How Is Cologne Made: A Clear and Knowledgeable Guide

Written By: Ahmed Farah
Reviewed By:
Updated On:

Read Our Review Guidelines

Cologne is a popular fragrance type that has been used from centuries ago to this very day. It is a complex mixture of essential oils, alcohol, and water that creates a unique scent that we wear every day. And the process of making cologne is a delicate and intricate one that involves a whole lot of steps.

The first step in making cologne is to gather the necessary ingredients. Essential oils are the primary ingredient, and they can be derived from a variety of sources, such as flowers, herbs, and fruits. Once the oils have been collected, they are blended together to create a unique scent. The alcohol and water are then added to the mixture to create the final product. The exact ratio of ingredients can vary depending on the desired scent and strength of the cologne.

But there is a lot more to the process of making colognes, so in this article, we’ve decided to create a little guide on the interesting process of how cologne is made and an answer to all the questions that come with this topic.

History of Cologne Making

The history of cologne-making dates back to the 18th century. The first cologne was created in 1709 by Giovanni Maria Farina, an Italian perfumer who settled in Cologne, Germany. He created a fragrance that reminded him of his homeland and named it “Eau de Cologne,” which means “water from Cologne.”

Farina’s Eau de Cologne became an instant hit and was soon being sold all over Europe. And so naturally other perfumers began to create their own versions of the fragrance, and by the 19th century, there were dozens of different colognes on the market.

In the early days, cologne was made by blending essential oils with alcohol and water. The essential oils were obtained from natural sources such as flowers, herbs, and fruits.

To learn more about the history of Colognes, check out are article we wrote here!

Ingredients in Cologne

Cologne is a type of perfume that is made up of a mixture of different ingredients. The ingredients used in cologne can vary depending on the brand and the type of scent that is being created. However, there are a few key ingredients that are commonly used in the production of cologne.

Perfume Oil

The most obvious and most important ingredient in cologne is the perfume oil. This is the ingredient that gives the cologne its scent and identity. Perfume oil can be made from a variety of sources, including flowers, fruits, and spices. The type of perfume oil used will depend on the desired scent of the cologne.


Alcohol is another key ingredient in cologne. It is used as a solvent to dissolve the perfume oil and to help the scent of the cologne spread evenly across the skin. The type of alcohol used in cologne is typically ethanol.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are another type of oil that is commonly used in the production of cologne. These oils are extracted from plants and are used to add a natural fragrance to the cologne. Today, many of the essential oils used in cologne making are synthetic, but some perfumers still use natural ingredients.

Synthetic Ingredients

Synthetic ingredients are often used in the production of cologne to help create a specific scent or to make the cologne more affordable. These ingredients can include synthetic versions of essential oils, as well as other chemicals that are used to create a specific scent.


Antioxidants are sometimes added to cologne to help preserve the scent and to prevent it from going bad. These ingredients can help to extend the life of the cologne and ensure that it smells fresh for as long as possible.

Overall, the ingredients used in cologne can vary widely depending on the brand and the desired scent. However, by understanding the key ingredients that are commonly used, consumers can make more informed decisions when choosing a cologne to purchase.

Concentration Levels

Cologne is available in different concentration levels, which affects its potency and longevity. The concentration level determines how much fragrance oil is in the cologne. Here are the most common concentration levels:

  • Eau de Cologne (EDC): This is the lightest concentration level, with 2-4% fragrance oil. EDC is perfect for those who prefer a subtle scent that doesn’t last long.
  • Eau de Toilette (EDT): EDT has a higher concentration of fragrance oil, usually between 5-15%. It has a stronger scent than EDC and lasts longer.
  • Eau de Parfum (EDP): EDP has a higher concentration of fragrance oil than EDT, typically between 15-20%. It has a more intense scent and lasts longer than EDT.
  • Perfume (Parfum): Perfume has the highest concentration of fragrance oil, usually between 20-30%. It has the strongest scent and lasts the longest.

It’s important to note that the concentration level doesn’t necessarily indicate the quality of the cologne. A lower concentration level doesn’t mean that the cologne is inferior, it just means that it has less fragrance oil.

When choosing a concentration level, it’s important to consider your personal preference and the occasion. A lighter concentration level like EDC is perfect for everyday wear or for those who prefer a subtle scent. A higher concentration level like EDP or perfume is ideal for special occasions or for those who want a more intense scent that lasts all day.

To learn more about everything to do with Concentration Levels, check out this article!

Extraction Methods

Steam Distillation

Steam distillation is the most common method used to extract essential oils from plants. The process involves passing steam through the plant material, which causes the essential oils to vaporize. The steam and vaporized oils are then condensed and separated, resulting in the production of essential oil.


