• Words by Sonia

Please take a scented note

Updated: Jul 24, 2020


Ambrosial, divine, crisp, warm, spicy, exquisite, or delicate all adjectives commonly used to describe a fragrance. Fragrances, commonly referred as perfumes, are as old as humankind. Back in ancient times, human beings noticed that the smoke created by burning specific plants brought about beneficial properties; giving birth at that moment to the origins of perfumery . The word “perfume” comes from the Latin word per fumo meaning by smoke. Furthermore, the ancient Egyptians already knew the art of associating different aroma to create complex perfumes as Kyphi, a multipurpose mixture made by many different fragrances including juniper berries, broom flowers, fragrant reed, oak resin, myrrh, cinnamon, and cardamom. (If you’d like to read more about the perfumery’s evolution click here to read my previous post)

The base of any perfume will be the perfume “essence”; this is what actually makes the scent. It is a combination of essential oils and absolutes. Back in old times it was also added animal extracts such as musk, or ambergris as fixers; today mostly banned and no longer used in natural and organic perfumery. Unfortunately, nowadays most perfumes are made mainly by synthetic fragrant essences (this could be nearly anything), a synthetic fixer -substituting animal extracts- and in the best scenario, in addition to that, a small amount of natural essential oils. But in our natural blog space there’s no room for synthetic and/or nasty stuff, thus from now on I’ll be only talking about the 100% natural fragrances.

A natural fragrance is a balanced blend of water, natural alcohol (ethanol, that can also be source organic) and the essence -sometimes listed in the ingredients list as parfum-. This essence could actually not be that attractive by itself and in some cases even unpleasant and overwhelming. Being too concentrated; it needs to be diluted with alcohol and water.

Fragrances come in many forms and have many different names but generally the main five categories are as follows: