12 Perfume Ingredients You Wish You Never Knew About

While the idea of dozing beside a leafy tropical lagoon or meandering through a winding garden path adorned with colorful sweet-smelling blooms can conjure powerful and pleasant memories of moments long past, it is quite another thought to believe that some of the word’s worst smells can also be not only enjoyed but also relished in many of the fine formulations developed by master perfumers.

Smells either attract or repel, and either way they are essential to our experiences and linked with a variety of emotional responses.

They have been associated as tools for human survival since the days when the world was young.

Despite this, smell can be quite confusing because each person reacts differently to the same odors.

Below is a break down of some of the most obvious facets that could turn even the most formidable of stomachs if they were brought to the light.

Beware however, because others still lurk darkly in the wings of creative chemistry, ready to pounce unexpectedly upon the conventional associations and meaning of the word, ‘perfume’.

Galbanum Perfume Spray

Animalic Notes In Perfumery

The animal world for the most part no longer provides these fragrance notes to the world of perfumery and they are synthetically developed to save threatened animal species. 


This raw material that is extracted from a sperm whale’s digestive track and resembles a grey pumice-like stone.

It occurs as a natural protection against the irritation of internal organs caused by the whale’s inability to digest the sharp, horny beaks of cuttlefish and squid that form the majority of its diet.

Ambergris In Perfumery

Also known as “the treasure of the seas” and floating gold,” its odor profile is uniquely sweet and oceanic, and it is highly coveted by modern perfumers albeit its prohibitive cost makes synthetic ambergris a more practical choice. 


The anal glands of Canadian, European and Siberian beavers produce a very pleasant vanilla-like odor that these animals use to mark their territory.

It is often found in gender neutral and  leathery perfumes.

Eco-friendly considerations have replaced the original with a synthetic version caulked hyaceum, which is a rock-like, earthy substance fossilized from the urine of the “rock rabbit, a small mammal with rounded ears and no tail. 


The eggs of sturgeons have been harvested for years and consumed as gourmand delicacies, but unbeknownst to some, they are also coveted in some daring masculine perfumes and colognes.

Caviar Revolting Perfume Ingredient

While caviar is not known for a distinctive scent, it is used to intensify both the depth and substance of particular fragrance (as long as the wearer doesn’t have thoughts about fish eggs).

Civet Musk

A cat-like mammal from tropical Asia and Africa, both male and female civets produce this natural substance, which is highly treasured by perfumers.

The males of the species are known to produce larger quantities and better quality of musk than females.

Siberian Musk Dear

While pure civet has a pungent smell, after it is diluted in alcohol it transforms into a radiant, floral fragrance that is often found in colognes and the sensual base notes of heavy floral fragrances.

Synthetics have replaced natural musk, but farming still exists in some parts of the world.

Metallic And Mineral Notes In Perfumery

Metallic notes create fresh, clean sensations via synthetic molecules and they add an intriguing dimension to any composition. Mineral notes, which are more often found in fragrances for men, create a wet, salty and icy freshness and are effective fixatives.

Both types of notes push the boundaries of traditional perfumery.


Found in both masculine and feminine scents, this fragrance is comprised of a deeply leathery accord containing both metallic and mineral elements of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate.

Designed to evoke an intense sensory eruption, its mineral, metallic, smoky and amber-nuanced effects leave a lasting impression. When paired with sandalwood, this scent becomes highly erotic.

A Few Very Odd Perfume Ingredients


No matter how much we may love bacon with our eggs in the morning, that is still a  far cry from wearing the scent of bacon on our clothing and/or skin. 

This blend of salt, essential oils and cured bacon combine to create a unique smoky, saline aroma that is found today in many body washes and shower gels we produce for our clients.

Bacon Revolting Perfume Ingredient

Yes, you can walk around smelling like breakfast all day, if that’s what floats your boat!


A succulent plant indigenous to America, the cactus has a long and colorful past as an ingredient found in tools, foods, medicines and ancient rituals. Its use in perfumery, however, is not as well known.

