Facts To Know About Perfume
Perfume (Latin "per fume" meaning "through smoke") was highly favored by the Egyptians, Romans, and Arabs. In East Asia, perfumes were incense based. People used to make perfumes from spices and herbs like bergamot, myrtle, coriander, conifer resin, and almond. The use of flowers came only after Avicenna, an Iranian doctor and chemist showed the process of distillation, whereby oils could be extracted from flowers. In 1370, at the behest of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, the world's first modern perfume - "Hungary Water" was made by blending scented oils in alcohol solution.
The composition of a perfume is of vital significance and is handled by an expert known as a perfumer, who deals with primary scents like rose, jasmine, cola, etc; modifiers like esters; blenders like linalool and hydroxycitronellol; and fixatives like resins, wood scents, and amber bases. The resulting scent is explained in a musical metaphor of three 'notes', namely, top notes (consisting of fast evaporating small size molecules) like citrus and ginger scents; middle notes (consisting of slow evaporating medium size molecules) like lavender and rose scents; and base notes (consisting of slowest evaporating largest size molecules) like fixatives etc. All these notes work together like a musical chord.
Perfume oils contain volatile compounds in high concentrations and thus have to be diluted by solvents, so that injury is not caused when applied directly on skin or clothes. The common solvent is pure ethanol or ethanol mixed with water. Fractionated coconut oil or wax, neutral smelling fats such as jojoba, can also act as solvents and dilute the perfume oil. The perfume oil is further mixed with other aromatic compounds. Generally, the percentage of aromatic compounds in perfume extract is 20% to 40%; in eau de parfum is 10% to 30%; in eau de toilette is 5% to 20%; and in eau de cologne is 2% to 5%.