Describing a Perfume fragrance

Here is an interesting article called "Describing a Perfume Fragrance".

The precise formulas of commercial perfumes are kept secret. Even if they were widely published, they would be dominated by such complex chemical procedures and ingredients that they would be of little use in providing a useful description of the experience of a scent. Nonetheless, connoisseurs of perfume can become extremely skillful at identifying components and origins of scents in the same manner as wine experts [1].

The most practical way to start describing a perfume is according to its concentration level, the family it belongs to, and the notes of the scent, which all affect the overall impression of a perfume from first application to the last lingering hint of scent[2][3]

Concentration levels
Perfume oil is necessarily diluted with a solvent because undiluted oils (natural or synthetic) contain high concentrations of volatile components that will likely result in allergic reactions and possibly injury when applied directly to skin or clothing.

By far the most common solvent for perfume oil dilution is ethanol or a mixture of ethanol and water. Perfume oil can also be diluted by means of neutral-smelling lipids such as jojoba, fractionated coconut oil or wax. The concentration by percent/volume of perfume oil is as follows:

Perfume extract: 20%-40% aromatic compounds
Eau de parfum: 10-30% aromatic compounds
Eau de toilette: 5-20% aromatic compounds
Eau de cologne: 2-5% aromatic compounds
As the percentage of aromatic compounds decreases, so does the intensity and longevity of the scent created. Different perfumeries or perfume houses assign different amounts of oils to each of their perfumes. Therefore, although the oil concentration of a perfume in eau de parfum (EDP) dilution will necessarily be higher than the same perfume in eau de toilette (EDT) form within the same range, the actual amounts can vary between perfume houses. An EDT from one house may be stronger than an EDP from another.

Furthermore, some fragrances with the same product name but having a different concentration name may not only differ in their dilutions, but actually use different perfume oil mixtures altogether. For instance, in order to make the EDT version of a fragrance brighter and fresher than its EDP, the EDT oil may be "tweaked" to contain slightly more top notes or less base notes. In some cases, words such as "extrême" or "concentrée" appended to fragrance names might indicate completely different fragrances that relates only because of a similar perfume accord. An instance to this would be Chanel‘s Pour Monsieur and Pour Monsieur Concentrée.

Eau de cologne (EDC) was originally a specific fragrance of a citrus nature and weak in concentration made in Cologne, Germany. However in recent decades the term has become generic for a weakly concentrated perfume of any kind.

Olfactive families
Grouping perfumes, like any taxonomy, can never be a completely objective or final process. Many fragrances contain aspects of different families. Even a perfume designated as "single flower", however subtle, will have undertones of other aromatics. "True" unitary scents can rarely be found in perfumes as it requires the perfume to exist only as a singular aromatic material.

Classification by olfactive family is a starting point for a description of a perfume, but it cannot by itself denote the specific characteristic of that perfume.

The traditional classification which emerged around 1900 comprised the following categories:

Single Floral: Fragrances that are dominated by a scent from one particular flower; in French called a soliflore. (e.g. Serge Lutens' Sa Majeste La Rose, which is dominated by rose.)
Floral Bouquet: Containing the combination of several flowers in a scent.
Ambery: A large fragrance class featuring the scents of vanilla and animal scents together with flowers and woods. Can be enhanced by camphorous oils and incense resins, which bring to mind Victorian era imagery of the Middle East and Far East.
Woody: Fragrances that are dominated by woody scents, typically of sandalwood and cedar. Patchouli, with its camphoraceous smell, is commonly found in these perfumes.
Leather: A family of fragrances which features the scents of honey, tobacco, wood and wood tars in its middle or base notes and a scent that alludes to leather.
Chypre: Meaning Cyprus in French, this includes fragrances built on a similar accord consisting of bergamot, oakmoss, patchouli, and labdanum. This family of fragrances is named after a perfume by François Coty. A notable example is Mitsouko (meaning mystery in Japanese) by Guerlain.
Fougère: Meaning Fern in French, built on a base of lavender, coumarin and oakmoss. Houbigant's Fougère Royale pioneered the use of this base. Many men's fragrances belong to this family of fragrances, which is characterized by its sharp herbaceous and woody scent.

