Ingredients in Perfume – Breaking Down Compositions One Scent at a Time

There are over 300 ingredients in perfume I’ve selected for this post. They make up fragrances as we know them today.

Ingredients of perfume are diverse and they range from organic compounds on synthetic budget-friendly and environmentally-friendly alternatives.

If you’re interested in these ingredients for perfume making, feel free to come back to this post as I’ll update the list as I encounter these aromas in perfumes.

List of ingredients in perfume

This list of ingredients in perfume is going to be updated as more ingredients surface in the perfumes reviewed on fragranspotter.com. Many of them are used in various combinations and a good part of these ingredients are synthetic variations of the original more expensive naturals.

Acetoin

Made from fermentative bacteria, it is a perfume ingredient which adds buttery-caramel flavor to the composition.

Agave amica

Also called French tuberose, the ingredient is used on its own or in combination with floral ingredients such as orange blossom and iris.

Agrumen

A type of aldehyde with greenness and muskiness.

Aldehyde

Natural compounds which can be synthetized in artificial alternatives.

Amber

A warm note with heaviness with resinous character.

Ambergris

Used to tie ingredients, it adds longevity to perfumes. Today, the fixative is replaced by synthetic ambroxan.

Ambrein

It is am ambergris extract responsible for the aphrodisiac effects of the sperm whale digestive system sperm whale.

Ambrette

Essential oil derived from ambrette seeds.

Ambroxan

Also called ambroxide, it’s an ingredient in perfume extracted from ambergris and it is used to isolate its odor.

A compound that has the smell of an odor.

Amyris

A white woody note used as a cheap sandalwood alternative.

Artemisia pallens

Aromatic herb perfume ingredient.

Balm of Gilead

Balm extract from terebinth trees.

Balsam of Peru

Sweet scent originating in El Salvador. It has an allergenic profile.

Bdellium

An Indian resin extract from trees. It’s also known under the name of myrrh.

Beeswax

The wax of bees.

Benzaldehyde

Bitter almond ingredient from almonds.

Benzoin (resin)

Resin obtained from the bark of trees such as Styrax.

Benzyl acetate

Fruity strawberries extract.

Benzyl alcohol

Solvent with an aromatic odor with a clear profile.

Benzyl benzoate

Fixative ingredient in perfumery.

Benzyl cinnamate

Fixative mainly used in oriental fragrances.

Benzylacetone

Floral ingredient from cocoa.

Bergamot

A citrusy opening note, popular in summer perfumes.

Beta-Pinene

Woody green smell with pine aroma.

Bisabolol

Characterized by a weak floral aroma from German chamomile.

Bourgeonal

Floral green with aldehydic nuances, similar to Lily of the Valley.

Brown sugar

Calone

Derived from algae, the ingredient is used in fragrances to offer a marine and aldehyde effect.

Camphene

Synthetic compound made from alpha-pinene.

Camphor

Camphor scent from Camphor laurel.

Cardamom

Earthy nutty scent with sweetness sourced from cardamom seeds highly popular as an ingredient in perfume.

Carvone

Caraway scent from spearmint.

Cashmeran

Musk indanone chemical fragrance ingredient.

Castoreum

A Castor beaver secretion with musk-leather heaviness.

Chavicol

The aromatic compound is extracted from anise or gardenia.

Cinnamyl alcohol

Sweet, spicy, and green, and powdery, is mainly made from cinnamaldehyde.

Citral

Lemon extract from lemon myrtle or lemongrass.

Citron

The zest from a lemon tree, used in perfume opening notes.

Citronellol

Lemon citrusy scent from lemongrass or rose.

Civet (perfumery)

Glandular secretion from African civet.

Civetone

Civetone is its safe Civet synthetic alternative (Civet is linked to SARS in the US).

Clary sage

Bittersweet aroma with amber and hay nuances.

Copaiba

Oleoresin stimulant.

Coumarin

Vanilla-like aroma derived from tonka bean ingredients.

Cyclododecanone

Organic compound cyclic ketone.

Cyclopentadecanolide

Synthetic musk used in perfumery.

Cyclopentanone

Jasmine precursor.

Cyperus articulates

Green water herb.

Damascenone

Rose ketone chemicals.

Damascone

Low concentration rose synthetic perfume ingredient.

Deer musk

Persistent smell derived from musk deer caudal glands.

Diethyl malonate

Ester naturally sourced from grapes or strawberries.

Ethanol

A type of alcohol usually made from corn starch.

Estragole

Tarragon perfume ingredient.

Ethyl acetate

Sweet solvent derived from wine.

Ethyl benzoate

Sweet scent with a medicinal influence.

Ethyl butyrate

Fruity ingredient derived from orange and pineapple.

Ethyl maltol

Dried fruit scent with a caramelized sugary scent.

Ethyl methylphenylglycidate

Wintergreen odor.

Eucalyptol

Eucalypt extract.

