As a writer, I have to research interesting things to power my writing, especially where I’m ignorant to smells, sounds and taste as well as the other two senses we use to process. To provide an accurate representation. I have been introduced to quite a few hobbies because of it.
My latest interest lies with the different scents and perfumes, I associate with characters of my stories. This led to my wanting to know how to make perfume, and if it was possible to make it at home. I’ve since learned it is. I found I can make many scented products if I know how to first create the essential base oils of my fragrance of choice.
You see perfumes are a mixture of aromatic compounds, light oils with little to non of its own odour, alcohol and water. The compound fragrance can be classified into scent groups such as floral, fruity, woody, amber, musk, and oriental. It can further be divided by potency: Real Perfume has the highest concentration of essential oils. There is some arithmetic involved in working out what’s a Perfume, Cologne, Eau de Parfum, or Eau de Toilette. Basically it’s all about the percentage of concentrated oils, the higher the concentration, the more it is consider a perfume, as oppose to the other classification and means the scent last longer.
There is evidence to suggest perfume making began in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Later adapted by the Persians and Romans. The first of the modern perfumes was created in 1370 and spread through Europe. Today, France remains the center of the European perfume industry. The perfume era as we know it due to advances in organic chemistry was more pronounced in the late 19th century, with the creation of synthetic ingredients, and the dawn of great names like Coty, Guerlain, Roger & Gallet.
I could find no detail historical method of how perfumes were made. I can only assume it's probably due to trademark or trade secrets. However, I do believe the basic steps are the same as they were in olden times. Which is to extract the essential oil from whichever compound/s you want to have the scent of. Such as floral, fruity, woody, amber, musk, and oriental. Mix and blend them yourself with alcohol and water until you have the scent you desire.
Here’s a recipe for making Violet essential oil and probably the closest thing to how it was done in the past before there became chemically enhanced.
Violet Essential Oil Extract:
Glass Jar with lid.
Scentless or mildly scented oil.
The oil used must be safe to put on the skin. Test for allergies.
Pick fresh violets from your garden and lay them on a white clothe in sunlight for a few hours to dry out or get fairly fresh dried violets where you can.
Break the petals with your fingers to release the smell and put them in the jar. fill the jar to about three quarters of the way from the top of the jar, maybe a little higher.
Pour the oil of choice into the jar to the top. Use a wooden stick or utensils to prod the petals down making sure the oil cover all of the compound, and mix well. Place the lid on the jar and place the jar in a dark cupboard for four weeks.
Remove from cupboard after four weeks use a glass or metal bowl, place a cheese clothe inside and line the bowl. Use the cheese clothe to strain the oil and soaked violets after emptying into the lined bowl. Squeeze all the oil out and you have your violet essential oil.
If the scent of your essential oil isn't as strong as you'd like repeat using the infused oil with freshly dried violets and returned to cupboard for another four weeks. These steps can be repeated as many times as you'd like until you're satisfied with the strength of the required scent. Finish off by emptying the essential oil into a bottle, label and date it.
Tutorials on making your own perfume can be found on YouTube.
I hope you found this post interesting.
Sandra E Sinclair
For a list of Sandra E Sinclair Books: Here