Raw materials are commonly referred to as ingredients. A raw material is the substance a perfumer uses to build a perfume formula. Learn more about some of our key materials here:
Aldehydes are organic compounds present in various natural materials, an example is citrus rind. These are synthesized in the laboratory. Their strength imbues floral compositions with brightness, effervescence, and diffusion. Discovered in the early 20th century, they can be found in many perfumes, the most famous being Chanel N°5. The odor profile differs depending on the aldehyde but it can be described as soapy, citrusy, waxy, fizzy, even metallic.
In perfumery amber is an accord rather than a raw material unto itself. The fossilized tree resin known as Baltic amber used for jewelry is not used in perfumery.
Amber in perfumery consists primarily of natural raw materials like labdanum, frankincense, myrrh, vanilla, ciste, opoponax. It can be found mostly in perfumes classified as oriental. The odor profile amber conveys is rich, warm, vibrant, earthy, resinous, oriental, sometimes animalic.
A natural raw material produced by sperm whales. Rejected by these animals in the ocean, it then floats to the surface. It used to be collected in a solid form and employed in perfumery. This material is now extremely rare. It cannot be replaced by synthetic raw materials, but perfumers have managed to create impressions of it by using specific accords. The odor profile of natural ambergris as it ages is sweet, animalic, earthy, mossy and marine.
A synthetic material from a naturally occurring fragrant chemical compound from sclareol, a component of the essential oil of clary sage. The odor profile is warm, mineral, and slightly sweet.
See also: Modern ambers. Ambroxan is a modern amber.
An aromatic flowering plant. It belongs to the same family as celery, carrot and parsley. The roots and seeds are used for perfumery. It is sometimes used to flavor gin and liqueurs like Chartreuse. The odor profile is aromatic and bitter.
A citrus fruit, a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. The essential oil is produced from the rind. Bergamot has a yellow or green rind. It is used for the citrus flavor Earl Grey tea. Bergamot is used in many classic citrus and oriental perfumes due to its ability to ‘lift’ a formula. The odor profile is citrusy, tart and bitter.
Resin that comes from a tree that grows in South East Asia. Benzoin has a warm and subtle smell with accents of caramel, vanilla and honey. It is traditionally mixed to vanilla and labdanum to create an ambery and soft base.
A molecule that comes from the IFF R&D laboratories. It is used as a core / base note and develops a woody, vibrant, soft, sensual and unique smell.
A natural raw material extracted from the flowers of the Acacia Farnesiana shrub. Cassie is the name of the essential oil of the flowers, it’s related to the other Acacia, Mimosa. Cassie absolute was used in the glory of the French perfumery industry of the 1920’s and 1930’s. It provides mystery and depth in Chanel No. 5 and Guerlain’s Après l’Ondée. The odor profile is sweet, spiced, clove, honeyed, woody with aspects of violet.
Castoreum is used as a base note and has a very rich smell of leather and black olive.
IRIS – ALSO ORRIS
LILY OF THE VALLEY
Use of natural musk in perfumery has been banned since the 1970s. Today, perfumers use other raw materials that mimic traditional musk (natural raw materials such as ambrette or synthetic raw materials). These musks now belong to a wide family of raw materials whose common purpose is to bring depth, sensuality and long-lastingness to a fragrance. Musk has an odor profile that is very soft, sweet, powdery, warm with animal tones.