Since 1945, due to great advances in the technology of perfume creation (i.e., compound design and synthesis) as well as the natural development of styles and tastes; new categories have emerged to describe modern scents:

Bright Floral: combining the traditional Single Floral & Floral Bouquet categories.
Green: a lighter and more modern interpretation of the Chypre type.
Oceanic/Ozone: the newest category in perfume history, appearing in 1991 with Christian Dior's Dune. A very clean, modern smell leading to many of the modern androgynous perfumes.
Citrus or Fruity: An old fragrance family that until recently consisted mainly of "freshening" eau de colognes due to the low tenacity of citrus scents. Development of newer fragrance compounds has allowed for the creation of primarily citrus fragrances.
Gourmand: scents with "edible" or "dessert"-like qualities. These often contain notes like vanilla and tonka bean, as well as synthetic components designed to resemble food flavors. An example is Thierry Mugler's Angel.

Fragrance wheel
The Fragrance wheel is a relatively new classification method that is widely used in retail and in the fragrance industry. The method was created in 1983 by Michael Edwards, a consultant in the perfume industry, who designed his own scheme of fragrance classification after being inspired by a fragrance seminar by Firmenich. The new scheme was created in order to simplify fragrance classification and naming scheme, as well as to show the relationships between each individual classes[4].

The five standard families consist of Floral, Oriental, Woody,Fougère, and Fresh, with the former four families being more "classic" while the latter consisting of newer bright and clean smelling citrus and oceanic fragrances that have arrived due to improvements in fragrance technology. With the exception of the Fougère family, each the families are in turn divided into three sub-groups and arranged around a wheel:

Soft Floral
Floral Oriental
Soft Oriental
Woody Oriental
Mossy Woods
Dry Woods
The Fougère family is placed at the center of this wheel since they are large family of scents that usually contain fragrance elements from each of the other four families.

In this classification scheme, Chanel No.5, which is traditionally classified as a "Floral Aldehyde" would be located under Soft Floral sub-group, and "Amber" scents would be placed within the Oriental group. As a class, Chypres is more difficult to place since they would located under parts of the Oriental and Woody families. For instance, Guerlain Mitsouko, which is classically identified as a chypre will be placed under Mossy Woods, but Hermès Rouge, a chypre with more floral character, would be placed under Floral Oriental.

Fragrance Notes
Perfume is described in a musical metaphor as having three 'notes', making the harmonious chord of the scent. The notes unfold over time, with the immediate impression of the top note leading to the deeper middle notes, and the base notes gradually appearing as the final stage. These notes are created carefully with knowledge of the evaporation process of the perfume.

Top notes: The scents that are perceived immediately on application of a perfume. Top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly: they form a person's initial impression of a perfume and thus are very important in the selling of a perfume. The scents of this note class are usually described as "fresh," "assertive" or "sharp." The compounds that contribute to top notes are strong in scent, very volatile, and evaporate quickly. Citrus and ginger scents are common top notes. Also called the head notes.
Middle notes: The scent of a perfume that emerges after the top notes dissipate. The middle note compounds form the "heart" or main body of a perfume and act to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. Not surprisingly, the scent of middle note compounds is usually more mellow and "rounded." Scents from this note class appear anywhere from two minutes to one hour after the application of a perfume. Lavender and rose scents are typical middle notes. Also called the heart notes.
Base notes: The scent of a perfume that appears after the departure of the middle notes. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class are often the fixatives used to hold and boost the strength of the lighter top and middle notes. Consisting of large, heavy molecules that evaporate slowly, compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and "deep" and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after the application of the perfume or during the period of perfume dry-down. Some base notes can still be detectable in excess of twenty-four hours after application, particularly the animalic notes.

Aromatics Sources

Plant sources
Plants have long been used in perfumery as a source of essential oils and aroma compounds. These aromatics are usually secondary metabolites produced by plants as protection against herbivores, infections, as well as to attract pollinators. Plants are by far the largest source of fragrant compounds used in perfumery. The sources of these compounds may be derived from various parts of a plant. A plant can offer more than one source of aromatics, for instance the aerial portions and seeds of coriander have remarkably different odors from each other. Orange leaves, blossoms, and fruit zest are the respective sources of petit grain, neroli, and orange oils.

