Questions From a Newbie RE: Weak Longevity, Oil Carriers, and Maturation

    Questions From a Newbie RE: Weak Longevity, Oil Carriers, and Maturation

    post #1 of 10
    Thread Starter 

    Hello Everyone-

    I've been lurking for awhile but have just started out with actually getting my hands dirty - actually I'm fairly new to learning more about fragrances in general - but I'm having a lot of fun and learning a lot in the process (like to keep diluting delta damascone until it stops smelling like grapes or you'll regret it). I got some materials from PA about a week ago and after a bit of testing, I came up with a first shot of something that I actually really like for the most part (the opening leaves a lot to be desired but the drydown is definitely something I like a lot). The issue is that longevity on my skin is pretty poor - after maybe 4 hours I'm left with nothing but a very faint skin scent. However, I can still smell it strongly on a strip well over 24 hours later.

    Here's the probably vital information:
    - I used about 10% IPM and 90% DPG as a carrier, with nearly 40% fragrance concentrate (we only have the 151 everclear here, so I was going oil-based)
    - I only mixed this early yesterday morning, so there has been basically zero time to mature/meld

    - I focused on base notes, going for heavy wood/leather, supported by (synthetic) oud, tobacco, tonka, and a bit of an amber vibe. This included Iso E Super,Norlimbanol, Safraleine, and Suederal, as well as Patchouli/Synthetic Oakmoss/Vetiver, and ~5% various musks in the concentrate.
    - My proportions skewed pretty far into the base/heart notes (only about 15% top notes), I'm not looking to sell this ever, it's just for personal use so a strong opening is not as important to me.

    I would have thought that the oil base would have sacrificed some projection for better longevity, but I'm not getting much of either. I've since ordered some perfumer's alcohol and will experiment with that soon, but I'm definitely a little confused. I was under the impression that the maturation process was largely to allow the alcohol smell to dissipate, so I thought it would be less important for an oil base, but am I missing something here? Is this likely to actually get stronger if I exercise some patience and leave it alone for a week or two, or is this more just an issue of using oil as a carrier instead of alcohol? I considered the thought that I might be just sledgehammering my olfactory sensors so hard that I'm habituating to the smell extremely quickly, but if that was the case I think my wife/mother in law would have commented on it being overly strong.


    Once I figure this out, I'll want to get everyone's thoughts on what direction to go with the top notes... I'm not sure what I want over the leather/wood, but it turns out that it's not bergamot and black pepper.


    Thanks in advance and apologies for the novel, clearly I have a lot to learn. I can post more specifics about actual ingredients/proportions/concentrations if that helps to diagnose what's going on.

    post #2 of 10
    Thread Starter 

    Shameless self-bump. Over the past two days, it has definitely gotten a bit stronger, both in terms of projection and longevity, although I do think that using oil rather than alcohol might have had subdued things quite a bit.

    For the sake of experimentation, I diluted some of it 50/50 in 151 Everclear (again, since this is just for personal use, cloudiness isn't a concern), so it's 15% concentrate. As I expected, it was perceptibly stronger and crisper, but it actually seemed to last a bit longer as well.

    Anyway, my proper perfumer's alcohol is arriving today, so I'll be able to use that instead from here on out.

    post #3 of 10

    Welcome & good luck - please let us know how it goes :)

    post #4 of 10

    Not sure what kind of help you're most looking for.

    But the purpose of maturation is for the ingredients to marry and interpenetrate, as well as for each individual substance to age. It's not unusual for a scent to get stronger and less sharp with maturity, just due to mixing and dissolving more thoroughly.

    As far as a top note, I wouldn't worry that much. The hardest part is actually the base notes, and sounds like you have been practicing well on those. A lot of professional perfumes have "lame" drydowns in the base, since so many people puchase based on the first five minutes of smell. With top notes, mostly you just have to think about what you think smells nice, althought the more logic you can add to that process, the better. As Carles says, you just smell those for a half hour anyway (although in practice it varies).

    My thing with top notes is not to change the nature of the perfume entirely, though, where you mask the mid and base too much. I like letting as much of the lower notes as I can act as top notes, since you will have those notes for hours. I want a customer to get hit with the base notes right away, and then use whatever higher notes to enhance that, the heart and top notes. You also want to get hit by the heart right away, not to mask that, again, IMHO. Then you have an interesting interaction, and not just discrete stages of smell. Stages are great, but are not at their best highly discrete, IMHO. Nothing is generally meant to be smelled just in one stage, just for five minutes, IMO. That is because you will not get the full smell of something if it is masked except for 20 minutes sometime during the drydown. You do want all your ingredients to enhance all the others, at all times, theoretically, not matter whether they are a top heart, or base note.