Boiling is another method used to extract essential oils from plants. This method involves boiling the plant material in water, which causes the essential oils to be released. The resulting mixture is then cooled and separated, with the essential oils rising to the top.

Solvent Extraction

Solvent extraction is a method used to extract essential oils from delicate or fragile plant materials. This method involves using a solvent, such as hexane or ethanol, to extract the essential oils from the plant material. The resulting mixture is then separated, with the essential oils remaining in the solvent.


Enfleurage is a method used to extract essential oils from delicate flowers, such as jasmine or tuberose. This method involves placing the flowers on a layer of fat, which absorbs the essential oils. The fat is then washed with alcohol, which separates the essential oils from the fat.


Maceration is a method used to extract essential oils from plant materials that are too hard or woody for steam distillation. This method involves soaking the plant material in oil, which absorbs the essential oils. The resulting mixture is then separated, with the essential oils remaining in the oil.


Expression is a method used to extract essential oils from citrus fruits, such as oranges or lemons. This method involves pressing the fruit peel, which releases the essential oils. The resulting mixture is then separated, with the essential oils rising to the top.

Overall, there are several methods used to extract essential oils from plants, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of method depends on the type of plant material being used and the desired end product.

Creation of Notes

The creation of notes is a crucial step in the process of making cologne. Notes are the individual scents that make up the overall fragrance of the cologne. There are three types of notes: top, middle, and base.

Top Notes

The top notes are the initial scents that are detected when the cologne is first applied. They are typically light and refreshing and include scents like citrus, bergamot, and lavender. These notes evaporate quickly, usually within the first few minutes of application.

Middle Notes

Middle notes, also known as heart notes, are the scents that appear after the top notes have evaporated. They are the body of the fragrance and include scents like jasmine, rose, and ylang-ylang. These notes last longer than the top notes, usually up to an hour or two.

Base Notes

Base notes are the final scents that are detected in the fragrance. They are typically heavier and more long-lasting than the top and middle notes and include scents like musk, vanilla, and sandalwood. These notes can last for several hours, sometimes even up to a day.

Creating notes involves a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients. Perfumers use a variety of techniques to extract scents from natural ingredients like flowers, fruits, and spices. Synthetic ingredients are created in a lab and can mimic the scents of natural ingredients or create entirely new scents.

Once the individual notes have been created, they are blended together to create the final fragrance. The ratio of top, middle, and base notes is carefully balanced to create a harmonious scent that is pleasing to the nose. The final fragrance is then tested and adjusted until it meets the desired scent profile.

Bonding Process

Once the fragrance concentrate is mixed with alcohol and water, the next step in the cologne-making process is bonding. Bonding is the process by which the fragrance oils are combined with the alcohol and water to create a stable, homogeneous mixture.

The bonding process is typically done in large tanks, where the fragrance concentrate is added to the alcohol and water mixture and stirred vigorously. The mixture is then allowed to sit for a period of time, typically several days, to allow the fragrance oils to fully integrate with the alcohol and water.

During the bonding process, it is important to ensure that the mixture is stirred thoroughly and evenly to prevent any separation or settling of the fragrance oils. This is especially important for fragrances that contain heavier oils, which can settle to the bottom of the tank if not properly mixed.

Once the bonding process is complete, the cologne is ready to be bottled and packaged. The final product should be a clear, well-mixed liquid that is free of any visible particles or sediment.

Overall, the bonding process is a critical step in the cologne-making process, as it ensures that the fragrance oils are evenly distributed throughout the final product. With proper bonding techniques, a high-quality cologne can be created that will have a long-lasting, pleasant scent.

Aging of Cologne

After the blending process, the cologne is left to age for a period of time. This aging process allows the scent to mature and become more complex.

The length of time that cologne is aged can vary depending on the specific fragrance and the desired outcome. Some colognes may only need to age for a few days, while others may be aged for several months or even years.

During the aging process, the various scents in the cologne blend together and develop a more harmonious balance. The alcohol in the cologne also evaporates, leaving behind a more concentrated scent.

Cologne is typically aged in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels. Oak barrels are often used for fragrances that are meant to have a more woody or earthy scent, as the oak can impart some of its own flavor onto the fragrance.

Once the cologne has finished aging, it is filtered to remove any impurities and then bottled for sale. The aging process is an important step in the creation of cologne, as it allows the fragrance to develop its full potential and become a more complex and nuanced scent.

Photo of author

About The Author

A cologne lover and reviewer, Ahmed has reviewed over 45 colognes on the site. Finding the best perfumes and colognes for our audience, review and ranking them as well as looking at all types of data, from price, longevity, silage to uniqueness.

Leave a Comment