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Your Perfume Manufacturing Guide – Techniques Explained

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Natural perfumes and fragrances have been traditionally used since ancient times. Ancient people used dried herbs, burned wood, and pressed oils to make these perfumes. Nowadays, we all use scented perfumes. These include soaps, lotions, cleaning products, candles, and personal favourite fragrances. Despite their widespread prevalence, you must know that these scents had to be manufactured, often by extraction.

Keep scrolling to learn all about perfume manufacturing. Did You Know? A 6th-century Indian astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer, Varahamihira, wrote the comprehensive encyclopedia about perfume-making in India – the Bri-hat Samhita.

History of Perfumes

Synthetic smells were not available to perfume makers during ancient times. One way or another, all fragrances come from the earth. Ancient civilisations infused lotions and waters with aromatic flowers and woods. As well as burning incense, they also extracted oils from plants, such as cinnamon and myrrh. Gathering the ingredients (listed below) for plant and animal-based perfumes is necessary as part of the manufacturing process. Throughout history, humans extracted plant oils in many ways. Ancient civilisations typically used the expression method to extract oils.It is not just cosmetic reasons that made these essential oils special in ancient Egypt, Persia, Rome, and China. Their use was primarily for anointing or making the body sacred through rituals. Adding perfume oils to water and other liquids was also a religious practice. Various methods were developed and innovated throughout history for perfume extraction and manufacturing. The perfume was a symbolic and ceremonial cosmetic and provided a new avenue of trade.

The Persians, for instance, are believed to have created distillation, which enabled the use of alcohol as a perfume base instead of oil. Due to their new methodology at the time, the Persians dominated the perfume trade for centuries.

Perfume Manufacturing Process

Creating perfume involves collecting ingredients, extracting oils, blending, ageing, and quality control. Producing scents involves much work and time, like making fine wine. Popular perfume brands still use many ancient methods, which is particularly interesting.Scientists and other professionals have perfected techniques and mixtures over the decades. However, some procedures, such as expression, remain similar to their early counterparts. Discover how perfume is made! Keep reading!

Ingredients Used For Making Perfume

Natural ingredients are often used to extract scented oils for perfumes. Ingredients include animal secretions, herbs, fruits, and wood. Other resources used in manufacturing include petrochemicals, coal, alcohol, and coal tar.Synthetic chemicals do not produce essential oils or scents that do not exist in nature. Your favourite perfume likely contains artificial scents since many popular and hard-to-find fragrances fall into this category.

Ingredients Found in Nature

  • Rose petals
  • Frankincense (also called Olibanum)
  • Myrrh
  • Jasmine
  • Sandalwood
  • Oakmoss
  • Citron
  • Vanilla

Some Synthetic Ingredients

  • Aliphatic aldehydes 
  • Iso E Super
  • Calone
  • Synthetically reproduced ambergris 
  • Indole
  • Hedione
  • Synthetically reproduced musk 
  • Synthetically reproduced valley lily

Also Read: GST Rates & HSN Codes on Make-up, Perfumes, Skin Care & Hair Products – Chapter 33

Different Perfume Manufacturing Techniques

You can make perfume using various forms, but every step must be carefully designed and executed to succeed. 

1. Distillation Technique

There is specific knowledge and equipment required for this perfume-making technique. Stills are steel tanks topped with coiled pipes. This still tank is an essential piece of equipment that controls the temperature of a water mixture. The spiral pipe can pass steam upon heating when the tank reaches its pressure. It condenses in the tube, produces scented water and essential oils when it cools, and you can remove them from the tank. Steam carries odorous molecules; when it cools, it condenses in the pipe.

How Much Does a Still Produce in Distillation?

Of course, it depends! Adding water to the tank equal to five to ten times the volume of plants is necessary. Distillation takes time depending on temperature, still size, and plant type. Even though essential oil is distilled from plants, the amount collected is infinitely smaller than the number of plants used. The production of one kilo of lavender essential oil requires 200 kilos of lavender flowers. Also, producing 1 kilo of rose essential oil requires 3,000 kilos of rose petals, which is why these products are so valuable.