Eugenol

Clove profile made from cloves.

Everlasting

Evernia prunastri

Lichen oakmoss.

Farnesene

Complex green apple scent.

Farnesol

The ingredient emphasizes sweet floral accords.

Filbertone

Hazelnuts compound.

Fixative (perfumery)

Equalizes vapor pressure in perfume-making.

Fragrance oil

Blended natural or synthetic aroma oils.

Frangipani

A floral aroma called the Jasmine of India.

Frankincense

Aromatic gum resin specific to Arabia similar to myrrh.

Freesia

Galaxolide

Synthetic musk odor.

Galbanum

A type of resin with an atypical plant-based smell.

Gardenia

Gardenia (tiare) petals macerated in coconut oil. Sometimes called Monoi de Tahiti.

Geraniol

Rose-like scent. Rosy smell from geranium or lemon.

Geranyl acetate

Fruity floral ingredient from roses.

Gourmand (fragrance)

A perfume made from edible ingredients such as honey and chocolate.

Grapefruit mercaptan

Synthetic grapefruit aroma.

Guaiac wood

Resin extracts from the South American Guaiac tree.

Hedione

A perfumery scent characterized by a mellow jasmine smell.

Heliotrope

Floral scent with sweetness and vanilla-like nuances used as a natural or a synthetic ingredient in perfumes.

Heptyl acetate

Fruit essence flavor.

Herbal distillate

Aqueos products or floral waters.

Hexyl acetate

Floral fruity profile made from apple and plum extract.

Hexyl cinnamaldehyde

Chamomile essential oil.

Hydroxycitronellal

Citrus and melon aroma.

Hydroxymethylpentylcyclohexenecarboxaldehyde

Soapy scent also known as Lyral.

Hyraceum

Urine and feces excreted from Cape hyra.

Indole

Synthetic perfume ingredient with a floral profile.

Ionone

Low concentration roses ingredient.

Irone

Sweet floral iris.

Iso E Super

A woody amber with velvet undertones made chemically.

Isoamyl acetate

Fruity perfume ingredient of perfumes made from banana or pear extract.

Isobornyl cyclohexanol

Synthetic oil with sandalwood aroma.

Isovanillin

Inhibits aldehyde oxidation.

Ivy

Jasmine

A floral note found in men’s and women’s perfumes.

Jasmone

Spicy floral scent with fruitiness from jasmine or honeysuckle.

Labdanum

The main ingredient in amber perfumes with some resembled to ambergris.

Lilial

Aromatic aldehyde.

Lily

Lily of the Valley

A delicate white floral scent sometimes characterized as sweet, but rather fresh. It is used in lily of the valley perfumes for women the most.

Lime

Lime blossom – linden

Limonene

Citrusy scent extracted from orange or lemon.

Linalool

Floral sweet scent with woodiness extracted from coriander, lavender, honeysuckle, or sweet basil.

Menthol

Menthol mint scent from mentha extract.

Menthone

Peppermint-like oil.

Methyl acetate

Sweet solvent, normally used in nail polish.

Methyl anthranilate

Fruity grape extract.

Methyl benzoate

Sweet scent with the fruit of the feijoa tree.

Methyl butyrate

Fruity ingredient normally extracted from apple or pineapple.

Methyl formate

Etheral ingredient.

Methyl isobutyrate

Colorless solvent from organic compounds.

Methyl pivalate

Colorless ingredient from pivalic acid.

Methyl propionate (propanoate)

Sweet ingredient with a fruity-rum aroma.

Monoi

A gardenia scent with coconut oil additions.

Muguet

Lily of the Water in France made with synthetic ingredients.

Muscone

Organic compound in natural musk.

Musk

Deer musk gland extracts with an initial natural source which then turned towards synthetic alternatives.

Musk xylene.

Synthetic cologne ingredient that mimics natural musk.

Myrcene

Semi-synthetic ingredient from myrcia.

Nag champa

Sandalwood combined with champark or frangipani.

Narcissus

White flowers aroma dating back to the early days of perfumery.

Nardostachys jatamansi

Himalayan flower extract also called muskroot.

Nectarine

A sweet juicy fruity aroma.

Nerodiol

Nerol

Sweet rose flowery scent made from neroli and lemongrass.

Nerolidol

Fresh bark aroma made from neroli, ginger, or jasmine.

Oakmoss

Extracts from tree lichen with oriental opening and earthy drydown.

Ocimene

Fruity floral ingredient from mango or curcuma.

Octyl acetate

Fruity orange extract.

Olive

An oily extract from olives.

Orris

An iris plant extract

Orris root

Ortho-Vanillin

Osmanthus

A flowering tree from China, with a mild apricot-like sweetness and juiciness.

Oud (Oudh)

Agarwood resin extract from the tree of Agar. It’s specific to oriental perfumes and it’s also very expensive to source.

