazon forests, and the women make handcrafted goods with them.

S

Saffron

Title: Saffron

Botanical Name

The botanical name of the plant used to produce saffron absolute is Crocus sativus.

Description

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, known for its dark red gold color. It is obtained from the flowers of the Crocus sativus. While the flowers themselves are light purple, the thread-like stamens within are deep red, and these stamens constitute the saffron. Harvested in the autumn, the process of separating the stamens from the flowers is extremely laborious, requiring 70,000 pounds of flowers to yield just one pound of saffron. The odor of saffron is reminiscent of sea air, making it a unique and luxurious component in natural perfumery.

Uses

  • Perfumery: Saffron absolute is highly valued in natural perfumery for its unique and luxurious scent, adding a rich, exotic note to fragrances.
  • Aromatherapy: Saffron absolute is used in aromatherapy for its potential therapeutic benefits due to its concentrated nature.
  • Cosmetics: It is incorporated into skincare and haircare products for its aromatic properties and potential benefits to the skin.

Additionally, saffron is used to flavor and add a yellow color to rice and as a natural dye for fabrics.

Goes Well With

Saffron absolute blends well with a variety of essential oils and other natural extracts. Some popular combinations include:

  • Sandalwood
  • Vanilla
  • Rose oils

The Extraction Process

  1. Harvesting: The plant material is harvested at peak fragrance times in the autumn.
  2. Solvent Extraction: The saffron stamens are processed to create a concrete using solvents.
  3. Alcohol Extraction: The concrete is then treated with alcohol to separate the absolute.
  4. Purification: The absolute is purified and filtered to remove any impurities.

Why Choose Absolutes?

Absolutes are chosen for their unmatched aromatic complexity and strength, making them invaluable in creating luxurious and enduring perfumes.

Conclusion

Saffron absolute is an essential component in the world of natural perfumery, offering an intense and multifaceted scent that enhances any fragrance blend. Its versatility and potency make it a favorite among perfumers and aromatherapists alike. In natural antiquarian botanical perfumery, saffron is especially prized for its unique and rich aroma, adding an exotic touch to various fragrance compositions.


Sillage

A term often used in perfumery to describe the trail of scent you leave behind you.
The term is derived from the French language, and is defined as: wake, slipstream, or trail.

Soluable

raw materials (essential oils, resins, absolutes, concretes, etc.) which dissolve in a diluent (alcohol, solvent, oil, water, etc.)

Solvents

fluid materials used to dissolve and extract volatile elements of botanicals (water, alcohol, hexane, oil, etc.)

Spicy

Notes which are typically hot in character, such as clove, pepper and cinnamon.

Styrax gum resin aka benzoin

Styrax gum resin aka benzoin  

Sweet

characterized by taste utilizing essences such as vanilla, honey and warm balsamic notes

T

Tagettes/Tagetes

tagetes patula, T. minuta, T. erecta 

Tea Absolutes

Tea absolutes Camellia sinensis , thea chinensis , thea sinensis 

Tenacity

strength of a scent or note characterized by the length of time it lasts on the skin

Tincture

A tincture is an alcoholic extract of natural raw materials. Common tinctures include: Tincture of vanilla, Tincture of Ambrette seed, Tincture of Orris, Tincture of benzoin, and Tincture of Labdanum. 

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Treemosses

Treemosses usnea / pseudoevernia furfuracea See Oakmoss

Tuberose

Small chunks of dark yellow tuberose concrete, looks like wax, amazing colour.

Title: Tuberose

Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a highly fragrant perennial plant native to Mexico, and it has been cherished for centuries for its captivating, creamy white blooms that emit an intense, rich floral aroma. In the realm of natural perfumery, tuberose is considered one of the most luxurious and sensual floral notes, often used in high-end and artisanal fragrances.

Characteristics and Extraction

The scent of tuberose is complex and multi-faceted, featuring notes of creaminess, sweetness, and an almost narcotic intensity that is both heady and seductive. This makes it a powerful addition to perfumes, where it often serves as the heart or middle note, providing depth and opulence to a fragrance composition.

Tuberose is typically extracted in two primary forms used in natural perfumery:

  1. Tuberose Absolute: This is obtained through solvent extraction, resulting in a thick, deep-colored liquid that retains the full spectrum of the flower's aroma. Tuberose absolute is highly concentrated and potent, often used in minute quantities due to its strength.

  2. Tuberose Concrete: This solid, waxy substance is also produced via solvent extraction and then refined. Tuberose concrete is admired for its golden color and solid form, which can be further processed to produce the absolute.

Perfumery Uses

Tuberose is a versatile note in perfumery, complementing and enhancing a wide range of other fragrance components. It pairs beautifully with:

  • Other White Florals: Such as jasmine, orange blossom, and gardenia, creating lush, romantic bouquets.

  • Spicy Notes: Like clove and cinnamon, which can temper its sweetness and add warmth.

  • Woody and Balsamic Bases: Such as sandalwood, amber, and vanilla, which provide a rich, enduring foundation for the tuberose's voluptuous aroma.

Example Uses in Fragrance Types:

  • Oriental Perfumes: Tuberose adds a rich floral heart to oriental blends, complementing spices and resins.

  • Floral Bouquets: As a dominant or co-dominant note, tuberose enhances the overall floral experience.

  • Chypre and Green Scents: It adds an opulent floral dimension to the fresh, mossy, and woody components.

Additional Notes

  • Historical Significance: Tuberose has been used in traditional garlands and ceremonial offerings, symbolizing both love and danger due to its intense fragrance.

  • Modern Popularity: It remains a staple in luxury perfumery and niche fragrances, appreciated for its ability to evoke both vintage glamour and modern sophistication.

References

  • "Perfumes: The A-Z Guide" by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez: This book offers insightful reviews of perfumes, including those featuring tuberose.

  • "The Essence of Perfume" by Roja Dove: A comprehensive guide to the world of perfume, including the role of natural ingredients like tuberose.

  • "Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent" by Mandy Aftel: A deep dive into the history and use of natural ingredients in perfumery, including tuberose.

Tuberose remains a beloved and pivotal element in natural perfumery, admired for its ability to convey an air of luxury and mystique. Its unique aroma continues to inspire perfumers and captivate fragrance enthusiasts around the world.


U

Ultrasonic Extracts

To make an ultrasonic extract the raw material which has been ground to a powder is suspended in a solvent. High frequency vibration is applied and in a short amount of time the extraction is complete. 

V

Verbena

Verbena ABSOLUTE lippia citriodora 

Vetiver

About Vetiver:

Vetiver comes from the rootlets of the Vetiveria zizanoides which have been used for their fragrance since ancient times. The tall perennial grass grows wild in India, Ceylon, Burma, as well as the Caribbean Islands and many other tropical regions. Vetiver oil is classed as a base note in perfumery and is used as a fixative as well as for it’s sweet earthy quality. There are many different qualities of Vetiver to be had, ranging from the freshly distilled oil which has a moist cool potato like earthy smell to the rich woody earthy smell of aged vetiver.

W

Wintergreen

Wintergreen (toxic)

Wormwood

Wormwood artemisia absinthium (sensitizer) – see conflicting information at www.thegoodscentscompany.com regarding artemisia absinthium l. Cuba, Artemisia absinthium l. oil Italy, Artemisia absinthium l. oil Poland