Orange blossom perfume is made from essential oil distilled from bitter orange tree blossoms. The bitter orange tree produces delicate white, fragrant flowers. Using a distillation method, the fragrance of the flowers is extracted into a liquid form. To make perfume, the essential oils are mixed with other fragrance-free oils, or water and alcohol. An orange blossom perfume can also be made from orange blossom water, either on its own or mixed with other fragrant waters.
Many plant leaves and flowers contain essential oils. Essential oils are volatile, fragrant oils. To extract the essential oils from plant material, a method of steam distillation is used. The distillation process releases the essential oil from the plant material without damaging the fragrance. A by-product of the distillation process is a scented water.
Orange flower essential oil is used to make orange blossom perfume oil. A few drops of the orange blossom essential oil is mixed with distilled water and perfumers alcohol. The alcohol and the orange blossom essential oil are mixed together slowly so that the fragrance can infuse the alcohol. Once the essential oil and the alcohol is blended, it is allowed to sit undisturbed for a period of 24 to 48 hours. Distilled water is then added to dilute the mixture for use.
Perfume oil is often used as a perfume, though it is heavier than alcohol-based perfumes. On its own, essential oil is often too strong and too expensive to use straight as a perfume oil. The rose essential oil often is mixed with a "carrier" oil — the unscented, less expensive carrier oil is infused with the orange flower scent, making it suitable for use as a perfume.
Orange blossom perfume water has a delicate scent and a light refreshing feeling. As a perfume, orange flower water can be used alone. It is also used as a toner for the face and body, and it can be used in cooking to add a little perfume to the food.
The scent of orange blossom perfume can be added to fragrance salves, bath salts, creams, shampoos, and other skin care products. A few drops of essential oil mixed into unscented shampoo, body lotion, or face cream creates a richly scented product.
In the orange growing regions, a homemade perfume can be created using fresh bitter orange flowers. The flowers are picked and soaked in water for 24 hours and then strained. The water absorbs essential oils as the petals soak. With the petals removed, the water is simmered on a low heat until it is reduced to a fragrant orange blossom perfume water.