Words: Charlie Leeves
Everyone loves the smell of nature, we’re sure at one point you’ve stopped to smell the roses. Nature’s pure, fresh scent is powerful yet naturally delicate - but why is it so enchanting? What you’re smelling here are the essential oils of the plant. These natural oils are aroma filled experiences that not only please the nose but calm the body and mind as well. If you’re interested in all thing’s fragrance, then read on to find out more!
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are named as such because they embody the “essence” of the plant’s fragrance. They are natural oils extracted from certain plants rather than being made in a lab like other synthetic perfume oils. Natural oils can be found in different parts such as the roots, flowers, leaves, seeds and even the bark. Essential oils are used in a variety of different products from incense and aromatherapy to fragrances and even in cleaning products!
How are they extracted?
When you picture the production of fragrances you might picture scientists in white coats carefully mixing chemicals in a laboratory, however, this is not the case for essential oils. Essential oils are not made. Instead they are extracted from plants. There are many ways of extracting essential oils, here are just a select few:
This is the most common extraction method used for obtaining essential oils. Steam is passed through the plant materials dissolving away the plant chemicals. This steam is then condensed and cooled creating two distinct products; the essential oil and floral water. Take a look at that bottle of rose water you love so much, that was created in this exact way!
Expression (also known as ‘cold press’) does not use heat during the extraction process instead it uses a combination of pressing and scraping to release the essential oils from the peel of the fruit. Typically used when extracting citrus fragrances, since heat alters the smell of citrus scents, it allows the fragrance to retain the naturally sharp yet fruity, fresh aroma so many people adore!
In CO2 extraction, pressurised CO2 is used as a solvent to release the essential oils from the plant matter. When brought back to normal pressure the gas and the oil separate allowing for a richer essential oil to be produced.
Top 5 essential oils found in fragrances
Here are our picks for the top 5 essential oils used in fragrances.
Excited to find the perfect fragrance for you?
Shop perfumes at The Perfume Shop.