    So in that way, I think Carles very slightly oversimplified the situation in saying you have complete freedom with top notes. Still, you do have enough liberty to where it's not too hard to figure out.

    I don't know enough about your situation to diagnose your longevity problem. Sometimes, with an oil application, that is caused by the skin absorbability of the ingredients. Alcohol will evaporate faster, but it is also so weightless it doesn't sink in.

    Good luck blending. Sorry if my advice was too general.


    Edited by DrSmellThis - 5/23/13 at 12:38am
    post #5 of 10
    Thread Starter 

    Thank you Ipp and Doc.
    Doc- that's basically exactly what I was looking for. I think I've got any issues with the oil base covered now that my alcohol has arrived - of course, now I need to go about making good 10% dilutions of everything again, but we've got the long weekend coming up.

    Your thoughts on the base make sense to me, and I think that has been part of my problem so far- the fragrances I tend to like (and indeed, would like to work toward understanding well enough to use as inspiration) are dominated with very rich base notes from the beginning- tons of wood and leather and whatnot. I like my bright bergamot and lavender openings fine, but for me they feel more suited for aftershaves, and not as much for a fragrance that I want to wear everyday. The enhancement rather than burying is what I need to work on I think. Well, that and patience.

    Thanks again.

    post #6 of 10

    Good luck & please let us know how you get on :)

    post #7 of 10
    It is possible that you have come across a phenomena where many strong notes can actually apear to cancel each other out rather than get stronger. If you experiment further with the quantities of each ingredient then you may find that they can play alongside each other as a united force instead of fighting amongst each other for supremacy.

    I tried making a very forceful and bad smell long ago for a school project for my son and found this very thing happening to a brew I expected to be powerful by the nature of its ingredients. That was not the case.

    It is the same kind of happening that a jumble of random notes will eventually make a beautiful millefleurs.

    Play and more play will bring answers. It is eternally fascinating.
    post #8 of 10
    Thread Starter 

    Hi Mumsy - I actually remember reading that very thread - the sort of olfactory white noise theory, which could certainly be a possibility. I definitely have a lot of testing to do, and as a result am sort of going back to the drawing board. I know where I want to end up, I'm just not sure how to get there yet.

    I have decided that rather than throwing a bunch of things together and recording the results, I do at least need to start at the part that I think is most important - which is going to be the leather base (which I want to be the dominant note in the fragrance). I feel like it makes sense to try to nail that down and work from there. I'm having some issues with making it not smell like a sneaker store, but I'll probably address that in a different thread.

    I will say that smelling these materials in perfumer's alcohol instead of the DPG/IPM is like smelling them again for the first time. I'm ASTOUNDED by how different and how much better they smell - and some things that I wasn't so sure about smell amazing now (so sorry that I doubted you, petitgrain).

    And actually, the more I smell them in alcohol, the more I think that the oil might have really been flattening everything out. I'll report back again once I get everything diluted in alcohol.

    Thanks again, everyone.

    post #9 of 10
    I like oil and I like alcohol. Sometimes the dampening is a nice thing if you want a perfume to be a subtle little player. Good for skin scents. I began learning with oils and had to relearn all the ingredients again once I used alcohol, but no learning is bad learning. Some oils can be appreciated for longer in an oil base.

    Take each ingredient you want to mix with another and blend it in many ways to see where it sits together and stops fighting. Don't be in a rush to complete a perfume all in one go. It will help your process if you think about nurturing one from seed rather than transplanting a tree.
    post #10 of 10
    Thread Starter 

    I don't recall if this was posted in the original discussion about the White Noise - but it's a damn interesting read:http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2012/11/19/the-smell-of-white-mixtures-of-many-distinct-scents-end-up-smelling-the-same/.

    I think that's definitely contributing to what I was experiencing- I often cook by adding a pinch or dash of tons of different things to round out flavors and add complexities- and attempting to do the same thing with perfumery is rounding everything out to nothingness.

    As an update however, I have noticed that a) the oil-based formula in question has improved substantially with age, b) the formulas I've played with in alcohol are perceptibly more intense and actually seem to be lasting longer for me (go figure on that), and c) there are a few EOs/aromachemicals that I've picked up since that have made a HUGE difference - specifically:

    Coumarin

    Vanillin

    Hedione (which I'd initially avoided since I'm creating exclusively 'masculine' fragrances for my own use)

    Labdanum

    Cade

    Birch Tar

    Various Balsams

    I've been working with building a basic chypre base and then seeing how it changes when adding other ingredients one or two at a time. It really is pretty amazing how much scents can change when perceived next to other scents.

