Making perfume is hard because you can't make it in big batches.
Perfume crystallises in the bottle; if you try to make a lot of it at once, it becomes a solid lump. It has to be made in small quantities and sold quickly.
This creates a problem, how do you manufacture perfume?
Some companies have solved this by using machines that can work on small amounts of liquid, but most have found another way, they manufacture the perfume out of synthetic chemicals.
They start with some cheap commodity chemicals, then add a few ingredients that are costly and difficult to get. These are the scents, the ones that make the perfume smell like a rose or a lily or a human being.
The scents are mixed together in different proportions according to a formula for each different brand of perfume. A million people may buy one brand of perfume this year, and a million more next year, but they will all be wearing slightly different combinations of scents.
If you want to get rich manufacturing perfume, your best strategy is probably to figure out some way to manufacture it out of synthetic chemicals.
You can then sell perfumes more cheaply than anyone else because you don’t have to waste money on scents. If you can make enough profit margin on selling the perfume!
One of the most common scents in perfume is a compound called vanillin. One way to make vanillin is to find some vanilla beans and distil them.
The result will smell pretty good, but it won’t smell like vanilla. It will smell like vanilla plus something else , something that smells a little like rum and a little like flower and a little like whisky and a little like smoke and a little like caramel and a little like burned sugar and a little like leather and so on. That extra something is called “the note.”
The art of perfume making lies in identifying the right combination of notes for your particular brand.
A lot of the notes in perfume are synthetic: they don’t come from vanilla or roses or jasmine or ambergris, they come from factories. One of the most famous factories is Givaudan’s perfumery in Geneva.
The perfume industry is an industry which has taken a modern approach towards life. The market for perfumes is growing rapidly with the technological advancements of the industry. If you are planning to make an air freshener or perfume, then choosing the right type of fragrance will be most important.
Hence, in this article, I will tell you how is perfume manufactured on a large scale.
Perfume is typically made up of an aromatic concentrated liquid that’s usually combined with alcohol and water to make a solution for usage with a spray bottle.
The liquid tends to be an essence (extract or oil) derived from the essential oils of flowers, leaves, roots, barks, stems, fruit rinds, resins, or other sources. It requires great technical skill to infuse these essences into alcohol so that it ends up being a perfume mixture of high quality.
Perfume is a mixture of scents or odours that are prepared by mixing essential oils, aromatic organic compounds, fixatives and solvents. Perfume has been in use for about 3000 years, ever since the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Rome and Greece started using perfumed preparations.
Perfume manufacturing is not something you can do without some prior education.
Perfumery is something that only became possible in this century. Before then, perfumes were manufactured on a relatively small scale, by individual perfumers who mixed different herbs, spices etc together to make scent for themselves or their friends.
The first person to manufacture perfume on a large scale was Madame Guerlain, who invented the concept of Eau de Cologne in 1709. French perfume manufacturers are still world leaders today.
If you want to manufacture perfumes you will need to know what ingredients are needed, how they are made and how they are stored. You will need to know about extraction and distillation techniques as well as common chemical reactions such as reduction and oxidation.
Perfumes and fragrances are made of mixtures of volatile and semi-volatile chemicals that may be extracted from natural sources (essential oils) or prepared synthetically.
A perfume is typically composed of several odour contributing components, which are often called fragrance materials. Aromatic chemicals like esters, ketones, aldehydes, and alcohols are the most common types of fragrance materials used in perfumes. These chemicals give perfumes their unique scents and may account for up to 90% of the mixture.
Perfume ingredients ,chemicals,can be found naturally occurring in botanical sources such as essential oils and extracts taken from plants and trees. The process by which essential oils and absolutes are extracted from botanical raw materials varies according to the chemical constituents present in the plant material. Some material is obtained through steam distillation of aromatic portions of plants such as petals, leaves, wood etc., while others are obtained through solvent extraction processes, such as cold pressing or enfleurage.”
Perfume is manufactured in what are called fragrance houses.
The industry began in France in the early nineteenth century, and the centre of it has since moved to New York. The main raw material used by the perfumers is a fluid known as perfume oil, which is made up of dozens or even hundreds of components dissolved in alcohol.
Perfumes are custom-made blends of these components, which are classified according to their odour profile—floral, woody, musky, citrusy, marine, sweet, dry, etc.—and are extracted from natural sources such as flowers or trees or grasses or roots or seaweed or insects.
