Words: Emily Venables
Not all perfumes are created the same, otherwise we’d all be walking around smelling the same, and that would just be weird! Alongside the scent, another big factor that separates one perfume from another is the price. Fragrances each contain a blend of different ingredients, some more rare and sought-after than others, which is where the heftier price tags come from. So, what are the most expensive perfume ingredients and why are they considered so precious?
Oud, or ‘oudh’, is sourced from the wood of a tropical tree called agar. Sounds pretty straight forward so far, right? Well, it’s not just any old bark on this tree, oh no. The wood has to be infected with a type of mould called ‘phialiphora parasitica’, which causes the wood to produce a dark fragrance resin - oud. Only a very small percentage of the world’s agar trees produce oud, therefore making it incredible rare and pricey!
However, there is no need to start selling off your prized possessions to own a fragrance with the delightful oud scent, check out these options from our Oud family at The Perfume Shop.
Take a look at the perfumes you own. We bet a fair few of them contain jasmine, right? It is a very popular ingredient, however these days over 80% of women’s perfume contain synthetic jasmine (which still smells fantastic) as opposed to its super-expensive natural counterpart!
It takes around 2,000 pounds of jasmine flowers to produce just one single pound of oil and around 8,000 jasmine flowers to produce just 1/25 ounce of the absolute oil (a very precious version). Due to the sheer volume of flowers it takes to produce just a teeny tiny amount of oil, the price is high. Don't let this put you off though, you can still enjoy the delicate scent of jasmine in lots of perfumes such as YSL's Opium, without having to sell the house!
Creating a world-renowned perfume is painstaking work, but nothing quite like the work that goes into gathering the ingredients to start the process! Orris is a brilliant example of this, the labour intensity and the time it takes to produce good quality orris are some of the main reasons as why it is so pricey!
Orris root has to be harvested, peeled by hand and then left to dry for approximately 2 years. After this time-consuming process, it can be ground up and turned into the sought-after ingredient. Again, you’re looking at tens of thousands of pounds for just a kilo of the precious ingredient! Do you want to find out what the end result of year's of work is? Try Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver for a start.
4. Bulgarian Rose
Rose is undoubtedly one of the more popular scents in perfume, however the production for this ingredient is one of the most expensive in the industry! It takes 10,000 pounds (yes, 10 thousand!) of rose petals to distill one pound of rose oil. We’ll just let you digest that for a moment…
Over half the rose oil used in the perfume industry comes from the Rose Valley in Bulgaria. The workers there have a very short period of time to pick the flowers and send them to distillation - making the rarity and price tag for the decadent oil as high as it gets. Luckily for us, you can enjoy the aroma of rose in scents like Dior's Miss Dior at a more modest price!
Finally, that leaves musk! An incredibly popular ingredient, especially in male scents. Musk is often associated with being a kind of pheromone, making those who wear the illusive ingredient irresistible! Have you smelt Gucci Guilty? Hmmmm... *falls in love*.
Natural musk is sourced from the musk pod of a male musk deer; the natural ingredient can only be obtained by killing the animal. Increased demand for this ingredient resulted in the musk deer becoming an endangered animal. Fortunately, the majority of musk now found in perfumes is synthetic. Meaning hunting and killing of the deer has decreased and scents with musk in have become available to more and more people.
Feel like treating yourself to a new decadent scent?
Explore luxury perfumes at The Perfume Shop