A glossary of perfume
natural fragrance materials which are extracted
from various plant parts. First, the concrete
is extracted by means of a solvent. Then,
the undissolved waxes are removed with alcohol.
Absolutes are products of high quality, and
very expensive because of the low yield.
combinations of various single odors which
blend to produce new fragrance effects. The
number of ingredients in an accord may run
from 2 to several hundred. Both simple and
complex accords may be used as components
for perfume compositions.
is the spraying and/or foaming of liquid or
solid materials by propellant agents from
OILS: is the collective term for
the essential oils of bergamot, lemon, grape-fruit,
lime, mandarin, orange and bitter orange,
generally known as citrus oils.
is used in the perfume industry as a solvent
for the production of lotions. An oftenused
alcohol is ethyl alcohol.
is the term for the odor-effect produced
by the use of short-chain aliphatic aldehydes.
This effect can be described as fatty, watery,
tallowy, or even "snuffed candle".
When concentrated, aldehydes are extremely
powerful and pungent. Aldehydes are used in
all perfume types, especially those which
feauture elegant feminine notes.
is the inability to smell. Some peopl have
a selective or partial anosmia, others a com
has become an obsolete term in perfumery.
In former times, it was used to describe the
fragrance impression of sweet balsam.
is the connecting of sensory impressions,
moods or incidents with odors. A scent ha;
the ability to bring a situation you have
experienced from the deepest recesses of your
mind, to the absolute forefront.
NOTES: The back note is the third
and last phase of a perfume's life on the
skin, or evaporation. It contains the lasting
ingredients, such as woods, resins, animal
and crystalline substances. In heavy perfumes
(chypre and Oriental notes, for instance)
the back note is so strongly accented that
it is discernible in the top-note, or first
is a fragrance impression that can be described
as sweet, soft and warm. Basically, balsamic
notes result from the use of balsams and resins
in perfume compositions. The Oriental perfumes
in particular are characterized by balsamic
are vicious secretions of plants that emerge
when the plant's outer layers are injured.
Unlike the resinoids, balsams do not require
an extraction process prior to their being
used in perfumery.
is the fragrance impression that corresponds
to bitterness in terms of taste. It is produced
by a combination of roots (such as vetiver),
herbs (such as wormwood), animal notes (such
as in leather) and others. Bitter accents
are to be found mainly in masculine fragrances.
is a mixture of various floral notes. Often,
the bouquet is the most important ingredient
of the middle-note in a perfume. Bouquetting
is the embellishment, harmonizing and rounding-off
of a composition.
notes have a fresh, clean, medicinal smell.
In Nature, they are present in lavandin, rosemary,
and conifer oils, among others. These notes
are widely used in the perfume industry in
the perfuming of bath products.
Today, chypre is the collective term for a
group of perfumes which get their character
through the combination of a fresh Eau de
Cologne-like top note and a foundation that
comprises as main elements oak moss, labdanum
and patchouly. Many warm, erotic, sensual
perfumes belong to the chypre family. One
of the classics is "Chypre/Coty,"
a perfume that has been on the market since
the beginning of this century.
NOTES: have a fresh, light character.
They come from the family of the agrumen oils
(bergamot, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange,
bitter orange). In addition to these there
are a number of synthetic substances that
have the fresh character of citrus in different
is the odor impression that is reminiscent
of pine, spruce, juniper and others of this
family. Conifer oils are mainly used in bath
products and in masculine fragrances.
or COMPOUND: Every perfume is a composition
of harmoniously adjusted individual components.
The characteristics of the individual ingredients
are used to create a new and unique overall
character in which the individual characteristics
of the ingredients recede in favor of the
combination but at the same time, are not
is the making of a new perfume oil corn position.
Creative work is an art which in nevertheless
influenced by economic considerations, so
perhaps "skilled craft" would be
a more, appropriate description.
A certain amount of crystalline fragrance
sub stances can be dissolved, without problems,
in the, liquid ingredients of a perfume oil.
In general they possess good fixative properties.
But to( high a percentage of crystalline substances,
an( especially low temperatures, can cause
what i known as "crystallizing-out"-the
appearance o crystals in the liquid.
by steam is the most commonly-use( process
for the production of essential oils. In this
procedure, steam flows through the distillation
material and sweeps the essential oils along
with it. After cooling, the distillation water
is separated from the essential oil in so-called
is the term for the odor-effect, the reverse
o "sweet" or "warm", achieved
through the use o ingredients such as woods,
mosses, herbs and sc on. Dry notes are used
mainly in masculine per fumes and are particularly
useful as fresh, day time fragrances.
