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For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, an American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War. On August 16, , the inhabitants were suddenly racked with frightful hallucinations of terrifying beasts and fire. One man tried to drown himself, screaming that his belly was being eaten by snakes.

An year-old tried to strangle his grandmother. He then got up and carried on for 50 yards. Another saw his heart escaping through his feet and begged a doctor to put it back. Many were taken to the local asylum in strait jackets. Time magazine wrote at the time: Eventually, it was determined that the best-known local baker had unwittingly contaminated his flour with ergot, a hallucinogenic mould that infects rye grain. Another theory was the bread had been poisoned with organic mercury.

However, H P Albarelli Jr. Mr Albarelli came across CIA documents while investigating the suspicious suicide of Frank Olson, a biochemist working for the SOD who fell from a 13th floor window two years after the Cursed Bread incident. One note transcribes a conversation between a CIA agent and a Sandoz official who mentions the "secret of Pont-Saint-Esprit" and explains that it was not "at all" caused by mould but by diethylamide, the D in LSD.

While compiling his book, A Terrible Mistake: As the percentage of aromatic compounds increases, so does the intensity and longevity of the scent. Specific terms are used to describe a fragrance's approximate concentration by the percent of perfume oil in the volume of the final product. The most widespread terms [15] are:.

There is much confusion over the term "cologne", which has three meanings. The first and oldest definition refers to a family of fresh, citrus-based fragrances distilled using extracts from citrus, floral, and woody ingredients. Supposedly these were first developed in the early 18th century in Cologne, Germany , hence the name. This type of "classical cologne" describes unisex compositions "which are basically citrus blends and do not have a perfume parent.

In the 20th century, the term took on a second meaning. Fragrance companies began to offer lighter, less concentrated interpretations of their existing perfumes, making their products available to a wider range of customers. Guerlain, for example, offered an Eau de Cologne version of its flagship perfume Shalimar. In contrast to classical colognes, this type of modern cologne is a lighter, diluted, less concentrated interpretation of a more concentrated product, typically a pure parfum.

The cologne version is often the lightest concentration from a line of fragrance products. Finally, the term "cologne" has entered the English language as a generic, overarching term to denote a fragrance worn by a man, regardless of its concentration. The actual product worn by a man may technically be an eau de toilette, but he may still say that he "wears cologne". A similar problem surrounds the term "perfume", which can be used a generic sense to refer to fragrances marketed to women, whether or not the fragrance is actually an extrait.

Classical colognes first appeared in Europe in the 17th century. The first fragrance labeled a "parfum" extract with a high concentration of aromatic compounds was Guerlain's Jicky in Eau de Toilette appeared alongside parfum around the turn of the century. The EdP concentration and terminology is the most recent.

Parfum de toilette and EdP began to appear in the s and gained popularity in the s. The wide range in the percentages of aromatic compounds that may be present in each concentration means that the terminology of extrait, EdP, EdT, and EdC is quite imprecise.

Different perfumeries or perfume houses assign different amounts of oils to each of their perfumes. Therefore, although the oil concentration of a perfume in EdP dilution will necessarily be higher than the same perfume in EdT from within a company's same range, the actual amounts vary among perfume houses. An EdT from one house may have a higher concentration of aromatic compounds than an EdP from another.

Furthermore, some fragrances with the same product name but having a different concentration may not only differ in their dilutions, but actually use different perfume oil mixtures altogether. For instance, in order to make the EdT version of a fragrance brighter and fresher than its EdP, the EdT oil may be "tweaked" to contain slightly more top notes or fewer base notes.

As a rule of thumb, women's fragrances tend to have higher levels of aromatic compounds than men's fragrances. Women's fragrances used to be common in all levels of concentration, but today are mainly seen in parfum, EdP and EdT concentrations. Perfume oils are often diluted with a solvent, though this is not always the case, and its necessity is disputed. By far the most common solvent for perfume is oil dilution is an alcohol solution, typically a mixture of ethanol and water or a rectified spirit. Perfume oil can also be diluted by means of neutral-smelling oils such as fractionated coconut oil , or liquid waxes such as jojoba oil.

The conventional application of pure perfume parfum extrait in Western cultures is at pulse points, such as behind the ears, the nape of the neck, and the insides of wrists, elbows and knees, so that the pulse point will warm the perfume and release fragrance continuously. According to perfumer Sophia Grojsman behind the knees is the ideal point to apply perfume in order that the scent may rise.

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Lightly scented products such as bath oil, shower gel, and body lotion are recommended for the morning; eau de toilette is suggested for the afternoon; and perfume applied to the pulse points for evening. Eau de toilette lasts from 2 to 4 hours, while perfume may last up to six hours. A variety of factors can influence how fragrance interacts with the wearer's own physiology and affect the perception of the fragrance. Diet is one factor, as eating spicy and fatty foods can increase the intensity of a fragrance.