Bark: Commonly used barks includes cinnamon and cascarilla. The fragrant oil in sassafras root bark is also used either directly or purified for its main constituent, safrole, which is used in the synthesis of other fragrant compounds such as helional.
Flowers and blossoms: Undoubtedly the largest source of aromatics. Includes the flowers of several species of rose and jasmine, as well as osmanthus, mimosa, tuberose, as well as the blossoms of citrus and ylang-ylang trees. Although not traditionally thought of as a flower, the unopened flower buds of the clove are also commonly used. Orchid flowers are not commercially used to produce essential oils or absolutes, except in the case of vanilla, an orchid, which must be pollinated first and made into seed pods before use in perfumery.
Fruits: Fresh fruits such as apples, strawberries, cherries unfortunately do not yield the expected odors when extracted; if such fragrance notes are found in a perfume, they are synthetic. Notable exceptions include litsea cubeba, vanilla, and juniper berry. The most commonly used fruits yield their aromatics from the rind; they include citrus such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit.
Leaves and twigs: Commonly used for perfumery are lavender leaf, patchouli, sage, violets, rosemary, and citrus leaves. Sometimes leaves are valued for the "green" smell they bring to perfumes, examples of this include hay and tomato leaf.
Resins: Valued since antiquity, resins have been widely used in incense and perfumery. Highly fragrant and antiseptic resins and resin-containing perfumes have been used by many cultures as medicines for a large variety of ailments. Commonly used resins in perfumery include labdanum, frankincense/olibanum, myrrh, Peru balsam, gum benzoin. Pine and fir resins are a particularly valued source of terpenes used in the organic synthesis of many other synthetic or naturally occurring aromatic compounds. Some of what is called amber and copal in perfumery today is the resinous secretion of fossil conifers.
Roots, rhizomes and bulbs: Commonly used terrestrial portions in perfumery include iris rhizomes, vetiver roots, various rhizomes of the ginger family.
Seeds: Commonly used seeds include tonka bean, coriander, caraway, cocoa, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, and anise.
Woods: Highly important in providing the base notes to a perfume, wood oils and distillates are indispensable in perfumery. Commonly used woods include sandalwood, rosewood, agarwood, birch, cedar, juniper, and pine.

Animal sources
Ambergris: Lumps of oxidized fatty compounds, whose precursors were secreted and expelled by the Sperm Whale. Ambergris is commonly referred as "amber" in perfumery and should not be confused with yellow amber, which is used in jewelry.
Castoreum: Obtained from the odorous sacs of the North American beaver.
Civet: Also called Civet Musk, this is obtained from the odorous sacs of the civets, animals in the family Viverridae, related to the Mongoose.
Honeycomb: Distilled from the honeycomb of the Honeybee.
Musk: Originally derived from the musk sacs from the Asian musk deer, it has now been replaced by the use of synthetic musks.

Other natural sources
Lichens: Commonly used lichen includes oakmoss and treemoss thalli.
"Seaweed": Distillates are sometimes used as essential oil in perfumes. An example of a commonly used seaweed is Fucus vesiculosus, which is commonly referred to as bladder wrack. Natural seaweed fragrances are rarely used due to their higher cost and lower potency than synthetics.

Synthetic sources
Modern perfumes are almost exclusively made from synthetic odorants that are commonly synthesized from petroleum distillates, pine resins, or other relatively cheap organic feedstock. Synthetics can provide fragrances which are not found in nature. For instance, Calone, a compound of synthetic origin, imparts a fresh ozonous metallic marine scent that is widely used in contemporary perfumes. Synthetic aromatics are often used as an alternate source of compounds that are not easily obtained from natural sources. For example, linalool and coumarin are both naturally occurring compounds that can be cheaply synthesized from terpenes. Orchid scents (typically salicylates) are usually not obtained directly from the plant itself but are instead synthetically created to match the fragrant compounds found in various orchids.

The majority of the world's synthetic aromatics are created by relatively few companies. They include:

International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF)
Mane SA
Each of these companies patent several processes for the production of aromatic synthetics annually.

