Perfumers designate as natural all materials that are obtained from natural sources by the application of physical separation techniques such as distillation and extraction. Natural products have been used for many thousands of years as the raw materials of perfumery. Entire plants, flowers, fruits, seeds, leaves, as well as woods, roots, and the resins they exude, are all natural sources of fragrance materials. Similarly the scent glands of animals such as the civet cat and the musk deer have been used since the early civilization to provide perfume for humans.
In the Middle ages Arab scientists developed the technique of steam distillation by which concentrated essential oils could be prepared by passing steam through moistened plant materials and then cooling and collecting the distillate. These oils, originally intended and used for medicinal purposes, in time also came to be used in perfumery. Today steam distillation is still one of the most important methods of producing natural perfumery materials. Some essential oils, such as those which occur in the skins of citrus fruits, are more usually produced by direct expression from the plant material.
Today there are several thousand synthetically produced aroma chemicals potentially available to the perfumer. Many of these - for example, vanillin, the rose oxides and the damascones - were first discovered in nature and subsequently synthesized. Others are the fruit of a chemist’s imagination and have never been found in nature. For the last hundred years, the history of perfumery has been dominated by the creation of new synthetic aromatic chemicals.
Fragrances today are usually a blend of naturals and aroma chemicals. A customer that requests an “all natural fragrance” should be prepared for a much higher cost compared to a fragrance containing a blend of naturals and synthetics. Another consideration would be a much shorter shelf life for natural fragrances. Aroma chemicals are more stable than natural materials. Many of the beautiful women’s colognes and personal care products are very hard to create with only natural components. A blend is the best way to create a beautiful and complex aroma.
When creating a natural fragrance, the perfumer is slightly limited. However, the experienced perfumers at Chemia Corporation can overcome this obstacle to create a perfect blend of natural materials to further enhance your natural product and help your natural line succeed.