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    5/20/13 at 12:00pm

    RickB said:



    Hello Everyone-

    I've been lurking for awhile but have just started out with actually getting my hands dirty - actually I'm fairly new to learning more about fragrances in general - but I'm having a lot of fun and learning a lot in the process (like to keep diluting delta damascone until it stops smelling like grapes or you'll regret it). I got some materials from PA about a week ago and after a bit of testing, I came up with a first shot of something that I actually really like for the most part (the opening leaves a lot to be desired but the drydown is definitely something I like a lot). The issue is that longevity on my skin is pretty poor - after maybe 4 hours I'm left with nothing but a very faint skin scent. However, I can still smell it strongly on a strip well over 24 hours later.

    Here's the probably vital information:
    - I used about 10% IPM and 90% DPG as a carrier, with nearly 40% fragrance concentrate (we only have the 151 everclear here, so I was going oil-based)
    - I only mixed this early yesterday morning, so there has been basically zero time to mature/meld

    - I focused on base notes, going for heavy wood/leather, supported by (synthetic) oud, tobacco, tonka, and a bit of an amber vibe. This included Iso E Super,Norlimbanol, Safraleine, and Suederal, as well as Patchouli/Synthetic Oakmoss/Vetiver, and ~5% various musks in the concentrate.
    - My proportions skewed pretty far into the base/heart notes (only about 15% top notes), I'm not looking to sell this ever, it's just for personal use so a strong opening is not as important to me.

    I would have thought that the oil base would have sacrificed some projection for better longevity, but I'm not getting much of either. I've since ordered some perfumer's alcohol and will experiment with that soon, but I'm definitely a little confused. I was under the impression that the maturation process was largely to allow the alcohol smell to dissipate, so I thought it would be less important for an oil base, but am I missing something here? Is this likely to actually get stronger if I exercise some patience and leave it alone for a week or two, or is this more just an issue of using oil as a carrier instead of alcohol? I considered the thought that I might be just sledgehammering my olfactory sensors so hard that I'm habituating to the smell extremely quickly, but if that was the case I think my wife/mother in law would have commented on it being overly strong.


    Once I figure this out, I'll want to get everyone's thoughts on what direction to go with the top notes... I'm not sure what I want over the leather/wood, but it turns out that it's not bergamot and black pepper.


    Thanks in advance and apologies for the novel, clearly I have a lot to learn. I can post more specifics about actual ingredients/proportions/concentrations if that helps to diagnose what's going on.

    5/22/13 at 10:05am

    RickB said:



    Shameless self-bump. Over the past two days, it has definitely gotten a bit stronger, both in terms of projection and longevity, although I do think that using oil rather than alcohol might have had subdued things quite a bit.

    For the sake of experimentation, I diluted some of it 50/50 in 151 Everclear (again, since this is just for personal use, cloudiness isn't a concern), so it's 15% concentrate. As I expected, it was perceptibly stronger and crisper, but it actually seemed to last a bit longer as well.

    Anyway, my proper perfumer's alcohol is arriving today, so I'll be able to use that instead from here on out.

    5/22/13 at 10:26am

    lpp said:



    Welcome & good luck - please let us know how it goes :)

    5/23/13 at 12:26am

    DrSmellThis said:



    Not sure what kind of help you're most looking for.

    But the purpose of maturation is for the ingredients to marry and interpenetrate, as well as for each individual substance to age. It's not unusual for a scent to get stronger and less sharp with maturity, just due to mixing and dissolving more thoroughly.

    As far as a top note, I wouldn't worry that much. The hardest part is actually the base notes, and sounds like you have been practicing well on those. A lot of professional perfumes have "lame" drydowns in the base, since so many people puchase based on the first five minutes of smell. With top notes, mostly you just have to think about what you think smells nice, althought the more logic you can add to that process, the better. As Carles says, you just smell those for a half hour anyway (although in practice it varies).

    My thing with top notes is not to change the nature of the perfume entirely, though, where you mask the mid and base too much. I like letting as much of the lower notes as I can act as top notes, since you will have those notes for hours. I want a customer to get hit with the base notes right away, and then use whatever higher notes to enhance that, the heart and top notes. You also want to get hit by the heart right away, not to mask that, again, IMHO. Then you have an interesting interaction, and not just discrete stages of smell. Stages are great, but are not at their best highly discrete, IMHO. Nothing is generally meant to be smelled just in one stage, just for five minutes, IMO. That is because you will not get the full smell of something if it is masked except for 20 minutes sometime during the drydown. You do want all your ingredients to enhance all the others, at all times, theoretically, not matter whether they are a top heart, or base note.

