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  1. #1

    Arrow Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Basic smelling techniques are essential, and several viewpoints are culled here from the writings of industry pioneers Paul Jelinek, Edmond Roudnitska, and Stephen V. Dowthwaite. This summary provides fast practical advice. Enjoy! -LGV

    1) The Environment
    The act of smelling first starts in an appropriate environment, one that is as free as possible from abnormal ambient influences.
    Optimum Environment for Smelling:
    A Separate Room (with the following characteristics):
    • Well ventilated.
    • Strictly void of strong smelling samples and lab projects.
    • Normal room temperature.
    • Normal humidity.
    • Quiet /peaceful environment.
    Undesirable Environments and Environmental Factors:
    • Smelly laboratory.
    • Production area.
    • Kitchen.
    • Rest room/bathroom.
    • High ambient temperatures.
    • High humidity.
    • High air pollution (or background odor).
    • Distracting (noisy, high-traffic, visually displeasing, etc.).
    You are part of the Smelling Environment too!
    • Do not wear strong fragrances
    • Avoid a smelling session right after eating strong aromatic foods (onions, garlic, coffee, curry, etc.)
    • Avoid contaminating your hands, clothes and hair with samples. Tie your hair back if it is long.
    • Careful not to contaminate your nose by touching it with the smelling strip!
    2) Material Samples
    • Use dilute solutions (to prevent odor overload and fatigue).
    • When you need to smell materials in undiluted form (neat) and to prevent olfactory overload and fatigue:
    • Minimize sample size; Dip the blotters in shallow (not deep) increments.
    • Minimize exposure; Limit to several brief inhalations.
    • Use appropriate solvents, i.e. - Alcohol for perfumery.
    • Use the final diluents “mixture” in your smelling sample, as each diluent will affect the odor performance of a perfume material.
    • Do not smell undissolved crystalline materials (the smell will be imprecise because of trace surface impurities. You might inhale actual crystals and deaden your sense of smell for a very, very long time).
    • Do not sniff at an open bottle directly (it will deaden the sense of smell for a prolonged time).
    3) Smelling Strip & Blotter Recommendations
    Common blotter recommendations:
    • Standardize using the same brand and stock of blotters (to avoid changes in smell from manufacturing differences and trace elements)
    • 13cm to 15cm.
    • 0.5cm to 1cm width.
    • Unsized (not treated or bleached).
    • Roudnitska:
      • 18cm length.
      • 1cm wide.
      • Folded with a groove (to prevent bending).
      • Tapered (to fit small bottles, and reduces material consumption).
      • Paper grade 180gm/sq cm.
    • Jelinek:
      • Minimum 10cm.
      • Thin blotters (allows different smelling phases to be recognized due to less tenacious holding of volatile materials).
      • Thick blotters (for presentation, as it holds the composition better than a thin blotter)
    • Dowthwaite:
      • Chromatography Paper (its thinner and has special characteristics).
      • Tapered.
      • Bend the smelling tip 3cm from the end (so you can easier coordinate your hands, and to help prevent the smell of your hand from contaminating the sample).

    4) The Act of Smelling
    The nose quickly adapts to unchanging smells, so time is short to fix an impression!
    • Smell some known samples from your lab in the same category you wish to identify to help refresh and reacquaint your memory.
    • Concentrate, your mind is really doing the smelling!
    • Be relaxed and comfortable.
    • Arrange samples from weak to strong (to offset olfactory fatigue).
    • Dip strips to a depth of 0.5cm.
    • Keep the strip 1cm-2cm perpendicular to the nostrils.
    • Close eyes to prevent visual distractions.
    • Use short shallow inhalations. Sniff-Evaluate—Sniff-Evaluate. Use short brief inhalations to experience the smell, move it away from the nose, then use your memory to hold the odor and evaluate. The first sniff will give the clearest impression, subsequent sniffs will blur.
    • Inhale through the mouth by holding it 1cm away from the lips to experience the odor differently by introducing taste sensations. Exhale back up past the throat and through the nose.
    • With a weak smelling sample, warm the sample by breathing gently out your nose onto the strip. The warm breath will warm the sample and increase its evaporation and activity.
    • Pose a series of “yes” or “no” questions to cycle through until an identification is made. (i.e. - Is it aliphatic? No, then is it citrus? No, then is it…).
    • Keep a database and write prolific notes of your immediate odor impressions. You are forced to think and smell with awareness when you do this, and it will help to recall the smell in the future. You will also be able to search and find the characteristics later.
      • Write with lucidity in your expression of the odor
    • Have rest intervals (for your nose to recover)
      • Go outside for fresh air between series of smelling sessions.
      • Stimulating deep breathing and circulation helps clear the nose. It has been suggested to run up and down a flight of steps!
    References:
    Perfumery Practice and Principals, Calkin and Jellinek
    How do you smell?, Stephen V. Dowthwaite

