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  1. #1

    Default Undenatured alcohol?

    Can someone tell me what exactly undenatured alcohol is? Is this supposed to be used for perfume or denatured? What is everclear? Grape alcohol? Ty!!


  2. #2

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Undenatured alcohol is ethanol (ethyl alcohol) without anything added to make it undrinkable. You could use it for perfume or drink it. Perfumer's alcohol is ethanol with additives that make it legal to sell as a "not for drinking" product. You can use that for perfume, too, but don't drink it. Everclear is ethanol that's sold as a drinkable product. You could use that for perfume or drink it. Grape alcohol is ethanol made from distilling wine, so is basically the same as brandy, grappa, etc. You could make perfume from that, too, and it would probably be the most pleasant (or least unpleasant) to drink.

    Ethanol can be made from any material that ferments, changing sugar to ethanol as it is metabolized by yeast. Functionally, ethanol is ethanol, whatever the source, but may have other accompanying flavor/odor compounds as in the case of alcoholic drinks.

    If you're making perfume, you need to make sure that the ethanol that you use is no more than 5-10% water, otherwise it won't work. Don't use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or methanol (paint remover), two other alcohols that are commonly sold.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Thank you so much for that. I completely understand now - thank you!!!!


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Another high strength non-denatured alcohol is called Volkov. It's a bit less expensive than everclear. Make sure you get the 190 proof stuff.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    In Australia, Dan Murphy's has 190-proof drinkable Polish spirit. Expensive though. Better to get denatured perfumers' grade alcohol.
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  6. #6

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Where can I buy this Undenatured Alcohol in Australia? I bought some oils in Egypt earlier this year and would like to get started with them.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise Fleury View Post
    Where can I buy this Undenatured Alcohol in Australia?
    As far as I can tell, the super high proof vodka is the best you can do. Obviously, there is undenatured ethyl alcohol (ethanol) to be had, because people use it in manufacturing and so on, but it seems to be very difficult to get hold of unless you distill your own (which is legal, but there are a bunch of regulations you have to follow and you need the room to set up a still safely) or just use vodka.

    I'd LOVE for some Aussie to tell me otherwise, though. I'm all ears (and in Melbourne, if that helps).

    In the meantime:

    Not cheap, but it will certainly do the job.
    "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
    -Karl, age 5

  8. #8

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Finally i bought Undenatured Alcohol from a Pharmacy. The same that they use for formulations. I love it !
    250 ml it cost 17 euros. I know itīs expensive, but itīs pure, pure, pure :-)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Since my last posting on this thread, I've learned a fair bit about obtaining various kinds of alcohol for perfumery in Australia. Here's the file, which is current as of this posting:

    DISCLAIMER: Many of these guidelines are very general, I'm not a lawyer, and I don't work for the Australian Tax Office. If you have questions about anything to do with the ATO, you should call the ATO (contact information is all over their website), because they'd know the details far better than I do.

    I am still researching this, and this file is subject to updates and changes as I find more or need to correct information on it.

    Finding alcohol to make perfumes can be problematic in Australia if you don't know where to look, what the regulations are, or how to obtain it. I spent a couple of weeks searching around trying to find out the basics, and decided to share what I found out, with the hope of saving other Australian aspiring perfumers some grief.

    First and foremost is the issue of denatured or natural (meaning, "not denatured", i.e., drinkable) ethyl alcohol. Denaturing is a process by which an ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is made unfit for drinking (more on that later). Non-denatured alcohol, which many people feel is the best option for perfumes (particularly natural perfumery) attracts a fairly high tarriff (tax), regardless of the purpose for which you intend to use it. If you purchase it, the tax is passed on in the cost. If you distill it yourself, you are required to pay the tax directly. Note that alcohol for perfumery needs a very high alcohol percentage (95% or better, generally), and if it's not denatured, that's going to cost quite a lot in tarrifs. Now, on to the options for obtaining non-denatured ethyl alcohol (ethanol).

    Distill your own alcohol. Yes, you can do this, but it requres a still, a government permit, a great deal of paperwork, and you have to pay the government for every litre of alcohol you produce. This applies to alcohol by percentage, so if you were to distill a litre of 40% alcohol, you would pay 40% of the per-litre fee (which, at the time of this writing, is in excess of AU$65 per litre). There are other requirements, as well, such as very methodical record-keeping, safety considerations, and so forth. For more information on government permission and requirements to distill your own alcohol see:

    Also note that in order to get purity fine enough for perfume, you'll need to distill it several times, and use activated charcoal to remove impurities. For more information on distilling (note that the site also has interesting information on the distillation of essential oils as well as information about distilling alcohol), see:

    Another option for obtaining non-dentatured alcohol: get permission from the government to purchase non-denatured alcohol from a chemical supply company. There is a form you can fill out, and you need to convince them that you really need it and tell them how much you need, and you must nominate one or more chemical supply companies from whom you are authorised to obtain alcohol (you can find some in your area with a simple Google search). For more information see:

    Third option, may not be the most desirable, but will work: use high-alcohol vodka. I have found that there are a few alcohol sellers who import a Polish vodka called Gdanski Spiritus 95% Vodka, and it's also possible to get another vodka called Polmos Spirytus Rektykiowany (Rectified Spirit) Polish Pure Spirit Vodka. Both are 95% alcohol by volume. The price varies, but my research has indicated that this vodka is about as expensive as non-denatured alcohol from a chemical supply company. You do need to be of legal age, but you don't need any other special permission or licence. This is probably best as an option if you're only making perfumes for yourself (see below). It may also have issues with the alcohol being too strongly scented (though there are ways of settling that "boozy edge" down).

