‘Attar vs Perfume’ – Key Differences You Should Know

Attar Vs Perfume - How they are differnt?

Traditional Attars may be a new concept for many due to significant surge in its demand in recent years, but they indeed have ancient history. In this new decade of the 2020s, it is predicted that Attars will be more in-demand due to various factors like people’s shift towards organic cosmetics, long-lastingness, eco-friendliness and over saturated modern perfumery industry.

In this article, let’s try to figure out major differences between attars and perfumes, and which one you should pick out of these two:

What is an Attar?

Let us get a basic idea of what exactly is an Attar. These are technically ‘concentrated perfume oils’, which in common language means, there is no presence of alcohol in them.

These oils are obtained from flowers, herbs, and spices. True attars are 100% pure and natural and there is no presence of any toxic chemicals.

The Attar market is huge in the middle-east and south Asian region, but they are now becoming gaining popularity on the western side of the world, especially in the USA, Canada, Australia, and European countries.

What is Perfume?

Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents. It also contains a mixture of alcohol, water and molecules that evaporates at room temperature.

What are the differences between Attars & Perfumes?


Difference Between Attar and Perfume
Difference Between Attar and Perfume


1. Attars are fragrances in ‘Oil’ form While Perfumes are ‘Spray’:

Attar perfumes are concentrated natural fragrances derived from botanical sources in form of base oil. While perfumes typically come in spray form as they contain alcohol.

2. Making Process:

Attars are derived using traditional hydro-distillation method on base of Sandalwood oil. Raw material used in distillation process comes from plant parts such as its roots, flowers, leaves etc.

Perfumes are created using attars or essential oils, alongside some other perfume ingredients/synthetic molecules and alcohol.

3. Natural Vs Synthetic

The major difference between Attars and Perfumes is that Attars are nature-based and Perfumes are chemical-based.

Attars are made from things like Flowers, whose smell is more comfortable for our senses. Perfumes are made from chemicals that sometimes may be harmful to our skin and overall health.

4. Eco-Friendly

Perfumes, when mixed in Air, or Water will pollute the air around us and our oceans, while attars are bio-degradable and friendlier for nature when compared. We have discussed in detail the side-effects of synthetic perfumes here.

5. Projection

Certainly alcohol molecules help perfumes have better projection in comparison to attars.

6. Cost:

True Sandalwood based attars are costly due to labour intense process required to produce them. They are also rarely available thus are highly priced commodity.

While some niche perfumes and designer perfumes can be highly priced, you can find many cheaper alternates in market.