Abelmosk Also known as Musk Mallow; cultivated for its seeds, which are usually referred to as ambrette
Absinthe A strong herbal liqueur distilled from herbs e.g. anise, licorice, hyssop, veronica, fennel, lemon balm, angelica and wormwood
Absolute A perfumery term to describe the essential oil of flowers and other aromatic plant parts in their purest and most concentrated and therefore, in their most expensive form
Abstraction Taking away, synthetically stripping a fragrance to its concrete base; the first abstracted fragrance was 'Fougère Royale' by Houbigant in 1882; using synthetic (abstracted) coumarin with bergamot, oak moss and geranium.
Acacia Of the genus robinia pseudoacacia - flase acacia; a hardy plant found in warm climates of Africa, Australia and the Middle East; the essential oils are obtained from the astringent resin; different genes of acacia produce cassia, mimosa and gum Arabic
Acacia French = acacia; German = Akazie
Accord Perfumery term used to denote a harmonious blend of several ingredients that compliment one another. There is no limit to the number of ingredients.
Acid etching Art glass similar in appearance to cameo glass but created by the using acid as the etching tool
Acid mark An identification mark applied by a glass manufacturer on their products by the use of acid
Acid polishing The use of acid as a polish to restore brilliance to glass surface
Agar-wood Of the genus 'aquilaria agallocha' origin - Assam. In Borneo referred to as, gaharu, a Malay word derived from the much older Sanskrit term agaru, meaning "heavy."
The scented wood was given that name because, indeed, a high-quality piece of gaharu will sink in water. In 16th century, the Portuguese, who were actively trading in Goa, Malacca and Macao, adapted the word agaru to pao d'aguila, or "eagle wood".
Today Agar wood is an extremely rare and precious oil; the Co2 extract is a very viscous, very dark brown oil. The wild trees are very rare, having been severely over harvested, but the oil is now making a comeback due to the foresight of a few families in Assam who are planting large plantations of the tree.
Also known as Oud or Ud.
Agrumen oils The collective perfumery term for essential oils of citrus fruits - orange, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit and bergamot etc
Alabastrona Fragrance containers made in the 5th and early 4th century from moulded terra-cotta, carved alabaster or blown glass
Alchemist Known as a 'nose' today; amongst other concoctions the early chemist created agreeable mixture of aromatic ingredients; the forerunner of perfumes. Alchemists were held in awe and sometimes suspicion in ancient times, often being associated with sorcery and witchcraft
Aldemone© A synthetic molecule that smells of wide-open spaces after a rainfall.
Alcohol A solvent used in perfumery for the production of essential oils and is shown (now-a-days) as a percentage of the volume of the fragrance; ethyl alcohol is the most common type used
Aldehyde A group of synthetic notes cloned from nature that bring strength and vibrancy to a fragrance, first used in Chanel 'No 5'
Almond There are two varieties of almond prunus amygdalus, grown in the Mediterranean and California, the sweet almond that provides the edible nut and the bitter almond that is the main source of the essential oil, has a bittersweet odour and is highly prised in the beauty care for its emolliency and cleansing qualities; also used in medicine and perfumery
Aloe Vera A sub-tropical member of the lily family, a succulent; contains a rich emollient gel which has a wide range of healing and nourishing properties
Aloe-wood Also called lignum aloes, oriental lignaloes, eagle wood, agar wood and lignum rhodium. One of the most valuable of all perfume materials since it was introduced into Europe by the early Arabs in the 8th century AD
Amber Is the abbreviation of 'ambergris'; see below
Ambergris From the French word meaning ‘grey amber’; found in oily grey lumps excreted from the stomachs of sperm whales, physeter macrocephalus, which was nearly hunted to extinction in the early 1900's.
Fresh ambergris has an unpleasant smell but over time develops a velvety and warm perfume. To help save the remaining whales, the perfume industry has stopped using natural ambergris in favour of synthetic forms
Ambrette A seed from the plant hibiscus abelmoschus; the essential oil is steam distilled; has a peachy and musky undertones; main suppliers are China and Colombia - a vegetal musk with crystalline rose, pear and iris facets
Amphora A Roman/Greek two-handled jar with a narrow neck and often no base; see 'laydowns'
Amulet Medieval arm/wrist ormament worn as a charm to protect against evil
Amyris Native to Haiti of the genus amyris balsamifera, grows in thickets, acclaimed, as the West Indian Sandalwood yet does not belong to the same family. The bark emits a resinous fluid, the essential oil if steam distilled: used a fixative in perfumes and as an ingredient of soaps and cosmetics
Angelica A herb, botanically named angelica archangelica, which might be native to Syria but now widely grown in the Middle East, well known in the food industry, the root being mainly used for perfumery, which is steam-distilled to obtain the essential oil, that has a musky scent similar to benzoin with added notes of juniper
Animalic Odorants originating in the animal kingdom
Anise Also known as sweet cumin; anise oil used in perfumery is derived from seeds of an annual plant known as anisum vulgare which is a native to the eastern Mediterranean although now grown extensively in Spain and the West Indies. The essential oil is obtained by steam distilling the seeds, producing a colourless liquid with warm liquorice aroma
Aniseed Of the genus pimpinella anisum; native to the Middle East; a herb with essential oil is distalled from the seed
Aniseed French = anis; German = anis
Annealing Process The controlled heating then cooling of a glass object to toughen and strengthen it, so making it less likely to crack or chip
Anosmia The inability to smell odours.
