Aromatherapy - Fragrance (Perfume) Glossary
- absolute - an alcohol extract of a concentrate to remove waxes and
most odorless materials, producing an alcohol - soluble liquid or semi-liquid oil. It is
the most concentrated form of perfumery material.
- accord - The basic character or theme of a fragrance. An perfume
accord comes about when three or four notes blend together and lose their individual
identities to create a new odor.
- alcohol - Specially denatured ethy alcohol is added to a fragrance to
serve as the carrier.
- amber - Obtained from fir trees. Gives a fragrance a very rich, warm
fragrance tone. It is commonly used in fragrances that fall into the "oriental"
- attar (otto) - From the ancient persian word "to smell
sweet". An extracted substance derived from the distillation of flowers. That of the
Bulgarian rose is one of the most precious materials used in perfumery.
- balsam - a water insoluble, semi-solid or viscous, resinous exudate of
trees and bushes similar to gum resins.
- blend - Harmonious mixture of perfumery ingredients.
- body - The main fragrance theme. The heart of the perfume.
- chypre - A fragrance family - a complex of moss mixed with woods,
flowers or fruit odors. Chypre fragrances often contain "oakmoss absolute".
- citrus - Odors from orange, mandarin, lemon, lime etc... Used as top
notes and popular men's colognes.
- compound (composition) - A completed formulation.
- dry down - The final phase of a fragrance, this is what you will smell
hours after application.
- concrete - Extraction of fresh natural plant materials, usually with
non-polar organic solvents (e.g. hexane) which yield, after removal of the solvent by
vacuum distillation, a semi-solid wax. They represent the closest odor duplication of the
flower, bark, leaves etc...
- essential oil - an oil collected in the water distillate during the
production and concentration of fruit juices. Upon seperation from the water, the
remaining oil contains the highly volatile top notes of natural juices. Essential oils are
normally liquid, but in some cases may be solid, depending on temperature. They are the
essence of plants.
- evaporation - The process of changing from a liquid to a vapor.
- FCC - Food Chemicals Codex, the industry-standard listing of
food-grade ingredients; indicates materials safe for use in food and cosmetics.
- fixative - a material which slows down the rate of evaporation of the
more volatile components in a perfume composition.
- fixed oils - non-volatile oils derived from plant materials, commonly
referred to as vegetable oils.
- floral - The most common fragrance family. Either characteristic of a
specific flower or a blend of several flower notes.
- green - A fragrance family whose odor is reminiscent of grass and
- harmonious - VERY IMPORTANT! Odor, accord and unity in fragrance. This
is where you will have to work on your skills.
- harsh - A crude, unbalanced odor. No harmony! This is what you will
discover on your first tries.
- heady - Exhilirating, sparkling, stimulating.
- heart - The core of a perfume composition which gives it its
- heavy - An odor which can be forceful, intense.
- middle notes - The "heart" notes make up a main blend of a
fragrance that classifies the fragrance family or accord.
- note - Indicates an olfactory impression of a single smell, or to
indicate the three parts of a perfume - top note, middle note, base note.
- organ (perfume) - A unit of semi-circular stepped shelving containing
hundreds of bottles of raw materials.
- oriental - A fragrance family devoting heavy, full bodied perfumes.
Often contain "amber".
- perfume (parfum) - most highly concentrated form of fragrance.
- perfume dip sticks - strips of odorless white blotting paper which the
perfumer uses to evaluate a scent as it develops.
- terpeneless - Complete or partial removal of monoterpenic or
hydrocarbons by distillation of an essential oil to: a) improve solubility in diluted
alcohol or food grade solvents. b) increase stability of the oil and prevent the
appearance of rancid notes.
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