Just from your post, it seems like you have wanted to become an instant perfumer via buying a bunch of supplies, and getting some pro to give you an instant recipe.
So the impression I was left with, which may be wrong given how little I know about you; is that you need a dose of simple beginnings to compensate.
Store your oils well, and take care of them, as it looks like you have made quite an investment.
But making perfume, in my humble opinion, is not about mixing a bunch of things together. The actual construction of the perfume in a bottle is the last step, not the first.
It is about getting to know ingredients one at a time, and trying simple combinations, living with them, and learning from them.
When you know all your individual ingredients, and have studied perfuming, then you can start to see what relationships can and do exist among the different possible ingredients.
Instant gratification doesn't exist. To be a perfumer, you have to make bad things that smell bad. A lot of them.
But I am not really trying to talk tough about an art that is a love and passion of mine. It's a ton of fun. But you have to "smell the roses" along the path.
You have to have some of your own knowledge, first of all. So get a couple books on perfuming. I liked Mandy Aftel's book about working with essential oils.
Start with two or three or four or your favorite ingredients, and make simple accords. Classify your list according to top, middle, and bass notes. Pick one or two from each category.
Really, working with bass notes teaches you the most, IMHO. Me personally, I wouldn't worry about top notes as much, as they are easier to figure out, whereas working with bass notes helps you understand the part that gives most people diffculty, right away.
I got my start with 3-6 ingredients that I liked the best.
Your post pushes buttons for me, to be honest. I'm a musician, and I've noticed the trend today with "indie" music is that someone buys a guitar and wants to form a band and be a star. Instead of focusing on the joy of playing music, they want to rocket ship their way to the top of a profession as a beginner. They don't really value or understand the art. They don't care to understand it. But they want to be an artist in terms of the glory, which, really, the greatest artists don't really care about much about. They don't really like music, in other words.
Whereas personally, I find the joy to be in the art itself. To me, the first step is to find that joy in the process. So pick your half dozen favorites, read a book, and go from there, starting simple. And enjoy!
This wasn't the answer you were looking for, but there is a reason for that. You could spend decades trying to make an instant "great perfume", by mixing a hundred things in a jar, and learn very little. But if you want to learn very little anyway, then why not just buy the perfume already made?
Showing up and demanding a formula and complete instructions is really rather RUDE and IMPUDENT.
Take it and go with it, NGBATSWE. Come back when you have better manners.
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I could not agree more DST. My one caveat would be to start the learning of individual raw materials with synthetics rather than Essential Oils as they are simpler in their performance being simpler in structure. A synthetic may consist of several isomers of the same chemical; an Essential Oil may consist of hundreds of chemicals all evaporating at their own rate.
The most important thing to learn in Perfumery is that their are no quick fixes. Getting someone else to do it for you is cheating.
Just to give an example.
First of all, I'm no role model for the profession of perfuming or anything. Some others here are more accomplished. But I have learned more and more gradually over the years, and I enjoy writing about the process.
But I have been working on a perfume for over a year, every day. Over a year. (nothing unusual, for those who know) Guess what? I've never sat down with a bottle and mixed the ingredients together. All I've done is work with little bits and pieces of my formula. But guess what? I'm fairly near completion, and I don't even own most of the ingredients.
By the time I actually sit down with a bottle and put the ingredients in, most of the work will be behind me. It will be the easy part (at least that is the plan and hope ;))
Right now I own fewer supplies than the person who authored this thread.
That is because I (mostly, not in every case) know the ingredients and basically what they're going to smell like mixed. I know where the problem spots are, and so I just pick out a couple ingredients here and there where I'm unsure, and work with those.
There are any number of problem spots in the formula, and I already know where those are going to be, mostly. That is the main place I have to work.
My experience with each individual ingredient allows me to work from my head much of the time, which actually saves me a lot of money. Eventually you have to smell everything, of course, but not for quite a while.
Right now with the current perfume I'm working most on, I've figured out that the vetiver/patchouli relationship is going to have a huge impact on how this works out -- the vetiver-patchouli accord, which happens to be very basic.
These are two of the primary base notes, and they are difficult to work with.
So what am I doing? Am I looking for formulas with vetiver and patchouli? Heck no. I am sitting down with two bottles of essential oils, the same two bottles that a beginner would start out with. I am doing the same thing I am advising beginners to do, which is just hang out with those two oils. Eventually those two oils are going to start teaching me secrets.
And what do you know? They already are. I already feel more confident mixing these two oils than I would copying ANY professional formula for blending them. I know my own approach is better (for me, with this blend). Why? Because I smelled it! I know what qualities I want to bring out, and I can smell exactly when those qualities emerge. That is the confidence you gain starting simple, and staying simple..
You may think this is simplistic, but actually the first step was even simpler; just to work with vetiver and patchouli alone, with a few of the other primary ingredients. Just now have I put them together.
I've been doing this for a couple decades, and am using the same approach as the day I bought my first couple oils. You just take a couple things, play with them, and get to know them.
My perfume probably has 110 ingredients at this point. But truly, there are thirteen base notes that define the perfume, and the rest is trinkets, trivia, and ornaments.
