patchouli/vetiver accord

    patchouli/vetiver accord

    post #1 of 13
    Thread Starter 

    With the virtual elimenation of natural sandalwood as a "go-to" for perfumes, patchouli and vetiver have become more and more important as basic fixatives and base notes for all kinds of creations in the field of perfumery. Clearly, they are currently two of the most important substances for perfuming, especially as regards natural substances.

     

    If you read about them as a combination, you will universally see expressed that they are a classic accord. Indeed, many Chypre and fougere formulations have contained both.

     

    Here is a confession: I have very little experience with this basic accord, despite some good number of years behind me, working with essential oils.

     

    When I have used these together, it has been typically in modest amounts in floral accords, where there is a lot of room for error. The point was to enhance aspects of the flowers, not really the P/V accord itself. Or, I have used only trace amounts of one or the other.

     

    But I've not often sat down, just with these two, to find an accord between them, until just recently. I've reached a point where a formula turns on their relationship, and I have been split -- sometimes wanting to use mostly one, sometimes mostly the other. Now I want to try using them both in significant amounts.

     

    Here's the first problem you encounter. Patchouli and vetiver, at first smell, are kind of obnoxious together. Even when both oils are aged a little bit. But their combination creates a top note that is very noisy, dusty, and harsh. If you put them on your body together, people in the world will tend to respond harshly, until hours later perhaps.

     

    Either oil seems to amplify the strength of the other. It's an edgy accord.

     

    I realize many or most base notes are like this on top, as Carles pointed out. Logically, of course, it is easy to think of any number of solutions and ways around this issue, such as dilution, allowing the top notes to evaporate before evaluation, and/or bringing a third element into play. with these methods, eventually, one would figure it out. But as far as combining the oils neat and directly, in comparable amounts (Patchouli is 3-4x stronger for me.), I don't find them "immediately cooperative."

     

    But I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this accord as a puzzling one at first; and whether anyone had any general thoughts on the combination; or a curious thing or two they noticed.

     

    I will be sharing a few more observations as I find time to experiment with this combination.

    post #2 of 13

    I have been working intensely on an accord with these two featuring heavily. When dosage is right, they can be amazing together, although when wrong they can both overwhelm, as you state.  Try working with some dry (e.g. Virginia) cedar oil in the mix, and also some type of ionone and PADMA, or amyl salycilate or isoamyl salycilate. Also clary sage eo (not too much) and tonka or coumarin (quite a bit of it) will help your accord immensely. Obviously also some musks and or ambgergris or ambrox/an could help tame/smooth them a bit too. I have not tried yet (because I don't have any) but I have a suspicion that true verbena will be good as a top for these. All that said, I have been working on it for months and honestly getting it right is really hard (for me at least).
     

    post #3 of 13

    Good advice from Gecko214! 

    Actually i've used the suggested combination of Vetiver, Patchouli, Cedar, Coumarin, Musks, Ambergris and PADMA in this formulation, where the P/V accord plays a significant part.

    It could be your starting point to tweak and explore further ;)

    post #4 of 13

    Good suggestions so far. Some other notes to consider in concert with these are rose and/or rosewood, cardamom, and tobacco. A softening of the edges and a rounding of the two central notes is useful, but so is a spicy sharp shattering of the earthiness they share. Tobacco could accomplish either, I suppose.

    post #5 of 13
    Thread Starter 

    Thanks for the generous responses.

     

    So far at least ten of the things you all named were already in the formula, which suggests we are all crazy! ;) The accord suggests certain aspects of scent we are all attuned to, I mean.

     

    Not PADMA. I know it's a mushroomy, greener rose note, and apparently an attar with rose/jasmine/clove, but I've never used it. I think maybe I'm experimenting with enough new synthetic (or natural fractional) rose notes for the present. Is it the most wonderful thing since sliced bread?

