Using Attars or Attar Perfume To Scent Your Soap

Attars, also known as attar perfume, are traditional Indian perfume oils. Archaeological evidence shows that attars have been made for over five thousand years. Considered a very expensive commodity both then and now, they were originally used by royalty or offered as gifts to the gods because of how long it took to make them and how painstaking the process of creating them can be.

Obtained through slow hydrodistillation of flowers, roots, spices and herbs, attar perfume oils can take anywhere from three months to several years to create. The ‘attars’ are blended with a sandalwood oil base, which acts as a fixative for the most fragile scents. Usually, perfume masters will create an attar composed of a combination of flowers, creating unique and original fragrances that only get better as the oil ages.

The traditional method of making an attar involves a deg or a still. A large amount of flower petals are put into the still, then they are covered with water. The water is then heated, but the fire needs to constantly be monitored in order to make sure it doesn't burn the flowers. As the water is heated, steam runs through a pipe attached to the still then onto the container that holds the base of the attar perfume oil. This container needs to be rotated by hand every so often to make sure the oil doesn't overheat.

At the end of the day, the fire is turned off and the system is allowed to cool. By morning, the water in the receiving container has separated from the oil and the attar maker can easily separate the two. The water is called a hydrosol; it is flower-scented water that can be kept in the refrigerator to keep from going bad. The oil is the attar. After the two have been separated, the process is repeated because very little oil is collected each time.

Some people use attars for home remedies. Indians believe that the right type of attar can be used to treat skin problems, burns, cuts, nausea, asthma, coughing, cramps, and depression. Being a fragrant oil, however, you can use them for soap!

These days, they are often attached to jojoba oil, coconut oil, or a synthetic compound because of how expensive sandalwood oil has become. They are also produced through more efficient methods of distillation. They are ideal for beauty products because they are alcohol free and have truly unique scents.

When using ‘attars’ for your soap making, be sure to use them sparingly, putting only a few drops into your mixture and letting it blend before you add any more. You only need a very light scent of it because most attar perfume oils tend to strengthen in scent as the soap cures.