The history of perfume dates to as far back as the earliest human civilisation. This liquid used to give a pleasant scent to a person's body has a beginning in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. In the 2nd Millennium BC, the world's first recorded chemist, a women call Tapputi made perfumes by distilling flowers, oil and calamus with other aromatics. This mixture was filtered and further distilled several times. Since earliest civilisation, people always cherished wearing perfumes, scented oils and other fragrances. Cleopatra thought the art of scents, brought two warlords to their knees. There exists a strong connection between scent and memories. Pleasant scents always bring pleasant memories and connecting ourselves to them makes us happy. Good scents create a clam and serene atmosphere for us. It rejuvenates our minds and senses and gives instant comfort. It also directly affects our mood and confidence. People wear fragrance in different forms, and there are various types of scent. The major difference between the different forms scents is the strength of the fragrance. A fragrance concentration is the strength of the fragrance. Based on these fragrance can divided into at least five parts.
Parfum: This is also referred to as pre-perfume and has the highest concentration of fragrance. It contains between 15% - 35% of fragrance and typically lasts for about 3-5 hours, the longest of all scents. They are usually the most expensive of all fragrance types contain alcohol. Hence, they are not as likely to dry skin and can be used by most people with sensitive skin.
Eau de Parfume: This scent has the second highest concentration of fragrance in EDP 15% - 20%. EDP is one of the most popular types of fragrance available. It lasts an 2-3 hours and is less expensive than parfum. It also contains more alcohol than parfum and is suitable for everyday use as it is better for most sensitive skin types.
Eau de Toillete: This fragrance has a mild concentration at between 5% - 15%. It is cheaper than eau de perfum and the fragrance usually lasts 2 hours. Its is also another of the most popular types of fragrance and is often considered by some as a day wear while few think of it as a nightwear fragrance.
Eau de Cologne: it has an ever lower concentration of fragrance than eau de toilette, usually between 2% - 4% concentration. It is also cheaper than previously mentioned fragrance and has a higher concentration of alcohol. The scent of an EDT normally lasts for 2 hours. They usually come in big receptacles and require more application generally.
Eau fraiche: This is quite similar to the eau de cologne as it usually last from under an hour or two hours. It however has lesser concentration of fragrance than eau de cologne, between 1% - 3%. Though Eau Fraiche has the smallest concentration of fragrance, it does not contain a high amount of alcohol. Most part of the fragrance in eau fraiche is mixed with water. This is often the cheapest of all previously mentioned fragrance.
These types of fragrance are usually sprayed on the body and are also referred to as fragrance in alcohol or alcohol based fragrance. Distinct from them however are perfume oils. Perfume oils are usually rubbed on the body and are referred to as fragrance in oil or oil-based fragrance. They generally cost more than alcohol-based fragrance. Some people prefer perfume oils to alcohol fragrance for number of reasons. One of them is because they tend to create a more personal and intimate scent experience without becoming overpowering for people around.
Some people prefer perfume oils to alcohol based fragrance for number of reasons. One of them is because they tend to create a more personal and intimate scent experience without becoming overpowering for people around. Another is because they are non drying on the skin. This can however be looked at from two-fold perspective. For people with dry skin, this comes at an advantage. Dry skin has difficult time in retaining scent. Therefore, oil based perfumes or perfume oils helps in retaining the scent longer on dry skin.
Perfume oils generally contain from tens to hundreds of ingredients, all of which are useful not only to contribute to the specific scent of perfume but also to determine the shelf life and improve the appeal of the perfume. The ingredients that go into making a perfume oil can be broadly classified into four groups.
1.Heart: They are usually perceived after the top notes has worn off. Heart notes can consist of few main ingredients or multiple ingredients depending on the effect intended. Jasmine and rose are usually sought for primary or abstract floral fragrance.
2.Modifiers: They are usually floral and are used to cover the unpleasant introduction of fixatives. They also give the perfume certain desired character by altering the primary scent.
3:Fixatives: These are the basic notes of perfume. They are generally used to extend the "scent life" of the perfume as a result , last the longest of all notes. They actually support the primary scent by strengthening it. Resins, wood scents and amber base are usually used as fixatives.
