For thousands of years, humans have used perfumes to hide or enhance our smell. We love to use fragrances that emulate the scents given off in nature.
These days, many perfumes are made from both natural and artificial ingredients. However, due to differences in body chemistry, you will find that the smell produced by any given fragrance differs from person to person.
Where Did Perfume Come From?
Perfume creation has existed for thousands of years. The first recorded production of perfume occurred between 2000 and 1001 BC. However, archaeological evidence discovered on the island of Cyprus suggests that perfume was being used long before this time.
By the early part of the 13th century, perfume creation made its way over to the European continent. By the latter part of the 14th Century, alcohol was introduced to the process of perfume production.
However, it was in Southern France in the 16th Century that saw a fundamental change in how perfumes were being produced. A noblewoman by the name of Catherine de Medici who lived in the town of Grasse brought a pefurmer from Italy to create a fragrance for her.
Today, Grasse is considered the “perfume capital of the world.” It has a perfect climate for growing many of the flowers that are used today to make the many varieties of perfumes that we love to wear.
Although most perfumes contain some amount of synthetic ingredients, there are still a few perfume ingredients that can only be found in nature.
There are many natural ingredients used by the perfume industry today. Below, we look at the kinds of flowers used in perfume production.
But before we do, we will briefly explain how perfumes are made and how flowers are used to produce some of the best-selling scents available on the market today.
A Brief Look At How Perfumes Are Made
If you have never seen how the perfume you are wearing is made, you may find it a fascinating process. It is a process that has taken the perfume industry thousands of years to perfect.
If you know nothing about the perfume production process, you probably think that the perfume you are wearing is made up of artificial floral scents. And yes, some brands do use man-made ingredients. These synthetic perfumes often use petrochemicals to help create their classic scent.
But there are also plenty of companies choosing to make natural perfumes. There has been an increase in people wanting to wear nature-inspired fragrances. They do so because they feel they are better for their health and the environment.
When it comes to making perfumes with natural scents, there are four stages involved.
Stage 1 – Collection
Flowers used in perfumes need to be collected first. They are harvested worldwide and are usually picked by hand to ensure their fragrance profile remains intact.
Stage 2 – Extraction
To extract the oils from the flowers, several methods can be used. During this stage, techniques such as steam distillation, enfleurage, maceration, solvent extraction, or expression may be used.
Stage 3 – Blending
After the oils have been collected, the next stage occurs, the blending process. The mixing is carried out by a master in this field, who has a nose for choosing the right floral scent combination. In some cases, this can involve a mix of up to 800 different floral ingredients. It could also take several years before the right scent is created.
Stage 4 – Aging
Most are unaware that aging the perfume is another important step in the perfume production process. Like a fine wine, a perfume may be left to age for several months or years after it has been blended with other natural materials.
Now that you have a better understanding of what is involved in creating perfumes made from natural materials, let’s look at some of the flowers used.
What Kinds Of Flowers Are Used In Perfume Creation
Buying perfume not only for yourself but for others can be a real treat. But with so many different floral fragrances available, choosing the right one can prove a challenge.
When looking for the perfect perfume, you will come across many that contain a whole range of different floral notes. As you will see below, a wide variety of fragrant flowers is used to create such products.
We’ve listed the most commonly used flowers today that helps give each perfume a unique floral fragrance.
This is a very popular ingredient used in the creation of perfumes. A rose perfume tends to have a vibrant and refreshing scent. Often the roses are harvested just after sunset as this is when their natural sweet scent is at its strongest.
The white flowers of this plant have a delicate sweet smell to them. For this reason, this is a prevalent ingredient used in the making of perfumes.
This blue flower has base notes that create a sweet and heady fragrance. It is also quite heavy yet still smells fresh and comes with a slight citrus note. Due to the mix of scents, it is one of the most exciting ingredients in nature to be used in perfume.
These fragrant flowers’ flamboyant petals provide a very intoxicating and distinctive smell. Although often used in perfumes associated with older women, when combined with other flowers, this scent can be enjoyable to wear by younger women as well.
