In search of the lost perfume – The New Indian Express
Express news service
HYDERABAD: For many, the smell of ittar or synthetic attar can give them a headache, nausea, or rash. But did you know that ittars, until a few years ago, were not the same. Manufacturers produced edible grade scent oils that were bursting with natural, sweet, fine, and unmistakable scents.
All natural ittars have natural oil as a basic ingredient, with a characteristic odor. âRub a piece of sandalwood on the rock and you will smell an incomparable scent. This is the case with orange peel, rose petals or jasmine, âexplains Shailendra Prasad, owner of the fourth generation of Hyderabad Perfumers. His great-grandfather Puran Das established the store in 1896 at Patthar Gatti in Charminar. âIt was the age of natural scents that lasted eons before synthetic ittars appeared at the end of the 19th century,â he says.
Synthetic ittars are relatively cheaper (starting at Rs 5 per 10g) and have an annoying smell. âThe smell is the result of a chemical compound that can irritate. So we mix or dilute natural fragrances with a few milligrams of natural fragrances which are distilled in an elaborate and expensive process, âexplains Shailendra. âThese ittars are affordable. Plus, they don’t irritate the skin or nose, âhe adds.
You can easily tell the difference between a synthetic, slightly synthetic, and natural ittar. âThe synthetic aromas come in scents of jasmine, Pahadi Phool, sandalwood and Oud, which are quite strong. Slightly synthetic woods like rose, khus, musk and amberwood make their presence felt. But, natural scents are the most pleasant. They are expensive, but are just plain nice, âexplains Mohammed Bin Ali, perfumer at Ajmal Perfumes at Chirag Ali Lane in Abids.
Natural ittars can cost between Rs 3,000-8,000 per 10g. âThe scents are mixed to form various scents. Various spices and woods are blended to create masculine musky flavors. Fruits, flowers and vegetable oils are used to obtain seductive feminine scents, âsays Mohammed. âPeople have different preferences, so we too make personalized fragrances,â he adds.