The grassy, floral and green essence is extracted from the blooming petals of prickly pear and is often used to invigorate unisex fragrances. 


The unmistakable, herby, animal-like scent of marijuana is well recognized, but not usually found in perfumes.

Although it is mostly produced synthetically in fragrance, one daring perfumer (Mark Crames) used the actual ingredient in his Cannabis Flower scent.

Cannabis Revolting Perfume Ingredient


Who would ever think that a fragrance could derive from a soybean associated with  sushi? Often found as a facet in the head notes of celebrity scents, this soybean exudes a rich green aroma.


This aromatic molecular blend is actually extracted from heated popcorn. While to many it may seem like an odd choice to wear, anything goes these days. Its buttery, roasted, corn-nuanced scent also features a touch of vanilla.

Skatole Notes Used In Perfumery

This group includes some animalic notes, and they are specifically known for their putrid, foul-smelling fecal and decaying flesh odors, which have found a strange but fragrant home in some heavy floral Alpha Aromatics bouquets, leather, chypre and tobacco-nuanced scents. Their name derives from the Greek word for excrement.

Human Secretions

Human blood, spit and urine do not usually comet mind when one thinks about perfume scents. and yet they are sometimes used in a small number of perfumes created to generate arousal in both men and women.

Tar, Leather And Smoke

Some plants, especially woods, resins and other balsams are olfactory powerhouses that present sensual and tenacious elements that greatly enhance the character of a specific fragrance.

Tar as a perfume ingredient

When smoked, sweet-smelling sandalwood, dry cedar or musky oud become richer and more intense.

Resins develop more sensual tones, leather adds soft and pungent touches and tar is smoky and an important ingredient in recreating the smell of leather.

Discover What Unusual Ingredients Can Do For Your Products

We’re a leader and pioneer within the perfume industry and our routes within the Pittsburgh landscape stretch back to the late 1940s.

Fragrances with weird ingredients are only a small segment of the myriad of scents we create for stand alone fine perfumes, fragrances for cosmetics, hair and personal care products, cleaning products, odor control products and candles and diffusers, just to name a few.

Alpha Aromatics Leading Pefume Manufacturer

Below are a few fragrance examples.

Amberwood Galbanum

The head notes of this splendid fragrance stream with citrus aspects of luscious orange and spicy bergamot.

A floral heart soon follows marked by intense, rich jasmine, musky, passionate red rose, mellow, sugary lavender and slightly woody, vanilla-nuanced balsam.

This unforgettable scent completes with elements of enduring, intense amber wood, balsamic, green labdanum, creamy sandalwood, erotic, earthy musk, pungent, velvety civet and dark, sensual patchouli.

Mimosa Blossom Musk

Streams of fresh lemon, floral, refreshing bergamot and lush orange form the head notes of this intriguing Alpha Aromatics fragrance.

These aspects soon give way to a floral heart featuring bitter neroli, green, ambrosial mimosa, rich, soothing lavender, intense jasmine, smooth, creamy gardenia and passionate, musky rose rose.

The scent completes with a dry down marked by aspects of dark, erotic patchouli, and pungent, buttery civet.


Evoking the dark and mysterious realm of the eternal forest blended with the warmth and comfort of a crackling open fire, this bold, splendid perfume features facets of smooth Australian sandalwood, spicy, woody and resinous cardamon, leathery papyrus, fruity-nuanced iris and sensual, musky ambrox (synthetic ambergris).

Santal Diffuser Oil Air-Scent

In Conclusion

People’s tastes in perfumes and the ingredients they contain will always be subjective and linked to personal preferences and experiences.

Still, for the bolder among us, they represent a new olfactory dimension of experience. Try some of the above mentioned if you feel so inclined even if others may back away as you pass by.

Try something unique and mysterious for your new product line or company whatever it may be. Dare to explore new horizons. 

Call our teams today and master some new possibilities for your product, business or…whatever.

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