See Aroma compound

Obtaining natural odorants
Main article: Extraction (fragrance)
Before perfumes can be composed, the odorants used in various perfume compositions must first be obtained. Synthetic odorants are produced through organic synthesis and purified. Odorants from natural sources require the use of various methods to extract the aromatics from the raw materials. The results of the extraction are either essential oils, absolutes, concretes, or butters, depending on the amount of waxes in the extracted product. [5]

All these techniques will, to a certain extent, distort the odour of the aromatic compounds obtained from the raw materials. This is due to the use of heat, harsh solvents, or through exposure to oxygen in the extraction process which will denature the aromatic compounds, which either change their odour character or renders them odourless.

Maceration/Solvent extraction: The most used and economically important technique for extracting aromatics in the modern perfume industry. Raw materials are submerged in a solvent that can dissolve the desired aromatic compounds. Maceration lasts anywhere from hours to months. Fragrant compounds for woody and fibrous plant materials are often obtained in this manner as are all aromatics from animal sources. The technique can also be used to extract odorants that are too volatile for distillation or easily denatured by heat. Commonly used solvents for maceration/solvent extraction include hexane, and dimethyl ether. The product of this process is called a "concrete".
Supercritical fluid extraction: A relatively new technique for extracting fragrant compounds from a raw material, which often employs Supercritical CO2. Due to the low heat of process and the relatively nonreactive solvent used in the extraction, the fragrant compounds derived often closely resemble the original odour of the raw material.
Ethanol extraction: A type of solvent extraction used to extract fragrant compounds directly from dry raw materials, as well as the impure oily compounds materials resulting from solvent extraction or enfleurage. Ethanol extraction is not used to extract fragrance from fresh plant materials since these contain large quantities of water, which will also be extracted into the ethanol.
Distillation: A common technique for obtaining aromatic compounds from plants, such as orange blossoms and roses. The raw material is heated and the fragrant compounds are re-collected through condensation of the distilled vapour.
Steam distillation: Steam from boiling water is passed through the raw material, which drives out their volatile fragrant compounds. The condensate from distillation are settled in a Florentine flask. This allows for the easy separation of the fragrant oils from the water. The water collected from the condensate, which retains some of the fragrant compounds and oils from the raw material is called hydrosol and sometimes sold. This is most commonly used for fresh plant materials such as flowers, leaves, and stems.
Dry/destructive distillation: The raw materials are directly heated in a still without a carrier solvent such as water. Fragrant compounds that are released from the raw material by the high heat often undergo anhydrous pyrolysis, which results in the formation of different fragrant compounds, and thus different fragrant notes. This method is used to obtain fragrant compounds from fossil amber and fragrant woods where an intentional "burned" or "toasted" odour is desired.
Expression: Raw material is squeezed or compressed and the oils are collected. Of all raw materials, only the fragrant oils from the peels of fruits in the citrus family are extracted in this manner since the oil is present in large enough quantities as to make this extraction method economically feasible.
Enfleurage: Absorption of aroma materials into wax and then extracting the odorous oil with ethyl alcohol. Extraction by enfleurage was commonly used when distillation was not possible due to the fact that some fragrant compounds denature through high heat. This technique is not commonly used in the present day industry due to its prohibitive cost and the existence of more efficient and effective extraction methods. [2]

Fragrant extracts
Although fragrant extracts are known to the general public as the generic term "essential oils", a more specific language is used in the fragrance industry to describe the source, purity, and technique used to obtain a particular fragrant extract.

Of these extracts, only absolutes, essential oils, and tinctures are directly used to formulate perfumes.

Absolute: Fragrant materials that are purified from a pommade or concrete by soaking them in ethanol. By using a slightly hydrophilic compound such as ethanol, most of the fragrant compounds from the waxy source materials can be extracted without dissolving any of the fragrantless waxy molecules. Absolutes are usually found in the form of an oily liquid.
Concrete: Fragrant materials that have been extracted from raw materials through solvent extraction using volatile hydrocarbons. Concretes usually contain a large amount of wax due to the ease in which the solvents dissolve various hydrophobic compounds. As such concretes are usually further purified through distillation or ethanol based solvent extraction. Concretes are typically either waxy or resinous solids or thick oily liquids.
Essential oil: Fragrant materials that have been extracted from a source material directly through distillation or expression and obtained in the form of an oily liquid. Oils extracted through expression are sometimes called expression oils.
Pomade: A fragrant mass of solid fat created from the enfleurage process, in which odorous compounds in raw materials are adsorbed into animal fats. Pommades are found in the form of an oily and sticky solid.
Tincture: Fragrant materials produced by directly soaking and infusing raw materials in ethanol. Tinctures are typically thin liquids. [2]

Composing perfumes
Perfume compositions are an important part of many industries ranging from the luxury goods sectors, food services industries, to manufacturers of various household chemicals. The purpose of using perfume or fragrance compositions in these industries is to affect customers through their sense of smell and entice them into purchasing the perfume or perfumed product. As such there is significant interest in producing a perfume formulation that people will find aesthetically pleasing.

