The World Of Perfumes Essay, Research Paper
Few would dispute the importance of petroleum to the world economy. In fact, some argue that in 1991 the United States and its allies fought a war in the Persian Gulf over this liquid that, at current prices, cost less than half a cent per fluid ounce and doesn’t even smell all that good.
Imagine the lengths one might go to protect access to a liquid that, in some cases, cost over $100 per ounce-20,000 times the cost of crude petroleum. Wars may be fought again-advertising wars- this time to claim a portion of the international perfume market, which, according to Smithsonian magazine, has sales of $10 billion each year.
Ever since the ancient Mesopotamians first used perfume in burial rites over 4,000 years ago, humanking has developed an obsession with the scent and its willing to pay amazingly high prices for something as intangible as a smell.
Puzzles by my own inexplicable fondness for aftershave, I’ve spent sometime researching our culture’s partiality to perfume. Evern if you’re someone who doesn’t especially like to dabble Chanel or Pole behind your ears, you probably smell someone else’s fragrance everyday. Or maybe yor use a product made with perfumes- such as soap, facial tissue, insecticides, or even cattle feed.
With that in mind, we’ll first discuss the ingredients of perfume and then we’ll examine some of the new commercial applications of perfume
Let’s start with the ingrediets.
Quite likely, you think of perfume only as a smelly liquid. But many connoisseurs of the stuff would disagree. In fact, perfume is complex mixture of many ingredients.
The most important ingredients of any perfume are a variety of aromatic oils, usually called essential oils. According to Edwin Morris in his book Fragrance, essential oils have two important properties- they easily evaporate and become gas at room temperature, ann they detectable to us as fragrance, in umimaginalbly minute quantites. The essential oil of the vanilla bean, for example, can be detected as a fragrance when present in the air at amounts of just two parts per million.
Some essential oils are found in animal products. According to Diane Ackerman in her book A Natural History of the Senses, the best known of these may be musk, a red, jelly-like secretion found in the gut of an East Asian deer.
As Smithsonian magazine reports, however, most essential oils are extracted from one of 2,000 different species of flowering plants. These plants may be as exotic as the fragrant ylang-ylang tree that grows on the Comoro Islands, or as common as the rose.
Not all perfume ingrediets come from natural sources. Synthetic ingredients can imitate or enhance the smells of natuaral essential oils and can greatly reduce the cost of the perfume. In the case of the perfume classic Channel No.5, an artificial aldehyde provides the perfume with its signature scent.
When creating a new fragrance, a perfumer will usually draw upon the scents of between 30 to 50, and sometimes up to 500, different oils, hoping to find the perfect blend of smells. Ofcourse, the perfume or cologne you buy in the store isn’t just a bottle of essential oils. When marketed, the oils are dissolved in alcohol. A high-quality perfume will contain up to 25 percent essential oils and 75 percent alcohol.
As we have seen, perfume is much more than a smelly liquid. These complex mixtures of aromatic oils may make us work harder and spend harder, if they don’t trigger an allergic reaction first. Today we have explored perfume pungent ingredients and some its uses.
It seems almost absurd to think that perfume is thousand of times more expensive than a precious energy resource like petroleum. But on other hand, no matter how far you can drive your car on petroleum, oil is not the kind of fragrance you would want in your cologne, hair spray, room deodorizer, or even, I suppose, in your cattle feed.