Natural Perfumers Guild

In 2008, the Natural Perfumers Guild released a Position Paper defining Natural Perfumery. In April, 2012, the paper was revised to reflect the February, 2012 Guild members' vote on the definition of natural isolates. Several other clarifications were made to make the document more specific. A .pdf of this paper may be downloaded from this link.

Defining Natural Perfumery and Recognizing the Need for Self Regulation:

A Position Paper issued by the Natural Perfumers Guild June 1, 2008

Revised April, 2012


Perfumery, as an art and profession, has a long and distinguished history. For the thousands of years perfumers have practiced their art, nature has been both their inspiration and the source of their materials. From simple mixes of basic raw materials to exquisite and complex blends of painstakingly prepared distillates, perfumes and perfumed products have enriched our lives and the lives of our predecessors, making them sweeter, fuller, and more enjoyable. Perfumers' creations were used in temples, palaces and ordinary homes; their containers are found among the artifacts of most ancient civilizations.

In the mid-1800's, scientists began to separate natural raw materials into their component parts, isolating aromachemicals such as coumarin and vanillin. Within a few years, scientists found ways to create these aromachemicals without using natural source materials, resulting in the first synthetic perfumery ingredients. With the commercial demands of modern perfumery dictating their choices, perfumers switched from creating perfumes exclusively from natural materials to creating perfumes that were largely or entirely synthetic.

Fortunately, natural raw materials continued to be grown, processed and distributed. Interest in natural perfumery among perfumers and consumers has increased and now an ever-growing number of perfumers wish to create perfume using only rich, complex and evocative natural ingredients.

Natural perfumers seek definition of their art while consumers seek information that can help them navigate the complex fragrance marketplace. Definition and information on standards for natural aromatics in perfumery have not been readily available from reliable, independent sources. This document is the first step in both defining natural perfumery and proposing self-regulation for the industry. Subsequent documents will address additional important industry definitions and standards, such as safety, environmental concerns, raw material and product testing, and manufacturing processes. The Natural Perfumers Guild Code contains the compliance requirements that are the standards for self-regulation of the members.

The Natural Perfumers Guild is issuing this document for further discussion and consideration as a standard for defining natural perfume and the adoption of uniform language for self-regulation.

General Definitions

Natural perfumery is the art of blending fragrance ingredients of natural origin (see below) to create aesthetically pleasing natural fragrance compounds used to fragrance a full range of industry products from fine perfume to personal and household products. The natural fragrance compound is the aromatic foundation for fragrant natural products and naturally fragranced products (see below).

Fragrance ingredients of natural origin include:

1. Botanical raw materials, such as flowers, barks, seeds, leaves, twigs, roots, rinds, etc.
2. Exuded materials from plants, such as oleoresins, balsams, and gums
3. Animal derivatives, such as ambergris and Hyraceum tinctures and absolutes, etc.
4. Soil products such as mitti and minerals such as amber
5. Essential oils derived from natural raw materials by dry (destructive), steam, or water distillation or by mechanical processes, such as expressed or cold-pressed. Also included are other forms of essential oils, such as rectified oils, fractional distillations, molecular distillations, terpene-less oils, and folded oils
6. A natural isolate is a molecule removed/isolated from a natural fragrance material, as defined by the Guild, which contains the isolate. Processes that are acceptable for removing/isolation are: fractional distillations, rectifications and molecular distillations of natural fragrance materials as defined by the Guild (exceeds ISO 9235) Revised 2/15/12
7. Other distillation product such as hydrolats (hydrosols, floral waters)
8. Tinctures derived by macerating a natural raw material in ethanol, such as tincture of vanilla
9. Infusions derived by macerating a natural raw material in a wax such as jojoba or a fixed oil such as almond oil
10. a. Concretes, absolutes, and resinoids, all extracted from natural raw materials using a solvent other than water, followed by removal of the solvent by natural methods such as distillation/evaporation. Solvents may include hexane, CO2 and others.
b. Absolutes and pomades from enfleurage by the methods in 10.a
11. Attars, rhus, and choyas

A fragrant natural product is made by combining a natural fragrance compound with a wholly natural carrier. A fragrant natural product may be labeled "natural" (e.g. natural perfume, natural soap, natural massage oil, room spray, linen spray, etc.)

Associated products may include carriers that are used to deliver natural fragrance. Some carriers are simple and natural (such as ethanol from grain, grapes, sugar beets or sugar cane; expressed oils; waxes, etc.), and some are simple and partly or fully synthetic such as some specially denatured alcohols, silicone fluids). Some carriers also are more complex and can be wholly natural, or partly or wholly synthetic.

Associated products can be defined to include creams and lotions, soaps, shampoos, deodorants, incense, botanical potpourri, and more.

Any fragrant product made with a partly or wholly synthetic carrier and a partly or wholly synthetic fragrance compound may not use the term "natural" on its label.

Certification: The high standards of the Guild exceed the ISO 9235 requirement for aromatic natural raw materials. At this time, only Professional Perfumers of the Guild may display this seal. Upon submittals of perfumes from non-Guild members, a similar seal for 100% natural perfumes may be awarded.

natural perfumers guild certification seal

The Natural Perfumers Guild Certification Seal signifies that perfumes from Guild Professional Perfumers are made only from 100% natural fragrance materials.

A .pdf of this paper may be downloaded from this link.

Authors: Anya McCoy, Steve Earl, Bruce Bolmes, Elise Pearlstine. Consultant: Tony Burfield.

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