One of the main characteristics of exotic countries is the heat. If today this is no more a problem for alcoholic vapos, hermetically closed, it was not the same 30 or 50 years ago. While luxury perfumes had sometime a special closure (but also many vintages evaporated though closed) this was not always the case with very cheap perfumes and their standard bottles. For many it was safer to sell "fragrance oils" when an oil formulation could be done. But not everything can be put in an "oil" or in a "without alcohol" formula! During the late 30's and during WWII Germans were able to produce fragrances without alcohol, a new type of formulation and it was of course intended for economic perfumes. It is not a mystery today that after WWII many German scientists went in all countries around the world (from India to South Africa, South America and mainly America) and many of them worked in the chemical American industry.Fragrance exports in the far countries was not something new. Since late 19th century many fragrances were sold in India, China, South America, end so on. Not only expensive perfumes (like Caron, Houbigant, Guerlain but also Rallet) but mostly very economic perfumes for the local market. They were called "export versions" and many aromachemical catalogues had versions of their bases for export. Back in those days (but even today) you have to have a good nose and chance to buy a local product and not one done in Paris (I found jasmine oil from India that turned to be Jasmophore base from Firmenich and other funny examples).Most fragrance manufactures (IFF, Givaudan, Firmenich, Dragoco, H&R) had in their old catalogues, ready made perfumes with fashionable notes that waited only to be bottled. Hippies found in India (and other places) not only the results of international perfumery trade but also the results of the booming chemical industry.Industrial production went on a large scale since the 50's and very soon large scale manufacture started in other countries like India. The production of nitromusks (and some other very polluting industrial processes) moved step by step from Europe. The start of the new perfumery in India can be seen in the magazine Indian Perfumer.As an anecdote the Galaxolide (IFF) is also known as Abbalide - from BBA (Bush Boake Allen - the British chemical factory in those days, before it was bought).What hippies bought as a musk oil in India was in fact one of the products of the very new chemical industry (nitromusks, free from any patent but maybe also British products produced on a large scale). Nitromusks difficult to be put in alcohol, alcohol difficult to sell in muslim areas but also difficult to preserve in cheap bottles and heat.
via 1000 fragrances, Octavian Coifan