How is Perfume Made?

Perfumes, an inevitable part of everyday personal care have a rich history that few know about! The word ‘Perfume’ is Latin made from the terms ‘Per’ meaning through and ‘Fumun’ meaning smoke. The word describes nature’s aroma that we get from flora and fauna. Since perfumes were extracted from the natural oils of plant parts during ancient times, they got the name.

The use of perfumes began much earlier in the archaic period. Humans felt the need to enhance their body odor with scents produced from nature’s elements like flowers, herbs, spices, and oils. The substances were pressed, extracted, burned, or steamed to produce a scent.

It made the surrounding air smell fresh and pleasant. But, today, the ingenious art of perfume manufacturing emerged as a multi-billion dollar industry globally as perfumes become an essential part of people’s lifestyles.

From elevating one’s character and mood to making a style statement with the attire, perfume does a lot! But, have you ever wondered how is perfume made? Well, that’s what we are going to explore in this blog. Through this blog, we want to ensure you know how the perfume gets its glorious aroma the next time you use it.

Here, we will explore several aspects. It includes the history of perfumes, ingredients, manufacturing process, storage and preservation, the future of perfume, and so on. Be ready to unveil with us many surprising facts as you read ahead.

Interesting History of Perfumes and Perfume-Making Unfolded

Before you ask what perfumes are made of or how scent is made, you need to understand the history and evolution of perfumes.  

Perfumes were used centuries ago, and it was an evident part of the Egyptian culture with diverse uses. From religious rituals to making aromatic body lotions, the use of fragrances was needed in different ways for embalming the situation. Even the deities were marked by scents and referred to as the ‘Fragrance of the Gods’.

Later, the art of perfume making gained momentum in Greece and Rome to the Far East and Europe. In the 13th century, perfume samples were the gifts that crusaders brought from Palestine. It gradually became a trend in England and France. However, much later in the 17th century, Europeans started using perfumes for their healing properties.

Physicians covered the mouths and noses of plague patients with masks or leather pouches containing cloves, cinnamon, or any such spices. Such an action prevented further contagion in them.

In that era, perfume became a crucial element in clothing, furniture, walls, decorations, and jewelry. Scents were imparted to these to give them a luxury aroma. Perfume makers used all types of aromatic woods, flowers, spices, fruits, and herbs and extracted oil from the plants to create a fragrance.

However, it was later in the mid-1800s that mass manufacturing of perfumes started. The evolution in the making and use of perfumes came surprisingly after the introduction of synthetic chemicals. The first synthetic perfume to get famous and marketed worldwide was nitrobenzene, made of nitric acid and benzene.

By experimenting with different synthetic compounds, there came up novel aromas in the market which replicated the natural scents of rose, lilies, cinnamon, lemongrass, myrrh, sandalwood, etc.

As the art of making perfume advanced over time, the artistry of perfume bottles evolved too!

Earlier, the bottles were just mere containers to hold the fragrances. With time, perfume makers came up with exotic specimens of bottles as they were used for gifting, religious ceremonies, etc.

The finest craftsmanship in perfume bottle manufacturing was seen in the 1800s when bottles in the shape of tiny animals, birds, or painted pastoral scenes were marketed. To keep up an exotic appeal, manufacturers craft perfume fascinating bottles delicately even today!

It reflects the uniqueness of the fragrances inside them while making them appealing to the customers.

Key Ingredients Used For Making Perfume

When learning about how is perfume made, the first question that pops up is what the perfume-making ingredients are.

Since primeval times, oils extracted from organic ingredients like plants, woods, flowers, fruits, and animal secretions have been used for creating perfumes. While these are direct ingredients used for perfume making, other resources you need in the manufacturing process are charcoal, tars, petrochemicals, and alcohol.

While these are used for making perfumes with natural scents, perfumes without natural fragrances are made using essential oils and synthetic chemicals. Those are usually the perfumes with the most uncommon but pleasant scents you can never come across elsewhere.

Most-used natural ingredients

The primary ingredients used in the manufacture of perfumes are nature’s elements, like parts of plants. Here are some of the most common natural ingredients used ever since perfume-making became a thing in the world.    

Rose petals

  • Jasmine
  • Vanilla
  • Myrrh
  • Lavender
  • Oakmoss
  • Essential oils such as citrus, lavender, eucalyptus, and citronella

Synthetic ingredients

While fragrance manufacturing in the early days mostly involved natural ingredients, later people used a lot of synthetic chemicals to invent rare fragrances. Some of the common synthetic ingredients are:

  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • Linalool
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Benzaldehyde
  • Camphor
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Acetone
  • Limonene

Uncommon natural ingredients

Some of the exotic ingredients that makers use to produce extraordinary scents are the following. However, these are restricted at present for animal protection and ethical reasons.

