This past summer I traveled to Grasse, France, aka the perfume capital of the world, and learned more fun facts about perfume that I could’ve ever imagined. It was fascinating to walk through the Fragonard perfumery and see first-hand how perfume is made. These facts about perfume are souvenirs that I picked up after a lovely day. .
Though there are many vendors of perfumes, Noses have the coveted, yet limited, job of designing scents. There are only 50 true Noses in the world. To become a Nose, you must first have a impeccable sense of smell. The first test of which is being presented with a scent that can have an upward of 250 ingredients and needing to identify each and every one. Facts about perfume like these make me grateful for the various scents created. To think of the work that goes into making my Macy’s-bought perfume baffles me.
2. Ph Levels
There is a reason why men use Eau de Cologne and women don’t. The ph level varies from Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and other strengths. Men’s skin is more acidic than women's which means the ph needs to be regulated in the scents that they purchase. The acidity level of each person’s skin is different, causing the scent to rest (and smell) slightly different on each person. Who would’ve guessed that the chemical properties of your skin could transform the scent that you bought?
3. Perfume Organ
The various extracts from flowers in their distilled, liquid state can be found in bottles on a Perfume Organ. This desk gets its name from its strong resemblance to an actual organ. Noses use these Organs to develop scents. Similar scents, for example citrus fragrances, are grouped together. The art these organs create may not be heard but it can definitely be smelled.
4. Testing Scents
When you walk into a perfumery, you may be overwhelmed by the overflow of scents. I always struggled to differentiate between one and the other because they seemed to all blend together. In between smelling each scent, it is important to reset, in a manner of speaking, the nose. Smelling the familiar scents of your skin or clothes may not have any potent odor but will free the nasal passages to experience other scents. Also, smelling coffee beans helps cleanse the nasal-palette. So next time you’re in the store, take a whiff of your scarf and then see what perfume works for you.
Where do you apply perfume? Pulse points such as on the wrists and neck allow the scent to strengthen, while putting it on clothing makes the scent last longer. But rubbing your wrists together after applying the perfume actually breaks down the scent and crushes the fragrance. So when you apply make sure to let the scent breathe. Proper application gets you the most for your money.
6. Making Perfume
Making perfume consists of two different approaches, both of which require extracting scents from flowers or other herbs. The saturated fat of wax, where it sits for three months, absorbs the fragrance before alcohol is used to remove the scent from the wax. Another approach requires putting flowers in three times its weight in water. At 212°F, the water is boiled into water vapor that is then frozen into liquid. All fragrances are run through filters to remove impurities before use.
As any perfume buyer knows, it can get expensive. The process of making perfume takes multiple months and up to years to complete. Even more, each flower needs to be picked from its field. Masses of flowers are required to make small extracts, so to mass produce perfume around the world, the numbers start to add up. Though it does get annoying seeing the high prices, I hope with these facts about perfume you understand how much effort goes into creating one fragrance.
I hope you learned an interesting fact about perfume that you can share with your friends! I mean who knew there was so much to find out about perfume, right? What did you learn? Did any of these facts surprise you?