DE COLOGNE: is a solution of approximately
3 % to 5 % perfume oil in an alcohol/water
mix. The classical "eau de Cologne"
is a composition of fresh, light, volatile
essential oils (pre dominantly citrus oils)
which contains few, if any fixatives. Eau
de Cologne is intended to be refreshing, and
has a limited perfuming effect.
DE PARFUM: is a solution of perfume
oil (15 %-18 %) in alcohol (85 % to 82%).
DE TOILETTE: is a solution of 4 %
-8 % perfume oil in alcohol.
is the adjective used to describe the fragrance
impression of earth, forest-soil, mold, dust,
etc. Vetiver and patchouly are well-known
essential oils possessing earthy characteristics.
Earthy accents in perfumes are not pronounced,
To encapsulate, in the perfume industry sense
of the word, means to enclose perfume oils
in tiny gelatine capsules. These capsules
can be applied to the skin together with an
alcoholic perfume. When the skin is rubbed,
the capsules are broken and the scent of the
oil is released, "renewing" the
perfume. Tests involving this method of perfuming
have been made with textiles.
is a process for the extraction of valuable
plant extracts. Plates of glass, covered on
both sides with animal fat into which blossoms
have been pressed, are placed on wooden frames.
Spent blossoms are constantly replaced until
the at is saturated with fragrance substance.
Then, he blossom oil is separated from the
fat through extraction. This procedure is
rarely used today, because it is so costly.
Perfumes which, in addition to their general
)leasing and harmonious qualities, are also
accented. with warm animal notes in combination
with certain flower oils, are said to have
an erotic effect. Much depends on the user,
though-and he circumstances!
are alcoholic or aqueous plant extracts. They
are hardly ever used in the perfume industry
today, but they are widely employed in the
cosmetic and flavor industries.
OILS: (Ethereal) oils are extracted
from various plant parts through pressing
or steam distillation. They are natural mixtures
of various chemical substances. Unlike fatty
oils, they evaporate without leaving a residue.
means the selection of fragrances, for a specific
purpose, from a number of available alternatives.
In recent years a whole new profession has
emerged in the perfume industry consisting
of experts who specialize in this work. They
are known as evaluators. Evaluation is work
which requires not only talent, knowledge
and training, but also a feeling for what
the market wants at any particular time. The
evaluators (women, in many instances) are
an important link between the creators and
the users of perfumes.
is an especially mild process for the extraction
of essential oils, used in cases where steam
distillation would modify or damage the end-product.
Expression is used mainly for the extraction
of citrus oils.
is the process of removing raw materials from
plant and animal substances through the use
of various solvents. Most of the valuable
natural fragrance materials are produced in
generally, means the most concentrated form
of perfume sold over the counter. It is a
solution of 15 % -30 % perfume oil in high-grade
is the same name for the odor that suggests
oil, lard, wax and so on. In small doses,
these notes are reminiscent of the smell of
human skin. They can therefore contribute
to the erotic effect of a scent.
In the context of perfumery, femininity is
a quality that is judged subjectively. Any
perfume that underlines the womanly attributes
of its wearer can be termed feminine, though
much depends on the rapport between fragrance
and user. Perfumes with floral accents are
generally considered to be especially feminine.
Of course, this does not prevent women from
using scents that are considered to have a
masculine character, but the majority uses
those with feminine characteristics.
is a process that promotes the retention of
the fragrance on the skin as long as possible.
To achieve this, heavy, non-volatile substances
are used which develop their full fragrance
intensities only very slowly, and maintain
them for longer periods. Substances are also
used for this purpose which have no strong
odors of their own, but have the ability to
make other fragrances last longer. Good substantivity
is a characteristic of every well-constructed
fragrance composition. It should be noted
that an excessive amount of fixative in a
perfume is no guarantee of good retention,
because substances can hinder one another
in their fragrance diffusion.
Today, over half of the branded perfumes are
characterized by the adjective "floral."
They contain well-defined flower notes (lily
of the valley, for example, as in DIORISSIMO
by Christian Dior), or a whole bouquet of
floral effects, as in QUELQUES FLEURS by Houbigant.