The Perfumer
The job of composing perfumes that will sell is left up to an expert on perfume composition or known in the fragrance industry as the perfumer. They are also sometimes referred to affectionately as "the Nose" due to their fine sense of smell and skill in smell composition. The perfumer is effectively an artist who is trained in depth on the concepts of fragrance aesthetics and who is capable of conveying abstract concepts and moods with their fragrance compositions. At the most rudimentary level, a perfumer must have a keen knowledge of a large variety of fragrance ingredients and their smells, and be able to distinguish each of the fragrance ingredients whether alone or in combination with other fragrances. As well, they must know how each ingredient reveals itself through time with other ingredients. The job of the perfumer is very similar to that of flavourists, who compose smells and flavourants for many commercial food products.

The composition of a perfume typically begins with a brief by the perfumer's employer or an outside customer. The customers to the perfumer or their employers, are typically fashion houses or large corporations of various industries. Each brief will contain the specifications for the desired perfume, and will describe in often poetic or abstract terms what the perfume should smell like or what feelings it should evoke in those who smell it, along with a maximum per litre price of the perfume oil concentrate. This allowance, along with the intended application of the perfume will determine what aromatics and fragrance ingredients can/will be used in the perfume composition.

The perfumer will then go through the process of blending multiple perfume mixtures and will attempt to capture the desired feelings specified in the brief. After presenting the perfume mixtures to the customers, the perfumer may "win" the brief with their approval, and proceed to sell the formulation to the customer, often with modifications of the composition of the perfume. This process typically spans over several months to several years. The perfume composition will then be either used to enhance another product as a functional fragrance (shampoos, make-up, detergents, car interiors, etc.), or marketed and sold directly to the public as a fine fragrance.

Alternatively, the perfumer may simply be inspired to create a perfume and produce something that later becomes marketable or successfully wins a brief. This usually happens in smaller or independent perfume houses. [1]

Perfume oils usually contain tens to hundreds of ingredients. These ingredients can be roughly grouped into four groups:

Primary scents: Can consist of one or a few main ingredients for a certain concept, such a "rose". Alternatively, multiple ingredients can be used together to create an "abstract" primary scent that does not bear a resemblance to a natural ingredient. For instance, jasmine and rose scents are commonly blends for abstract floral fragrances. Cola flavourant is a good example of an abstract primary scent.
Modifiers: These ingredients alter the primary scent to give the perfume a certain desired character: for instance, fruit esters may be included in a floral primary to create a fruity floral; calone and citrus scents can be added to create a "fresher" floral. The cherry scent in cherry cola can be considered a modifier.
Blenders: A large group of ingredients that smooth out the transitions of a perfume between different "layers" or bases. Common blending ingredients include linalool and hydroxycitronellol.
Fixatives: Used to support the primary scent by bolstering it. Many resins and wood scents, and amber bases are used for fixative purposes.
The top, middle, and base notes of a fragrance may have separate primary scents and supporting ingredients.

Instead of building a perfume from "ground up", many modern perfumes and colognes are made using fragrance bases, which are essentially modular perfumes that are blended from essential oils and aromatic chemicals, and formulated with a simpler concept such as "fresh cut grass" or "juicy sour apple". The effort used in developing bases by fragrance companies or individual perfumers may equal that of a marketed perfume, since they are useful in that they are reusable. Many of Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria line, with their simple fragrance concepts, are good examples of what perfume fragrance bases are like.

