Sunday, July 04, 2010

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday July 4, 2010

It's a lazy holiday weekend in the US - yay, Independence! - but I'll be around to check in if anyone has any questions about natural perfumery. Hope I can help. Take care and have fun!


  1. First of all, thank you for Ask the perfumer day :) I love reading questions and answers.
    I have 2 questions:

    1. I read that you are diluting your essential oils in alcohol because it is cheaper. Can you feel scent behind alcohol? I use 96% alcohol for my scents (practice would be better word) and essential oils - and still, alcohol is way to dominant. If i would dilute EO in alcohol - I wouldn't be able to feel anything. Or is it just training of the nose? :)

    2. What are the main rules that you follow when you create perfumers? Do you follow rules of percentage of top middle base note within perfume? Do you think of perfume family when you start to make something or some you go by some theme/person/emotion/event etc? I know that perfumers have trials and errors, but did you manage, over time, to skip some basic amateur mistakes? :)

    Thank you and one big bravo for Musk project. You have no idea how I enjoy reading articles on various blogs! Soooo great!!!!!

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  3. Hi Ankica:

    I only dilute a tiny portion of my perfume organ, just enough so that I have dropper bottles that I can use for many modifications.

    After I find the mod I wish to turn into a perfume, I use the full-strength aromatic.

    I teach my students that when they evaluate the mod, the longevity of the perfume is not as true as it will be when they create say, a 30% extrait, or an EdP. Using the 10% dilutions does save a lot of money, and give a quick view of what the finished perfume will be, since the aromatic is already "opened up" by the alcohol.

    You must always start with a Fragrance Family in mind, and "smell" and "experience" the completed perfume in your head before you start blending. Of course, you may change and modify along the way, but if you don't have a good road map - the FF, you'll get lost!

    The t/m/b percentages are a good guide, and there are many variations on them, of course. I do find that if I choose lighter basenotes, I tend to use more intense middle notes, and that can skew the percentages, and vice versa! The top notes should never exceed 20% as a general rule, often less than that. HTH.

  4. Ankica, I worded this insufficiently:
    I only dilute a tiny portion of my perfume organ, just enough so that I have dropper bottles that I can use for many modifications.

    It should read:

    I dilute my perfume organ materials, typically down to 10%, but I leave the original, undiluted bottle intact. So, for example, I'll make up 1 gram of rose oil in 9 grams of alcohol for the dropper bottle that I use to create my mods. The undiluted rose oil that is left remains untouched, until I am ready to blend with it.

  5. Thanks for this! I did understand that you are diluting only for trials - not all your materials... However, I fear that my nose wouldn't be able to recognize that scent (so diluted) while I make it... Alchol simply overpowers everything (in my case!). Ankica/Bellatrix


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