As a matter of fact, all perfumes contain
floral notes in some quantity.
perfumes are those that have a noticeably
fruity element, especially in the top note,
as an accessory to the main theme, which is
always floral. Excesses of fruitiness are
to be avoided as they would suggest food-flavor
rather than perfume.
The formula of a perfume compound gives full
details of its components-quality and quantity
wise-and is used like a recipe for preparing
the mixture. To formulate a perfume can take
many, many years of experiments. Formulas,
holding a company's Know How, is jealously-guarded
trade secrets, sometimes handed down from
generation to generation.
is a fantasy term in perfumery. It is the
name of a combination of fresh herbaceous
lavender notes on a mossy foundation. Fougere
notes occur in many fantasy fragrances-especially
in masculine perfumes.
BLOTTERS: are narrow strips of absorbent
paper about 15 centimeters long with which
scent samples are taken and smelled. On smelling
strips, the evaporation of fragrance materials
and perfume oils can be observed in the different
phases they go through. Final judgement of
a perfume must always be made on the skin,
COMPONENTS (Ingredients): All the
materials which the perfumers put together
to form a perfume composition are known as
fragrance components. These are uniform chemical
substances, natural products and simple or
complex mixtures - the so-called bases and
DIFFUSION: Fragrance development
is the general behavioral pattern of a perfume
in the hands of its user. A good perfume should
perform three functions. These are:
a) Immediate impact on opening the bottle
b) Noticeable emanation from the skin in all
phases of fragrance evaporation.
c) Noticeable scent in the area that surrounds
MATERIAL INDUSTRY: The fragrance
material industry is a branch of the chemical
industry. This industry includes the producers
of natural and synthetic fragrance materials
and perfume oils. The fragrance material industry
is a supplier to the manufacturers of perfumes,
cosmetics and other products of this nature.
MATERIALS, NATURAL: are products
of plant and animal origin, extracted by different
processes. Some examples are essential oils,
absolutes, concretes, resins, balsams and
FRAGRANCE MATERIALS: are produced
from chemical raw materials. Half-synthetic
fragrance zaterials are chemically-processed
isolates from natural products.
ORGAN: is the term for the working
area of the perfumer, in which the fragrance
materials he uses in his work are arranged
around him in tiers, like the pipes of an
organ around an organist.
in relation to the effect of a perfume, is
a subjective feeling that can be caused by
different fragrance impressions. In European
regions, freshness is generally associated
with lemon, lavender and green notes, light
floral components: light and clear elements,
mostly. In other regions, North America for
example, sweet and powdery perfumes are also
considered as fresh.
is the fragrance impression of natural fruit
odors, such as raspberry, apple, plum, etc.
Their sensual role in perfumery is only to
produce nuances. However, single fruit odors
do become fashionable, from time to time,
in such products as shampoos. Exaggerated
doses of fruit notes give perfumes the effect
of being "edible," i.e. the opposite
CHROMATOGRAPH: is an instrument for
the analysis of organic chemical mixtures.
In a spiral ass or metal column, packed with
porous material, the various components are
separated according to physical properties
such as polarity ad vapor pressure. The signals
received are amplified and, with the help
of a printer, printed onto a chromatogram.
is a town in Southern France, behind the Riviera.
The town has a editerranean climate, which
is well-suited for the cultivation of plants
that produce perfume raw materials. For many
years, Grasse has been one of the principal
centers in the world for the production of
is the general term for the odors of grass,
leaves, stems and so on. Green fragrances
exist in many different nuances. They are
widely used in perfumery for the purpose of
giving special accents to top-notes.
is the tuning of all the components of a perfume
so that no single element in any phase of
the fragrance evaporation becomes so prominent
that it could be considered unpleasant. It
is easy to achieve harmony between similarsmelling
substances but quite difficult between the
contrasting elements which are often introduced
into a perfume to give originality and character.
Bringing these warring elements into harmony
is a challenging task for the perfumer.
notes are used mainly in "Nature"
fragrances, in different ranges of application-for
instance, in medicinal bath-products. Masculine
perfumes also can contain hay-like components
(Fougere). The synthetic substance with a
hay-like odor that is most important in the
industry is coumarin.
Many fragrance substances have herbaceous
components, and are reminiscent of herbs and
drugs. Well-known, and often-used examples
are mugwort, sage, rosemary and lavender.
Herbaceous accents are widely used in masculine
or MIDDLE NOTE: The heart is the
second, middle phase of a perfume's fragrance
evaporation, occuring after the top note fades
away. It is mainly produced by floral, spicy
or woody components and represents, as its
name indicates, the heart of the perfume.