    I have not been able to find much in the way of legality when it comes to selling perfumes which are made with non-denatured alcohol. Presumably, if you have a license/permission to obtain non-denatured alcohol, then the government has a record of you and knows what you're doing and there should be no legal issues at all. If you're unlicenced and using vodka, well, I don't know (and I've been unable to find out at this point). Theoretically, it should be acceptable, as you're adding aromatics or fragrance oils and possibly fixatives and other chemicals to the alcohol, thus rendering the alcohol undrinkable, but that is only a guess on my part and should not be taken as legal advice. If in doubt, contact the ATO, who will probably be able to tell you, or at least give you some leads as to whom you should contact for more information. (For your own personal use, I don't reckon the government will care if you put fragranced vodka on your body; they may have something to say about it if you're selling the alcoholic potions to others, though, that's all I'm saying.)

    Alcohol obtained from a chemical supply company generally costs roughly about the same as the super-proof vodka, as far as I've seen, and it's about 7-10 times more than dentatured alcohol. It is possible to get super-pure alchohol from a chemcial supplier though (higher than 95%), but it's very expensive, it undergoes not only redistillation but also dehydration (through various means, including chemical), and for perfumery, it's probably not worth the extra cost.

    Now, on to the topic of denatured alcohol, which is far less problematic, in my opinion, and a good deal less expensive, because there is no excise on it as there is with non-denatured alcohol.

    In Australia, you can buy several kinds of denatured alcohol without a licence, although most are not suitable for perfumery. For perfumery or other cosmetic/topical use, you can get Ethanol 95PGF4 (known in Europe and the United States as SDA 40-C). This is perfume grade alcohol, meaning it has next to no fragrance, and is meant to be a carrier for aromatics and fragrance chemicals, and it is 95% alcohol by volume, the other 5% being water and denaturant. It is, as far as I can discover, denatured with tert-Butyl alcohol (also known as t-butyl or 2-methyl-2-propanol or TBA), which is is the simplest tertiary alcohol, and it is one of the four isomers of butanol (yes, I had to look that up; I am so not a chemist!). This denaturant is neither highly poisonous nor corrosive (as some denaturants are), although it apparently tastes quite horrible and t-butyl alcohol will cause severe gastro-intestinal distress if you can get past the taste and actually drink it.

    It appears that some perfumers who practice the art of natural perfumery seem to consider tert-Butyl alcohol to be problematic (and some consider it to be "not natural", although as far as I can tell, it's no more "unnatural" than any other kind of alcohol; if some chemist would care to correct me on that, I'd be happy to hear it, though). SDA 40-C is regarded as safe for use in topical applications such as perfumes, skin toners, shampoo, body washes, deodorants, strong skin cleansers, etc., which is why the government allows it to be freely bought and sold in Australia for use in cosmetics. Of course, there are those who believe that t-Butyl is not that safe; I recommend doing your own research on this alcohol and its denaturer if you have concerns (search for it under several of its names to get a good overview; do note that it's not healthy if you ingest it, so you will turn up some reports on that, but it's not meant to be ingested, so I think it goes without saying that you shouldn't drink denatured alcohol!).

    If you are more inclined toward natural perfumery or simply want to use an alcohol with a botantical denaturant, you can get alcohol which has been denatured with benzoin. Benzoin is an ingredient in many perfumes, and is a natural fixative. It has a sweet, balsamy, vanilla-like fragrance. The amount used in perfumer's alcohol is fairly low, and may or may not affect the overall scent of the fragrance blend (you'll need to experiement, and different suppliers do use different blends). Note that benzoin is a known sensitiser, and some people have a bad reaction to it.

    Non-denatured alcohol can be acquired (with a permit from the ATO) from any number of chemical supply shops around Australia, many of which have brick-and-mortar shops and warehouses. To find them, a basic Google search that includes your city/town or nearest capital city will turn up plenty of options.

    Ethanol dentured with benzoin can be purchased through: *they also have retail shops around Australia if you prefer hands-on shopping

    Ethanol 95PGF4 can be purchased through:

    There may be other possible suppliers, as well, but these are the ones I know of.

    If you have corrections or further information, please feel free to let me know. I'm happy to learn new things and even to be corrected if I'm wrong (just be polite, heh).


    Just for the record, the Ethanol 95PGF4 is pretty good. It's highly filtered or something, because it doesn't have a really strong "OMGALCOHOL" smell when you take a whiff (it does have an alcoholic edge, particularly when mixed into a perfume and you've just applied it, but I find it blends with the top notes to give a sort of "liqueur" kind of effect at first).

    I'm going to put in an application to see if I can get a permit to receive non-denatured alcohol, and I'll probably add that information to the file (how difficult it was, how much the stuff costs, etc.). I've got the forms, I just need to fill them out and send them in.
    Last edited by bonni; 13th October 2010 at 06:09 PM.
    "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
    -Karl, age 5

  10. #10

    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Currently wearing: Diorling by Christian Dior

  11. #11
    melodyjayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Undenatured alcohol?

    Great info Bonni and especially a big thanks to mumsy for this link..I have been going cross eyed trying to find something other than expensive vodka : )

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