“A perfume is a promise in a bottle”, says Sophia Grojsman of International Flavors & Fragrances.
These little ‘promises’ are made of aromatic oils and alcohol. Parfum has a concentration of oils greater than 22 %. Eau de parfum has between 15 and 22 % of oils. Eau de toilette has only 8 to 15 % oils, and Cologne, less than 5 %.
Producing aromatic oils is not easy, nor cheap. Rose Absolute, a liquid extracted from rose petals in France, costs up to 3,650 dollars a pound (454 grams). All rose petals have to be harvested at down or early morning, so labor is 60% of the cost.
But labor is not all: the ‘ethereal’ aspect is crucial. People want to be prettier, sexier, richer – and perfumes can make us feel this way. That’s why Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, affirms the company doesn’t just sell perfumes: “We sell hope.”
This text was extracted from our book World English 2. You may access https://www.perfume.com/article-history-of-perfume to learn more about perfume.