Fragrances in which the least-volatile ingredients
such as mosses and animal notes dominate are
called heavy perfumes. Since these ingredients
are part of the top note, a heavy perfume
can be identified as such at first impact.
Heavy substances are used predominantly in
is the production of flower oils by extraction
at 65 degrees centigrade with the use of alcohol.
An ingredient is one of the parts that go
to make up a mixture.
The intensity, or fragrance strength of a
perfume compound is dependent on the strength
of the individual ingredients, and the skill
that is exerted in the blending of these components.
Perfumes that contain the scent of the jasmine
blossom as a principal component are termed
jasminey. There are many interpretations of
the jasmine note, which range from natural
blossom odors to stylized, fantasy bases.
OIL: possesses a dry-fresh, herbaceous
odor. It is used in many perfumes, especially
in masculine notes.
NOTES: as well as tobacco notes,
play a significant part in the masculine perfumes.
Both natural expressions and fantasy interpretations
of this theme exist and are used in the perfume
industry. Leather notes also play a part in
feminine perfumes; for instance, in the chypre
perfume notes owe their character mainly to
fresh, citrus, floral, fruity and green components.
They contain practically no sweet, balsamic
or sultry elements. It used to be difficult,
but today, the perfumer has the means to give
good fixation also to perfumes of light character.
is a procedure by which blossom oils are extracted
with the aid of warm fats. It is similar to
as well as feminine, in the perfume sense,
are subjective fragrance impressions. Normally,
the term "masculine," is applied
to fragrance favored by men. These contain
dry notes of tobbaco, spices, mosses and woods.
They are generally less floral than feminine
perfumes, and often contain a high percentage
of fresh ingredients. In the past few years,
masculine and feminine notes have come closer
and closer together.
A perfume must mature for four to eight week,.
before it can go on sale. This time is necessary
tc allow the individual ingredients to blend,
bringing the fragrance to its full development.
notes are used in perfumes to produce cool,
clean effects. They are used in nuances, and
very seldom occur dominantly.
Fragrance notes which are reminiscent of peppermint
and spearmint are used in perfumery to produce
special fresh effects in the top-note.
PLANT: The stage in the production
of perfume in which the concentrated perfume
oils are mixed, on a large scale, according
to the perfumer's recipe, is known as the
mixing or compounding plant.
means varying an existing, basic fragrance
theme by changing some ingredients or introducing
new, additional nuances. The result may impress
a lay-person as a new perfume, but the expert
will recognize a mere variation on an old
odors of different kinds of tree mosses (especially
oak moss) play an important part in nearly
all perfume types. They are of special significance
in the chypre notes. Mossy nuances are very
complex and can have, besides the basic moss
element, algae-like, leathery, woody and other
characteristics. Their especially good fixing
qualities, as well as their ability to give
fragrances substance and depth, make them
is a secretion of the musk deer. The material
extracted from musk-sacs has a strong animal-smell.
The natural product, as well as chemicals
with musk-like odors, are of great significance
in the perfume industry. They give perfumes
a warm, erotic note and have outstanding fixing
characteristics. Perfumes that are based on
musk notes are especially subject to fashionable
notes are reminiscent of mothballs. These
odors are found in animal products. Their
significance in perfumery is minimal.
perfumes often contain high percentages of
heavy blossom fragrances (jasmine, tuberose,
for example), and animalic components. The
narcotic effect of natural flower scents is
at its peak at the time when they fade. Careful
dosing of "narcotic" components
is necessary if a perfume is not to have an
obtrusive or tiring effect.
are fragrance materials that are not the main
fragrance carriers in a composition, but are
used to support and round these carriers off,
or produce special effects which contribute
to the all around picture of a fragrance.
Perfumes can be obtrusive when they are used
to excess. Similarly, an ingredient can obtrude
if the fragrance composition is not well balanced.
is the term for perfumes containing ingredients
that are reminiscent of fragrances from the
East. Such ingredients can be exotic blossom
notes, spices, balsams, resins, and animalic
components. The character of the Oriental
perfumes is such that they are mostly used
as so-called winter or evening perfumes.
"per fumum" - comes from the Latin,
meaning "through the smoke." In
ancient times, fragrant resins were burned
as incense offerings that was the origin.
