SCENT IN NATURE
SCENT IN NATURE
The scents that form the olfactory structure of a perfume are found in nature.
Since ancient times, the human species has been attracted to scents; flowers, woods, fruits and plants, and it was common to use them for various reasons, to perfume the places of residence of ancient civilisations or even, still in use today, to use flowers and plants to accompany our loved ones in the last farewell.
But this is not exclusive to our species, no, insects use flowers to feed, and flowers use insects to reproduce. And scent is the most primordial call there is.
Likewise, scent is key in nature, for multiple reasons; reproduction, hunting, determining territories, herds, etc. But humans have taken it to a place where no other species has taken it, and that is to the creation of perfumes and fragrances, thanks to the extraction of the most essential elements from plants, wood and flowers.
The word perfume, comes from the Latin, “per fumare”, meaning; smoked or through smoke. In reference to the sacred ceremonies that took place, where resins and plants were burnt. And it is through the smoke of the sahumado that environments and people were purified. Nowadays, it is still practised in today’s religions.
ESSENTIAL OIL, AND ITS DISTILLATION IN THE EXCLUSIVE PERFUMERY
Essential oils are what cause flowers, plants, resins and woods to have a particular smell, and distillation is used to extract them.
Distillation is the separation of liquids by evaporation and condensation. This leads to the use of alembic stills to achieve this. An alembic is a tool used to extract essential oils from plants and flowers, but most of them cannot withstand the temperature and other systems must be used to extract essential oils from some flowers.
Basically, an alembic is a basic system of generating heat (100°C), boiling water with the materials to be distilled, and a container in which to collect the condensation. But in this process the essential oil must be separated from the condensation water. As a result, alembic stills have evolved to steam distillation, which is the most efficient for the purpose.
It is not known since when humans began distilling, but the oldest preserved apparatus dates back to 3,000 BC, the time when the great dynasties of Ancient Egypt began. The people of those Egyptian civilisations were very presumptuous, and already used their own perfumes.
As I mentioned earlier, the flowers do not withstand the temperature of distillation, and end up burning, so other systems are used to distil them and extract their essential oils. The first is called “enfleurage”. This is a system in which the flower petals are placed in fat on hermetically sealed glass plates. After some time, they are mixed with ethanol and filtered. After the ethanol evaporates, a substance called Absolute is obtained. It is much more refined and aromatic than an essential oil. And also, much more laborious.
And it is at this point, where the obtaining was facilitated with a new type of alembic that allowed to extract the essential oil from the flowers, and that is by means of volatile solvents and gases such as carbon dioxide. But this is a subject for another post. And for these types of extraction, what is obtained acquires new names, such as concretes and extracts.
In addition to the quality of the tinctures, another very attractive process in perfumery. Basically, it is to macerate in ethanol whatever you want to leave for a month or two, filter it and obtain a very aromatic alcohol, which can be the basis for a perfume.
WHAT ROLE DOES QUALITY PLAY IN LUXURY PERFUMES?
Substances that have undergone distillation can be further distilled to obtain first, second or even third pressure essential oils. It is obvious that, with each distillation, the olfactory capacity of these oils will be reduced. And so does their cost.
Hence the role played by the quality of the essential oils in exclusive perfumes. In a quality Eau de Parfum, the best quality raw materials are used and excellence is pursued. And it is striking how, once a person attracted to designer perfumery, once he or she enters into signature or niche perfumery, he or she never turns back.
The olfactory capacity, the distinction, and the personality that is transmitted with a perfume bought in Daring Light, is not easy to match.
And you, are you caught up in signature or niche perfumery?
Comment whatever you wish.
Health and strength!
Sergio Martínez Anaya