The precise formulae of commercial perfumes are kept secret. Even if they were widely published, they would be dominated by such complex ingredients and odorants that they would be of little use in providing a guide to the general consumer in description of the experience of a scent. Nonetheless, connoisseurs of perfume can become extremely skillful at identifying components and origins of scents in the same manner as wine experts.

The most practical way to start describing a perfume is according to the elements of the fragrance notes of the scent or the "family" it belongs to, all of which affect the overall impression of a perfume from first application to the last lingering hint of scent.

The trail of scent left behind by a person wearing perfume is called its sillage , after the French word for " wake ", as in the trail left by a boat in water.

Flowers in French language, and as a bonus, a French poem, recited Baudelaire

Perfume is described in a musical metaphor as having three sets of notes , making the harmonious scent accord. The notes unfold over time, with the immediate impression of the top note leading to the deeper middle notes, and the base notes gradually appearing as the final stage. These notes are created carefully with knowledge of the evaporation process of the perfume. The scents in the top and middle notes are influenced by the base notes; conversely, the scents of the base notes will be altered by the types of fragrance materials used as middle notes.

Manufacturers who publish perfume notes typically do so with the fragrance components presented as a fragrance pyramid, using imaginative and abstract terms for the components listed. Grouping perfumes can never be a completely objective or final process. Many fragrances contain aspects of different families. Even a perfume designated as "single flower", however subtle, will have undertones of other aromatics.

Classification by olfactive family is a starting point for a description of a perfume, but it cannot by itself denote the specific characteristic of that perfume.

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Since , due to great advances in the technology of perfume creation i. The Fragrance wheel is a relatively new classification method that is widely used in retail and in the fragrance industry. The method was created in by Michael Edwards , a consultant in the perfume industry, who designed his own scheme of fragrance classification. The new scheme was created in order to simplify fragrance classification and naming scheme, as well as to show the relationships between each of the individual classes. Each of the families are in turn divided into subgroups and arranged around a wheel. In this classification scheme, Chanel No.

As a class, chypre perfumes are more difficult to place since they would be located under parts of the Oriental and Woody families. Plants have long been used in perfumery as a source of essential oils and aroma compounds. These aromatics are usually secondary metabolites produced by plants as protection against herbivores , infections, as well as to attract pollinators.

Plants are by far the largest source of fragrant compounds used in perfumery.

Perfume - Wikipedia

The sources of these compounds may be derived from various parts of a plant. A plant can offer more than one source of aromatics, for instance the aerial portions and seeds of coriander have remarkably different odors from each other. Orange leaves, blossoms, and fruit zest are the respective sources of petitgrain , neroli , and orange oils. Many modern perfumes contain synthesized odorants. Synthetics can provide fragrances which are not found in nature.

For instance, Calone , a compound of synthetic origin, imparts a fresh ozonous metallic marine scent that is widely used in contemporary perfumes.


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Synthetic aromatics are often used as an alternate source of compounds that are not easily obtained from natural sources. For example, linalool and coumarin are both naturally occurring compounds that can be inexpensively synthesized from terpenes. Orchid scents typically salicylates are usually not obtained directly from the plant itself but are instead synthetically created to match the fragrant compounds found in various orchids. One of the most commonly used classes of synthetic aromatics by far are the white musks. These materials are found in all forms of commercial perfumes as a neutral background to the middle notes.

These musks are added in large quantities to laundry detergents in order to give washed clothes a lasting "clean" scent. The majority of the world's synthetic aromatics are created by relatively few companies. Each of these companies patents several processes for the production of aromatic synthetics annually. Before perfumes can be composed, the odorants used in various perfume compositions must first be obtained. Synthetic odorants are produced through organic synthesis and purified. Odorants from natural sources require the use of various methods to extract the aromatics from the raw materials.

The results of the extraction are either essential oils , absolutes, concretes, or butters, depending on the amount of waxes in the extracted product. All these techniques will, to a certain extent, distort the odor of the aromatic compounds obtained from the raw materials.


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  8. This is due to the use of heat, harsh solvents, or through exposure to oxygen in the extraction process which will denature the aromatic compounds, which either change their odor character or renders them odorless. Although fragrant extracts are known to the general public as the generic term " essential oils ", a more specific language is used in the fragrance industry to describe the source, purity, and technique used to obtain a particular fragrant extract. Of these extracts, only absolutes , essential oils , and tinctures are directly used to formulate perfumes.

    Products from different extraction methods are known under different names even though their starting materials are the same. For instance, orange blossoms from Citrus aurantium that have undergone solvent extraction produces "orange blossom absolute" but that which have been steam distilled is known as "neroli oil". Perfume compositions are an important part of many industries ranging from the luxury goods sectors, food services industries, to manufacturers of various household chemicals.

    The purpose of using perfume or fragrance compositions in these industries is to affect customers through their sense of smell and entice them into purchasing the perfume or perfumed product. As such there is significant interest in producing a perfume formulation that people will find aesthetically pleasing.

