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How fragrances are created

A fragrance is water and alcohol with a blend of natural raw materials, aromachemicals which are synthetics. Water is used as a carrier for the fragrance itself and usually only a small amount is used (especially in fragrances with high perfume oil concentration). Alcohol maintains the structure of the fragrance and is a carrier from the bottle to the skin to then allow the ingredients to diffuse and dissipate. Natural Raw Materials give volume, complexity and longevity and in high concentration give the truest capture of how that ingredient exists in nature.

Aromachemicals bring consistency and brightness and allow certain ingredients as found in nature that cannot be extracted to exist in perfumery – like lily of the valley and peach. Aromachemicals will also be consistent in their scent, always smelling the same whereas natural ingredient will differ depending on the harvest, the weather and age of the essential oil. Modern perfumery requires both natural materials and aromachemicals to create fragrances. Natural raw materials are sourced from all over the world with various climates and soils bringing diverse nuances to different ingredients. Natural raw materials for perfumes are sourced from plants, trees, herbs, parts of plants, leaves, bark, roots, twigs, flowers and resin. The different ingredients require different methods of extraction to capture their essence. Some of these processes are very quick and easy like ‘expression’ and some processes can take many years to complete like ‘maceration’.

Methods of Extraction


Raw natural material, often citrus, is placed on a large plate. A top plate is then pressed down on the raw materials squeezing them tightly until their natural essences are pressed out. Sometimes the plates contain pins to prick the skin of a citrus rind and release the essences held within. The plates are spun so that the essential oils are completely removed from their material which is left pressed between the plates. The result is an ESSENTIAL OIL. Types of raw material created in this way include Mandarin, Tarocco Orange and most citrus fruits. This is the easiest way to extract natural essence meaning that they are usually found in the top notes and first impressions of a fragrance as they have the shortest life span on the skin.


The first stage sees the flower or plant soaked in a cold solvent – almost like putting them in a bath – the scent molecules, the pigments and the plant waxes move into the solvent. This solvent mixture is then ‘cleaned’ with another solvent to extract the pure scent materials. The result is called an ABSOLUTE – the most concentrated form of an essential oil. Types of raw materials procured in this way: Tobacco Leaves, Orange blossom, Cocoa, Ylang-Ylang, Frankincense.


A natural ingredient, often herbs or flowers is placed on top of water in a large copper distilling still, more water is then added and the materials mix in with the water, the water is then heated releasing the aroma of the ingredient into steam. The steam rises in the vat and through a collection of pipes is transported to another still where it will slowly cool. Once collected and cooled, the fragranced oil collected during the heating process and water layers naturally separate resulting in an essential oil, which is then removed from the water, the remaining slightly scented water can also be used in the food and drink industry. Types of raw materials procured in this way include Lavender, Cinnamon, Bergamot, Patchouli, Davana, Magnolia and Oudh.


This is the oldest extraction method of perfume oil in the world. Flowers are laid out petal by petal on trays of beeswax during the first stage of the process and left overnight for their scent to exude into the wax. The flower petals are changed every day until the wax is completely saturated with scent. The wax is then ‘cleaned’ with a solvent to extract the pure scent materials. Due to the cold nature of the process absolutes generally smell closer in character to the natural plant than essential oils do. The result is called an ABSOLUTE – the most concentrated form of essential oil. Types of raw materials procured in this way include Narcissus, Tuberose, Rose & Jasmine This is the most labour-intensive, time-consuming and costly way to make absolute but is the only way possible for some of nature’s most delicate flowers.


An essential oil is extracted using high pressured carbon dioxide, it operates at a lower temperature and with no toxins and therefore is a cleaner way of producing the oil. First, pressurized carbon dioxide becomes liquid and is pumped into a chamber filled with the ingredient for extraction. Because of the liquid properties of the gas, the CO2 functions as a solvent, pulling the oils or resin from the ingredient. The essential oil content then dissolves into the liquid CO2. The CO2 is brought back to natural pressure and evaporates back into its gaseous state, leaving the resulting oil.


A similar process to solvent extraction, but the preparation phase here tends to be much lengthier. The raw natural material must be dried and then soaked in solvent sometimes for up to 3 years then dried for a further 2 years to allow the materials to ferment. The material is then ‘cleaned’ with solvent to isolate the pure essence. The result is an ABSOLUTE or is sometimes referred to as BUTTER. It is the purest form of essential oil. Types of Raw Material procured in this way include Vanilla, Orris and Tonka Bean. These ingredients tend to be found predominantly in the base notes of a fragrances as they have the greatest depth, tenacity and longevity on the skin.


Sitting between art and chemistry aromachemicals are the work of master perfumers and ingredient experts. A method of catching natures best kept secrets and allowing them to add to the perfumer’s palette. Often dismissed as less sophisticated aromachemicals can add difference to the body of a perfume and allow unique distinctive scents. They also provide stability with each batch smelling the same and less allergenic versions of ingredients to be created in a safer on skin format. The modern technology and research into these types of ingredients also allows for new scents to come to life in each perfume.


Imagine taking a picture of something – you are capturing a moment in time never to be recreated. Headspace technology is very similar. Think of it as a fragrant camera that captures molecules that cannot be extracted via traditional methods and decodes them so that they can be used in making perfume. It is also a way of capturing the scent as it occurs in a particular space and time such as multiple scents in one room. Headspace Technology allows the perfumer to access raw data that they can then use to piece together a familiar smell using other notes and ingredients. Headspace Technology is completely undetectable when analysed creating bespoke and unique aromas, it is ground breaking perfume technology unlocking a whole new world of possibilities in scent creation. You can create any fragrance using headspace technology and this is how Clive Christian has made the AddictiveFusion™.



An intoxicating fusion of expertly extracted and uniquely distilled ingredients unassumingly known as AddictiveFusion™. Each Addictive Arts perfume contains the AddictiveFusion™.  which is made up of a headspace cocktail of cacao leaves, opium and wormwood. This is a pioneering form of fine perfumery which uses Headspace Technology which captures the elusive scents of mood and mind enhancing narcotics. A harmonised blend of bespoke natural ingredients, honed to perfection, untraceable under analysis and impossible to imitate. Each perfume’s heart is flagrantly dark and exotic and their profile enigmatic and unforgettable.