     

    The experiments have been interesting so far; but it's not a simple accord as the combo as regards other constituents has a different effect depending on the proportion of V to P.  It's hard to keep interrelationships constant, so more work is required.

     

    In other words, if I just go on V and P alone as an accord (a la Carles), I would use one ratio, whereas other ingredients "demand" other levels of one or the other. The more patchouli you have relative to vetiver, the stronger the overall accord will be, for example. So you're not really free to vary it willy nilly without changing other things, or at least changing the weight of the accord.

     

    I may have to construct the whole perfume to really know the proper ratio of one to the other.

     

    There are so many accords in a perfume, and some of them seem to compete. To make one happy you have to annoy the other.  Just one of the fun challenges, n'est pas?

     

    But right now I'm focused on just those two. I think understanding that in a simple way will be the key. The other thing is to factor in the other major accords involving V and/or P, and asking myself which accords are really the point.


    Edited by DrSmellThis - 5/27/13 at 7:06am
    post #6 of 13
    Been giving this some additional thought. Villoresi's late, lamented Vetiver is really a rich fougere with a prominent patchouli note. The oakmoss in this seems to tame both the vetiver and patchouli without robbing either of power.

    Also, I have noticed that my better- aged patchouli actually fares well with my rougher vetivers. I haven't tried things the other way, aged vetiver with a very earthy-minty fresh patchouli, but worth considering. Rather than emphasizing the same dimensions in both, maybe use one to flesh out the opposite aspects of the other?
    post #7 of 13
    Good point that the quality of both ingredients may have a lot to do with it. Also reminds me I need to invest in more/different qualities of patchouli. Anybody know where to buy aged stuff? I have looked around but to no avail...
    post #8 of 13
    Thread Starter 

    Currently trying Synergy Essentials "aged dark patchouli", but am undecided as to its quality. It's not as rich as I would have expected. It runs thin out of the dropper. It was relatively inexpensive...

     

    The cynical part of me wonders whether people "age" patchouli by leaving the lid off so it mellows the top, and then making false claims that it was aged longer. I've seen that advocated as a way to "accelerate" the aging, but, it would also be an obvious way to take advantage of customers who can't determine the age and quality of patchouli with their nose.

     

    There is also the matter of Indian versus the Indonesian variety. For me the indonesian is more my ideal of a classic patchouli.

     

    For me the problem is maybe an additive effect for the high frequency harsh dusty top note that both of them share, and so I'd assume that aging is better all around.

     

    I have noticed that with drydown it improves to where you can get a true sense for the accord, but the longevity of that drydown is pretty stunning. It's all day. It's a floral and musky combo. Just now getting a sense for it.

     

    Right now I don't know of a consistent supplier of aged patchoili. You can get it, but in my experience it comes and goes. I put a little extra raw patchouli aside and am aging it myself. It takes two years to get that wine smell.

     

    .

    post #9 of 13
    I bought some excellent patchouly from Linda (PA), which originally came from J. Steele. Also the basic patchouly oil from Hekserij.nl is a good value for money. Maybe a bit harsh in the top compared to the CO2 extracted J.Steele's but the harsh note disappears in most blends. Viscosity is what one would expect, taking 10 drops will cost you a minute or three from your time wink.gif
    post #10 of 13

    John Steele's Products seem to be exceptional.

    There is a Perfumers Breakfast next month in Los Angeles that Steele is speaking at, and featuring his products.

     

    Oh, and have you tried Patchwood?

    post #11 of 13

    Patchouli: Thanks jsparla and PK  -- I have a small amount of the Steele (non-CO2) product I had forgotten about, I'll get it out and try it in my formulas.

