The word natural has no official regulated meaning in the world of fragrance and its definition is used differently depending on the company. Our standards are strict for what we consider natural. We only accept plant aromatics in the form of essential oils, absolutes, CO2s, resins, enfleurage, infusions, tinctures, balsams, waxes, and concretes. The fragrances that we don’t consider natural are ones that have been synthesized in any way to create a scent that is different from its source material(s).
There are many versions of a synthetic fragrance:
Natural isolates: These are chemicals that exist naturally in plants but are isolated from the aromatic materials to be sold as an aroma chemical e.g. linalool.
Natural molecules: These are aromatic molecules that exist in nature but are produced from a cheap materials like petroleum and wood byproduct e.g. citral
Synthesized natural molecules: This is a process of extracting a natural material from a plant then processing it to become a different molecule e.g. eugenol gets extracted from wood (paper industry byproduct) to become vanillin.
Nature-identical fragrance: This is when a scent is created by putting aromatic chemicals together in a way that it is found in nature. e.g. gardenia
Synthetic molecules: These are fragrance materials that are created in a lab and do not exist in nature. An example is calone, that marine/ozone/watermelon scent that was made popular in the 1990s by perfumes such as Escape (it was developed by Pfizer in 1966).
Confusing, right? This is where it's easy for a company to claim a natural fragrance when it is actually a synthetic. To be sure, look for botanical names listed on the label rather than a blanket term like 'natural fragrance'.