Perfume is a product that has existed for thousands of years. Latin words “perfume”, which means “through,” and “fumus”, meaning “smoke”, are the origins of the word. The common definition of perfume is simply a mixture or volatile fragrance compounds, aromatic oils, fixatives or odorants. They are used primarily to provide pleasant smelling scents to living-inhabitants such as animals, plants, and people. Perfumes are generally prepared by mixing together a series of ingredients in varying proportions and intensities. Some perfumes may be purely floral, others may have a musky scent, and others may be oriental in nature.
Over the centuries, various scents from all around the world have been added to the mixture of essential oils, fixatives, and scents used in perfume creation. This allows for unique and personal scents that are pleasing to the senses. Perfumes are not restricted to one type of fragrance or even one brand name. There are hundreds upon hundreds of types and brands of perfumes that are available today. Each one has its own distinctive scent and appeal to both men as well as women. Some perfume names are from the past, when well-known perfumes like “Au Virg” were created.The quality of the fragrance compounds used and the essential oils used will affect the perfume’s smell. However, the main components of fragrance compounds are linaloe vera, camphor, citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, rose, and a host of other aroma chemicals which vary widely in chemical composition. These aroma compounds and others are also used in many generic and brand perfumes. The word “perfume” literally translates to “smelling things”. There are many types of perfumes available that can be worn by people. Some scents are made for self-applied aromatherapy (e.g. to freshen breath after eating), but many of the smells that people inhale from everyday objects are actually the result of their daily lives. Many scents trigger a response in the central nervous system and brain, which cause the release of a chemical called dopamine, which is responsible for many of the pleasurable feelings such as liking a sweet or savory smell, or feeling relaxed or happy after a good exercise. The skin absorbs other scents. Some chemicals can bind to fat and cause the body to smell musty or stale. These smells are sometimes called aromas or acquired tastes. When a material is degraded, perfumes can be released into the air. Plastics, as well as petroleum-based products, are examples of such materials. Perfumes can be made from a mixture of synthetic fragrance, essential oils, synthetic alcohol and other natural oils. Fragrance oils, which do not alter the state of any substance and evaporate faster than alcohols, are generally less important than alcohols. Essential oils are more important than alcohols because they do not alter the state of anything and evaporate faster. However, essential oils have a pungent smell that lasts longer than other plant scents. Eau de Parfum, also known as Freshening, is a French fragrance oil; Eau de Toilette, also known as Fruity Orange, is a French fragrance oil; and Eau de Cologne or Eau de Leather is a French fragrance oil. Because of the mixture of the ingredients, every perfume will have a distinct smell. Alcohol, which is generally considered the most important ingredient in making fragrances, has a very high concentration of molecules which means it will quickly evaporate into the air, giving off a very strong odor. The oils must also contain low levels of water in order to make a fragrance last. A perfume with the highest concentration of alcohol is usually more expensive than one with a lower concentration of alcohol. There are many types of perfumes. Some have more subtle scents than others. However, all have an unmistakable distinctive smell. Designer perfumes can smell more appealing than mass-produced perfumes. The stronger the fragrance, the higher the percentage of essential oils used. The oils with the strongest scents are often obtained from natural sources, such as oils extracted from plants.