  • Animal secretions
  • Castor from beavers
  • Ambergris from the sperm whale
  • Musk from male deer

Raw materials

While we mentioned the common ingredients, natural and synthetic, let’s now sum up all the raw materials needed in the perfume formulation.

  • Flowers
  • Fruits
  • Grass
  • Wood
  • Resins
  • Leaves
  • Balsams
  • Roots
  • Gums
  • Synthetic chemicals

The Original Process of Perfume Manufacturing: At A Glance

The process of perfume-making is a blend of art and science. Whether the perfume is made with natural ingredients or chemical ingredients, the manufacturing process is rigorous with each step having its significance in the creation of a unique aroma.

If you are truly interested in knowing how is perfume made, here’s a step-by-step explanation for you.

1. Collection of ingredients

The first step is, of course, gathering the multiple ingredients used for making the fragrance. Natural ingredients like plant substances are cultivated and sourced from local suppliers. Likewise, manufacturers handpick the synthetic substances or ingredients by choosing the best suppliers around the world.

The animal secretions are extracted from the fatty acids of the animals that are caged. Since that is a harsh process altogether, the use of animal secretions is prohibited nowadays, and we also do not promote that.

Once all the ingredients are gathered, the process of extraction begins.

2. Oil extraction

To learn about how perfume is made, you must become aware of the process of ‘extraction’. Oil extraction is an indispensable step for making fragrances or colognes out of natural ingredients. During the method, oils are extracted from the plant substances, such as flowers, fruits, roots, leaves, etc.

Needless to say, extraction methods have varied for different types of ingredients used since ancient times. Also, some of the methods are easier and used by households to create perfume in small batches.

Solvent extraction

This is a primary method of extraction useful for extracting oils from the flowers. Hundreds of flowers are put in a huge rotating drum or tank. Flowers are then poured with benzene or petroleum ether. When the flowers gradually dissolve in the solvent, they release a waxy substance that contains the oils.

To produce the perfume oil, the waxy substance is then separated and diffused in the ethyl alcohol. The oil dissolves in the ethyl alcohol and rises above for being lighter in weight. Using heat, alcohol is evaporated, leaving highly concentrated oil at the bottom, which is the final fragrance oil.

Steam distillation

As the name suggests, the process makes use of steam, and it is quite interesting to know how perfume is made under the influence of steam. At the start of the process, the perfume makers put the natural ingredients, especially the plant materials into a still, which is a special apparatus used for the distillation of alcohols.

The ingredients remain still until they extract any oily substance, which distills to form gas. The gas is then transferred through tubes to a separate container. Allowing it to cool down and eventually liquefy is permitted.

While the actual process of steam distillation, many manufacturers prefer to extract the oil by boiling the plant ingredients like petals in the water.  


The oldest and easiest extraction process is expression, mostly used in ancient times to extract scent from plant materials like leaves. It involves pressing the plants by hand or mechanically. No doubt, the process was done manually in the early days to extract oil for producing small batches of perfumes.

Much later, the expression technique evolved into a mechanical process when special equipment was used for extracting larger quantities of oils from leaves, flowers, roots, and other plant materials.


Another interesting method of extraction used in perfume manufacture is enfleurage, which is a scientific technique for capturing the fragrant compounds discharged by the plant materials.

In this method, all the flowers or plant materials are placed across large glass sheets coated with grease. The sheets are then kept in tiers and in between wood frames. The flowers are spread gently by hand from the sheets and placed with new ones until the grease absorbs the fragrance from all of them. So, technically, this is a manual process of how fragrances are made.


This process is quite similar to enfleurage where heated up fats are applied instead of grease to absorb the fragrance from the flowers. Later, fats are dissolved in alcohol just like the solvent extraction process to extract the fragrance.  

3. Blending the ingredients

This is theoretically the last step in perfume manufacturing for you to learn if you are interested in knowing how are perfumes made. This step exercises the artistry and science of fragrance making. At this stage, the master, referred to as ‘nose’ in the factory determines a secretive formula, to blend the ingredients and produce the desired fragrance.

The formula implies the proportion of each ingredient to use in the blending process. This manufacturing process step is challenging yet interesting because any number of ingredients can be blended. To produce the most exotic fragrance, a master can mix as many as 500 ingredients. However, in those cases, it might take years to develop the formula for blending.

Using the formula, the perfume makes all the ingredients. Alcohol and water in a certain quantity are used to dilute the ingredients and produce the scent! The amount of alcohol varies with each type of cologne produced. Usually, a majority of fragrances have 10% to 20% perfume oils in alcohol along with a small amount of water.

