What Does Concrete Mean In Perfumery?

In the world of perfume development, the terms used to discuss the materials or processes can seem very confusing.  That’s exactly the case with the term concrete, which surprisingly refers to a type of material produced by extracting oils from a plant element using a solvent.  A solvent in chemistry refers to a liquid material by which other materials are dispursed or dissolved. The end result concrete product is a solid, ceraceous substance that contains a strong, dense concentration of the plant's fragrant compounds. Concrete is then used with other ingredients in the custom formulation of perfumes and other fragrance formats.

The term "concrete" was coined for the appropriate translation to the Latin word “concretus” which means “to grow together”.  In this case, it’s a great reference to the fragrance oils and waxes becoming solid “together” after they are extracted from the original material. Though color may not be important to the aroma, the material presents as a pale yellow or light beige shade that densely holds onto the true aromatic characteristics of the plant material from which it was extracted.  When you think about the pyramid of a perfume development, a concrete material is most often incorporated as a base note in a PHLUR fragrance to add depth and complexity to the blend.

To be able to produce a clean and concentrated fragrant concrete, the manufacturer must utilize an alcohol solvent to delicately soak the natural element.  This part of the process is key in drawing out the essential oils.  Once the solvent evaporates off, the concrete material is left behind to be refined.  This last step in the procedure removes any dirt or impurities.  

Some examples of plants from which concrete is commonly extracted include jasmine, tuberose, and rose. Concrete is a useful raw material in PHLUR development as it allows our perfumers to use the actual fragrance of the plant in their compositions, along with safe synthetics to truly customize a one of a kind blend.