Other than its reusability, the benefit in using bases for construction is that:

Ingredients with "difficult" scents that may be more easily incorporated into a perfume as part of a blended base
A base may be better scent approximations of a certain thing than the extract of the thing itself. For example, a base for "fresh dewy rose" might be a better approximation for the scent concept of a rose after rain than plain rose oil.
The concept of a perfume can be relatively quickly roughed out from a brief for purposes of feedback. Smoothing out the "edges" of the perfume can be done after a positive responses to the perfume concept.
The perfume's fragrance oils are then blended with ethyl alcohol and water, aged in tanks for a minimum of 14 days and filtered through processing equipment to remove any sediment and particles before the solution can be filled into the perfume bottles.[citation needed]

Reverse engineering
Creating perfumes through reverse engineering with analytical techniques such as GC/MS can reveal some of the formula for a particular perfume but most perfumes are difficult to analyze because of their complexity, particularly due to presence of essential oils and other ingredients consisting of complex chemical mixtures. However, "anyone armed with good GC/MS equipment and experienced in using this equipment can today, within days, find out a great deal about the formulation of any perfume... customers and competitors can analyze most perfumes more or less precisely."[6]

Recreating perfumes in this manner is very expensive, unless one has access to the same complex ingredients as the original formulators.

Furthermore the deliberate addition of inert ingredients to obscure the formula makes identification of components difficult. Antique or badly preserved perfumes undergoing this analysis can also be difficult due to the numerous degradation by-products and impurities that may have resulted from breakdown of the odourous compounds. However, these ingredients and compounds can usually be ruled-out or identified using gas chromatograph (GC) smellers, which allow individual chemical components to be identified both through their physical properties and their scent.

History of perfume and perfumery

The word perfume used today derives from the Latin "per fume", meaning through smoke. Perfumery, or the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt but was developed and further refined by the Romans and the Arabs. Although perfume and perfumery also existed in East Asia, much of its fragrances are incense based.

The world's first chemist is considered to be a person named Tapputi, a perfume maker who was mentioned in a cuneiform tablet from the second millennium BC in Mesopotamia.[7]

Recently, archaeologists have uncovered what is believed to be the world's oldest perfumes in Pyrgos, Cyprus. The perfumes date back more than 4,000 years. The perfumes were discovered in an ancient perfumery factory. At least 60 distilling stills, mixing bowls, funnels and perfume bottles were found in the 43,000 square foot factory.[8] In ancient times people used herbs and spices, like almond, coriander, myrtle, conifer resin, bergamot, but not flowers.[9]

The Iranian doctor and chemist Avicenna introduced the process of extracting oils from flowers by means of distillation, (the procedure most commonly used today). He first experimented with the rose. Until his discovery, liquid perfumes were mixtures of oil and crushed herbs, or petals which made a strong blend. Rose water was more delicate, and immediately became popular. Both of the raw ingredients and distillation technology significantly influenced western perfumery and scientific developments, particularly chemistry.

Knowledge of perfumery came to Europe as early as the 14th century due partially to Arabic influences and knowledge. But it was the Hungarians who ultimately introduced the first modern perfume. The first modern perfume, made of scented oils blended in an alcohol solution, was made in 1370 at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and was known throughout Europe as Hungary Water. The art of perfumery prospered in Renaissance Italy, and in the 16th century, Italian refinements were taken to France by Catherine de Medicis personal perfumer, Rene le Florentin. His laboratory was connected with her apartments by a secret passageway, so that no formulas could be stolen en route. France quickly became the European center of perfume and cosmetic manufacture. Cultivation of flowers for their perfume essence, which had begun in the 14th century, grew into a major industry in the south of France. During the Renaissance period, perfumes were used primarily by royalty and the wealthy to mask body odors resulting from the sanitary practices of the day. Partly due to this patronage, the western perfumery industry was created. By the 18th century, aromatic plants were being grown in the Grasse region of France to provide the growing perfume industry with raw materials. Even today, France remains the centre of the European perfume design and trade.

Health Issues
Some perfume ingredients can cause health problems. Evidence in peer-reviewed journals shows that some fragrances can cause asthmatic reactions even when the participants could not actually smell the fragrances[10] . Many fragrance ingredients can cause allergic skin reactions[11]. There is scientific evidence that some common ingredients, like certain synthetic musks, can disrupt the balance of hormones in the human body (endocrine disruption)[12] [13] and even cause cancer (especially in the case of the ubiquitous synthetic polycyclic molecules, assigned to the musk odor group). [14][15] Some research on natural aromatics have shown that many contain compounds that cause skin irritation[16], However many of the studies, such as IFRA's research claim that opoponax is too dangerous to be used in perfumery, are still incomplete and lack scientific consesus [17]. It is also true that sometimes inhalation alone can cause skin irritation[18]. Much remains to be learned about the effects of fragrance on human health and the environment.