    So in that way, I think Carles very slightly oversimplified the situation in saying you have complete freedom with top notes. Still, you do have enough liberty to where it's not too hard to figure out.

    I don't know enough about your situation to diagnose your longevity problem. Sometimes, with an oil application, that is caused by the skin absorbability of the ingredients. Alcohol will evaporate faster, but it is also so weightless it doesn't sink in.

    Good luck blending. Sorry if my advice was too general.


    Edited by DrSmellThis - 5/23/13 at 12:38am

    5/24/13 at 11:18am

    RickB said:



    Thank you Ipp and Doc.
    Doc- that's basically exactly what I was looking for. I think I've got any issues with the oil base covered now that my alcohol has arrived - of course, now I need to go about making good 10% dilutions of everything again, but we've got the long weekend coming up.

    Your thoughts on the base make sense to me, and I think that has been part of my problem so far- the fragrances I tend to like (and indeed, would like to work toward understanding well enough to use as inspiration) are dominated with very rich base notes from the beginning- tons of wood and leather and whatnot. I like my bright bergamot and lavender openings fine, but for me they feel more suited for aftershaves, and not as much for a fragrance that I want to wear everyday. The enhancement rather than burying is what I need to work on I think. Well, that and patience.

    Thanks again.

    5/24/13 at 11:23am

    lpp said:



    Good luck & please let us know how you get on :)

    5/24/13 at 11:29am

    mumsy said:



    It is possible that you have come across a phenomena where many strong notes can actually apear to cancel each other out rather than get stronger. If you experiment further with the quantities of each ingredient then you may find that they can play alongside each other as a united force instead of fighting amongst each other for supremacy.

    I tried making a very forceful and bad smell long ago for a school project for my son and found this very thing happening to a brew I expected to be powerful by the nature of its ingredients. That was not the case.

    It is the same kind of happening that a jumble of random notes will eventually make a beautiful millefleurs.

    Play and more play will bring answers. It is eternally fascinating.

    5/24/13 at 6:01pm

    RickB said:



    Hi Mumsy - I actually remember reading that very thread - the sort of olfactory white noise theory, which could certainly be a possibility. I definitely have a lot of testing to do, and as a result am sort of going back to the drawing board. I know where I want to end up, I'm just not sure how to get there yet.

    I have decided that rather than throwing a bunch of things together and recording the results, I do at least need to start at the part that I think is most important - which is going to be the leather base (which I want to be the dominant note in the fragrance). I feel like it makes sense to try to nail that down and work from there. I'm having some issues with making it not smell like a sneaker store, but I'll probably address that in a different thread.

    I will say that smelling these materials in perfumer's alcohol instead of the DPG/IPM is like smelling them again for the first time. I'm ASTOUNDED by how different and how much better they smell - and some things that I wasn't so sure about smell amazing now (so sorry that I doubted you, petitgrain).

    And actually, the more I smell them in alcohol, the more I think that the oil might have really been flattening everything out. I'll report back again once I get everything diluted in alcohol.

    Thanks again, everyone.

    5/25/13 at 12:21am

    mumsy said:



    I like oil and I like alcohol. Sometimes the dampening is a nice thing if you want a perfume to be a subtle little player. Good for skin scents. I began learning with oils and had to relearn all the ingredients again once I used alcohol, but no learning is bad learning. Some oils can be appreciated for longer in an oil base.

    Take each ingredient you want to mix with another and blend it in many ways to see where it sits together and stops fighting. Don't be in a rush to complete a perfume all in one go. It will help your process if you think about nurturing one from seed rather than transplanting a tree.

    6/5/13 at 11:55am

    RickB said:



    I don't recall if this was posted in the original discussion about the White Noise - but it's a damn interesting read:http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2012/11/19/the-smell-of-white-mixtures-of-many-distinct-scents-end-up-smelling-the-same/.

    I think that's definitely contributing to what I was experiencing- I often cook by adding a pinch or dash of tons of different things to round out flavors and add complexities- and attempting to do the same thing with perfumery is rounding everything out to nothingness.

    As an update however, I have noticed that a) the oil-based formula in question has improved substantially with age, b) the formulas I've played with in alcohol are perceptibly more intense and actually seem to be lasting longer for me (go figure on that), and c) there are a few EOs/aromachemicals that I've picked up since that have made a HUGE difference - specifically:

    Coumarin

    Vanillin

    Hedione (which I'd initially avoided since I'm creating exclusively 'masculine' fragrances for my own use)

    Labdanum

    Cade

    Birch Tar

    Various Balsams

    I've been working with building a basic chypre base and then seeing how it changes when adding other ingredients one or two at a time. It really is pretty amazing how much scents can change when perceived next to other scents.





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