Human love for fragrance is deeply rooted in millenniums of cultural and spiritual practice. The history of perfume is rich and colorful, dating back to antiquity and the glorious civilizations of China, Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Ancient fragrances were usually a combination of plant or animal products blended with rich oils. Modern archaeology has uncovered beautiful perfume vessels, indicating ownership by a very wealthy member of society. It was Egypt and its extensive influence that spread the use of scents throughout the ancient world.
Perfume use in the ancient world
The Egyptians believed the sweat of the sun god, Ra was infused in their fragrances, which were usually frankincense, opopanax, and myrrh. Perfume was a treasured commodity because it was associated with the sacred ritual of cleanliness. The Greeks believed the gods from Mt. Olympus were attracted to sweet fragrances and medical thinkers connected its use to health and vitality via aromatherapy. It is believed the Romans used some 2,800 tons of frankincense annually, and perfume was everywhere from the public baths to beauty products to even the soles of Roman feet.
Persia and China
Persia dominated the perfume trade for hundreds of years and in the detailed portraits of Persian rulers, many are depicted surrounded by exquisite perfume bottles. The Chinese prized fragrances but they did not wear scent. They burned it in the form of incense and other fragrant materials in special, sacred rituals. The increasing demand for incense and perfume (frankincense and myrrh), which were used both in religious ceremonies and for personal care, blossomed into a trading industry that commercially connected the East to the West.
The Growth of Natural Fragrances in the Modern Perfume Industry
Considering the nearly primal passion for fragrance, it is no surprise that the global market for fragrances and perfumes is projected to reach US $51 billion by the year 2022. Experts believe industry growth is largely driven by both the increased use of fragrance in personal toilette for both men and women and by the growing awareness that scents are integral to personal mood and well being. This very specific market is measured by the compound annual growth rate, aka CAGR. This standard is particularly effective because it measures economic growth over multiple time periods.
Revenue from this industry is estimated to increase 5.9% between 2016 and 2026. Rising demands for perfumes among millennials is partly responsible for the surge in income. The Natural segment accounts for 18.9% of the total value share for the year 2016 and is expected to reach a CAGR of 7.9% over that same forecast period (2016-2026). Other factors that greatly affect sales are: increasing online retail penetration, effective advertising; availability in different price ranges, and accelerated consumer spending on personal and beauty care products.
The Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Fragrances
The biggest divide between natural and synthetic fragrances lies in the way they are created. Plants, trees or animals comprise the basic elements of natural scents and run the gamut from lilac to sandalwood to deer musk. Synthetic fragrances are created in a laboratory, and although it may not be common knowledge, Mother Nature has absolutely nothing to do with almost two-third’s of the most popular fragrances made today that are used in perfumes and other scented products.
The modern lab is their source, and basically, there are three different types. These include: full synthetics, which are composed almost entirely from petroleum by-products; semi-synthetics, or natural fragrances that have been modified by artificial means, and natural isolates, which are aromas which fall somewhere in between natural and synthetic because they are developed by isolating one scent from a more complex aroma base such as that of a red rose.
The Environment and Natural and Synthetic Fragrances
While there might be a mental tendency to assume natural is better, when it comes to fragrance creation that is not necessarily the case. For example, massive deforestation has resulted from the production of natural sandalwood and rosewood and the utilization of natural musk requires painful extraction from deer and other forest creatures. All of these scents can be re-created with ease in the lab.
The Benefits of Synthetic Perfumes
Synthetic perfumes last longer than natural fragrances, which fade quickly because they lack the non-synthetic fixatives, which stabilize a scent’s vitality and help to release a scent slowly over a period of time. This renders any fragrance richer and denser than any natural aroma could ever hope to be. In addition, the roster of natural ingredients is limited to florals, botanicals or musks, while synthetic scents can be blended with essential oils to create countless variations. Practically speaking, dozens of compounds comprise natural ascents, which a laboratory can create with just a single molecule.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oil is actually a contraction of the original word, “quintessential oil.” This dates back to the teachings of Aristotle and the idea that all matter contains the four elements of the world: namely, fire, air, earth, and water. Quintessence is a fifth element, whose meaning is life force or spirit. This interpretation has endured alterations of language to this day, as the processes of distillation and evaporation were believed to remove the spirit of the plant. Today, the term, “spirits,” describes distilled alcoholic beverages, such as brandy and whiskey. The modern world knows that this is incorrect and that essential oils are much more than spirit. They are physical in nature and comprised of intricate blends of chemicals.