2. Extraction Technique

Extraction involves soaking plants in water and solvent at a high temperature to extract raw materials. Benzene, ethanol, methanol, and carbon dioxide are commonly used solvents. The production process in the past was aided by oil, but solvents have made it more accessible. In addition, these solvents are entirely removed from the final product after evaporation. There is a specific solvent for each plant type. For instance, plants or berries that produce subtle notes may be extracted with carbon dioxide.

Additionally, it enhances the delicate and precise smell of spices. Natural solvents such as carbon dioxide are environmentally friendly. When using carbon dioxide, plants are not heated unnecessarily; as a result, there is no need to compromise their aromatic quality.

Listed below are some extraction techniques.

  • Solvent Extraction: The process involves placing plants in large, rotating drums. Petroleum ether or benzene is then applied to the plants. Whatever solvent is used eventually dissolves the plant parts, leaving a waxy substance containing oils. Ethyl alcohol is then used to dissolve the substance. Highly concentrated perfume oil is created by dissolving oils in alcohol and burning them off.
  • Expression: One of the earliest extraction methods, expression is relatively simple. Citrus oils are often extracted using this method, which involves manually or mechanically pressing the plant until the oils are extracted.
  • Enfleurage: Flower or other plant material is spread on grease-coated glass sheets during enfleurage. A wooden frame supports the glass sheets. After the flowers have been moved, they are replaced until the grease has absorbed the fragrance.
  • Maceration: As with enfleurage, maceration involves using warmed fats rather than grease to soak up fragrance. The essential oils are then extracted by dissolving fats in alcohol.

3. Headspace

The technology of headspace was developed in the 1970s. It captures the flowers’ fragrances that can’t be converted into essential oils. Flowers are used in the process but do not need to be cut to capture their fragrance. Gas is injected into the flower through a glass bell cover to get their fragrance.

  • You can reconstitute raw materials with natural scents using headspace techniques.
  • Live raw materials, such as flowers, are captured and analysed through chromatographic analysis in the lab. This is done with more or less significant material.
  • The most exciting molecules, or those you can reproduce quickly, are copied from this analysis.
  • Using the headspace method, analysing more complex and original scents, such as those from forests and beaches, is also possible.
  • In addition to the headspace method, there is a technique called jungle essence, which you can use to analyse rare smells.

Process of Making Perfume

Listed below is the perfume manufacturing process flow chart in a perfume factory.

1. Mixing the Ingredients

Following the extraction and collection of essential oils, creating a scent begins. Following the selection of ingredients, they need to be blended. Perfume manufacturers developed many fragrance formulas over many years, including hundreds of different components formulated by a master in the perfume industry, sometimes called a “nose.”Some perfume ingredients come from animals, and some come from plants. Among the animals that produce castor oil are beavers, musk deer and sperm whales, plus ambergris from beavers. As fixatives, animal substances allow perfumes to evaporate slowly and emit odours longer.

Other fixatives include coal tar, resins, mosses, and synthetic chemicals. Diluting perfume ingredients with water or alcohol is sometimes necessary. For a scent to be strong and valuable, its alcohol content must be high. More potent aromas (and more expensive ones) use more essential oils.

2. Ageing Process

The scent of a high-quality and pure perfume is often left to age for months or even years after fragrance blending. This step aims to ensure the production of the right scent. The different notes, or scents, can mix more efficiently with age. 

There are two types of notes in perfumes, top notes that provide body to the scent and base notes that last for a long time.

3. Quality Control

Quality control is crucial in perfume-making. Check the perfume composition to ensure it contains no harmful or undesirable substances. This way, the brand’s reputation and, more importantly, public health are protected. Many natural ingredients are difficult to harvest, and some perfumes contain natural animal oils that are also difficult to procure. Perfumers can create scents more efficiently, thanks to synthetic fragrances requiring less quality control.

Also Read: Who are the Biggest Ethanol Producers in India

Conclusion 

Perfume making involves blending ingredients, extracting oils, ageing and ensuring quality. You can make perfume by combining the scents of plants produced by different methods such as enfleurage, carbon dioxide extraction and headspace technology. You can also use synthetic ingredients like calone, indole etc, to manufacture perfume. Essential oils and synthetic ingredient essences are extracted from natural raw materials using different processes.The possibilities of scent perception are endless. 

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