Essential oils and perfume.


Essential oils were at one time apart from musk virtually the only ingredients in perfume. It is reputed that none of the perfumiers in Grasse in Southern France ever caught the plague despite it being rife in the area.

Making perfumes from essential oils is not difficult, though experience with blending oils and knowing quantities to balance out the different aromas needs experience. Many perfumes use nine essential oils, three for base notes, three for middle notes and three for top notes. However some oils contain two or even all three notes. The top notes come from the most volatile compounds and would dissipate quickly without the fixative qualities of the oils containing the base notes.

The blending is usually done in one of two ways.

  1. The first method involves blending the three base note oils together, the tree middle note oils and the three top notes. These three blends are then blended.
  2. The second method is to make three blends, each containing a base, a middle and a top note and then combining the three blends.

The final mix is then diluted with alcohol (ethanol).  Because the sale of ethanol is regulated by HM revenue and customs in UK at least, it is difficult to get hold of. However Polish spirit of Vodka can be used instead.

Because most essential oils have a limited shelf life it is best not to make up large quantities at once but only what you are going to use.

Oils that I like include, vanilla, bergamot and jasmine.

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