Perfumes and deodorants have become an integral component of people's hygiene. Whether to mask the disagreeable stench of perspiration or to have a pleasant aroma in a room, fragrances have been there for time immemorial. The simple yet lucrative chemistry behind fragrances is what has made it a common commodity across the globe. They generally consist of aroma compounds that are dissolved in a suitable solvent. The aroma compounds are organic compounds that have smell or odor.
Fragrances have been studied, cultivated and updated over thousands of years and thus it is no wonder that there is an exquisitely vast variety of fragrances available nowadays. They are categorized on the basis of multiple parameters such as the type of aromatic compound used, dilution and solvent used, to name a few. Tweaking different parameters alters the chemistry of the perfume and makes it smell different. Fragrances have conventionally been prepared from natural sources, although synthetic fragrances are also commercially available. Synthetic fragrances tend to be much more consistent than their natural counterparts while natural fragrances have much more complex scents.
Body fragrances are an absolute essential, and often divided into Men’s and Women’s fragrances. These subtle differences in how perfumes smell are accomplished by altering the composition of essential oils or aroma compounds, altering the dilution of the components or the solvent used. The most concentrated products are designated as parfum, eau de Cologne is the least concentrated. The solvent employed can be conventional spirit or alcohol or it may be essential oils such as that of Jojoba. The concentration of a fragrance is a direct measure of how strong the perfume will smell, and how long it will last. Higher concentrations smell stronger and last longer. Although the durability is a positive factor, diluted concentrations can give rise to a subtle and light fragrance at the cost of lesser lasting time. Aromatic sources can be of plant origins such as bark, flowers, fruits, roots, seeds, terpenes, and resins, or of animal origin, such as civet, hyraceum, honeycomb, castoreum, ambergris, and musk. Each of these sources imparts a characteristic flavor to the fragrance. Lichens and seaweed are also sometimes used as a source of essential oils. Additionally, fragrances can be synthetic, wherein the aroma compound is synthesized using organic synthesis.
Fragrances have been traditionally classified into floral, woody, oriental and leather to name a few. Citrus and fruity fragrances are relatively modern. Women’s Fragrances tend to have more floral notes than the male counterparts which tend to have musky notes. Natural fragrances have deep and complex fragrant notes, with subtleties, while synthetic fragrances have a pure and pronounced fragrance. The application of a perfume is also pertinent to its efficacy as most perfumes are released as the solvent is heated. The intensity and smell of a fragrance will also depend on the diet as well as the skin texture of the user.