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Humans have sought to hide or improve their odor from the beginning of recorded history by employing perfume, which mimics nature's pleasant fragrances. Many natural and artificial materials have been used to create a perfume for application to the skin and clothes, including cleansers and cosmetics and air scenting. No two persons will smell the same when wearing the same perfume because of variations in body chemistry, temperature, and body smells.
Perfume is derived from the Latin words "per," which means "through," and "fumum," which means "smoke." Many antique fragrances were created by pressing and heating natural oils extracted from plants. After that, the oil was burnt to fragrance the air. Most perfume is now used to fragrance bar soaps. Some items are even perfumed with industrial odorants to hide undesirable odors or look "unscented."
While aromatic liquids for the body are commonly referred to as perfume, natural perfumes are defined as extracts or essences that include a proportion of oil distilled in alcohol. Water is also employed. With yearly sales in the billions of dollars, the United States has the world's largest perfume market.
Three Wise Men brought myrrh and frankincense to the infant Jesus, according to the Bible. As sacred offerings, the ancient Egyptians burned kyphi incense composed of henna, myrrh, cinnamon, and juniper. They made a fragrant body lotion by soaking aromatic wood, gum, and resins in water and oil. The early Egyptians scented their deceased as well, and deities were frequently ascribed distinct scents. The term for perfume in their language has been translated as "fragrance of the gods." "Perfumes are meals that revive the spirit," the Muslim prophet Mohammed is reported to have remarked.
Egyptian fragrance eventually impacted the Greeks and Romans. Perfume was essentially an Oriental art form for hundreds of years after the fall of Rome. It spread to Europe when Crusaders carried back samples from Palestine to England, France, and Italy in the 13th century. During the 17th century, Europeans discovered the therapeutic powers of scent. Doctors treating plague patients wrapped their mouths and nostrils with leather pouches stuffed with aromatic cloves, cinnamon, and spices in the hope that it would keep the disease at bay.
Perfume became popular among the royalty at that time. King Louis XIV of France was known as the "perfume king" because he frequently used it. His court included a fragrant floral pavilion, and dried flowers were put in basins throughout the palace to refresh the air, bathed with goat's milk and rose petals. Royal visitors were often sprayed with perfume, which was also sprayed on their clothing, furniture, walls, and dinnerware. Grasse, an area in southern France with numerous flowering plant types, rose to prominence as a perfume manufacturer in this period.
Meanwhile, in England, aromatics were kept in lockets and the hollow heads of canes, where the owner might inhale them. Perfumes could not be mass-marketed until the late 1800s when synthetic compounds were employed. Nitrobenzene, produced from nitric acid and benzene, was the first synthetic scent. This synthetic combination had an almond aroma and was frequently used to perfume products. William Perkin, an Englishman, synthesized coumarin from the South American tonka bean in 1868 to produce a scent that smelt like freshly planted hay. Ferdinand Tiemann of the University of Berlin pioneered the development of synthetic violet and vanilla. In the United States, Francis Despard Dodge experimented with citronella, which is produced from citronella oil and has a lemon-like flavor, to develop citronellol, an alcohol with a rose-like odor. This synthetic chemical emits the fragrances of sweet pea, lily of the valley, narcissus, and hyacinth in various forms.
The art of the perfume bottle evolved with the art of perfumery over the centuries. Perfume bottles were frequently as ornate and exotic as the oils they held. The first examples were discovered about 1000 B.C. In ancient Egypt, freshly developed glass bottles were primarily used to store perfume. The art of making perfume bottles expanded throughout Europe, peaking in Venice in the 18th century when glass containers took the shape of tiny animals or had pastoral images painted on them. Nowadays, perfume bottles are created by the manufacturer to mirror the smell within, whether light and floral or dark and musky.
Perfumes are made from natural materials such as flowers, grasses, spices, fruit, wood, roots, resins, balsams, leaves, gums, and animal secretions, as well as resources such as alcohol, petrochemicals, coal, and coal tars. Some plants, such as lily of the valley, do not naturally generate oils. In reality, these essential oils are found in just approximately 2,000 of the 250,000 known flowering plant species. To recreate the scents of non-oily things, synthetic chemicals must be employed. Synthetics can also provide unique fragrances that are not present in nature.
Some scent components are derived from animals. Castor, for example, is derived from beavers, musk from male deer, and ambergris from sperm whales. Fixatives derived from animals are frequently used in perfume to allow it to dissipate slowly and release scents for a longer time. Coal tar, mosses, resins, and synthetic compounds are examples of other fixatives. To dilute perfume components, alcohol and, in certain cases, water is employed. The alcohol-to-scent ratio decides whether a perfume is "eau de toilette" (toilet water) or cologne.
1: Manufacturing Processes The first ingredients must be transported to the production facility before the manufacturing process can begin. Plant components are collected from all over the world and are frequently hand-picked for their smell. The fatty components extracted straight from the animal are used to make animal products. Parfum chemists synthesize the aromatic compounds used in synthetic fragrances in the laboratory.
