Scent mysteriously unfolds within us.
Read on to discover the journey of fragrance from naturals to synthetics. Lisoire chooses natural botanical scents, adding these to soy wax, creating an olfactory journey of delight.
Natural essences, essential oils, live in plants and can be extracted by various means. They are volatile aromatic compounds whose molecules become airborne and reach our nose. Different parts of the same plant can sometimes smell completely different, such as; the blossoms of the orange tree can render neroli and orange flower absolute, bitter orange oil from the fruit rind and petitgrain from the leaves and twigs. Essential oils can be extracted by pressing rinds and others are extracted by the gentler method of distillation with water or steam.
Concretes and absolutes are created by separating the natural oils from fresh flowers by solvent extraction. This method involves placing the flowers on racks in a hermetically sealed container. Hexane is then circulated to dissolve the essential oils. The waxy material of the flowers delivers a concrete fragrance that is soft and long lasting. Dissolving the waxes with ethanol, removing solids, a concrete can be rendered into an absolute. Absolutes are floral essences at their truest and most concentrated and are the most expensive perfumery ingredients.
The industry of Perfumery grew during the reigns of Kings Louis XIV and XV in 17th-18th century France. Marie-Antoinette enjoyed natural fragrances and had her own perfumer, named Jean-Louis Fargeon. He created a signature scent for her called Parfum du Trianon, to capture the fresh scent of the location so that she could carry its essence with her wherever she went. Marie-Antoinette loved concentrated perfumes, especially those with hints of rose, violet, jasmine, and jonquil. For her baths, she preferred more herbal scents as well as amber and bergamot. She kept liquid perfumes in a special cabinet full of coloured glass bottles with silver stoppers. All fragrances at this time were extracted from natural sources.
The creation of the first man-made molecules, through the work of organic chemists, occurred in the 19th Century. Today, synthetic or man-made scent molecules are those developed by fragrance manufacturers and synthesised in a laboratory. Man-made molecules are chemically identical to those found in nature. Many of the all time famous perfumes are composed from man-made molecules and would be impossible to make with just natural oils. It is surprising to discover that many man-made molecules are chemically identical to those found in nature. In many cases the molecules in natural and synthetic (man-made) are the same, such as Vitamin C from citrus. Production (farming, concentrations), availability, productivity and price are things to consider when choosing natural or synthetic fragrance.
I love the romanticism of the story behind natural oils, such as the idea of a field of roses or lavender having being grown, farmed, distilled, and captured, and infusing these with the purest soy candle wax, bringing beautiful scented candles to your home.