Perfume is a substance with a pleasing odor. It is made by blending oils, alcohol, and other materials.
   Perfume has been in use since ancient times. In ancient Egypt, it was considered a symbol of immortality and was often placed in the tombs of the Pharaohs. The Bible frequently refers to the use of perfume. Perfume has grown in popularity through the ages, and is a favorite with women who like its good scent on their skin and clothing. It is used in soaps, shaving lotions, shampoos, cosmetics, and hundreds of other products.
   The finest perfumes are expensive because of the high cost of the essential oils and fixatives used in their preparation. They are made in nearly all countries, but France is considered the leader of the perfume industry. Fragrant flowers such as lavender, carnations, jasmine, orange blossoms, and violets are raised in France and made into famous French perfumes. The finest rose perfume is made in Bulgaria. Most of the spice scents come from tropical sections.
   Gland cells in the nectaries of flowers produce fragrant oils. These oils, or attars, are the essential oils that are blended with other ingredients to make perfumes. The essential oils are removed from flowers either by steam distillation; by allowing lard to absorb the oil; or by dissolving the flower oils with petroleum ether. It takes many thousands of pounds of flowers to produce an ounce of essential oil: This is one reason for the high cost of perfumes.
   Fixatives are used in perfumes to make the scent last and to blend the many separate odors into one fine scent. Animal products such as ambergris, civet, and musk are fixatives. They must be properly treated, aged, and blended before use. Natural fixatives are very expensive and add greatly to the cost of perfume. Synthetic musk has been successfully made and used.