     

    PK: Patchwood: no, and in fact I have always been curious about what it is? The internets seem to say it is an AC of some kind, but very little info is available

    (5,5-dimethyl hexahydro−2h,2,4a−methanonaphthalene−1(5H)−one

    " PFW Aroma Chemicals B.V newest aroma chemical Patchwood, is powerful and woody, with a fresh ozonic top note and camphoraceous, leathery impression." )

     

    Can you elucidate? Can't find anyone selling it retail.
     

    post #12 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gecko214 View Post
    PK: Patchwood: no, and in fact I have always been curious about what it is? The internets seem to say it is an AC of some kind, but very little info is available

    (5,5-dimethyl hexahydro−2h,2,4a−methanonaphthalene−1(5H)−one

    " PFW Aroma Chemicals B.V newest aroma chemical Patchwood, is powerful and woody, with a fresh ozonic top note and camphoraceous, leathery impression." )

     

    Can you elucidate? Can't find anyone selling it retail.
     

    Yes, I guess you're right, I don't think anyone is selling Patchwood yet retail.

    There was a competition a couple years back, and one of our own, Frank, won a runners up prize for his composition...

    But they sent out free samples of about 3oz.  My bottle is a bit more than half filled still.  You don't need much, you'll probably want to keep your formula to 1% of the concentrate, any more than 3% is probably too hard to compose around - it takes over.

    Probably only available right now in one kilo sizes only.

    post #13 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pkiler View Post

    Yes, I guess you're right, I don't think anyone is selling Patchwood yet retail.

    There was a competition a couple years back, and one of our own, Frank, won a runners up prize for his composition...

    But they sent out free samples of about 3oz.  My bottle is a bit more than half filled still.  You don't need much, you'll probably want to keep your formula to 1% of the concentrate, any more than 3% is probably too hard to compose around - it takes over.

    Probably only available right now in one kilo sizes only.


    Yes, sounds interesting; would you be able to slip some in the shipment you are sending me? maybe 10 gs? But we need to take this off the board or we risk sanction.  Can you tell us more about your experience using it? I am assuming you mentioned it because it works somehow with/as patchouli?

    class="

    5/24/13 at 4:06am

    DrSmellThis said:



    With the virtual elimenation of natural sandalwood as a "go-to" for perfumes, patchouli and vetiver have become more and more important as basic fixatives and base notes for all kinds of creations in the field of perfumery. Clearly, they are currently two of the most important substances for perfuming, especially as regards natural substances.

     

    If you read about them as a combination, you will universally see expressed that they are a classic accord. Indeed, many Chypre and fougere formulations have contained both.

     

    Here is a confession: I have very little experience with this basic accord, despite some good number of years behind me, working with essential oils.

     

    When I have used these together, it has been typically in modest amounts in floral accords, where there is a lot of room for error. The point was to enhance aspects of the flowers, not really the P/V accord itself. Or, I have used only trace amounts of one or the other.

     

    But I've not often sat down, just with these two, to find an accord between them, until just recently. I've reached a point where a formula turns on their relationship, and I have been split -- sometimes wanting to use mostly one, sometimes mostly the other. Now I want to try using them both in significant amounts.

     

    Here's the first problem you encounter. Patchouli and vetiver, at first smell, are kind of obnoxious together. Even when both oils are aged a little bit. But their combination creates a top note that is very noisy, dusty, and harsh. If you put them on your body together, people in the world will tend to respond harshly, until hours later perhaps.

     

    Either oil seems to amplify the strength of the other. It's an edgy accord.

     

    I realize many or most base notes are like this on top, as Carles pointed out. Logically, of course, it is easy to think of any number of solutions and ways around this issue, such as dilution, allowing the top notes to evaporate before evaluation, and/or bringing a third element into play. with these methods, eventually, one would figure it out. But as far as combining the oils neat and directly, in comparable amounts (Patchouli is 3-4x stronger for me.), I don't find them "immediately cooperative."

     

    But I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this accord as a puzzling one at first; and whether anyone had any general thoughts on the combination; or a curious thing or two they noticed.

     

    I will be sharing a few more observations as I find time to experiment with this combination.

