Why do I feel sick from perfumes


In the middle of Chur lies the gateway to a fascinating world: the realm of fragrances. The key to this is held by the druggist, aromatherapist and perfumer Patrick Stebler. But he doesn't just sell perfumes in his drugstore. He lets his customers sniff, experience, experience them. And sometimes it makes someone really happy.


Patrick Stebler's eyes only start to shine a little at the mention of the word “fragrance”. "Sure, a perfume is not essential," he says. “But it's something beautiful. Fragrances are the most intense form of memory. " A smell can do a lot in a person. The first trip to the sea is crystal clear again when you smell watermelon, because it was always there on the beach. The cozy evenings with grandfather in front of the fireplace emerge from the subconscious when you smell cinnamon, cedar and sage. Exactly grandpa's aftershave. In short: fragrances arouse emotions. Strong at times. "I've already had customers who cried because we found exactly the scent that reminds them of something very special," he says, looking for a bottle from the shelf.

Patrick Stebler

Patrik Stebler has been the owner of the Stebler drugstore in Chur (GR) since 1990. His specialties are perfumes, natural remedies and natural cosmetics.


Sail on the sea

Stebler sprays a few puffs into a paper towel. «This scent is reminiscent of the sea, of holidays. And, like all fragrances, it has a story. This perfume has its origin in a sailing trip towards Sardinia and Corsica. You stand on board and close your eyes. The sea breeze tickles the nose - this is exactly the scent that the perfume emits. " I sniff the cloth and don't feel well. Almost a little sick. Does that smell like cold ointment? “That can be true,” says Stebler. «In this perfume there is myrtle herb, which contains the essential oil menthol. So this scent wouldn't be for you, but it reminds others of holidays. "

Fragrance groups

Fragrances are divided into eight main groups:

  • Flowers like jasmine, lavender, roses

  • Fruits like bergamot, lemon

  • Spices such as ginger, vanilla

  • Bark and resins such as sandalwood, incense

  • Leaves, grasses, mosses, berries, roots such as citronella, patchouli

  • Animal secretions such as musk, amber

  • Gourmand notes like chocolate, almond

  • Synthetic fragrances such as aldehydes, phenols

Fragrances are very individual. What one likes, the other can't stand. “It also has to do with religion, with cultures. In Northern Europe, for example, people tend to be reluctant to use perfume. Quite different in the Orient, where people wrap themselves up intensely with scents. "

Sniff a book

The name perfume comes from the Latin “per fumum”, which means “through smoke”. As early as 7000 BC, people were scenting themselves, back then by burning substances such as wood or incense. It wasn't until the advent of distillation that perfumes appeared in their present-day form.

Today a perfumer can choose from around 500 natural and around 2500 synthetic fragrances from eight different main groups. "Basically there is nothing that does not exist," says Stebler and pulls out a book with a small bottle embedded in it. "This perfume is reminiscent of the scent of a newly bought book." And indeed, the paper towel gives off the scent of a book. Gorgeous!

Concentration of the fragrance

  • Perfume: 12-20 percent

  • Eau de Parfum: 8-15 percent

  • Eau de toilette: 5–8 percent

  • Eau de Cologne: 2–5 percent

  • Aftershave: 0.5-3 percent

Travel to Brazil

Fragrances for men and fragrances for women - by the way, Patrick Stebler doesn't have that. «Everyone should take the scent they like. Women's and men's perfumes, that is an invention of the industry. "

A perfume doesn't always smell the same. First you smell the so-called top note, then the heart note and finally the base note. The top note is dominant for 5 to 10 minutes. These are mainly volatile fragrances such as oranges or lemons. The heart note, especially flowers like lavender or roses, prevails for up to two hours. And finally the base note, which can be perceived for up to 4 hours. These are mainly woods and resins.

And the next bottle is ready. «This scent is reminiscent of Brazil. The top note has lemon, bergamot, tangerine, all fresh scents. After a certain time, ginger, pepper and cardamom come, they are fiery. And then in the footnote are caipirinha and rum. A wild, exciting mixture. " And even though I've never been to Brazil, I somehow feel a long way off when I take a deep breath. But actually I prefer to travel to the cool Swiss mountains.

Manufacture of fragrances

There are four manufacturing methods for fragrances:

  • Distillation: Suitable for less sensitive substances such as herbs and woods. Plant parts are chopped up, then water vapor is passed through. The steam, saturated with the fragrances, is condensed by cooling and the essential oil is extracted from it.

  • Extraction: Fresh or dried parts of the plant are rinsed with a solvent. The solvent is then distilled.

  • Expression: Essential oils are pressed out mechanically. This method works for citrus fruits like oranges and lemons.

  • Enfleurage: suitable for flowers. These are pressed onto a glass plate coated with grease, the grease soaks up the fragrance of the flowers. The fragrances are then extracted from the fat with alcohol.

Hike in the pine forest

Of course Patrick Stebler has that too. His own creation. One of two perfumes that he developed together with a childhood friend on the occasion of her 50th birthday. "This scent should be reminiscent of a walk in a Grisons pine forest in autumn." And he does. That fits to me.

And that is what it is about. "You should feel good with a perfume, a fragrance is very personal and intimate." This is why it is so important to take your time when choosing. “Just never buy a perfume because it's currently in fashion or because a singer gave her name to it. Try the scent, also on your skin. And once you have found the right fragrance, stay true to it. "

The expert advises you to have four to six perfumes at home. One for work, one for going out. One is more for summer, one for winter ... "Depending on the situation, you always have the right one at hand."

Prices of perfumes

Perfumes, especially those with (almost) exclusively natural ingredients, can be very expensive. This is due to the complex production. For a few drops of pure rose oil, for example, several tons of rose petals are needed. In principle, perfumes with high-quality ingredients are more expensive, but they also last longer because less of them have to be used.

And where is the best place to apply the perfume? "Somebody once said, everywhere you would like to be kissed." Stebler laughs. «It is best to spray where the blood flows well and it is accordingly warm. So on the wrists, behind the ears, between the breasts. What is also suitable is the hair or clothing, for example the scarf in winter. But be careful here that there are no stains. " You only have to apply a high-quality fragrance once a day.

At the very end, Patrick Stebler takes his bestseller off the shelf. “This is proof that a fragrance can make a difference. A normal perfume contains up to 60 different ingredients, here only one molecule, the Iso E Super Gamma, a pheromone. And that works, I am absolutely convinced of it. If I were looking for a partner or a job, I would use it to perfume myself. And would definitely be successful. "

There is also the “fresh laundry scent”, which is suitable for people who come into close contact with other people during their work, such as doctors, hairdressers or masseurs. Or the “children's powder scent” that older women love, or the southern pine grove, or the herd of horses ...

Author and editor: Bettina Epper
Scientific control: Dr. phil. nat. Anita Finger Weber
  • Druggist Star

  • Druggist HF Patrick Stebler

  • Andrea Peng, Marianne Tresch: “Beauty care / Hygiene / Medical products 1/2”, teaching aids for pharmacist EFZ / Drogist EFZ, Careum Verlag, 2012