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What is the chemistry of a perfume?

Posted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:35 pm
by bejoy
Since the beginning of history recorded, human beings have sought to mask or augment their own body odor by applying perfume, which imitates nature’s pleasant smells. Many natural and man-made materials have been utilized or extracted to make perfumes. No perfume smells the same on any two people, because of the differences in chemistry, temperature and the odors of the body. Let’s learn more about perfume and chemistry running behind it.

Perfume is a mixture of fragrant oils, aroma compounds, fixatives or solvents, which is used to give the humans, animals, food or living spaces a pleasant scent or smell. The word perfume was derived from the Latin word perfumare, which means “to smoke throughâ€.

History of Perfume

The art of making perfumes which is known as perfumery, began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, and was then further refined by the Romans and Persians.

From 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia, a woman named Tapputi, a perfume maker was considered the world first-recorded chemist, mentioned in a cuneiform tablet.

In India, perfume and perfumery the art of making perfume prevailed in the Indus civilization. The perfume date backs over 4000 years.

In the 19th century Al-Kindi, an Arab chemist wrote the Book of the Chemistry of Perfume and Distillation, which had more than 100 recipes for making fragrant oils, aromatic water and substitutes of costly drugs.

The process of extracting oils from flowers through distillation was introduced by the Persian chemist Ibn Sina. First, he experimented distillation with the rose.

Perfumes were primarily used to mask body odors by the wealthy part of the society between 16th and 17th century. Due to this patronage, the perfume industry got developed.

The Grasse region of France, Sicily and Calabria by the 18th century, were planting aromatic plants to provide raw materials for growing perfume industry. Till today, Italy and France are the center of European perfume design and trade.

Chemistry of Perfume

Olfactory structure:

Majority of perfumes composes three part structure. The “head,†also known as the “top†note is the first olfactory impression the perfume conveys. The second is the “heart†note, which is the main fragrance which lasts for several hours. The last one is the “base†note, which is the fragrance that underpins the full perfume and it comprise of the minimum volatile chemicals. These parts or structure makes the fragrances lasts the whole day.

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