    5/24/13 at 4:27am

    gecko214 said:



    I have been working intensely on an accord with these two featuring heavily. When dosage is right, they can be amazing together, although when wrong they can both overwhelm, as you state.  Try working with some dry (e.g. Virginia) cedar oil in the mix, and also some type of ionone and PADMA, or amyl salycilate or isoamyl salycilate. Also clary sage eo (not too much) and tonka or coumarin (quite a bit of it) will help your accord immensely. Obviously also some musks and or ambgergris or ambrox/an could help tame/smooth them a bit too. I have not tried yet (because I don't have any) but I have a suspicion that true verbena will be good as a top for these. All that said, I have been working on it for months and honestly getting it right is really hard (for me at least).
     

    5/26/13 at 6:52am

    jsparla said:



    Good advice from Gecko214! 

    Actually i've used the suggested combination of Vetiver, Patchouli, Cedar, Coumarin, Musks, Ambergris and PADMA in this formulation, where the P/V accord plays a significant part.

    It could be your starting point to tweak and explore further ;)

    5/26/13 at 10:25pm

    TRBeck said:



    Good suggestions so far. Some other notes to consider in concert with these are rose and/or rosewood, cardamom, and tobacco. A softening of the edges and a rounding of the two central notes is useful, but so is a spicy sharp shattering of the earthiness they share. Tobacco could accomplish either, I suppose.

    5/27/13 at 6:47am

    DrSmellThis said:



    Thanks for the generous responses.

     

    So far at least ten of the things you all named were already in the formula, which suggests we are all crazy! ;) The accord suggests certain aspects of scent we are all attuned to, I mean.

     

    Not PADMA. I know it's a mushroomy, greener rose note, and apparently an attar with rose/jasmine/clove, but I've never used it. I think maybe I'm experimenting with enough new synthetic (or natural fractional) rose notes for the present. Is it the most wonderful thing since sliced bread?

     

    The experiments have been interesting so far; but it's not a simple accord as the combo as regards other constituents has a different effect depending on the proportion of V to P.  It's hard to keep interrelationships constant, so more work is required.

     

    In other words, if I just go on V and P alone as an accord (a la Carles), I would use one ratio, whereas other ingredients "demand" other levels of one or the other. The more patchouli you have relative to vetiver, the stronger the overall accord will be, for example. So you're not really free to vary it willy nilly without changing other things, or at least changing the weight of the accord.

     

    I may have to construct the whole perfume to really know the proper ratio of one to the other.

     

    There are so many accords in a perfume, and some of them seem to compete. To make one happy you have to annoy the other.  Just one of the fun challenges, n'est pas?

     

    But right now I'm focused on just those two. I think understanding that in a simple way will be the key. The other thing is to factor in the other major accords involving V and/or P, and asking myself which accords are really the point.


    Edited by DrSmellThis - 5/27/13 at 7:06am

    5/29/13 at 7:29am

    TRBeck said:



    Been giving this some additional thought. Villoresi's late, lamented Vetiver is really a rich fougere with a prominent patchouli note. The oakmoss in this seems to tame both the vetiver and patchouli without robbing either of power.

    Also, I have noticed that my better- aged patchouli actually fares well with my rougher vetivers. I haven't tried things the other way, aged vetiver with a very earthy-minty fresh patchouli, but worth considering. Rather than emphasizing the same dimensions in both, maybe use one to flesh out the opposite aspects of the other?

    5/29/13 at 7:57am

    gecko214 said:



    Good point that the quality of both ingredients may have a lot to do with it. Also reminds me I need to invest in more/different qualities of patchouli. Anybody know where to buy aged stuff? I have looked around but to no avail...

    5/29/13 at 6:46pm

    DrSmellThis said:



    Currently trying Synergy Essentials "aged dark patchouli", but am undecided as to its quality. It's not as rich as I would have expected. It runs thin out of the dropper. It was relatively inexpensive...

