"Perfumery" is a term used in the perfume business to describe the business of producing and selling perfumes or to the art of creating perfumes. The history of perfume reaches back for centuries, and historians believe that the Mesopotamians were the first civilization to start perfumery through incense.
Perfumes go through an intricate process called distillation. Distillation involves boiling and purifying liquid and condensing its vapors. During the distillation process, the ingredients used to make the perfume are crushed, placed in boiling water, and condensed. It usually takes a significant amount of ingredients to produce a small amount of condensed oil, which is why perfumes are often expensive.
After the distillation process, the perfume is named depending on the strength of the fragrance. Eau de parfum is the name of perfumes that are more concentrated and stronger in fragrance. Perfumes that are less concentrated are called eau de toilette.
The most highly concentrated perfume oils are essential oils and are too strong to be used directly on the skin. Essential oils are more volatile and fragrant than perfumes and are produced through steam distillation. The oils can only be used on the skin if diluted with another oil, such as jojoba.
In perfumery, fragrances are also classified in aroma groupings. The most prominent groupings include florals, greens, chypre, oriental, tobaaco, and aldehydics. Perfumes contain three notes, or scents, which are referred to as the top notes, middle notes, and base notes.
The top note describes the first impression of the fragrance after it’s applied to the skin. Middle notes refer to the scent that emits up to 30 minutes after application. Base notes describe the smell after the perfume has been on the skin longer than half an hour.
A broad range of ingredients can be used when creating perfumes, however, there are certain ingredients that are more commonly used. Commonly-used ingredients in perfumery include fruits, flowers, oils, woods, resins, and plants. The rose is the most common ingredient used in perfumery.
Perfumery is a combination of intuitive art and science. Individuals involved in perfumery must understand the scientific complexities of creating perfume as well as the creativity needed to produce perfume. The art and science of perfumery has been around for centuries and will likely continue.