Making Traditional Attar or Itr Perfume Oils

Traditionally Attars (word used across Asia) also known as Itr in the Middle Eastern countries has been made using a mix of raw materials such as flower petals which are placed in a still containing water. The actual mix of raw materials used is a closely guarded secret and will only be shared within perfume making families generation after generation. There are other aspects to making the perfect Attar such as the age of the flower or wood, the temperature to burn the raw material and many other aspects that come with experience or knowledge that has been passed on.

The still is then boiled allowing the vapours to exit through a hole connected with tubing at the top, through which the vapours travel to a condensing unit. This condensing unit usually already contains the base of the Attar which has traditionally been Sandlewood oil, but due to rising demand and costs, other cheaper alternatives are used such as Jojoba oil and in many cases dioctyl phthalate (DOP).

The most expensive Attars will use Sandlewood oil as its base as the pure Sandlewood oil will improve with age, whilst other ingredients used as a base will smell awful after a year or two. The best Attars will be quite expensive and will contain no alcohol, this is a basic requirement for Muslims in the Middle East and Asia, who apply the perfume oil directly on skin and feel that any alcohol contact makes them impure.

Some of the most expensive ingredients for traditional Attars are Saffron, Jasmine, Myrrh, Frankincense and of course the most expensive after deer musk is oud or Agarwood oil. Anything with deer musk should be avoided as it could mean that it was extracted by killing a musk deer, even though the best musk in the world can be obtained without killing the deer, but requires patience.

You can purchase a wide selection of musk perfume oils and oud perfume oils at These musk and oud perfume oils are also known as Attars. They contain no alcohol and are safe to use on skin, but test a little on your skin first if you suffer from any allergies. There are many samples also available at this online store which you could try before making a purchase.


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