It is the ratio of the alcohol to cologne that determines the strength of the odor. Given that, branded or luxury perfumes have the highest concentration of oils and hence, are costlier too! On the other hand, local perfumes or body mists have the lowest concentration of oils and have higher alcohol and water, which makes them a cheaper alternative for colognes.

4. Aging

We cannot forget about the process of ‘aging’ while talking about how is perfume made! It is not a mechanical or manual step of perfume manufacturing but a vital condition through which the perfume is passed.

Just like wine that tastes better as it ages, perfumes also get better after it’s allowed to age for some time after blending. While some perfumes are aged for months, some are aged for years, which enables the ingredients (oils and alcohol) to progressively bind with each other. This gives out the most exotic and strong scent.

Following the aging, the nose smells the perfume to ensure a great scent is cooked up due to the correct blending of the ingredients. The fragrance of the perfume at this point is much stronger than what it was before aging. Also, the perfume manufacturers can mix other ingredients or make adjustments in the composition to fine-tune the scent.

Here’s a little more detail of the ‘aging’ process if you are eager to learn how to make perfume.

Perfume makers assigned three notes to the scents of essential oils and perfumes.

Top notes, central/heart notes, and base notes.

The top notes are tangy or citrus smells, central notes refer to the pleasant aromas or smell of flowers, and base notes are the woody fragrances. More notes mean a more striking aroma and endurance of the fragrance. But, usually, top notes are better for producing scent for the body, and base notes are useful for giving enduring fragrances to objects.

5. Quality control

Before the perfumes hit the stores, they go through a quality control process. This is again a mandatory step to ensure that the end product does not have any toxic or banned ingredients, which could affect the brand's reputation.

Most natural ingredients are extracts from plants’ materials and in rare cases, animals. This makes quality control a necessary step to ensure that only industrially-approved ingredients are used in creating fragrances.

That’s it! This is how cologne is made all over the world. We are sure you are amazed by the intricacy of the processes used for making a fragrance.

Essentials to Consider For Perfume Design and Branding

Perfume products are a lot about packaging as they help protect the fragrance. However, more importantly, they draw the attention of customers and help a company to sell more units in the market. This makes perfume package designs an integral element for branding.

The packaging offers a visual and physical experience to the buyers. When they touch the perfume bottle, they can feel its texture or weight. Perfume makers prefer the extraordinary color of the glass bottle that emits a subtle shine or radiance! That makes the bottle a visual treat for them, which they can’t wait to hold in their hands.

So, what to consider for your perfume packaging design? Here are the factors to consider that ensure an appealing shopping experience for customers while promoting branding.

1. Bottle Design

If you are a perfume maker, give top priority to designing the bottle as it has the potential to be a prime identifier of your product. You already knew about this, right? Most famous perfume brands like Jo Malone and My Burberry have such distinctive and exquisite bottle shapes that everyone can easily recall what brand it is upon seeing them.

Many luxury brands even try to make the shape of bottles reminiscent of diamonds, i.e., smaller, precisely carved, and finished. They do so to justify the higher prices they charge for the most uncommon fragrances. Also, a correct shape sends a message whether the perfume is for males or females.  

2. Cap Design

The cap design is another essential aspect that needs attention. Caps should be as elegant as the bottles! That’s why most perfume bottle developers put extra effort into giving an artistic appeal to the caps.

It makes the bottles spectacular from tip to toe, ensuring they are a perfect showpiece in the cosmetic racks.

3. Label Design

Label design holds immense importance for branding the perfume along with the boxes. The label holds vital details apart from the brand name, such as the fragrance name and quantity.

When it comes to designing the label, makers consider the design and shape of the bottle. For a simple bottle, a more distinctive label is recommended with a logo, interesting colors, and decorative embellishments like ornamental frames. However, if the bottle has an extraordinary design, it is better to keep the label minimalist with the details to ensure all the attention is on the bottle.

4. Box Design

The perfume box holds more importance to the customers as it is necessary for keeping the bottle safer or for gifting. It is, therefore, considered an after-purchase branding element. However, that does not mean you can skip designing or improving the box of your perfumes for branding.

Opening the box of perfume is an exciting experience for everyone as it is for opening a gift. So, make sure you design the box aesthetically using premium materials like glossier paper and ornamental labeling.

How to Store and Preserve Perfume?

Just knowing how is perfume made isn’t enough if you are passionate about collecting fragrances and using them. You need to know about the conditions for storing perfumes to preserve their scent and quality. Perfect storage conditions ensure the longevity of the perfumes by keeping their fragrance fresh and intact.

These are the optimal storage conditions that perfume manufacturers advocate for storing their products so that their statement scents always smell great!

1. A cool and dark place

Heat, excessive light, and too cold or hot temperatures affect the quality of perfumes slowly with time. Even their quality deteriorates when they come in contact with excessive humidity or moisture, like in bathrooms. Therefore, it is essential to keep the perfumes in a cool and dry place.