Aoud See under 'Oudh'
Apoytrapaic From the Greek meaning 'averting the evil eye'; where the wearing of bells, amulets and lucky charms was believed to protect one against evil or ill health; burning of incense also had an apostrophic quality; e.g. in churches
Apple The fragrance of apple was often found in early Arabian perfumes, and is concentrated by distilling apple juice or through chemical synthesis
Apple French = pomme; German = Apfel
Apple Blossom Used in fragrances
Apple Blossom German = Apfelblüten
Applied Decorations Decorative glass, paint, enamel, gold, silver or anything applied to or attached to the surface of the perfume bottle to enhance its appearance
Apricot Of the genus prunus armeniaca; a drupe – has a single seed or kernel surrounded by sweet and fragrant pulp; the seeds as well as the pulp yield a fragrant and/or therapeutic oil by distillation; in practice most notes of the apricot used in modern perfumes are synthetic.
Aqua notes A marine fragrance with notes alluding to the cool freshness of sea air or the pure feeling of flowing water
Arabesque Stylized decorative motifs on complicated ornamental design of Arabian/Moorish origin
Arabic perfumes The Arab world has played a pivotal role in the history of perfumes; Turkish baths, Babylon perfumed gardens and Arabian hammams all renowned for the fragrant atmospheres.See 'Perfume History: synopsis'
Argan Oil Obtained from a small plant native to Morocco; renowned for its anti-aging properties; long used by Bedouin women
Aromachology The scientific study of the effects of scents and their effects on our feelings; research carried out by ORF, Olfactory Research Fund, an American body financed by the fragrance industry
Aromatic Fragrance; one that has sensual cool-warm notes of citrus and lavender, sweet spices and oriental woods
Aromatic Oils Oil was the ancient medium for capturing and applying fragrances whether as a perfume or for medicinally use
Aromatics sources Plants have long been used in perfumery as a source of essential oils and aroma compounds. These aromatics are usually secondary metabolites produced by plants as protection against herbivores, infections, as well as to attract pollinators.
Plants are by far the largest source of fragrant compounds used in perfumery.
The sources of these compounds may be derived from various parts of a plant. A plant can offer more than one source of aromatics, for instance the aerial portions and seeds of coriander have remarkably different odors from each other.
Animal sources such as ambergris, civet and musk. Other natural sources such as lichens and seaweed.
Synthetic sources - Many modern perfumes contain synthesized odorants.
Synthetics can provide fragrances which are not found in nature.
Aromatherapy A method of therapeutic treatment based on ancient herbal remedied; it is often presented as a modern, specifically New-Age; the healing properties of aromatic essential oils applied to the body by massage, in aromatic baths, compresses or aromatic inhalers, have been known for centuries reaching back to 3000 BC.
The modern discipline dates from the 1930’s.
The UK's centre is based at Reading under the guidance of Dr Bernard Hephrun; also see under NORA and European Institute of Aromatherapy
Art Nouveau A late 19th and early 20th century decorative style characterized by flowing lines, floral patterns with elaborate twining tendril motifs and sensual women in draped clothing
Artemisia Or wormwood; the genus of plants contains about 180 species but only two produce the most important essential oils used in perfumes: mugwort A. vulgaris which is known as artemisia oil, and tarragon A. dranunculus, also known as estragon.
Aryballos A small Grecian flask or container used to hold perfumed mixtures or unguents
AS After Shave
Asklepios of Epdiaurus Greece 1250 BC; regarded as the founder of medicine; also used fragrant unguents
Assyrian warriors Ancient Middle Eastern soldiers renowned for their oil scented curled their long beards
Atomizer Also known as spray or vaporizers where the perfume bottle has a pressure device to discharge the fragrance in a fine mist. Originally developed as medical throat sprays; first used in the perfume industry in 1910
Attar Derived from the Persian word 'itr' for ‘to smell sweet’; True attar—rose oil of today—was not produced until the late 16th century, when the double-distillation technique was developed.
Aurene A specialized art glass developed by Frederick Carder for Steuben Glass works in early 1900's
Aventurine Glass with glittering metallic inclusions
Ver 16035