Hundreds of perfume brands are now available worldwide. Perfumes are substances that give off a pleasant fragrance.
The history of perfumes can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. The earliest form of perfume was incense, which gives off a strong odor when burned. Not surprisingly, the word perfume comes from the Latin words per fumum
, meaning "through smoke." Plants are the sources of substances called essential oils, which gives plants their distinctive odor. These oils may come not only from petals but also from the bark, seeds, leaves and even roofs of certain plants. many plants like sandalwood, rosemary, jasmine, cinnamon including roses are the source of essential oil, which gives perfumes their distinctive scent. Some animals, meanwhile, secrete substances that are also valued in the making of perfumes. These include castor from the beaver, civit from civit cat and musk from musk deer to name a few. These animal products are called fixatives. Their purpose is to make the fragrances last longer by preventing the essential oils from evaporating too rapidly.
All these natural materials, are very expensive to produce. To lower the cost of making perfumes, chemists have already managed to produce them in the laboratory. These artificially created or synthetic compounds can duplicate the scent or function of natural materials.
Today's perfume are thus basically made of combination of natural, synthetic chemicals, alcohol and water. The role of alcohol is to dilute the ingredients and carry their scent by means of evaporation. Usually a fine perfumes contain more than one hundred ingredients. Among the most expensive are those that carry the name of the great fashion houses of Paris. The exact formulation of these perfumes is a tightly guarded secret to prevent imitations or fakes. The classification of perfume depends on the percentage of pure essences that makeup the fragrance. Another distinguishing factor is the percentage of alcohol to water in the product. Perfumes are classified into several types: parfum, eau de parfum (EDP), eau de toilette (EDT), and cologne.
Parfums usually contain about 20-30 percent perfume oils dissolved in pure alcohol. EDP is in ninety percent, EDT is eighty percent alcohol while cologne is a solution of seventy percent alcohol. Each perfume is composed of a so-called top note, middle note and base note.
The top note is the odor that you perceive immediately. The middle note is the heart of the perfume and that really defines its characters; the most persistent note is the base. In Eternity, for example, the top note consists of freesia and sage; middle note includes marigold, jasmine and rose while the base note is made up of sandalwood, musk and amber. The mixture of different essence creates the character of the perfumes.