Smell Good, Feel Good: The Science Of Perfume

Wanting to smell good and feel good is nothing new; humans have pursued good fragrances from the beginning. Throughout recorded history, there are references to the use of scents to enhance the odour of people and places.

As the complexity of human existence has developed, so has the world of perfume. In fact, the art of creating the perfect fragrance can more accurately be thought of as a science.

This blog will explore some background on perfume use and the science developed to create inspirational scents. 

Some Background On The Perfume World

The origins of the word ‘perfume’ dates back to the mid-16th century. It’s derived from the French word parfum, which originally referred to the pleasant-smelling smoke from burning certain substances (mainly used in fumigation), and means “to smoke through”. In fact, this technique is still employed to this day by using incense to add subtle odour to a room.

While references to the art of making things smell better can be found in many ancient texts, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that modern perfumery began. Instead of using the scent of just one flower, aroma compounds were created from oils extracted from various sources and blended into brand-new fragrances.

The Science Behind The Scent

The key to creating amazing scents is the extraction of oil from a wide range of plants. This extraction is carried out in different ways, depending on the type of plant. The main extraction methods include:

  • Distillation – The plant material (for example, the flowers) is steeped in boiling water to release the essential oils that carry their scent. The resultant steam is collected and condensed, leaving behind only the oils.
  • Expression – This ancient method involves squeezing or pressing out the oils and works best with fruits and peels.
  • Maceration – Plant parts are left to soak and soften to release their oils.
  • Enfleurage – In this method, odourless plant or animal fats extract essential oils from flowers.

As there is very little oil in each flower, it can take hundreds of flowers to produce enough oil for just one bottle of perfume. 

These days, clever chemists have found ways to replicate the natural scent of flowers through chemical processes in a laboratory, giving alternative ways of creating perfume. Once the scents are developed, it is up to the perfumer to combine them in a way that creates an unforgettable fragrance, both traditional and modern, that can elevate our mood and invigorate our emotions.

No matter what the science of perfume-making entails, one thing we know for sure at Homage Perfumes is that when you smell good, you feel good. We are dedicated to bringing you world-class perfumes at affordable prices. Please browse our products and order online today.

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