Understanding composition of different perfumes question

    Understanding composition of different perfumes question

    post #1 of 33
    Thread Starter 

    Hi all, I haven't on for a while and it feels great to be back amongst you endearing scent lovers.á

    á

    I recently starting making my own natural perfumes (essential oils+carrier), however I would like to enquire about how exactly alcohol based perfumes are made.á

    á

    There are two questions in particular that I would like for you to enlighten me with.

    á

    1) 100% synthetic perfumes: When making these do the companies simply mix the component chemicals (in top, middle and base note) formation and then mix with perfumers alcohol? So as in my example above, naturals are made from a mix of EOs and carrier. Are 100% synthetics made from synthetic chemicals+perfumers alcohol and if so what are the rough percentages (to make an EDC, EDT and EDP)?

    á

    2) Making niche perfumes (like Amouage for example).

    Are these EOs+syntheticáchemicals+perfumers alcohol?

    If so what are some rough percentages to make an 'Amouage'álike scent?

    á

    E.g. 85% EOs+15%synthetics=T

    á

    Now 20%áT+80% perfumers alcohol to make a niche (EDP) perfume for example???

    á

    Should it be more EOs or more chemical based? Does it have to be 80% EOs to smell smooth and 'niche' like?

    á

    Thank you for bearing with me I am fairly new in the game.

    post #2 of 33

    Percentage rangesáfor the types of EDC, EDT, etc, are easily googled...

    á

    I can't speak for Amouage. áI would be extremely surprised if Niche scents were more than say 30% naturals. áI have one that is 50%, but that's more the exception.

    á

    Making an all materials perfume "smooth and 'niche' like" using Naturals is an illusion. áSmooth and niche like can actually be accomplished with zero naturals, by the hand of a skilled perfumer, and can also be done witháthe inclusion of a lot of constituents. áIt's just that using a natural isáoften more convenient than using 30-100 pieces to make an odor similar to that natural. áEven so, many bases use a lot materials. áThese bases mimic the complexity of naturals, just without some of the undesirables found in the naturals.


    Edited by pkiler - 9/8/13 at 8:34am
    post #3 of 33

    I áhave never heard of a fragrance that is 100.0% synthetic. á As Paul has explained it is much easier to use a mixture of synthetics and naturals. á What the proportion of synthetics to naturals is, depends on a number of things; what odour type, the use of the fragrance, the cost, plus others.á

    post #4 of 33
    Thread Starter 

    thank you both for your replies.

    á

    I am trying to understand how to introduce synthetics into my perfumes and so far it seems rather confusing.

    post #5 of 33

    It always surprises me when people say that Essential Oils are easier to work with than synthetics. á Synthetics are single notes, Essential Oils are chords.

    post #6 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by David RuskináView Post
    á

    It always surprises me when people say that Essential Oils are easier to work with than synthetics. á Synthetics are single notes, Essential Oils are chords.

    á

    I can't speak for the original poster but I think essential oils are easier to use in the sense that they are intuitive and our lives and experiences already encompass direct knowledge with them. áI know that cedar oil smells like a cedar or that rose oil smells like a rose. áIn real life I can imagine those smells combining in nature as they might have grown next to each other like they do in my yard right now. áWith aroma chemicals I think it might be easier when you start to memorize the complex names and memorize which chems might be a constituent within certain essential oils but getting to that point can be intimidating if not downright dizzying without some reference point. áSome aroma chems are easy to remember, verimoss is somewhat self descriptive and it has a characteristic moss smell but some aroma chems have names that have no reference as to their character and they smell like a disembodied fractional or abstract note. áMost people aren't accustomed to dealing in abstracts at all let alone alfactory abstracts.

    post #7 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by David RuskináView Post
    á

    I áhave never heard of a fragrance that is 100.0% synthetic. á As Paul has explained it is much easier to use a mixture of synthetics and naturals. á What the proportion of synthetics to naturals is, depends on a number of things; what odour type, the use of the fragrance, the cost, plus others.á

    á

    This is an interesting point - neither have I if you exclude the single molecule /ásimple accord typesá- except that I've recently had occasion to produce one. á

    á

    I give talks about perfumery from time to time and did a series of them over the summer. áAs part of these I pass around lots of strips to smell various things and for this particular series I decided to give the audience a little quiz: four smelling strips labeled A-D, one is a single natural, one an all natural blend, one a single synthetic and the last an all synthetic blend. áThe audience are asked which they think is which at the start and again at the end. áTypically at the start they get it wrong, but by the end they've smelt enough things to have a better idea and occasionally a group will classify them all correctly (I don't ask them to say what the materials actually are, just blend or single, natural or synthetic).

