The Use Of Essential Oil in Perfumes

Perfumes that use essential oils are some of the most potent you can buy. They are also the most expensive. That is because a lot of work goes into the making of essential oil.

What Is Essential Oil?

Essential oil is liquid containing strong aroma molecules from plants. They are called "essential" because the oils contain the essence of the plant from which they are made of. Essential oil for perfumes can be made out of plant leaves, flowers, roots, peel, bark, wood, or seeds, as long as they have a very strong scent. Several essential oils may be mixed to make a particular scent for a perfume.

How Is Essential Oil Made for Perfumes?

There are several ways to make essential oil. Some plants are so fragile they are still manufactured by the ancient process of enfleurage. This process is very slow and expensive. Enfleurage uses fats to capture the fragrant molecules let off by the plants. Plants are either hung over the fat or mixed directly into the fat. This part of enfleurage is called solvent extraction. The scented fat is called "enfleurage pomade" and after the solvent extraction, what is called an 'absolute' is made from the enfleurage pomade by separating the fat from the essence. The enfleurage pomade is soaked in ethyl alcohol to draw the fragrance into the alcohol to make a perfume like mixture. The alcohol is then separated from the fat and is distilled. The byproduct of the distilled fat is the essential oil. The oil may then be filtered for purity.

Another way to make essential oil is by simple distilling. Distilling is the most common way to make essential oil for perfumes. The plant is laid on a grate over a vat of hot water. The vapor that is released goes into a condenser and is cooled while going through a pipe immersed in cold water. This aids in the cooling of the vapor and it becomes the essential oil during the cooling stage. The vapor then goes into what is called a separator. It is used to separate the essential oil from the water vapor. The oil may be filtered after this step. This process is much faster than enfleurage and can take from half an hour to six hours, depending on how much essential oil is being made for perfume. As you can see, the making of essential oil for perfume is a very long and tedious process.