What Are Essential Oils In Perfumery?

There are different ingredient categories available to a perfumer when creating a custom fragrance oil.  One category is referred to as “essential” oils.  Essential oils are the natural aromatic compounds extracted from seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of a plant. The term comes from the ability of the oil to convey the “essence” of the plant it is derived from.  The oils are typically obtained through the process of distillation, which can involve steam, water or solvent extraction.


Essential oils are used to create complex and long-lasting fragrances and can span a broad olfactory spectrum, with each having their own unique scent characteristics.  Some of the most recognizable oils used in the fragrance industry and in the Phlur perfumes, include lavender and rose with their distinct floral aromas.  Another detectable sweet floral scent is jasmine.  The citrus scents that are common as essential oils are bergamot oil, with a bit of a spicy note, as well as lemon, orange and grapefruit for their sparkling, uplifting aromas.  Ylang-ylang is often used for its sweet floral combo with a slightly fruity impression.  Base notes include essential oils for their depth and warmth like Sandalwood and Patchouli oils.


Essential oils are highly concentrated, so they are used in low percentages in perfumery. They are often diluted or blended with other ingredients, such as carrier oils, alcohol, and other aromatic compounds, to create a finished perfume or cologne. 


Essential oils are utilized in a broad span of personal care product formats, such as soaps, lotions, and candles, as well as in aromatherapy and natural remedies.