Because I know from experience those thirteen things will eventually relate well to each other when I finalize it in the bottle, I don't worry about the rest of the formula. Because I know the foundation will be there, and you can always tweak things on the fringes.
But if I don't figure out vetiver as it relates to patchouli, the whole thing is screwed!
So in my opinion, perfuming is never about mixing things in a bottle, fundamentally.
There would be nothing wrong with playing with neroli and lemongrass. Those two oils have an interesting relationship, and both relate to other oils in terms of chemical constituents. So you could learn a lot just from those two. Be careful with lemongrass, as it is strong.
Then you could apply what you learned to the other precious flowers (rose, jasmine, etc.), and other lemony oils like litsea. Then other citruses. Then picking a base note to go with both of them. Then how about an appropriate musk? Or what about a spice to accent things, like, say, pepper? Or a sweet note? But all these things take place over time as you keep working.
If you make it good on the simplest level, then it is easier to be good when you add one more thing.
I'd rather have a perfume with three or four things perfectly blended, than one with a hundred things thrown together in a sloppy manner. Honestly, give me some sandalwood and vetiver, and I need no other ingredients whatsoever.
So become a master of simple combinations of all your favorite oils that you love the most. Then you can build a perfume based on whatever you learn in that process.
Best of luck.
There are a lot of very knowledgeable and helpful people here. But your first post in the thread was a little bit awkward, as everyone explained (not too bad). Yet they were nicer than me, in that they did give you real formulae. So perhaps in the future, you will know better how to post to get the help you want. The good thing about your post is that it provided the opportunity for some teaching points that perhaps someone else might get something from too.
On creativity: Nothing in a simple approch is less creative. You won't be able to express your creativity unless you have a "vocabulary", which comes from knowing each material individually. The uniqueness and creativity will happen on its own, especially in the oils you end up liking to work with.
My one caveat would be to start the learning of individual raw materials with synthetics rather than Essential Oils as they are simpler in their performance being simpler in structure. A synthetic may consist of several isomers of the same chemical; an Essential Oil may consist of hundreds of chemicals all evaporating at their own rate.
I cannot argue with your reasoning, and you seem correct, in terms of where you are coming from as a professional. Your point is eminently logical and true.
However, even though I respect perfume chemistry and the use of synthetics and isolates greatly, I would not personally go so far as to advise them to avoid naturals at first. That is because for me, (not the profession) naturals are the essence of perfuming. It's about the secrets nature teaches us, the relationship between a human and nature, the deepest part of the art. The aromatherapy benefits, even. I know this could possibly sound like a load of BS, but I think it is one perspective. For me there is no amount of synthetics that could compare to the classic natural substances in their impact on a person, other than the intial "gee that's pretty" reaction.
But I will admit my very first experiments were with synthetic amber, synthetic musk, and synthetic vanilla. It defintely was easy for me to have success right away that way. If you want to learn the current profession, you are probably correct. Sometimes it has seemed too easy to succeed with synthetics, as they just smelll so immediately pretty, as a general prejudice, by comparison. So it becomes deceptively easy. And yet so many wonderful synthetics lack in dry down (e.g., cedramber, which I love, has a rubbery drydown note, and a lot of perfume chemicals have kind of a petroleum related note, IMHO).
I just dont want to actively steer someone away from natural products, for a variety of reasons better discussed elsewhere.
Again I do agree with the spirit and content of your words, but am also saying that for some people, they are seeking what nature offers them in many ways. I personally hated perfume before I discovered essential oils, to be more blunt. The whole world opened up the first time smelling sandalwood. I remember being turned off in particular by dihydro myrcenol (I think) in everything (was it Lagerfield?) I'd rather have stright patchouli on me than a cheap department store synthetic, to be sure, as obnoxious as that could be.
Now I have certainly come around to throroughly appreciate and admire perfume chemistry. But some people just have more of an interest in natural smells, and I want them to have that option. There is for me a feeling of health enhancement with naturals, and too often a slight toxic impression with synthetics, just generally and subjectively.
Yes I know it's all nature from another perspective, and I don't disagree. Sorry to bring this up, as I guess it's a can of worms for elsewhere. It's eminently possible to thoroughly appreciate nature and also use perfume chemicals; and to use chemicals consistent with a senstivity to nature. So please don't mishear me, and please continue sharing your interesting and extremely helpful perspectives as often as so inclined. Love your posts.
DST I fully understand wat you are saying, and kind of agree with you (apart from the aromatherapy thing, but that is a whole different can of worms). My suggestion of starting with synthetics is for people who are starting out, learning the smells. Synthetics are easier, and more predictable; more linear, if you like. Naturals are so much more complex, which is why (I think) you are attracted to them. They can also put people off, by their very complexity. I think we are in agreement, that to learn how to be a Perfumer, and to be able to create Fragrances, rather than simple mixes of smells, it is necessary to really know how the various substances we use, perform. You mention your work in creating a fragrance where you rarely actually smell anything. This is how all true Perfumers work. We know our smells well enough to be able to do this. And when the mix is complete, we can smell and make further changes if and wen necessary.
6/10/13 at 6:52am
6/10/13 at 9:05am