What Is Cologne Oil?

Glyn Sinclair

Cologne oil is an essential oil that makes up one of the components of cologne. The other two components are water and denatured alcohol, or ethanol. Cologne is typically a much lighter fragrance than perfume and only uses about five percent essential oil, as opposed to perfume, which uses up to 25 percent. Essential oils are steam distilled from a variety of plants and herbs and range from clear to amber to yellow in color. The oils are very concentrated and just a few drops can go a long way.

A bottle of cologne.
A bottle of cologne.

There are hundreds of different essential oils to choose from when deciding upon a fragrance for cologne, including lemongrass, thyme, jasmine and patchouli. Many times the oils are blended together before mixing them with the water and alcohol. The cologne oil is diluted by the alcohol and the final effect is bracing and refreshing instead of oily. In fact, some people will often splash cologne on their bedding or clothes.

Jasmine oil is a common addition to colognes.
Jasmine oil is a common addition to colognes.

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The character and cost of cologne oil varies according to how rare the source of the essential oil is or how difficult it is to grow or make. Some other factors affecting the quality of the oil include how much time has passed between harvesting and distillation, the types of equipment used and storage conditions. Many times cologne oil can become adulterated. This means that it has been manipulated in some fashion. Combining the oil with lesser quality oils, adding vegetable, or carrier oils, introducing synthetic components to increase scent, are all ways the oil can become adulterated.

Cologne has been around for a long time and is most typically used by men. Some claim that the human body’s natural pheromones are enhanced by cologne and may attract members of the opposite sex. In fact, experiments have shown that in all probability the pleasing scent of the cologne improves the wearer’s sense of mood and well-being and this may be what helps to attract a partner. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte used gallons of cologne each month, even going so far as to eat sugar cubes dipped in it. The oldest known cologne is 4711 Eau de Cologne and was produced in 1792.

The denatured alcohol, to which the cologne oil is added, is a grain alcohol that has had chemicals introduced to it to make it undrinkable. In fact, it is poisonous and should never be consumed. Many times a purple dye will be added to the alcohol to make it clear that it is not for drinking.

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