4:Blenders: They are sometimes the major ingredients of the primary scent. They are used to reduce the domination of some ingredients and are usually naturals. Blenders, as their name implies generally to smooth en the whole perfume composition. Examples of blenders are Lindlool and hydroxycitronellal.
Perfumes are also categorized in form of musical notation. A bottle of perfume generally has three layers when a wisp is applied:
Top Notes: This is the first, lighter smell of the fragrance perceived by the nose. It usually lasts between 15 minutes to 2 hours.
Middle Notes: They are the main elements of the fragrance and become pronounced after the top note clears. Their scent can last 3 to 5 hours after being applied and they contain heavier floral scents.
Base Notes: They become noticeable after the fragrance has stayed on the skin for while. They typically determine how long a scent will last on the skin and are bolder. Base notes last as long as 5 to 10 hours. How ever, not all fragrance go through these layers of notes with time. Some stay the same from initial application till they are washed off. These types of fragrance are referred to as linear fragrances.
Perfume and perfumery cannot be discussed without mention of the Arabian scents. Thanks to the handwork of two incredibly amazing Arabian chemists: Jabir Ibn Hayyan and Al-Kindi who both developed many techniques such as distillation, evaporation and filtration which enabled the collection and retention of scents of plants into vapour that could be collected in form of water and oil. Their discovery heralded the birth of the Arabian perfume industry and centuries later, their researches and experiments still remain invaluable to the perfume industry. Al-Kindi in particular elaborated a large number of recipes for making a wide range of perfumes and cosmetics. He carried out extensive research and experiments in combining various plants and other sources to produce a large collection of scent products. Perfume oils are known for their medicinal and soothing properties. They not only have pleasurable scents, they also help relieve stress, pain and alleviate some sicknesses. These oils are in large demand globally. Arabian perfume oils are known to be the best in this regard and are highly sought after for the incredibly alluring scents and medicinal use.
There are different tyoes of Arabian perfumes and oils based on their composition and processes used in their production.
Attar: These are also know as Ittar. These oils are extracted through steam distillation from plants. Attars are usually are gotten from flowers that are distilled into a wood base, traditionally Sandalwood. They are believed to have high medicinal value and be further grouped based on how they affect the body. Cool Ittars such as jasmine, rose and kewda are used in cooling the body, especially during summer. While warm Ittars such as amber, musk and saffron are used to keep the body warm, especially in the winter. Some attars such as chameli do not belong in this category as they are used at any time of the year. The major difference between attar and perfume oils is that attar is that attar is traditionally "all natural".
Rose: The damask rose, grown in Taif, Saudi Arabia is one of the most prized for perfume. Rose are picked before sunrise, when the dew is still on them and only their petals are distilled to create a simple sweet smelling fragrance oil. This distillate is the mixed with notes such as leather, oud, cardamom or tobacco to give a masculine appeal or musk, saffron, pepper and sugar to make a long lasting feminine scent.
Oudh: Also known as aloeswood or argarwood. Denh al oud refers to the distilled oil and is considered a masculine scent. It is well know for sweet, loamy smell when burnt as incense and has a dark brown resin. A mukhallat (mix) of oud is an oil that has been blended into other ingredients such as musk, saffron or rose.
Saffron: The distillate is sought after for its flowery scent and medicinal properties. The finest of the Crous Sativus flower from which saffron is gotten can be found in Iran. This oil mixes well with rose, cardamon and vanilla. A bleand of denh al oud, roses and saffron make a classic mix for most men.
Samdalwood: Sandalwood originates from Mysore, India. This fine grained yellow wood has bright, buttery fragrance that blends with vanilla , saffaron, amber, lavender or even lime.
Frankincense: Used to perfume and purify the home and home and public places in Oman, where it originates. They are also used to freshen breath and helps digestion. Frankincense is high valued for use in the form of white hojari which actually looks bluish and has a rare and most valuable specie, the green hojari which is usually not exposed to sunlight. Blending powdered frankincense with attar or ground petals of roses creates a powerful traditional bakhoor.