     

    The cynical part of me wonders whether people "age" patchouli by leaving the lid off so it mellows the top, and then making false claims that it was aged longer. I've seen that advocated as a way to "accelerate" the aging, but, it would also be an obvious way to take advantage of customers who can't determine the age and quality of patchouli with their nose.

     

    There is also the matter of Indian versus the Indonesian variety. For me the indonesian is more my ideal of a classic patchouli.

     

    For me the problem is maybe an additive effect for the high frequency harsh dusty top note that both of them share, and so I'd assume that aging is better all around.

     

    I have noticed that with drydown it improves to where you can get a true sense for the accord, but the longevity of that drydown is pretty stunning. It's all day. It's a floral and musky combo. Just now getting a sense for it.

     

    Right now I don't know of a consistent supplier of aged patchoili. You can get it, but in my experience it comes and goes. I put a little extra raw patchouli aside and am aging it myself. It takes two years to get that wine smell.

     

    .

    5/29/13 at 10:31pm

    jsparla said:



    I bought some excellent patchouly from Linda (PA), which originally came from J. Steele. Also the basic patchouly oil from Hekserij.nl is a good value for money. Maybe a bit harsh in the top compared to the CO2 extracted J.Steele's but the harsh note disappears in most blends. Viscosity is what one would expect, taking 10 drops will cost you a minute or three from your time wink.gif

    5/29/13 at 11:13pm

    pkiler said:



    John Steele's Products seem to be exceptional.

    There is a Perfumers Breakfast next month in Los Angeles that Steele is speaking at, and featuring his products.

     

    Oh, and have you tried Patchwood?

    5/30/13 at 5:52am

    gecko214 said:



    Patchouli: Thanks jsparla and PK  -- I have a small amount of the Steele (non-CO2) product I had forgotten about, I'll get it out and try it in my formulas.

     

    PK: Patchwood: no, and in fact I have always been curious about what it is? The internets seem to say it is an AC of some kind, but very little info is available

    (5,5-dimethyl hexahydro−2h,2,4a−methanonaphthalene−1(5H)−one

    " PFW Aroma Chemicals B.V newest aroma chemical Patchwood, is powerful and woody, with a fresh ozonic top note and camphoraceous, leathery impression." )

     

    Can you elucidate? Can't find anyone selling it retail.
     

    5/30/13 at 9:04am

    pkiler said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gecko214 View Post
    PK: Patchwood: no, and in fact I have always been curious about what it is? The internets seem to say it is an AC of some kind, but very little info is available

    (5,5-dimethyl hexahydro−2h,2,4a−methanonaphthalene−1(5H)−one

    " PFW Aroma Chemicals B.V newest aroma chemical Patchwood, is powerful and woody, with a fresh ozonic top note and camphoraceous, leathery impression." )

     

    Can you elucidate? Can't find anyone selling it retail.
     

    Yes, I guess you're right, I don't think anyone is selling Patchwood yet retail.

    There was a competition a couple years back, and one of our own, Frank, won a runners up prize for his composition...

    But they sent out free samples of about 3oz.  My bottle is a bit more than half filled still.  You don't need much, you'll probably want to keep your formula to 1% of the concentrate, any more than 3% is probably too hard to compose around - it takes over.

    Probably only available right now in one kilo sizes only.

    5/30/13 at 9:56am

    gecko214 said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pkiler View Post

    Yes, I guess you're right, I don't think anyone is selling Patchwood yet retail.

    There was a competition a couple years back, and one of our own, Frank, won a runners up prize for his composition...

    But they sent out free samples of about 3oz.  My bottle is a bit more than half filled still.  You don't need much, you'll probably want to keep your formula to 1% of the concentrate, any more than 3% is probably too hard to compose around - it takes over.

    Probably only available right now in one kilo sizes only.


    Yes, sounds interesting; would you be able to slip some in the shipment you are sending me? maybe 10 gs? But we need to take this off the board or we risk sanction.  Can you tell us more about your experience using it? I am assuming you mentioned it because it works somehow with/as patchouli?





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