How are perfumes manufactured? Sneak peek into behind the scenes.
Since ancient times, perfumes have enveloped the world with their magic. These aromatic
memories go all the way back into religious contexts from frankincense to attars, from the
oriental egyptian roots to the western palestine grounds. With its changing scents and graceful
bottles, it has defined redolent historic eras and developed through time to enhance our mere
presence. Branching from the natural sources of these scents, contemporary times have seen a
significant resolution to widely synthetic means. Readily available perfumes for men and
women can now be found at any online perfume shop or local stores, but to really understand
the aroma, let’s dive into the sequential process of this intricate art of making your favorite
STEP 1 – Materials and Collection
A perfume holds three basic kinds of notes to define its fragrance and manufacture, namely the
top notes, heart notes and base notes. Numerous collections from plants, animal secretions,
herbs, spices etc are made along with alcohols, coal tar and petrochemicals to be suitably used
in the process of making a premium fragrance. Plant products are hand-picked from different
corners of the world while animal products are obtained from fatty substances of the animals.
The core use of animal products like musk and castor are their fixative properties for longer
lasting smell. Synthetic alternatives are preferred for smells which are not conveniently available
like secretions of endangered animals, non-oily plants, smells essentially unavailable in nature
STEP 2 – Extraction
The second step is called Extraction where essential oils are extracted from flowers and other
plant bodies by a variety of methods.
These fundamental methods include the following :
- Steam Distillation : Steam Distillation includes cooling and liquefying substances in
tubes, post steaming them in a still.
- Expression : Expression on the other hand, doesn’t involve any complex chemical
process, just a mechanical or manual pressing of the flower to extract essential oils.
- Enfleurage : In the Enfleurage process, flower petals are placed between layers of
purified animal fat. The fat becomes saturated with the flower oil and is then obtained
- Maceration : When the extraction takes place with cold fat, it is referred as Enfleurage
whereas when the fat is hot, it is called Maceration.
- Solvent extraction : Solvent extraction is a complex process of processing petroleum-
ether covered plants in rotating drums followed by ethyl alcohol and heat to give concentrated perfume oil.
Few of these are easy to try at home like enfleurage and expression which include basic
equipment like glass sheets, wooden frames or manual effort etc, to create your own men’s or
STEP 3 :
Blending and Aging
After collecting the right ingredients, these are blended together in appropriate ratios to obtain a
Fixatives like coal tar, mosses, musk, ambergris etc are used to increase the longevity of the
perfume, while alcohol and diluting water is added to determine the strength of the
While a greater concentration of the essential perfume oils makes the perfume stronger and
more expensive, the lack of it produces a weaker perfume.
For instance we see that Perfumes for men like Le Florentine’s Classic man, which is an Eau de
Parfum, will be much stronger and long-lasting than Dior Homme Cologne which has much
lower concentration of perfume oils. These oils are often aged in its blended form for several months or even years to attain the desired aroma. This aging helps in creating a furnished
product with high endurance.
Natural vs SyntheticQuality control plays a crucial role in maintaining the quality of the produced perfume since the availability of raw materials remains unbalanced; the process can often become risky. Natural means like plants and animals are burdensome on the environment and become difficult to obtain when large quantities of raw material are required. On the other hand, consistency in scent is challenging to maintain as there exists tiny nuances in the aromatic traits of the same species of plants, grown under different geographical conditions. The weather and season changes can also bring about a shortage of raw material as most of the plants are highly seasonal. Animal products like musk and castor, which are popularly used to make premium fragrances, are obtained from endangered animals like the sperm whale and musk deer. Hence, we see a considerable shift from natural to synthetic products which offers more consistency and freedom in its craft. It offers a wider range of fresh fragrances for a cheaper price, without endangering crop harvests or animal lives.
Finally, we understand the laborious process and effort that goes into the perfume making process. Perfumes for men and women scents are created with these intricate methods to fill us with a fresh perspective. From masking bad smells to employing its healing qualities, fragrances can transform human lives and add a necessary delight to it.