Perfume oil comes in large glass flasks that are stored on shelves along with thousands of other flasks. As you walk through the fragrance house you get a faint whiff of everything being made there—which means that if you visit at least fifty fragrance houses in your lifetime you will never smell repetition.
Perfume oils are expensive to make and difficult to make well. It takes hundreds of pounds of jasmine blossoms to make a pound of good-quality jasmine oil; other oils require thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds of other ingredients.
Perfume factories are housed in large buildings called fragrance houses, which may be anywhere from one to four stories in height. The size of the house is determined by how many different scent families the perfumer makes.
The number of scents made in one fragrance house at any given time depends on its size, the number of perfumers it employs, and the scale at which they work. Scents can be made with raw materials ranging in cost from $2 for a kilogram of musk to $400,000 for a kilogram of jasmine essential oil.
Perfumers often share raw materials. They may not need more than a few milligrams of some ingredients, so they will pool their supplies with others who use them.
There are Three Kinds of Perfume Ingredients.
- Essential oils are distilled directly from plants or plant products (such as orange peels). These include petitgrain from the leaves and twigs of grapefruit trees.
- Opoponax from a resin-producing shrub found in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries; angelica root from a plant that grows wild throughout Europe and Asia; neroli from bitter orange blossoms.
- Yang-ylang from a tree native to Indonesia; labdanum from rock
Fragrance is a complex process that begins by extracting the scents from flowers. The raw materials, or raw olfactory material (ROM) as it is known in the industry, are then blended and diluted at several different stages to produce a number of different fragrance products.
The most common raw material comes from an oil extracted from the petals of roses by steam distillation. Other popular flower sources include jasmine, ylang ylang and lavender.
The petals are placed in a huge stainless-steel container and boiled with water, causing the oils to evaporate and rise as steam into a condenser where they are collected for use as either rose absolute or rose concrete.
The petals left over after the oil has been extracted can be used as an ingredient in cosmetics such as soaps and bath gels.
The Perfumer is not a cookl
They do not make things from scratch. Instead, they use a palette of scents that already exist. The raw materials for these scents are chemicals, and the perfumer’s job is to arrange them into pleasing combinations.
Eau de cologne is made of five or six different scents that come in large containers, like paint cans. They arrive at the factory already made and just need to be blended together in the right proportions.
To make a perfume out of such ingredients, you start with a blend of pure scents and then add, drop by drop, tiny amounts of alcohol and water. The drops are so small that they form a kind of cloud around you as you spray it on yourself, and each one smells slightly different from all the others.
Fragrance houses are secretive places. You might think that would make them mysterious. In fact, it makes them prosaic. What happens here is not a mystery, not a glamorous story about “the art of perfume,” but the ordinary business of science.
The fragrance house is, in fact, a factory—a factory for making molecules. It has several rooms full of machines that can take the raw materials oil and alcohol and manipulate them into elaborate structures called molecules. The molecules made by one machine will be used as starting materials by others; some will be thrown away, others will be bottled and sold.
It is easy to understand why factories are secretive: it is because they are factories. Their real business is not to sell perfumes but to make money, and the best way to make money is to keep your techniques secret. But what about science? One might imagine scientists would want to be open about their work for two reasons: first, so other people could build on it; second, so they could take credit for their ideas.
But scientists do not work this way. The ones who succeed are like the fragrance houses—secretive. Even when they publish papers, they bury their real insights in a mass of details about how they made their measurements—details
Where is and How is Perfume Bottled?
Most perfume is not bottled in France. It is bottled in the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland.
Perfume is made up of some very volatile liquids that evaporate easily. They are mixed with alcohol, so they don’t evaporate as quickly. Then they are put into bottles and capped with corks or screw tops. The perfume industry has gone to great lengths to make sure that the liquids stay in the bottles until you open them.
The first step is to put the perfume mixture into containers made of glass or plastic. Smaller containers are filled first, then bigger ones. When the container has been filled, it is stoppered with an airtight seal that keeps out air, but allows you to smell the perfume when you remove the cap. A large tank (a “receiving vat”) of liquid is used to fill smaller containers (called “batches”). The batches are transferred from one container to another by means of a tube called a “pipeline.” The pipeline moves slowly so the perfume mixes completely without being disturbed by turbulence.*
Once a batch has been filled, it is sealed with a stopper made of cork or plastic. There may be more than one stopper between you and the bottle’s contents.
View the videos below to see the operations.
These videos show the speed of production, filling and bottling perfume.