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Perfumery Terms

What Is Distillation In Perfumery?

In perfumery, there is a process used when extracting essential oils and aromatic components from plant materials.  It’s called distillation, and it encompasses a few slightly different types of techniques.  The various techniques are determined based on the plant material itself or the preference of the manufacturer.  These processes include steam distillation, water distillation, and solvent distillation. 


The most utilized technique, and the one our PHLUR perfumers take advantage of, is steam distillation, where the natural plant or flower elements are introduced to steam, which causes the fragrant oils to vaporize. The haze or mist is then condensed through cooling equipment and collected.  The end result of collecting this mist is an essential oil that represents the natural aroma element in a concentrated state. In water distillation, the natural element is draped over water, and the water is heated to produce steam. The steam then transports the aromatic oils to produce the essential oil. When a certain exterior compound is incorporated to extract the fragrant oils from the natural element, it’s called solvent distillation. The solvent evaporates to produce a more intensive form of the aroma.


The perfume industry utilizes the distillation method due to its overall efficiency and for the quality of the results.  To be able to produce essential oils and other fragrant materials at a consistent and reasonable cost, allows the PHLUR perfumers to utilize an extensive library in which to create our customized oil blends.  The dense and highly aromatic oils are also used in a wide range of other applications, including the development of colognes, body oils, candles and other fragranced products. They are also a popular way to incorporate scents in aromatherapy and other wellness applications.


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