There isn’t a flower scent that encapsulates the term “spring” quite like the one produced by the freesia flower. First, you smell a light scent before the middle notes of this scent come to the fore, after which it gains a little more depth. Perfumes that include the oils of this flower are perfect to wear all year round.
Like many flowers in this list, Lavender has a very distinctive scent. Not only does it smell incredible, but it can provide the wearer with specific health benefits as well. You’ll find that as you smell the heart notes of this particular flower, you’ll feel calmer.
If you love the smell of lavender but are looking for a perfume that is a little more flowery rather than herbal, choose one that contains hyacinth oil. It is very similar to lavender but comes with a much sweeter scent.
This plant’s delicate pink and white flowers produce a pretty, fresh scent. In some cases, they can also include middle notes that you may find a little heady after a few sniffs. Of all the peony flowers used in creating perfumes, the Charlie’s White variety tend to be used the most. Its large round white flowers produce a very distinctive and delicious scent.
This white flower, like some of other blooms we mentioned in this article, comes with a very distinctive scent. It is so distinctive that it is a popular raw material used in perfumes today. Indeed you will find that many of the synthetic fragrances you buy will not be able to replicate the smell that this beautiful flower gives off.
Tuberose looks very similar to gardenia and jasmine flowers. And like them, it is bursting with scent, which is why the fragrant liquids extracted from this bloom prove to be one of the most popular materials in perfumery production.
This flower has been grown for centuries and has proven popular throughout history when making perfumes. Violet flowers produce a very sweet, classic powdery scent. Over time the scent changes, and the fragrance becomes more refined and airy.
This flower is grown in South-East Asia and is referred to as the “poor man’s jasmine.” Like jasmine, the scent given off by this plant’s flowers is very exotic, rich, and intense.
The Ylang Ylang flower is now one of the most expensive floral ingredients used to make any natural perfume. This is because it takes around 400 kilos of the plant’s flowers to make just 1 kilo of its oil. It could even be referred to as liquid gold as the trees on which this flower grows can only produce around 10 kilos of them each year.
This beautiful flower comes in a variety of colors. Like roses and lavender, it has been used for centuries in perfume production. It was quite popular during the Victorian Era due to the fresh scent that it gives off.
The best time to collect and extract the oils from this flower is mid to late spring. If left any later, they will have wilted and lost their scent when summer comes around.
The fragrance that the flowers of this plant produces have become a trendy natural ingredient used in perfumes.
The Frangipani tree grows in warm tropical areas like Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, and the Pacific Islands. The oil extracted from its colorful flowers has been used in perfume production for over 700 years.
Frangipani gives the right kind of top or heart note to a perfume. It also helps to provide perfumes with a sophisticated, rich floral fragrance. It has been widely hybridized, and each variety of this flower produces its unique scent.
As discussed above, you find yourself spoilt for choice when buying perfume. Each of these comes with a unique scent and can smell different from one person to another.
So when it comes to deciding which of these best suits your taste and personality may want to try a few out. You will notice that each perfume comes with different floral scents as you do your research. Some you may find enticing, while others may suddenly bring back a memory.
Which floral fragrance combination would you like your perfume to have? Above, we have shown you just a few of the ones frequently used by the perfume industry. Hopefully, you will be able to look the different scents listed and decide which ones you would like the most.
A Word Of Warning
But be wary. Just because a perfume you are looking at claims to contain natural scents, this may not always be the case. Unfortunately, the less expensive perfumes you see for sale, in Walmart or other discount stores, tend to contain little or no natural oils from the Jasmin Grandiflorum or Rosa Centifolia flowers.
Most inexpensive perfumes are often made using synthetic fragrances. These have been created in a laboratory intended to mimic the real thing. But what you will find with such perfumes is that the scent produced by them doesn’t last as long. This isn’t the case when natural fragrant flowers are used in perfume production.
Instead, it is worth spending just a little more on buying a perfume made from the essential oils of some or all of the flowers we’ve mentioned above. Not only will the scent last longer, but it will also change over the time it is worn. Flowers used in the production of perfumes may start out by giving off quite a strong scent that then becomes much lighter and fresher.
Let us know what you think of this article, and tell us what kinds of flowers are used in perfumes you like the most.