Perfumery and cosmetics

Origin and composition of the perfume

Origin and composition of the perfume

Origin and composition of the perfume

The word “perfume” comes from the latin language “per” (for) and “fumare” (throughout the smoke). This is due to a first reference during the Middle Age to the perfume as an aromatic substance which released a fragant smoke by burning a product.

The birth of the perfume is not clear but some people say the perfume exists from the existence of the sense of smell. Nevertheless, we have to turn back to the Ancient Egypt and the oriental culture age to find the first civilizations that started to play with aromas.


Its use was inherited by different cultures: Greek and Romans. The first of them began to commerce with perfume but it was just for a very few people. They saw it as a Venus gift. After that Romans spread it to all the society sectors using it for different purposes, even for the army. With the fall of the Roman Empire, it started to disappear and only remained in Arabia. Later on the Crusades made perfumes return to Europe.

The perfume is a living matter which consists of demineralized water, ethyl alcohol and essences. Essences are the raw material of perfumes and come from plants, fruits and wood being the base of fragances. These essences may be macerating in alcohol and then the impurities generated during the maceration process are eliminated.

The European Association of Perfume and Cosmetic Products (APCE) seeks to share with its members and the society all the information about  perfumery and cosmetic products with the aim of widening their knowledge about the perfume culture.

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