How it Work?

It is the oils derived from nature’s plant and flower material that are used to make perfume. There are six methods by which oils are extracted from plants. These include: steam distillation, boiling, solvent extraction, enfleurage, maceration and expression. In the first method, steam passing through the plant material turns the essential oil into gas, which is then passed through tubes, cooled and liquefied. In the boiling process, oils can be extracted by boiling flower petals in water.

In the case of solvent extraction, flowers are placed in large rotating tanks and benzene or petroleum ether is poured over them, which extracts the essential oils. This causes the parts of the flower to dissolve and leave in their wake a waxy material, which contains the oil, which is then placed in ethyl alcohol. The oil rises after it dissolves in alcohol, and heat is then applied to evaporate the alcohol. This leaves a high concentration of perfume oil on the bottom of the tanks.

The enfleurage method of extracting essential oils is both costly and labor-intensive. It entails spreading flowers out on grease-coated glass sheets and then carefully placing them in tiers between wooden frames. The glass sheets are covered with highly purified and odorless vegetable or animal fat. The petals of the flowers that are being extracted are spread all across the plates of glass and pressed in. The petals can remain within the greasy mixture for as long as a few weeks, at which point they are then removed by hand and replaced with fresh petals. This process is usually repeated several times before complete saturation of the essence can occur.

Maceration extracts essential oils in a process that is very similar to enfleurage except that warmed fats are used to soak up the flower fragrance. The essential oils are derived from the grease and fats that are dissolved in alcohol. The easiest and oldest method of oil extraction is expression. This process for collecting essential oils is the most economically feasible and it is achieved by pressing, squeezing or compressing peels of citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. Due to the large amount of oil contained within citrus peels and the fact that they can be grown and harvested rather cheaply, fruit oils cost less than other essential oils.