Zanos Ltd Gilbert House Haig Road Knutsford Cheshire WA16 8DX UK

Gilbert House Haig Road Knutsford Cheshire WA16 8DX UK


The art of Egyptian perfumery with our supplier, Fridal

by Brandon

The first perfumers

It is widely known that ancient Egyptians were renowned for their use of cosmetics and ointments (think Cleopatra with her thick eyeliner and bathing in donkey’s milk to attain her soft skin).

Body oil was applied by almost every citizen from as far back as 4,500 BC as a way of cleansing and moisturizing skin in the hot arid climate.  Odours were associated with impurity and good smells indicated a sacred presence – hence, cleanliness was next to Godliness!

As the first culture to develop floral extraction methods, Egyptians are credited with being the first perfumers.  Essential oils were used for medicines, cosmetology and sacred burials thanks to their art of mummification.

Fridal, a key supplier of Egyptian oils

It is no wonder that the tradition continues to this day in Egypt (well, not the practice of mummification…) as the country is still the main source for geranium, jasmine, blue chamomile and cumin seed essential oils.  Zanos offers these prized ingredients from our supplier, Fridal, one of the biggest producers and exporters of fine natural essential oils.

The company are committed to social responsibility and eco-friendly sustainability.  Fridal constructed a fully-equipped solar-powered residential village hosting 500 people, use over 38 solar pumps to pump water to elevated reservoirs and gravity to irrigate their land.

The all-rounder geranium oil

In response to the increase in demand for geranium oil by overseas buyers, Fridal is one of the leading exporters of this sweet and rosy fragrant material.  This intense floral scent is used in everything from soaps, household cleaning products to fine fragrances.

The whole plant undergoes two harvest periods with the first cut steam distillation taking place in June and second cut steam distillation in October.  Pelargonium Graveolens’ main components are geraniol, citronellol and linalool.  Its scent is strong and dominant in blends.  It works well with citrus, floral, wood and mint families and chypre-type compositions.

Jasmine, the foundation for fine perfumery

The precious and costly jasmine concrete and jasmine absolute requires a solvent extraction and alcohol extraction respectively to obtain its intensely floral and seductive scent.   Jasminum Grandiflorum has been the basis of many classic intense perfumes such as Joy by Jean Patou and Shalimar by Guerlain.

Picked only during coolest part of the day, it takes around 7.5 million flowers to produce only one kilogram of the essential perfume oil – hence, its expensive price tag.  The absolute is a dark orange or reddish-brown viscous liquid whose main components are benzyl acetate and linalool. Jasmine concrete, used only to create the famous jasmine absolute, is reddish-orange in colour with a waxy appearance.

Used for thousands of years in aromatherapy and ceremonial purposes, this exquisite flower is a natural remedy for depression, insomnia, and improves digestive and reproductive health.

Soothing and gentle blue chamomile

As its name implies, blue chamomile (or Chamomilla recutita) is blue-green or dark inky-blue in colour due to the high content of azulene, an active organic compound.  Grown in Egypt (as well as on the European continent), this soothing oil is ideally used in skin care products.

Gentle enough to use on children and the elderly, its calming and relaxing scent ensures a good night’s sleep.  Described as herbaceous with dry notes of hay and tobacco, some perfumers have also described apple undertones.

Cumin seed, adding spice to our life

Since the days of the pharaohs, cumin seed and its oil (cuminum cyminum) has been used to treat many illnesses and was referenced by Hippocrates as well as the Bible.  Its seeds have been used a diuretic, muscle relaxant, cough treatment and an immunity booster.  In fact, its active compound, thymoquinone, has recently been tested for its efficacy against cancer.

Heavy and spicy in fragrance, the seeds are primarily used as flavour to spice bread, cakes, seasonings, pickles, and meat sauces.  In fragrances, this powerful oil is used in trace amounts to introduce green-spicy and green-woody top notes.

Zanos supplies these celebrated oils from Fridal as well as other essential oils and aroma chemicals.   We are happy to help you find what you are looking for.  Email or speak to our Sales Specialists on 01565 755899.


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