Perfumery, that is the art of making perfume, is quite an ancient art that was first started in Mesopotamia as well as in Egypt, sometime during the 2nd millennium, BC.
During those days, perfumes were mostly made using spices such as coriander, almond, bergamot, etc and various kinds of herbs too. Surprisingly, they did not use flowers to make perfumes during the early days of perfume making. The use of flowers for perfume making was discovered by a Persian chemist and doctor, who first experimented with roses, to manufacture perfume. Rose water was an instant hit among the perfume users, owing to its more delicate nature, and since then there has been no looking back for perfumes using flowers.
However, nowadays with the commercialization of perfume making, and with the development in the technology, the production techniques have undergone a massive change. Perfume making has now become a job that requires great expertise and knowledge. Though most commercial perfume makers do not like to reveal the secret behind their perfumes, we know for sure that perfume comes from various sources, including plants (including flowers, fruits, leaves, seeds, resins, etc) , animals (such as musk, honey comb, civet, etc), and various other natural sources. These days the benefits of using genetically modified plants for perfume making is also being realized by manufacturers.
These days it is not very uncommon to find perfume makers using synthetic sources to make perfumes. Though there are very few manufactures who use synthetic chemicals to produce perfumes, they are nevertheless gaining popularity among the perfume lovers.
Though there are various methods of making perfumes, and each perfume producing unit adopts a different way suitable to their choice and style, some of the basic techniques still remain the same.
The first step comprises of understanding the organization of typical various ingredients present in the perfume oil. These ingredients are primarily divided into four categories on the basis of the specific roles they play. These include the primary scents, the modifiers, the blenders and the fixatives. Different primary scents as well as supporting ingredients may be found in the base, middle and top notes of fragrance.
In the next step, the fragrance oils then need to be blended with water and ethyl alcohol that have been aged in specific tanks for at least fourteen days, and well filtered off from all unnecessary sediments. These days most perfume manufacturing units, instead of building their perfumes from the `ground-ups`, prefer the use of bases for the same purpose, owing to the various benefits it provides.
However, once a perfume has been manufactured, it is difficult to understand its composition. This is obviously due to the presence of various kinds of oils that makes the structure of the perfume all the more complicated to break up and understand. However, an expert may use reverse engineering techniques to understand the nature of the perfumes. Reverse engineering is particularly helpful for understanding a perfume that is not too complex in nature. Nevertheless much also depends on the GC/MS equipments being used for the purpose. Customers as well as competitors often use this tool to understand the formula used in manufacturing a perfume.
Perfume making industry is a big one, employing a number of experts to experiment and devise new concepts for perfume making. One of the most amazing features of this industry is the maintenance of secrecy, and the hard work that is put into the making of each and every perfume, so that each bottle contains a unique combination in itself. Thus next time you spray perfume all over yourself, just recollect the hard work gone into it so that you keep smelling sweet the whole day long and say a silent thanks to the creator!!