The Origins of Perfume and How Perfume is Made
Perfumes have been around in the world almost as people have. In fact its origins can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt an even before that period. Back then and until recently, perfumes were made completely from natural essential oils, which were mixed together in many different proportions in order to formulate a diverse array of outcomes.
A little history of perfume
In its beginnings, perfume was used amongst the monarchy almost exclusively, gaining such popularity that some kings were known for actually using it in excess, like France’s King Louis XIV for example. Some centuries after that, there were two aspects of perfume production that contributed to it becoming widespread among everyone else other than just the royalty. The first of these aspects was the fabrication process itself, which became more known and far easier to perform, allowing many people to create their own perfumes. The second aspect, was the introduction of synthetic chemical components, which brought the costs of production down, allowing everyone access to perfumes.
Also, while in past centuries perfumes were meant for personal use almost exclusively, nowadays they are applied to people, clothing, cleaners, car and home interiors among many others. For many of these uses, especially when not meant to be used by people, perfumes tend to be produced mainly by using synthetic chemicals, leaving the natural oil components for the more “traditional” perfumes.
About the making and composition of perfumes
In fact, less than 1% of the known flowering plant species are known to carry the natural oils necessary to produce perfume. This is why the use of synthetic chemicals has become so important in its production.
Perfume is composed of around 78% to 95% of ethyl alcohol, which is specially denatured for the purpose. The rest of the solution comes from essential oils. Also even though the perfume production process might be far easier to perform than it was in the past, the production of home-made perfumes is not recommended, since the average tools and scales that are present at most homes are not accurate enough for the purpose. This is important because the fabrication of perfume demands extreme precision and the wrong amount of just one component can completely spoil the entire formula.
Another important element in the fabrication of perfume is the use of animal substances as fixatives. This enables perfumes to preserve their odors for longer periods of time. However, not only animal substances are used, and many companies also use coal tar, mosses, resins and even other synthetic chemicals to give their perfumes a long lasting effect.