Essential oils are concentrated essences/oils obtained from true plant parts and are generally 70 times stronger than the plant itself.
Fragrant oils are synthetic chemical scents that are produced by blending aromatic chemicals. They may or may not contain some essential oil.
Fragrant oils are man-made to duplicate or copy the smell of the plant i.e. the leaves, the flower, the wood etc. Because essential oils are concentrated due to their extraction process they smell similar to the plant part but stronger, and in some cases, don’t smell like the plant at all. A good example of this is to smell Rose fragrant oil and compare it to Rose absolute or Rose Otto. Many people prefer the smell of the Rose fragrant oil because it smells like a fragrant rose out of their garden. Rose absolute or essential oil is very intense and only one drop of oil diluted in 20 ml of a fixed oil is required to smell like a rose .
Lavender (Lavendula officinalis) essential oil can be used ‘neat’ on the skin for slight burns; applied to the temples to ease a headache. Lavender fragrance oil smells like the lavender bush and has no therapeutic value.
‘The birth of modern Western perfumery as we know it today occurred during the 1411 century with the discovery of alcoholic extraction techniques. Before that time, perfumes had been based on fatty or oily materials which did not allow the finesse afforded by alcohol or synthetics. Many modern perfumers consider that it is impossible to make a good perfume without the use of synthetics or alcohol.’
On the other hand, synthetics can have a flat and two dimensional quality, whereas natural essences are more full-bodied and complex. In addition, many people are sensitive to certain chemicals used in modern perfumes and toiletries, which can cause skin allergies, headaches, or other side effects in sensitive individuals.’
‘A skilled perfumer can identify some 30,000 different odours, but to begin with it is best to become familiar with a few common oils and develop from there. By initially keeping to a maximum of three or four oils per blend it is possible to keep in touch with their individual scents and qualities, and then slowly build up a personal vocabulary of odours.’
‘The exotic perfume ‘Shalimar’ by Guerlain contains among its ingredients Peru balsam, benzoin, opopanax, vanilla, patchouli, rose, jasmine, orris and vetiver as well as rosewood, lemon, bergamot and mandarin.’
‘When an aromatherapist is preparing an essential oil blend for a client, such remedies are allied to the patient’s state of health and mind. Blends evolve and change during the course of treatment in a subtle interaction between oils, blender, and patient.’
The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless
‘Some advice on products made with fragrances’