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Vanilla perfume is a type of body scent made with vanilla extract. Vanilla essential oil, or vanilla perfume oil, may be used to make this kind of perfume. Some perfumes combine vanilla with other scents, like lavender. Vanilla perfume is considered a very popular scent. It can have aromatherapy benefits, including stress relief.
Historically, vanilla has been considered a rare and expensive spice. Vanilla perfume oil is generally made from vanilla beans, which are the seed pods of the vanilla orchid. This orchid is native to Central and South America. It is believed to have been discovered by the Aztecs, who are documented as having passed it on to the Spanish in the early 1500s.
The Aztecs are believed to have used vanilla as a key component of their traditional chocolate beverage, which also contained cacao. Europeans are considered the first people to have used vanilla to flavor foods, beginning in the early 1600s.
The vanilla orchid typically requires a very warm, humid environment for optimum growth. It reaches maturity in about seven years' time. This vine-like orchid can reach lengths of up to 30 feet (9.14 meters).
One of the vanilla orchid's primary uses has been as a flavoring for foods and confections. Vanilla oil is generally extracted from the seeds themselves, which can be quite potently scented. Most of the world's vanilla is grown in Madagascar. Mexico, Indonesia and Tahiti also produce vanilla as a cash crop.
Vanilla perfume oil, which is generally used to make vanilla scents, can be extracted from vanilla beans through a process known as enfleurage. The cured, fermented, and dried vanilla beans are generally soaked in animal fat. The fat normally absorbs the scented oils of the beans. The scented fat is typically doused in ethyl alcohol, which normally succeeds in transferring the scent to the alcohol. This alcohol, once distilled, will usually bear the vanilla beans' scent.
Many people use vanilla perfume because they enjoy the scent. Vanilla oil is known for its aromatherapy benefits. Some believe it is an aphrodisiac. Others use it to relieve stress. The scent of vanilla can be very calming to many, and it has even been known to relieve tension headaches and soothe the physical symptoms of anxiety.