Patchouli

Small bushy white-pink flower with mustiness, sweetness, and spiciness from Malaysia or India.

Patchoulol

Patchouli extract.

Pelargonium graveolens

Aromatic or odorless African flower.

Pentyl butyrate

Fruity profile, extracted from pear and apricot.

Pentyl pentanoate

Fruity sweet profile made from apples.

Perillaldehyde

Perilla organic compound.

Phellandrene

Double bound isomers.

Phenethyl alcohol

Warm floral odor.

P-Menthane

Fennel-inspired odor.

Pomarose

Fruity rose odor.

Pulegone

Flavoring agents similar to pennyroyal, peppermint and camphor.

Raspberry ketone

Natural compound with red raspberries aroma.

Redcurrant

Resins

Ambery natural compounds sourced from trees and plants.

Rhodinol

Alcohol mixtures made from geranium or citronella.

Rhubarb

Rose

A seductive rose petal extract with intense aroma made through distillation or other extractive methods. Various types of roses are used in perfumes.

Rose de Mai

Rose essential oil also called rose absolute.

Rum

Fruity, medicinal, glue-like Phenethyl alcohol from rum.

Safrole

Candyshop perfume and food aroma.

Sandalore

Synthetic sandalwood aroma.

Sandalwood

Soft and warm wood scent.

Skatole

Fecal ingredient diluted in orange blossom.

Thujone

Mint profile ingredient of perfumes extracted from wormwood or lilac.

Thymol

Thyme perfume ingredient.

Tonka Bean

Vanilla base notes with cinnamon, almonds, and cloves originating in Brazilian trees.

Trimethylamine

Fishy aroma.

Tuberose

A highly aromatic white flower ingredient.

Valeriana celtica

Vanilla

Vanilla orchid seed pods extract high in sweetness and ever-growing price.

Vanillin

Vanilla scent.

Verbana

Vetiver

A type of fibrous grass with earthy-leather undertones which is mainly used as a base note either by itself or in a composition with other long-lasting accords.

Wiseria

Various scents depending on the species ranging from musky to sweet.

Wormwood

Savory herb often compared to cooking herbs.

Ylang Ylang

Heavy sweet-floral scent used to add nuances to perfumes.

Yuzu

An interesting smell compared to combinations of grapefruit and orange.

Α-Santalol

Sandalwood oil (55%) + santalol.

Β-Santalol

 

Allspice

Almond

Aloe Vera

Alpha-lonone

Also called Olibanum

Aluminum

Amaretto

Anethole

Angel’s Trumpet

Angelica

Anise

Anise extract.

Apple

Apricot

Aroma compound

Arum lily

Asafoetida

Avocado

Bacon

Balsam of Capaiba

Bamboo

Banana

Basil

Bay leaf

Belladonna

Bellini

Bitter orange

Black locust

Blackberry

Blackcurrant

Blood orange

Bluebell

Blueberry

Boronia

Camelia

Caraway

Cardamom

Carnation

Caviar

Cedar

Cedarwood

Celery

Chamomile

Cherry

Cherry blossom

Chocolate

Cinnaamaldehyde

Cinnamon

Dahlia

Daisy

Dandelion

Dates

Datura

Davana

Dill

Dried fruits

Driftwood

Dyer’s greenweed

Edelweiss

Elacampane

Elder

Elemi

Ethyl salicylate

Eucalyptus

Fennel

Fenugreek

Fern

Fig

Fir

Flax

Forget-me-not

Geosmin

Ginger

Goosberry

Grape

Grapefruit

Grass

Grenadine

Guava

Gum resin

Hawthorn

Hay

Heliotropin

Hemlock

Honey

Honeysuckle

Hyacinth

Immortelle

Incense

Ink

Iris

Isoeugenol

Jatamansi

Juniper

Juniper berries

Karo-karounde

Kephalis

Kiwi

Kumquat

Lavender

Leather

Lemon

Lemon verbena

Licorice

Lilac

Magnolia

Mandarin

Mango

Marigold

Marshmallow

Melon

Mignonette

Mimosa

Mint

Neroli

Night-blooming cereus

Oak

Opium

Opoponax

Orange

Orange blossom

Orchid

Putrescine Diaminobutane

Pyridine

Quince

Raspberry

Raspberry

Rosehip

Rosemary

Rosewood

Saffron

Sage

Salt

Santal oil (20%).

Seaweed

Sequoia

Spikenard

Star anise

Stephanotis

Storax balsam

Strawberry

Styrax

Suede

Sugar

Sweet pea

Synthetic musk

Syringa

Taif rose

Tangerine

Tea

Terpinol

Tetramethyl acetyloctahydronaphthalenes

Thyme

Tiare

Tincture of benzoin

Tobacco

Tolu balsam

Tolu balsam

Tomato leaf

Tonka

Violet

Violet leaves

Water

Water lily

Watermelon

West Indian bay

Wheat

Α-Vetivone