Fragrance - The history of perfume
The ancient civilisations of Egypt, Persia and China all used scented
water, essences and woods. Five thousand years before Christ, the
Greeks and Romans appeased their gods by burning herbs, woods and
resins and made the earliest essential oils by immersing flowers and
plants in oils until they had become infused with the powerful scents.
In about 900AD, the Arabs invented a distillation technique to extract
essential oils from plants. The process involves heating the plant,
channelling the vapour into a condenser and separating the layer of oil
from the water. At the beginning of the 12th century, plants for making
perfume were cultivated in Grasse, in the south of France. A number of
manufacturers are still based there today.
Nowadays, we make many
fragrance ingredients synthetically, mainly because nature can't
provide the vast quantities needed and because of the huge costs
involved in growing, harvesting and extracting pure essential oils.
Living Flower Technology is designed to replicate the exact smell of a
flower synthetically. A single living flower is encapsulated in a
vacuum for six to 12 hours and the fragrance it gives off is then
captured and chemically analysed. An exact chemical imitation of the
aroma is then produced synthetically. Perfumers today have a choice of
about 3,000 different ingredients. It takes about 50 ingredients to
make a typical new fragrance. The art lies in the skill with which the
selected ingredients are chosen and blended to create the new fragrance.