In some cases, an excessive use of perfumes may cause allergic reactions of the skin. For instance, acetophenone, ethyl acetate and acetone while present in many perfumes, are also known or potential respiratory allergens. Persons with multiple chemical sensitivity or respiratory diseases such as asthma may be responsive to even low levels of perfumes.

The perfume industry is not directly regulated for safety by the FDA in the US. Instead the FDA regulates the ingredients in the perfumes themselves and require that they be tested to the extent that they are Generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Protection of trade secrets prevents the listing of ingredients that might or might not be hazardous in perfumes. In Europe, the mandatory listing of any of a number of chemicals thought to be hazardous has just begun. Nevertheless these listing may themselves be misleading, since the harm presented by many of these chemicals (either natural or synthetic) are dependent on environmental conditions. For instance, linalool, which must be listed as an irritant, only causes skin irritation only when it degrades to peroxides, and the use of antioxidants in perfumes could prevent this. European versions of some old favorite perfumes, like chypres and fougeres, which require the use of oakmoss extract, are being reformulated because of these new regulations.

Natural aromatics
Perfume composed only of natural materials can be more expensive due to the cost of some of these materials.[citation needed]
Some natural aromatics contain allergens or even carcinogenic compounds [16] [19].
The use of some natural materials, like sandalwood or musk, can lead to species endangerment and illegal trafficking.
Natural ingredients vary by the times and locations where they are harvested.
Natural ingredients have aromas that are highly complex and are difficult or have been impossible to obtain through modern-day synthetics.

Synthetic aromatics
The production of synthetic materials may contribute to environmental problems, since their production involve known carcinogens such as aromatic hydrocarbons.
Use of synthetic aromatics can make some perfumes available at widely-affordable prices. However, synthetic aromatics as a group are not necessarily cheaper than natural aromatics.
The excessive use of some synthetic materials like nitro-musks and macrocyclic musks has led to pollution problems, such as with the Great Lakes.[citation needed]
There are many newly-created synthetic aromas that bear no olfactory relationship to any natural material.
Synthetic aromatics are more consistent than natural aromatics.

Natural musk
Musk was traditionally taken from the male musk deer Moschus moschiferus. This requires the killing of the animal in the process. Although the musk pod is produced only by a young male deer, musk hunters usually did not discriminate between the age and sex of the deers. Due to the high demand of musk and indiscriminate hunting, populations were severely depleted. As a result, the deer is now protected by law and international trade of musk from Moschus moschiferus is prohibited:

“ Musk deer are protected under national legislation in many countries where they are found. The musk deer populations of Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan are included in Appendix I of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This means that these musk deer and their derivatives are banned from international commercial trade. [10] ”

Due to the rarity and high price of natural musk, as well as for legal and ethical reasons, it is the policy of many perfume companies to use synthetic musk instead. Numerous synthetic musks of high quality are readily available and approved safe by IFRA. However, many synthetic musks have been found in human fat, mother's milk [11], and the bottom of the Great Lakes [12], .

Preserving perfume
Fragrance compounds in perfumes will degrade or break down if improperly stored in the presence of:

Extraneous organic materials
Proper preservation of perfumes involve keeping them away from sources of heat and storing them where they will not be exposed to light. An opened bottle will keep its aroma intact for up to a year, as long as it is full or nearly so, but as the level goes down, the presence of oxygen in the air that is contained in the bottle will alter the perfume's smell character, eventually distorting them.[1]

Perfumes are best preserved when kept in light-tight aluminium bottles or in their original packaging when not in use, and refrigerated at a relatively low temperatures between 3-7 degrees Celsius. Although it is difficult to completely remove oxygen from the headspace of a stored flask of fragrance, opting for spray dispensers instead of rollers and "open" bottles will minimize oxygen exposure. Sprays also have the advantage of isolating fragrance inside a bottle and preventing it from mixing with dust, skin, and detritus, which will degrade and alter the quality of a perfume.

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October 18, 2017
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