How are essential oils made?
According to Dr. Brian Lawrence: “For an essential oil to be a true essential oil, it must be isolated by physical means only. The physical methods used are distillation (steam, steam/water and water) or expression (also known as cold pressing, a unique feature for citrus peel oils). There is one other method of oil isolation specific to a very limited number of essential oil plants. This is a maceration/distillation. In the process, the plant material is macerated in warm water to release the enzyme-bound essential oil. Examples of oils produced by maceration are onion, garlic, wintergreen and bitter almond.”
What are Natural Oils?
Natural oils are always animal, vegetable or mineral in origin and they are often used in skin care products making them ideal for all kind of face, body and cleansing lotions and soaps. They are known for their soothing, lubricating properties and have been used in beauty products for centuries. Natural oils are introduced so rapidly into the personal care product sector that it is challenging to keep up with the most recent advances. Some of the more popular natural oils include: almond; jojoba; coconut; grape-seed; geranium; lavender; olive oil (ultimate hair conditioner); rosehips oil (nail-care); coconut (skin moisturizer) and eucalyptus oil.
What are Organic Fragrances?
Organic perfumes have their own certification from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which insures consumers that they are made from ingredients that are tested, assumed safe, pure and free from harmful petrochemicals, solvents, dyes, alcohol, and pesticides. They are also certified by PETA and are considered vegan. According to a recent National Marketing Institute study, consumers have been very open to the use of organic ingredients particularly in personal care products.
Organic fragrances are derived from living matter and are defined as those that are grown and processed under highly controlled conditions that guarantee materials are free from pesticides, heavy metals and synthetic fertilizers. There is one important distinction to always remember with organic products. Natural fragrances are not always organic but organic fragrances are always natural.
Alpha Aromatics: Certified Natural and Organic Fragrances
Alpha Aromatics is a world leader in the creation of natural and organic fragrances that are not only the purest on earth, but also protect the environment. They are designed with the finest quality essential oils via certified manufacturing techniques that have been tried and proven for more than 70 years. Alpha organic fragrances can be applied to a myriad of diverse scented products relating to personal care, beauty and cosmetics.
Alpha Aromatics and Their Valued Clients
There are five distinct steps that determin how Alpha Aromatics works with their clients.
1) Collaboration: Customers feel valued working with Alpha because they are. Developing a signature scent requires everyone working together and following the creation process each step along the way. Clients trust Alpha because they know their company mission inspires them to always go beyond the scope of societal expectations.
2) Scent Creation: Every signature scent, just like every client, is unique. Fragrances can be made to reflect many diverse moods and are customized to suit any target audience, brand or product line. Scents can be strong and affect work performance and behavior or serene to enhance settings such as yoga studios. Alpha works with clients so that the strategic power of their selected aroma will benefit their specific work environment.
3) Product Development: Creating aromas that connect with commercial applications requires an understanding only decades of experience can bring, and with years of knowledge underpinning each of our suggestions, decisions and expertise, our process is proven. Testing and retesting is natural for the creation of any new scent as the end result must be perfect. While it may be true that none of us mortals are perfect, the scents that Alpha creates are flawless because of our experience, and, well because they have to be. One way to ensure final client satisfaction is to periodically create a sample for client approval. This is done as often as needed, for ultimate customer satisfaction is Alpha’s primary goal.
4) Regulatory Assurances: Alpha Aromatics is committed to sustainability and devoted to upholding an outstanding level of ethics and regulatory standards. They stand behind their products and their love and devotion for a green planet Earth. Their equipment is state-of-the-art and includes: in-house gas chromatography, distillation, extraction and quality control technology, all of which are subject to international regulatory compliance.
5) Scent Production: This final phase is naturally dependent upon the success of each step that came before it. Customer satisfaction is always guaranteed because the stability and consistency of each new fragrance is constantly measured and evaluated across a wide range of prevailing conditions.
Alpha Aromatics is a world leader in scent designing and fragrance manufacturing and its extraordinary team of experts can tackle the creation of a signature scent suitable for any type of commercial space or industry. In conclusion, the natural versus synthetic fragrance debate is completely subjective and solely a matter of personal preference. The perfume or fragrance that is best for any individual, product or product line is the one that most closely aligns with his or her personal beliefs.
Whichever type of fragrance you prefer, or your needs may be, we’re with you all the way!
Final thoughts on fragrances:
Perfume puts the finishing touch to elegance…. Without it, there is something missing. ~ Gianni Versace