There’s 70-80% alcohol in pure perfume compositions. The exact percentage in perfume varies and it’s labeled as 70%vol., where the percentage indicates its exact alcohol content.
Alcohol in perfumes is not the same as in drinks. Most perfumes used denaturated alcohol which doesn’t intoxicate. You should not drink it, however.
After discussing the percentage of alcohol in perfume with chemists I now understand it acts as a diffusing agent.
The big debate – is a high volume of alcohol in perfumes good or bad?
There’s no direct good or wrong choice here. Most of the compositions with alcohol have different merits with different concentrations. Most people assume the following:
More alcohol is perfume is good – because it helps spread out the perfume oils and it evaporates quickly anyways.
More alcohol is bad – it indicates a low-quality perfume, maybe something with the strength of eau de cologne.
You’d normally expect a lower concentration of alcohol (let’s say 70%) to equate to an eau de toilette perfume concentration.
In reality, alcohol is added to the composition of the essential oils after they are mixed.
Then there’s a content of water which is also added to many perfumes, usually up to 15%.
Let’s give an example of Dolce & Gabbana’s The One EDP.
- It has an alcohol content of 80%. Perfume oils and water make up the rest of the 20%.
This is how to understand alcohol content in perfumes
Eau de perfum – has up to 80% alcohol content with at least 20% fragrance oils.
Eau de toilette – has 5 to 15% fragrance oils and up to 85% alcohol concentration.
Eau de cologne – has an alcohol concentration of up to 95%.
A few characteristics of alcohol-based perfumes
- Alcohol can dry the skin
- Alcohol-based perfumes don’t last as long as oil-based perfumes
- Perfume alcohol is volatile which means it evaporates quickly
- Alcohol-based perfumes are easy to find as most perfumers love these compositions
- Alcohol is not expensive, which means these perfumes can be cheaper than natural oil-based scents
- Denaturated alcohol or perfume alcohol is not subject to the same tax brackets as standard alcohol
- Perfume alcohol evaporates into the air which improves perfume silage
The high alcohol content in perfume doesn’t equate to eau de toilette, eau de parfum, or cologne performance. An eau de toilette with 80% alcohol can have better longevity than an eau de parfum with 80% alcohol content.
If you want to explore the world of perfumes further, take a peek at fragrancespotter’s Best Cologne for Men list.