Why is Jasmine Essential Oil Used in Expensive Perfume?
Do you love the heady, seductive scent of jasmine? I’m a big fan of wearing perfume, liberally spraying myself even on days when I’m not going out and as I’ve gotten older I have come to love the evocative floral fragrance of jasmine.
It is a very sensual perfume, redolent of hot, moonlit nights, romance and seduction that suits confident, assured women; women who know they are sexy and beautiful. But is it just jasmine’s exotic floral scent that ensures that it is a key ingredient in some of the world’s most expensive perfumes?
Jasmine is an evergreen, climbing shrub that is native to the temperate regions of northern India and China. It can grow to around thirty feet tall and has tiny, white star-like flowers and small dark green leaves. It was brought to Europe in the 16th century and is now also commercially cultivated in France, Spain, Japan, Morocco and Turkey. The name of this shrub comes from the Persian word ‘yasmin’ and it is also known as ‘Queen of the Night’ because it only releases its glorious fragrance once the heat of the day is over and the sun has gone down.
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The flowers are very delicate and are only picked at night to preserve the fragile scent. An experienced picker can harvest more than 10,000 blossoms in one night and the flowers are carefully placed in special baskets and processed as soon as possible to keep the valuable fragrance fresh. One of the reasons perfumes containing jasmine are so expensive is that around 7.5 million flowers are required to produce only one kilogramme of the essential perfume oil.
Another reason this fragrance command such a high price is that it is extremely difficult to capture this rich floral note in a perfume. There are several species of the shrub used in perfumery, the most common being Royal Jasmine, also known as Catalonian or Spanish (Jasminum grandiflorum) and Jasmine absolute (Jasminum officinale). It is these ‘absolute’ essential flower and plant oils that are some of the most expensive ingredients and every fancy designer perfume contains some of them. In fact, the higher the concentration of essential perfume oils the larger the price tag on the diamond-studded crystal bottle tends to be.
Aromatic essential plant oils have been used since mankind’s earliest history to help mask body odours, promote healing, for their relaxing properties and also by priests and shamans to help them journey through the spirit realms. What we now know as perfume was not invented until fairly recently in Europe when essential plant oils began to be blended with alcohol to create a fragrance.
As essential oils have always been costly, this new process brought the price of perfume down and over time many fragrances began to be produced that contained none of the precious essential plant oil at all. During the 19th century scientists created synthetic forms of most essential plant oils and the age of modern, cheap scent was born.
And let’s be brutally honest, nothing smells worse than really cheap, tacky perfume. This is another reason why designer perfumes containing jasmine absolute oil cost so much – they really do smell good! They help to create a fragrance that is alluring, gorgeous, and classy; one that can be guaranteed to last from the moment you first spray it on until you go home at night trailing drooling men behind you.
Even though most of the world’s essential oils are produced for use in perfumery, they are usually put through a solvent extraction process of some kind. In fact, most of the modern fragrances that you can buy in the stores today consist of between 80-90% alcohol, which is what makes them affordable for us ordinary folk and enables them to be mass-produced.
So what are some of these famous, luxury perfume brands that command such a high price? How much you pay for a bottle of fragrance also depends on whether you are choosing to buy the concentrated perfume or the more dilute eau de parfum and eau de toilette.
- Clive Christian Imperial Majesty – contains Indian jasmine and is still currently the most expensive perfume of all time, 16.9 ounces will set you back a cool $215,000. This opulent fragrance is aged for six months before it is ready for sale and comes bottled in exquisite Baccarat crystal. Another costly fragrance from this perfume house, Clive Christian No 1, also contains jasmine with gorgeous top notes of citrus bergamot, mandarin and lime.
- Joy By Jean Patou – created in the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s, this famous fragrance became an instant best-seller despite its high price-tag. It is universally regarded as one of the world’s greatest floral fragrances and contains a lavish blend of jasmine and roses. It takes around 28 dozen roses and 10,000 jasmine flowers to create just 30ml of this luxurious, designer perfume, one of the reasons it costs around $450 an ounce!
- Chanel No 5 – famously worn to bed by Marilyn Monroe, a bottle of this iconic perfume will set you back about $260 for 1oz. Again, more than 1,000 jasmine blossoms are needed to produce an ounce of this elegant, classy perfume.
- Poivre by Caron – famous for its top notes of pepper and carnation, this pricey designer perfume also has a strong floral base containing precious jasmine absolute. Costing around $1,000 per ounce, it was created in 1954, as a more overtly seductive, sexy perfume than the more sedate, lady-like florals that dominated the market in this conservative, austere decade.
If like most of us you cannot afford to pay this kind of money for your favourite fragrance, you could consider buying the cheaper eau de toilette versions of these famous scents or the accompanying toiletries such as the scented soap, bath oil or body lotion. There are also plenty of other good quality perfumes that have jasmine in them that retail at more reasonable prices such as Paco Rabanne’s Lady Million, Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb, Yves St Laurent’s Opium, Dior’s J’Adore, Marc Jacob’s Daisy and Estee Lauder’s Modern Muse.
But if you don’t have the budget to buy your favourite jasmine perfume or are looking for a more natural product that does not contain any alcohol or strong chemicals, then why not consider creating your very own perfume using jasmine absolute essential oil. Not only will you be able to enjoy your favourite scent, but you will also receive the therapeutic benefits of jasmine essential oil.
This is an essential oil that is valued for its soothing, relaxing, antidepressant qualities, helping to ease feeling of anxiety, negativity, despair and rage. On the physical level it is very good for the skin, softening and improving skin tone and helping to eradicate scars and stretch marks. If you find it hard to relax, sleep or want to be a bit more cheerful, then this is the oil for you.
Making your own jasmine perfume is very simple. All you need to do is buy some of the essential oil and dab a small amount on the pulse points of your wrists, throat and behind your ears. To make a more complex fragrance, blend a few drops of jasmine with other aromatherapy oils. It blends particularly well with all of the citrus oils, bergamot, rose and sandalwood. If you love the smell but don’t wear perfume, try putting a few drops in a relaxing, hot bath, adding a few drops to a burner or infuser, put some on a ball of cotton wool by a warm radiator or put a few drops into a base oil for a massage.
So now you know why those luxury fragrances that contain jasmine absolute essential oil are so expensive. But as we’ve seen there are alternatives if you are on a budget, but still want to wear this sensual, floral fragrance. Otherwise start saving up, buy a winning lottery ticket or work out a way to meet a tall, dark, handsome billionaire!
White Jasmine Flower image B Traeger Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0 unported
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