Oils are extracted from plant matter using various techniques, including steam distillation, solvent extraction, enfleurage, maceration, and expression.
2: Steam distillation involves passing steam through plant material stored in a still, converting the essential oil to gas. This gas is then cooled and liquified after passing through tubes. Oils can also be extracted by boiling plant materials such as flower petals in water rather than steaming them.
3: Solvent extraction involves placing flowers in huge spinning tanks or drums and pouring benzene or petroleum ether over them to extract the essential oils. The floral components disintegrate in the solvents, leaving a waxy substance containing the oil, which is subsequently immersed in ethyl alcohol. The oil dissolves in the alcohol and rises to the surface. Heat is employed to evaporate the alcohol, which, after completely consumed, leaves a more significant concentration of the perfume oil on the bottom.
4: Flowers are strewn on grease-coated glass sheets during enfleurage. Tiers of glass sheets are put between timber frames. The flowers are then manually removed and replaced until the grease has absorbed their scent.
5: Maceration is similar to enfleurage, except warmed fats are utilized to absorb the floral scent. The grease and fats are dissolved in alcohol to get the essential oils, same as in solvent extraction.
6: Expression is the simplest and most ancient method of extraction. The fruit or plant is manually or mechanically pressed until all of the oil is squeezed out in this method, which is now employed to extract citrus oils from the rind.
7: Once the perfume oils have been collected. They are ready to be mixed together in accordance with a formula devised by a master of the trade called a "nose." It may take up to 800 distinct components and several years to establish a scent's particular composition.
Following the creation of the fragrance, it is combined with alcohol. The concentration of alcohol in a fragrance can vary considerably. The majority of exclusive fragrances are composed of 10-20% fragrant oils dissolved in alcohol and a trace of water. Colognes include 3-5 percent oil diluted in 80-90 percent alcohol, with water accounting for around 10%. Toilet water has the least quantity of oil—2% in 60-80% alcohol and 20% water.
8: After being mixed, fine perfume is frequently aged for several months or even years. Following that, a "nose" will test the perfume once again to confirm that the desired fragrance has been produced. Each essential oil and perfume contains three notes: "Notes de tete," or top notes, "Notes de Coeur," or middle notes, and "Notes de fond," or base notes. Top notes feature sour or citrus-like scents; middle notes (aromatic flowers like rose and jasmine) offer body, and base notes (woody aromas) create a long-lasting fragrance. More "notes" of various odors can be mixed in.
Because fragrances rely significantly on plant material harvests and the availability of animal goods, perfumery may frequently be hazardous. Thousands of flowers are required to produce one pound of essential oils. If the season's crop is lost by illness or bad weather, perfumeries may suffer. Furthermore, consistency is difficult to maintain with natural oils. The same type of plant cultivated in various places with somewhat different growth circumstances may not produce oils with the same fragrance.
Collecting natural animal oils also presents challenges. Many animals formerly targeted for the value of their oils are now listed as endangered and cannot be hunted. Since 1977, for example, sperm whale items such as ambergris have been prohibited. Furthermore, most animal oils are difficult and expensive to extract in general. Deer musk must originate from Tibetan and Chinese deer; civet cats raised in Ethiopia are preserved for their fatty gland secretions, and beavers from Canada and the former Soviet Union are taken for their castor.
Even though natural components are preferred in the most fabulous fragrances, synthetic perfumes have given perfumers more freedom and stability in their art. The use of synthetic fragrances and oils reduces the need to extract oils from animals and eliminates the danger of a poor plant harvest, saving much money and many animals' lives.
Perfumes are manufactured and utilized in various ways today than in earlier eras. Perfumes are increasingly being made using synthetic ingredients rather than natural oils. Perfumes with lower concentrations are likewise becoming more popular. These variables, when combined, lower the cost of the fragrances, promoting more widespread and regular, even daily, usage.
The industry's new frontiers use scent to heal, make people feel good, and enhance relationships between the sexes. The sense of smell is a right-brain function that governs emotions, memory, and creativity. Aromatherapy, which involves inhaling oils and scents to treat physical and emotional issues, is being reintroduced to help balance hormones and bodily energies. Aromatherapy theory holds that when essential oils are breathed or used topically, they assist in boosting the immune system. Sweet scents have an effect on one's mood and can be utilized as a type of psychotherapy.
More research is being undertaken, similar to aromatherapy, to synthesize human perfume—that is, the bodily smells we create to attract or repel other humans. Humans, like other mammals, emit pheromones in order to attract the opposite sex. New fragrances are being developed to mimic the action of pheromones and trigger the brain's sexual arousal receptors. Future fragrances may not only help individuals cover-up "poor" odors, but they may also enhance their physical and mental well-being, as well as their sex life.