The perfume industry can generally be divided into three categories but without well-defined boundaries: prestige perfumery (French, American and Japanese), mass market alcoholic perfumery and non-alcoholic perfumery. A fourth category could be food flavors. Although they are not perfumery, they are nevertheless related to perfumery and are manufactured by the same firms.
Non-alcoholic perfumery includes the scenting of cosmetic products, soaps, detergents and a number of industrial perfumes. This category is by far the most important in terms of volume and revenue and also provides all sorts of difficulties. These products present the most common scenting problems that confront perfumers. Thus, while this work may not emphasize creative qualities, it does require thorough technical skills in chemistry, physics and biology.
Today’s perfumer must be acquainted with the analytical techniques of nuclear magnetic resonance, all types of chromatography, and the sensitivity tests on animals and on humans.