    á

    The point of this little tale is that to do it I obviously needed a synthetic blend (for the natural blend I simply use the all-natural perfume in my existing range)áand I set about creating an imitation of the scent of peonies using synthetics only. áIt's not a bad imitation, though not perfect, but the interesting thing is I'm getting a steady stream of requests to buy it from people who've smelt it. áMy instinct is to round it out with some naturals before bringing it into the range but I wonder if I shouldn't keep it as it is: though I can't imagine 'all synthetic' being quite the selling point that 'all natural' is, it would certainly be something different.

    á

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by David RuskináView Post
    á

    It always surprises me when people say that Essential Oils are easier to work with than synthetics. á Synthetics are single notes, Essential Oils are chords.

    á

    I agree that this is surprising, but only from the perspective of having worked with those single notes. áWhen all you've ever smelt are the familiar chords the huge range of weirdly named synthetics looks pretty bewildering. áI think it's part of our mission here to de-mystify them for people.

    post #8 of 33

    So Chris, do you think it is the chemical names that put people off? á Orange Oil is familiar, whilst Orange Terpenes and dextro Limonene sound scary. á Personally I never found this to be the case, but I have a science background and am quite comfortable with "scientific" names. á Difficult to know to to persuade people that there is nothing frightening, and just to go ahead a smell stuff.

    á

    "All synthetic" isn't a great marketing platform I agree.

    post #9 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by David RuskináView Post

    So Chris, do you think it is the chemical names that put people off? á Orange Oil is familiar, whilst Orange Terpenes and dextro Limonene sound scary. á Personally I never found this to be the case, but I have a science background and am quite comfortable with "scientific" names. á Difficult to know to to persuade people that there is nothing frightening, and just to go ahead a smell stuff.

    "All synthetic" isn't a great marketing platform I agree.

    Hi David, very much a newbie here but yes I'd say from my point of view (not a science background) that you're spot on, scientific names can be confronting and unfamiliar at best for people like me. But threads like this are great at demystifying!
    post #10 of 33

    Chemical names are certainly part of the problem. áOrdinary folk have no idea what you're talking about if you say cis-3-Hexenol;áLeaf Alcohol gives a bit more of a clue;áand when you say it smells rather like cut grass you can see the light go on.

    á

    However even when you ignore the, often complex, chemical names and go with brand names it can remain confusing:áIFF recently re-named one of their products from Cyclobutanate to Nectarate - having chatted to the perfumer there who made the decision to do that, I was later talking to my mum about it and her reaction was probably typical of the non-specialist, she said of cyclobutanate 'oh, sounds like a skin disease!' while nectarate at least sounds fruity it's still strange and unfamiliar.

    á

    Add to that the sheer number - 3-4,000 compared to a few hundred naturals - and you can understand why beginners find it easier to stick with rosewood oil rather than investigate linalool, linalyl acetate or ethyl linalool.

    á

    A further part of the problem is the widespread belief that natural is better, safer and more environmentally friendly - none of which is necessarily true - in my example above rosewood is an endangered species: the moral and environmental case for turning endangered treesáinto oil rather than making it by other means is simply not there, but that isn't widely appreciated.

    á

    Environmental impact studies have shown that production of l-menthol from cornmint actually uses more fossil fuel and puts more CO2áinto the environment than manufacturing through etiher of the two main synthetic routes - yet people will routinely choose the 'natural' in the belief that it is 'better'.

