Fragrance Files

Fragrance Files

The word “fragrance” or “parfume” on a cosmetic ingredients list represents a complex mixture of dozens of scent chemicals. Fragrance is an important but invisible part of our daily life. It is used in perfumes, colognes and other personal care products such as shampoos, deodorants and body lotions. It is also found in a number of household cleaners and laundry detergents. URL

While olfaction is subjective, it is possible to categorize fragrances by their overall character and experience. For example, a perfume that smells woody and herbal is usually described as being ‘fresh’ or ‘herbaceous’, while a fruity or citrusy perfume would be described as being ‘juicy’ or ‘fruity’. These olfactory classifications are the result of a lexicon that is used by all perfume professionals to communicate their experiences with scent.

From Nature to Nose: A Journey Through the Fragrance World

Perfumes can be made from natural sources such as essential oils, botanical extracts or synthetic aroma compounds. Increasingly, they are being made from a combination of both natural and synthetic ingredients. This is because some natural sources are not easily available, or they might be cost prohibitive. For example, rose oil is a common ingredient in many perfumes but may be unavailable or expensive because of limited supplies. Instead, a perfumer can use synthetic compounds that provide the same general aroma profile as rose oil.

The beauty of a perfume is in the blending of its different components to create a final scent that smells natural, elegant and enticing. The most sophisticated perfumes are often built around the concept of an accord, which is a group of scent layers that smell like a specific experience or memory.