The chemical composition of the perfume

The chemical composition of the perfume

Since ancient times, people have had the concern to smell good, that is why, in the search for the way to smear substances that gave off pleasant aromas, perfume was born.  The word perfume is derived from the Latin words per whose meaning is and fumare, which means producing smoke. It meant burning substances that produce a pleasant aroma. But in the chemical composition of perfume involved several elements: the essential oil, alcohol, and fixative.

perfume ingredients


The essential oil

Essential oils have a somewhat complex chemical composition since they can be composed of more than 100 different substances, which gives rise to quite complicated mixtures.

In these oils, the main components are terpenes, which are complex aromatic hydrocarbons of the isoprene series, they have double bonds that are linked by organic chains to produce compounds with their own characteristics.

There is another series of compounds that provide aroma to essential oils, they are the aldehydes, which are found in citrus fruits and are responsible for their characteristic smell. Also, there may be mentioned alcohol, which contains a hydroxyl group, among which is menthol.

Another group of compounds found in essential oils are phenols, which, like alcohols, have a hydroxyl group, but their properties are acid, an example of which is carvacrol which is found in oregano and thyme.

The ketones have their place in the essential oils as being stable molecules may be derived from the oxidation of alcohols, including thujone, which is achieved in the salvia stands.

Finally, we have the esters that are the product of the reaction between acids and alcohols, have traces of simple hydrocarbons and an example of them is the linalillo acetate, which is found in lavender oil.

Chemical processes in the manufacture of a perfume


Since the Greeks began the manufacture of perfumes, over time, the manufacturing process has been changing, being the Arabs who perfected the knowledge inherited from ancient cultures, using stills for the distillation of alcohol, from there arose essences such as civet, the musk and the rose water.

Later, scientific advances gave way to processes such as distillation, which is used for herbs, flowers, and plants, with this process, separates through evaporation of the volatile components of the solids.

Another chemical process involved in the manufacture of perfume, is the expression, used to extract the fragrance from the fruits, is commonly used with citrus fruits. It is also used the extractive process of dissolution, which consists of the use of fatty substances for the dissolution of delicate flowers, these fats absorb the fragrance by contact.

Shaping the perfume

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To create a perfume, it is necessary to select the fragrance we want it to have. This fragrance is composed of three elements, which are: the aromatic substance (essential oil), diluent and aroma fixative.

According to the amount of essence that we put in our perfume, we can have fragrances such as: perfume, which has the highest concentration of essences, usually between 20 and 25%.

Perfume water, whose essence concentration is around 15%, reaching up to 19%, this being the most commercial presentation that is available in stores.

Another type is toilette water, its concentration of essence is lower, ranges between 6 and 10%. We can also find colony water with a concentration of essences of 5% and body splash, which never exceeds 3% in essence.

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