    á

    But I think one of the biggest factors of all is availability: if you are not in the industry there are a huge range of suppliers to go to for 10ml of any natural extract you can think of, but try buying ethyl linalyl acetate and you are really going to struggle (Perfumer's Apprentice and, as of last week,áHermitage Oils being the only options I know about).

    post #11 of 33
    I agree with your mum Chris. Your post helps me a lot though regarding the natural vs synthetics thing, all very confusing for a newbie.
    post #12 of 33
    I agree about availability. It's easy to use essential oils because you can find them at stores. Even when I lived in New York, I didn't know of any place where I could drop in and buy something like Iso E Super. Sure, you can buy 'fragrance oils,' and I would guess that some of these are just diluted bases (The oud fragrance oil that Enfleurage sold once upon a time smelled very much like the Firmenich Oud from Perfumer's Apprentice), but it just isn't the same. Perhaps there are stores now offering things like Iso E Super now? Not here in Stockholm however, where fragrance (and arguably pleasure) doesn't seem very important to most people.

    I think if synthetics were sold in stores in proper dilutions by knowledgeable staff*, more people would use them. I even know a 'natural perfumer' in New York who experiments a little with synthetics. He started with animalic bases like civet, and he seems like he might be open to branching out. He says he prefers the fuller smell of naturals, but I think he's starting to realize what the isolated chemicals can do. Which brings me to another point: terminology. I always find myself noticing people referring to, say, ambroxan as "synthetic ambergris". I even saw it in that book about ambergris, Floating Gold. But of course that's not the right way to view it. Ambroxan is an ambergris-type odorant; Fixateur 505 would be closer to the idea of synthetic ambergris, but not exactly. I think some people smell Hedione and think it's supposed to be "synthetic jasmine," and when it doesn't really smell like jasmine, they come to their own conclusion about 'synthetics.'



    *I've very seldom come in contact with knowledgeable staff when buying essential oils or perfumes, but perhaps that's just been my experience.
    post #13 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by edsheppáView Post

    I agree about availability. It's easy to use essential oils because you can find them at stores. Even when I lived in New York, I didn't know of any place where I could drop in and buy something like Iso E Super. Sure, you can buy 'fragrance oils,' and I would guess that some of these are just diluted bases (The oud fragrance oil that Enfleurage sold once upon a time smelled very much like the Firmenich Oud from Perfumer's Apprentice), but it just isn't the same. Perhaps there are stores now offering things like Iso E Super now? Not here in Stockholm however, where fragrance (and arguably pleasure) doesn't seem very important to most people.

    I think if synthetics were sold in stores in proper dilutions by knowledgeable staff*, more people would use them. I even know a 'natural perfumer' in New York who experiments a little with synthetics. He started with animalic bases like civet, and he seems like he might be open to branching out. He says he prefers the fuller smell of naturals, but I think he's starting to realize what the isolated chemicals can do. Which brings me to another point: terminology. I always find myself noticing people referring to, say, ambroxan as "synthetic ambergris". I even saw it in that book about ambergris, Floating Gold. But of course that's not the right way to view it. Ambroxan is an ambergris-type odorant; Fixateur 505 would be closer to the idea of synthetic ambergris, but not exactly. I think some people smell Hedione and think it's supposed to be "synthetic jasmine," and when it doesn't really smell like jasmine, they come to their own conclusion about 'synthetics.'



    *I've very seldom come in contact with knowledgeable staff when buying essential oils or perfumes, but perhaps that's just been my experience.

    á

    I'm sure this is right too, though I do so much of my shopping online now I forget how much I used to rely on what you could buy in physical stores.

    á

    PS I'm pleased to see this footnotes malarkey is catching on - did I mention I like footnotes? ;-)

    post #14 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by David RuskináView Post

    I áhave never heard of a fragrance that is 100.0% synthetic. á As Paul has explained it is much easier to use a mixture of synthetics and naturals. á What the proportion of synthetics to naturals is, depends on a number of things; what odour type, the use of the fragrance, the cost, plus others.á
    Hi David, Andy Tauer released 4 100% synthetic perfumes called Pentachords in 2011
    https://www.tauerperfumes.com/blog/pentachords/2011/09/pentachord-samples-online/

    I also agree about chemo phobia, it is wildly spread.

    @edshepp most essential oils sold in small quantities on the market are not 100% natural, many are adulterated or reconstructions by using a mixture of synthetics. Basically you are already accustomed to synthetics ;-)
    post #15 of 33




Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000