Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, October 31, 2010 - 10 a.m. to 10 PM EST

Ask the Perfumer is open this stormy Halloween day - don't ask anything spooky of me! I will be blogging later today or tomorrow about the new textbooks arriving for my online basic natural perfumery course - with pictures! After looking at it on a screen, and only printing out sections at a time, I am impressed by the book in its glory. 349 pages, many with color illustrations and photos, the most helpful charts I could design, great evaluation and recording forms, including Excel-based ones that can hold all your info - wow. Sorry for the excitement, but I really am pleased with the book, and four get mailed out tomorrow to new offline option students. Happy, happy.


  1. Congrat Anya on the textbooks! Your excitement is clear, and rightfully so.

    Here's my question, once you have finished an enfleurage is it always up to your standards? And if so is that judgment based on scent alone?


  2. Hi Denise:

    Yes, the completion of the process is subjective, it is up to you. You will probably reach a point where you notice adding more flowers doesn't make much of a difference. Then, the fat is saturated. The French seemed to find 36 times was the perfect number, but that seems arbitrary to me, perhaps it's just a corporate-type construct for uniformity of time allocations.

  3. hi Anya,

    My question is about citrus oils. My favorite citrus is meyer lemon. It is "rounder" than traditional lemon, and is just beautiful. To me it is the lemon version of blood orange. Yet it does not appear to be an ingredient available to perfumers. Why? It seems like it would be just as easy to get the essential oils as the other citruses.


  4. Hi Matthew:

    I'm able to answer this because of my agricultural background, actually. Meyer lemon is mainly what we call a "backdoor" citrus, meaning it's not produced much commercially, but, instead, people like me grow it in our yards. There are lots of citrus that fall under that category. Only the most in-demand citrus get commercial grove status. More commercial producers are growing the Meyer, especially in the past few years, but that's for the whole fruit/eating market, not the juice market, another factor that means we'll probably never see an expressed rind oil of it.

  5. Pictures! Pictures! :) :)

    OK, there is one a bit confusing question (isn't always like that with me?): When I mix oils I put them drop by drop immediatelly in amber 10 ml bottle. So, lets say I've put 6 notes inside. And I test it... I put one or 2 more and I test again... so previous amount is decreasing and some new oils are coming. When i am satisfy with result - I put entire formula at ones. But it smells differently because before some of ingrediants when while I tested it and when there are all together - it doesn't smell the same. How can I get what I want than?

  6. Ankica has asked a great question Anya! Can we really attain what we want in parfum? Or is it that we accept what the EOs have given us? After we use gtts. of notes the result is what we want, but it is a new blend and has not aged. Then after it marries we have the result of married blend. Can we really truly attain what we are after or do we accept and enjoy what nature has given us? Also, when making natural do not the EOs from different sources give us different results even when married? In natural how can perfect duplication be possible to guarantee a scent when we sell a parfum with our formula?
    Thank you!

  7. Hi Ankica:

    What you're experiencing when all of a sudden the blend goes blah, is what I call dampening. One essence is ruining th blend by somehow overpowering it.

    I would never begin to blend my modifications in a 10 ml bottle. I use 1ml bottles! Before that, even, I use scent strips, dipped into the diluted aromatics, and waft them together to see if they seem compatible or enhance each other, or one is the dampener. Keep very good notes!

    You're doing what we call "throwing in everything but the kitchen sink" - which means too much, too much all at once.

    Try a few essences, see if they work. Have a code number for the little bottle. Try some other essences, ditto, then more. Then take one drop out of each little bottle, like a scientist, and look at the combinations. You'll find which is best. HTH.

  8. Hi again. Thanks for you answer. I don't use 10ml. I just the bottle because I can't find smaller. In the end of my blend there is max 2ml (10% dilluted material).

    One of the things that I need is digital scale. Can you please tell me where to buy it?

  9. Carole, you're asking a lot of questions all at once.

    First, you have to accept the variability of nature. Yes, like wine, eos and absolutes may vary from year to year, country.

    Second, you can attain what you are after, I do, and many other natural perfumers do. You have to conduct many experiments, sometimes dozens or more, to reach the fragrance you want.

    Third, create a systematized record keeping method for yourself, as I recommended to Ankica. That way, you can go back and review your past blends, before and after they marry, and make informed decisions on how to proceed.

  10. Thank you Anya. I guess I am worried that a friend or family member or (some day) customer would fall in love with a scent and I would not be able to replicate that same exact scent! But, that is part of the experimenting I suppose, and getting there ;)
    Thank you again, Anya for your time and expertise!

  11. Hi Anya,

    I have a question about tincturing. Normally ambrette eo or absolute is a base note. If I tincture ambrette seeds would I likely get a base note? Or could it end up a top or middle note?

    Thank you,

  12. Hi Jane:

    I've tinctured ambrette seeds for many years, and it does remain a base note.

  13. Ankica, I just remembered to answer you about the digital scale. I forget what country you are in, but check ebay for your country, and look for an inexpensive scale that gives readings down to .01 and up as high as you can afford at this time. You can always upgrade later.

  14. Thank you Anya for the answer on tincturing,



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