Today, we understand perfume to be a solution
containing 15% to 30% perfume oils and 85%
to 70% alcohol, respectively.
OIL or PERFUME COMPOUND: A perfume
oil is a concentrated mixture of fragrance
substances which is used for the perfuming
of various products.
is the term for the creator of fragrance compositions.
His qualifications are: an odormemory which
is the result of long training, the ability
to differentiate between hundreds of odors,
knowledge of the reciprocal action of individual
fragrance substances in the composition, and
creative talent. The perfumer's education
generally lasts for five years.
are chemical substances which make communication
possible between living beings. They are mainly
significant as a medium which insects use
for sexual attraction. Most pheromones are
odorless to human beings.
is a substance that is produced through the
enfleurage process. In this procedure, animal
fat is saturated with blossom fragrance. The
mixture of fat and blossom oil is the pomade.
It is either used straight or processed into
absolute from pomade. Parts of the fatty odor
attach to the fragrance of the blossom oils,
giving the products made by this process a
is the fragrance effect produced by the interaction
of long-lasting, mossy, woody, sweet and crystalline
elements. Many perfumes leave a powdery overall
impression after evaporation of the fresh
and floral ingredients.
are extracts from resins or plant parts (except
for the blossom). In addition to the essential
oils, they contain ingredients such as the
waxes and resins which are soluble in whatever
solvent is being used in the particular process.
In order to facilitate the use of resinoids,
high-boiling, odorless solvents are often
added to them. Resinoids often have a dark
color and especially good fixing properties.
are mainly solid or semi-solid organic plant
secretions. They must go through a cleaning
means harmonizing and binding together the
principal ingredients of a perfume, either
with odorants that are closely related odor-wise,
or with other adjuncts that also fit into
the picture and can therefore help to produce
a balanced, harmonious whole.
ADAPTATION: is the tendency of the
human sense of smell to become less and less
able to perceive a particular fragrance the
longer it is exposed to it. When the sense
of smell is "adapted" to a fragrance,
it is no longer able to recognize it. Yet
it recovers quickly from this fatigue.
is the term for a perfume with an erotically-stimulating
effect. An accentuated portion of animalic
components and exotic blossom notes is usually
to be found in such perfumes. Properly used,
many perfumes can produce pleasant emotions
and moods, since the sense of smell is directly
connected with the part of the brain in which
feelings and sexual behavior are controlled.
is the sensory perception of odorous organic
compounds. It occurs in the act of inhaling,
and so air is the carrier.
notes are used mainly in masculine perfumes
to create natural leather effects. In modern
leather notes the smoky notes are thrust into
the background by animalic notes but the old,
classical leather perfumes contain noticeable
smoky notes which originate from birch tar
are liquids, virtually odor- and colorless,
used in perfumery for the dilution of perfume
oils. The most commonly-used solvent is ethyl
alcohol. Some solvents also have fixative
A perfume is said to smell sour when it has
aged prematurely owing to inappropriate storage.
When this happens, chemical alterations occur
which are irreversible, and the perfume must
be considered "off."
fragrance notes are used in the perfume industry
in the form of essential oils from almost
all the well-known spices. For example, cinnamon
and clove are used widely in Oriental perfumes.
Many masculine perfumes contain portions of
spice-oils-for example: marjoram, coriander
COLOGNE: is light, watery alcohol/perfume
oil solution of 1%-3% perfume oil in 99%-97%
alcohol, respectively. They are used generously,
for refreshment for the whole body, after
the shower or bath for example. They have
a subtle perfuming effect, and the notes are
fresh and clean. Some countries especially
favor this application, and two prime examples
are France and Spain.
is a perfume's resistance to the harmful effects
of light and oxygen. In proper storage (protected
from light at room temperature, closed bottle)
perfumes keep an average of six months without
deterioration. Many keep for a much longer
The lasting properties of a fragrance are
dependent on its degree of volatility. Heavy,
nonvolatile substances are used for the fixing
of perfume compositions.
elements exist in many perfumes, in differing
amounts, especially in Oriental and heavy
chypre perfumes. The best-known example of
a sweet-smelling natural product is the extract
of the vanilla bean.
is cold-processed alcoholic extract from natural
products. They were much favored in former
times, but their use today is on the decline
for economic reasons.
NOTES: natural and synthetic, are
predominantly used in masculine perfumes.
In addition to the pure tobacco note, scents
such as honey and plum, which are used to
flavor tobacco, also play a part.