Options for sourcing Perfumers Alcohol Near You

Alcohol of many varieties can be found in hardware stores, drug stores, online, and from wholesalers.  Each vendor can offer advantages, like convenience or quality, and disadvantages, like additives or unknown origins.  Always buy alcohol with discretion, keeping in mind where it came from, what’s in it, and what it’s intended use is or should be.

Hardware Store Alcohol (Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart) for Perfume Recipes

While technically labeled as "alcohol,” denatured alcohol at Home Depot, Lowes, or Walmart will always contain toxic additive denaturants, and these alcohols should never be used for homemade perfume recipes.  Never use products labeled as naphtha or mineral spirits as these alcohol-products are highly toxic and not intended for topical application.

Recommendation: Avoid sourcing your perfumers alcohol from the hardware store due to the presence of toxic additives that can harm your skin or health.

Drug Store Alcohol for Perfume Recipes

Also known as "rubbing alcohol,” isopropyl alcohol is the most common high-proof (low water concentration) alcohol that can be found readily available on drug store and pharmacy shelves.  Many convenience stores around the United States carry isopropyl alcohol for sale without additional license or requirement from the consumer.  Popular for its low cost and ease of access, isopropyl alcohol can be the easiest to find and buy when looking for pure alcohol with a high ABV, typically ranging from 70% to 91% ABV.  However, isopropyl alcohol has a distinct, sharp smell which may, or may not, be detected in perfumes.  While safe for quick, local application on the skin in a medical context, isopropyl alcohol is not recommended for long-term and repeated exposure, such as applying perfume daily.  

Recommendation: Avoid using isopropyl alcohol for your perfumers alcohol base due to the powerful natural odor of alcohol (ie "rubbing alcohol smell"), as well as drying effects and potential issues with continuous sustained exposure.

Moonshine for Perfume Recipes

Although typically containing higher-than-average ABV than other products intended for beverage use, moonshine rarely gets above 80% ABV (160 proof) and it is difficult to obtain a consistency between batches.  Moonshine also can have a distinct, malty aroma, which can be overpowering and uncomplimentary. 

Recommendation: Not recommended, choose oil if this is your only option.

Beverage "Liquor Stores" for Perfume Recipes

Many perfumers are already familiar with the basic chemistry involved with perfumers alcohol components, and understand that ethyl alcohol is the same alcohol that is available at brick-and-mortar beverage liquor stores nearby.  Perfumers in states where Everclear 190 proof is legal have the option to source 190 proof grain alcohol for their perfume recipes.  While this 190 proof, 95% ABV, concentration is effective for perfume, cologne, and most body product recipes, understand the effect the 5% water may have on your essential oil's miscibility or effects on the sillage of the final perfume.

Recommendation: If available in your area, sourcing 190 proof Everclear is an acceptable alternative to the other alcohols discussed on this analysis so far.  Not all customers have access to 190 proof (95% ABV) spirits in their state, as some states limit the highest available proof at 151 (75.5% ABV) or even lower.  75.5% alcohol by volume is equal to 24.5% water, some recipes may be affected by this increased water content.

Online Suppliers of Perfumers Alcohol

While not technically "local", what is more convenient than ordering the right alcohol for your task and having it delivered to your door?  Especially considering the tradeoffs in strength, purity, additives, and available sizes presented when buying perfumers alcohol locally at a store near you, sourcing pure alcohol for perfumers online has never been easier.  Many states which disallow Everclear 190 proof for sale in the beverage stores specifically allow for the purchase of 200 proof ethyl alcohol like Culinary Solvent for non-beverage applications, including perfumery.  Be aware however, many suppliers exist online, and not all perfumers alcohol suppliers are selling "pure" alcohol despite clever product titles.  

Recommendation: Don't get tricked by toxic additives in your perfumers alcohol!  Read our guide to buying perfumers alcohol online to learn more about the terms and words used on perfumers alcohol, and understand what to look for to avoid toxic additives in your alcohol base.

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