2. No contact with heat sources

Keep perfumes away from any heat sources like radiators or gas stoves as it causes a breakdown of their chemical composition or blend of ingredients. That leads to absolute spoilage of the scent! Also, fragile glass bottles can break due to contraction and expansion under the influence of heat.

3. Tight seal

Oxygen can destroy the perfume by breaking the aromatic molecules of the perfume that alter or degrade the scent over time. For this reason, it is crucial to prevent air from entering the bottle of the air by ensuring a tight seal.

4. Avoid excessive shaking

Excessive shaking of the bottles results in the introduction of air bubbles and can somehow change the fragrance composition. Therefore, avoid excessive shaking to mix the ingredients while creating perfumes to preserve the vital scent.

Current Perfume Trends and Sustainability

The perfume industry, or specifically, the fragrance sector experiences consistent growth as people consider colognes as their necessary personal care product. However, there are minor to major changes always happening in the sector that you should be aware of if you are a white label perfume manufacturer or a part of the manufacturing chain.

  • A shift in consumer preferences towards organic ingredients is now a key market driver causing a rise in the demand for natural perfumes.
  • The sale of eau fraiche, which is a body moisture mist with sweet fragrances, is going to increase.
  • Sales of unisex perfumes are expected to rise all over the world since people are not considering perfumes as mere scents for the body! They now recognize the different notes, unique fragrances, and craftsmanship involved in perfume-making.
  • Specialization in the perfume sector is becoming more prominent today with many manufacturers emerging in the market that craft artistic bottles, boxes, and labels of perfumes.
  • The use of fragrances for spiritual messaging has increased tremendously over the past few years, which resulted in the growth of a different category of fragrances that focused on reflecting customers’ personalities.

Perfumes and Sustainability

The urge to reduce carbon footprints to prevent further environmental damage among industries is serious! The fragrance industry too, is bringing revolutionary changes or innovation in their manufacturing approach to support sustainability and protect the environment. Some of the noteworthy sustainability trends unleashed in the sector are:

  • Brands need to be transparent about their ingredients and perfume manufacturing processes and ensure to meet their eco-friendly claims.
  • Research and innovate to make greener fragrances by sourcing ingredients from natural resources, processing the fragrances with eco-friendly processes, and reducing waste. Modern fragrance manufacturers are using biotechnology, along with green chemistry to drive sustainability in fragrance manufacturing.
  • Promoting the use of refillable spray bottles to reduce the use of glass bottles, as stated by the brand Prada.

What the Future of the Perfume Industry Looks Like?

No point in guessing that the perfume industry is a flourishing one! A study by Future Market Insights affirms the perfume industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% till 2031.

Being integral for personal care for both men and women, it is a quite demanding product. However, a lot changed in recent times regarding how perfumes are made. To cope with the growing demand for perfumes and their widespread uses, manufacturers are using synthetic chemicals to create unique and captivating fragrances.

With scientific innovation and artistry, perfume makers are even able to produce natural fragrances using synthetic products, rather than extracting from plants and animals. While this reduced the quality and longevity of the fragrances, it reduced the cost of manufacturing. Consequently, it lowered the prices of colognes in the market and encouraged the widespread use of perfumes worldwide!

However, people’s preference or obsession with natural scents is still on the rise, which promotes a stable growth of luxury perfumes. Those brands still use traditional and costly methods of extraction, blending, and extraction to make pure fragrances.

K Luxury: Transforming How Perfume is Made!

The sense of smell in humans got a new perspective ever since perfumes were invented! Since old times, perfumery, or the art of perfume making was a thing as people used various scents to enhance body odor and the aroma of a room or place, evoke emotions, and foster relationships. Thereby, nowhere in the near or far future, the use of perfumes is going out of trend.  

While very few knew about how is perfume made, we tried explaining the deep details of the process to help you learn about the artistry involved in perfume manufacturing.  

In a nutshell, fragrance making is an intricate process that uses a fascinating blend of artistry and chemistry. From selecting and sourcing all the raw ingredients from the earth’s resources to blending the ingredients in precise proportions, everything needs masterwork. We have put here what it takes to source authentic ingredients and how fragrances are made. So, the next time you smell an awesome perfume, you will know the calculations, hard work, and craftsmanship behind it.

To offer turnkey product delivery solutions to fragrance brands, K Luxury is here with design conceptualization. We are experts in private label perfume manufacturing and crafting premium-quality bottles. It will enhance your product appeal and brand’s sophistication to the customers.

Our designers and artists craft every bottle with fineness and care, embodying the unique character of the scent! Want to take your perfume business to the next level? Get in touch with us for our premium bottles and product packaging services!