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Why Flowers Are Still The Preferred Source For Better Perfumes

Aug 17, 2007
Have you ever taken a stroll through a flower garden and been overwhelmed by the pleasing array of floral smells? The gentle weight of nature's aroma can lighten our moods and makes even the sunniest day brighter. The power of flowers' aromas is not lost on the designers of perfumes and fragrances. Actually, flowers make up a major source for perfume manufacturers.

While perfumes can be made from many different substances, like fruits, herbs, trees, grasses, tobacco and chocolate, and sometimes even from animal products, their base is very often the scent from flowers. Each particular flower has a particular smell that can add a unique quality to a perfume. Some flowers can produce even more than one aroma. Roses, for instance, are all called roses, but each type, from your grandmother's heirlooms to the miniature ones sold in a grocery store offer minute variations on the theme of the aroma of a rose.

The difference in the smell of a flower can even start to be studied like the differences between the flavors of a wine. Things like the weather where the flower grew, soil conditions, even whether or not pesticides were used to care for the plant, all affect the way its flowers will smell.

Fragrance makers are finely aware of these things and select accordingly. But just having the right flower is not enough. Fragrance makers isolate the essential oils, the essence of aromas, from plants and flowers to use in their products. Essential oils can be extracted from pretty much any organic substance, but by far the most common ones used in fragrance making are rose, jasmine and orange flowers. Another flower, slightly less commonly used, is the ylang-ylang flower.

The use of roses for perfumes dates to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and rose based perfumes make up 70% of perfumes made. The most popular cultivars of perfume rose are the Damask Rose and Rosa Centifolia. Roses for perfumes are picked at night, which preserves their aroma.

Like roses destined to be perfumes, perfume bound jasmine flowers are picked at night. Also, they are processed and refined as soon as possible, to preserve quality. Jasmine is highly finicky and demanding, but just as highly important, as it is found in more than three quarters of the perfumes manufactured today.

Orange blossoms that are going into perfumes come not from Florida but mainly from Europe and Africa. The oil that comes from orange blossoms gives off a fresh and zesty clean smelling aroma that pleases the senses. What's more, essential orange oils need not only be drawn from orange blossoms. The entire orange tree can provide them, from the bark to the leaves, even the rind of oranges themselves.

The ylang-ylang flower is the most exotic of the common ingredients in perfumes. It is found only in Southeast Asia. The best ylang-ylang flowers are harvested only after the buds have been open for a couple weeks, and then immediately processed, like jasmine.

Bearing these things in mind, when you choose a fragrance, it is a good idea to first choose a floral scent that you like. Then, research to see which perfumes use that flower and go to the department stores or a perfume shop and sniff out the right perfume for you.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as inexpensive perfume at http://www.cheapcologneandperfume.com
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