Chemistry

What is Perfume Made of



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We have all been walking through a store or a crowded area and all of the sudden a wondrous aroma hits your nose. This fragrant smell sends shivers up and down your spine and draws you in wanting more. You search around to realize that it is a woman's perfume that smells so great that it makes you tingle all over, but you have to wonder what in it makes you feel this way?

Perfume is a chemical compound consisting of specially denatured ethyl alcohol and essential oils which provides the fragrance.

Essential oils come from many different parts of a plant.

Barks:

Cinnamon, cascarilla, sassafras root bark, and safrole

Flower/Blossoms:

Rose, jasmine, osmanthus, plumeria, mimosa, tuberose, narcissus, scented, geranium, cassie, ambrette, citrus blossoms, and ylang-ylang trees

Fruits:

Apples, strawberries, cherries litsea cubeba, vanilla, juniper berry oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit

Leaves/Twigs:

Lavender leaf, patchouli, sage, violets, rosemary, citrus leaves, hay and tomato leaf.

Resins:

Labdanum, frankincense/olibanum, myrrh, Peru balsam, gum benzoin, pine, fir, amber and copal

Roots, rhizomes and bulbs:

iris rhizomes, vetiver roots, and various rhizomes of the ginger family

Seeds:

tonka bean, carrot seed, coriander, caraway, cocoa, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, and anise.

Woods:

sandalwood, rosewood, agarwood, birch, cedar, juniper, and pine

Essential oils can also come from some animals.

Animal Sources:

Ambergris: Lumps of oxidized fatty compounds, whose precursors were secreted and expelled by the Sperm Whale.

Castoreum: Obtained from the odorous sacs of the North American beaver.

Civet: Also called Civet Musk, this is obtained from the odorous sacs of the civets, animals in the family Viverridae, related to the Mongoose.

Hyraceum: Commonly known as "Africa Stone," is the petrified excrement of the Rock Hyrax.

Honeycomb: From the honeycomb of the Honeybee

Musk: Originally derived from the musk sacs from the Asian musk deer, it has now been replaced by the use of synthetic musks which usually are called white musk.

Other Natural Sources:

Lichens: Commonly used lichens include oakmoss and treemoss thalli.

"Seaweed": Distillates are sometimes used as essential oil in perfumes. An example of a commonly used seaweed is Fucus vesiculosus, which is commonly referred to as bladder wrack. Natural seaweed fragrances are rarely used due to their higher cost and lower potency than synthetics.

Now a days perfume companies are moving towards synthesized odors. They do this because they can create smells that are not found in nature. Almost all colognes are made from synthesized ingredients. There are five companies that make the majority of the worlds synthetic odors. They are International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), Givaudan, Firmenich, Takasago, and Symrise.

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