This technique consists in closing in the flower or plant, otherwise too delicate to be treated with classic extraction procedures, in a recipient which contains a micro receptor with low absorption force. The perfumed air around the flower, called “Head Space” is absorbed by the micro receptor for a length of time that varies from a half hour to many hours depending on the species. The fragrance absorbed in this way from the air which surrounds the flower, can be recovered by extraction, by using the correct solvent.
The different odorous molecules of the sample obtained in this way are then separated one from the other, and those which allow the most faithful reproduction of the perfume of the flower are selected. Once this is done it is then necessary to harmonise all the molecules in order to obtain a result as close as possible to that of nature.
This technique, used with different methodologies by all main raw material producers (Living Flowers and Fruits® from IFF, NHS® di Robertet, etc..) allows the reproduction of odours of rare species grown in sophisticated botanical centres or experimentation in different cultivation environments: hydro-culture in order to develop much more transparent and crystalline perfumes (Botanical Hydroponic Technology by IFF) or in space! The experiment carried out by I.F.F. in 1998 sending a rose plant in a space shuttle enabled the discovery that its perfume radically changes in the absence of gravity: the “Space Rose” is born, used in the creation of Zen by Shiseido.
Every “Fragrance Producer” has then developed and patented sophisticated techniques derived from Head Space, such as Nature Print® analysis by Firmenich based on the principle of micro-extraction in the solid state, in which the odour is captured by the needle SPME positioned as close as possible to the source of the odour so as to ensure that the fibre contained in it is fully impregnated with volatile substances which will then be analysed and reconstituted in the laboratory.