Perfumes Vs. Fragrance Oils: An Important Distinction

Perfumes Vs. Fragrance Oils: An Important Distinction

There tends to be a lot of confusion between perfume oils and fragrance oils. A lot of this has to do with terminology because the words fragrance and perfume are used interchangeably. Amorphous Perfume does not sell fragrance oils. We offer perfumes in both oil and Eau de Parfum formats. Perfume oils are perfumes composed in oil format using a carrier oil base (we use fractionated coconut oil due to its unparalleled performance and shelf life). While the words perfume and fragrance obviously mean the same thing, our perfume oils should not be confused with fragrance oils. The only difference between our perfume oils and traditional alcohol-based perfumes is the carrier.

Historically, the term "fragrance oil" was often used broadly to refer to any oil-based perfume. However, in contemporary usage, "fragrance oil" has become synonymous with mass-produced stock oils, inexpensive blends primarily utilized in candles, home fragrances, "dupe" type knockoff scents, and bath and body products. Mixtures or decants of stock oils are sometimes described as perfume, which perfumers tend to find frustrating because it can be both misleading to the consumer and diminishing to the art form. You'll usually find these types of "perfumes" sold in places like Etsy.

A lot of the confusion stems from the rise of DIY type online perfume tutorials. It's important to note that there is a massive amount of wrong information about perfume making on the Internet. While a lot of bath and body brands use skin safe fragrance oils for bath and body products such as lotion and soaps, those types of fragrance oils, typically stock oils, are not ideal for perfumery. 

While the artist employed the term "fragrance oil" colloquially many years ago to denote simple oil-based synthetics, we have since moved away from this terminology to avoid confusion, especially given the increasing prevalence of stock oils being marketed as handmade perfumery over the years. Our intention is not to entirely vilify the term "fragrance oil," as higher-quality single note fragrance oils do exist. Occasionally, the artist may incorporate a premium perfume-quality "fragrance oil" as a material in a larger mixed media accord or base. Nevertheless, these components differ significantly from stock oil-type fragrance oils, as the latter are not designed for application in perfumery.

Our perfumes are original compositions meticulously handcrafted using a blend of synthetic materials (aroma chemicals), professional perfumery bases, and natural materials (essential oils, isolates, absolutes, concretes, co2s, resins, and occasionally artist-crafted tinctures). This process adheres to traditional perfumery methods, ensuring the creation of unique and high-quality fragrances.

 Originally published November 2022

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