    The job of composing perfumes that will be sold is left up to an expert on perfume composition or known in the fragrance industry as the perfumer. They are also sometimes referred to affectionately as a " Nez " French for nose due to their fine sense of smell and skill in smell composition. The composition of a perfume typically begins with a brief by the perfumer's employer or an outside customer. The customers to the perfumer or their employers, are typically fashion houses or large corporations of various industries.

    The perfume composition will then be either used to enhance another product as a functional fragrance shampoos , make-up , detergents , car interiors, etc. Although there is no single "correct" technique for the formulation of a perfume, there are general guidelines as to how a perfume can be constructed from a concept.

    Although many ingredients do not contribute to the smell of a perfume, many perfumes include colorants and anti-oxidants to improve the marketability and shelf life of the perfume, respectively. Perfume oils usually contain tens to hundreds of ingredients and these are typically organized in a perfume for the specific role they will play. These ingredients can be roughly grouped into four groups:.

    The top, middle, and base notes of a fragrance may have separate primary scents and supporting ingredients. The perfume's fragrance oils are then blended with ethyl alcohol and water, aged in tanks for several weeks and filtered through processing equipment to, respectively, allow the perfume ingredients in the mixture to stabilize and to remove any sediment and particles before the solution can be filled into the perfume bottles. Instead of building a perfume from "ground up", many modern perfumes and colognes are made using fragrance bases or simply bases.

    Each base is essentially modular perfume that is blended from essential oils and aromatic chemicals, and formulated with a simple concept such as "fresh cut grass" or "juicy sour apple". Many of Guerlain 's Aqua Allegoria line, with their simple fragrance concepts, are good examples of what perfume fragrance bases are like. The effort used in developing bases by fragrance companies or individual perfumers may equal that of a marketed perfume, since they are useful in that they are reusable. On top of its reusability, the benefit in using bases for construction are quite numerous:.

    This is particularly due to the presence of natural essential oils and other ingredients consisting of complex chemical mixtures. Antique or badly preserved perfumes undergoing this analysis can also be difficult due to the numerous degradation by-products and impurities that may have resulted from breakdown of the odorous compounds.

    Ingredients and compounds can usually be ruled out or identified using gas chromatograph GC smellers, which allow individual chemical components to be identified both through their physical properties and their scent. Reverse engineering of best-selling perfumes in the market is a very common practice in the fragrance industry due to the relative simplicity of operating GC equipment, the pressure to produce marketable fragrances, and the highly lucrative nature of the perfume market.

    It is doubtful whether perfumes qualify as appropriate copyright subject matter under the US Copyright Act.

    The issue has not yet been addressed by any US court. A perfume's scent is not eligible for trademark protection because the scent serves as the functional purpose of the product. The French Supreme Court has twice taken the position that perfumes lack the creativity to constitute copyrightable expressions Bsiri-Barbir v.

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    Senteur Mazal , Perfume ingredients, regardless of natural or synthetic origins, may all cause health or environmental problems when used. Although the areas are under active research, much remains to be learned about the effects of fragrance on human health and the environment. Evidence in peer-reviewed journals shows that some fragrances can cause asthmatic reactions in some individuals, especially those with severe or atopic asthma.

    In some cases, an excessive use of perfumes may cause allergic reactions of the skin. For instance, acetophenone , ethyl acetate [ citation needed ] and acetone [33] while present in many perfumes, are also known or potential respiratory allergens. Nevertheless, this may be misleading, since the harm presented by many of these chemicals either natural or synthetic is dependent on environmental conditions and their concentrations in a perfume. For instance, linalool, which is listed as an irritant, causes skin irritation when it degrades to peroxides, however the use of antioxidants in perfumes or reduction in concentrations can prevent this.

    As well, the furanocoumarin present in natural extracts of grapefruit or celery can cause severe allergic reactions and increase sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation. Some research on natural aromatics have shown that many contain compounds that cause skin irritation. A number of national and international surveys have identified balsam of Peru , often used in perfumes, as being in the "top five" allergens most commonly causing patch test reactions in people referred to dermatology clinics.

    Balsam of Peru is used as a marker for perfume allergy. There is scientific evidence that nitro-musks such as musk xylene could cause cancer in some specific animal tests. Although other ingredients such as polycyclic synthetic musks , have been reported to be positive in some in-vitro hormone assays, [52] [53] these reports have been reviewed by various authorities. Reviews with similar positive outcome exists for another main polycyclic musk AHTN as well for instance on its safe use in cosmetics by the EU.

    Many natural aromatics, such as oakmoss absolutes, [42] [59] basil oil, rose oil and many others contain allergens or carcinogenic compounds, the safety of which is either governed by regulations e. Certain chemicals found in perfume are often toxic, at least for small insects if not for humans. For example, the compound Tricyclodecenyl allyl ether is often found in synthetic perfumes [62] [63] and has insect repellent property.