  2. #2

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Welcome to Basenotes, LGV! I noticed that this is your first post, and what a great post it is! Thank you for this very informative guide.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    hi thanks for very useful instruction for making perfumes idus i am happy to read this

  4. #4

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Excellent post, LGV! Thanks for your great contribution, and welcome to Basenotes.

    Marcello

  5. #5

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    I think we'll sticky this one!

  6. #6
    Strange Accord's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Missoula, Montana, United States
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    I really appreciate this guide. Very useful.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Great first post LGV! Definitely welcome aboard!!!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    I liked reading this. Thank you. :-)
    "Voici mon secret. Il est tres simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux."
    - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  9. #9

    Thumbs up Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Fantastic tips! Thanks

    Quick question, if I'm smelling EOs in a store, I can't exactly break out my coffee filters lol Am I depriving myself of the scent if I hold the bottle away from me & waft it towards my nose? If so, what else can I do to get a true sense of the scent while in a store setting?
    Last edited by Sarel; 11th February 2007 at 01:37 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    You take a notebook with you (perhaps a small thick paged sketchbook from an art store) and spray a page with it. That way you can have a collection inside your notebook and write notes and comments on the page as well. That was a trick taught in a perfumers class lesson...

  11. #11

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Presumably you leave plenty of pages between samples so they don't blend with one another. I might do this in addition to gathering samples in drams. Having it saved in a notebook is a good idea, but I wouldn't stop there.
    Last edited by Eau_Boy; 11th February 2007 at 09:03 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    If gathering samples doesn't work, my solution is to find the nearest person and spray it on their back. LOL. Very helpful. Thank you.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    I really learned something here, particularly from section 4. Thank you LGV ! And thanks for making this sticky, Grant. I might not have stumbled upon this otherwise.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Thank you so much!
    Great job.

    Ayala had a very nice guide on her blog as well, i have often gone over there and taken a few of her pointers...

  15. #15

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Just a quickie! Refresh your precious nose with ground coffee, sniffed inbetween samples.
    Works for me. ( unflavored variety )

  16. #16

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    I don't know how I missed this handy reference material. Thank you!
    "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel."

  17. #17

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    great to know the tips. I think i'll practice it accordingly

  18. #18

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Still a very usefull thread, since I'm starting myself soon.
    unico grande amore.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Quote Originally Posted by LGV View Post
    Basic smelling techniques are essential, and several viewpoints are culled here from the writings of industry pioneers Paul Jelinek, Edmond Roudnitska, and Stephen V. Dowthwaite. This summary provides fast practical advice. Enjoy! -LGV

    1) The Environment
    The act of smelling first starts in an appropriate environment, one that is as free as possible from abnormal ambient influences.
    Optimum Environment for Smelling:
    A Separate Room (with the following characteristics):
    • Well ventilated.
    • Strictly void of strong smelling samples and lab projects.
    • Normal room temperature.
    • Normal humidity.
    • Quiet /peaceful environment.
    Undesirable Environments and Environmental Factors:
    • Smelly laboratory.
    • Production area.
    • Kitchen.
    • Rest room/bathroom.
    • High ambient temperatures.
    • High humidity.
    • High air pollution (or background odor).
    • Distracting (noisy, high-traffic, visually displeasing, etc.).
    You are part of the Smelling Environment too!
    • Do not wear strong fragrances
    • Avoid a smelling session right after eating strong aromatic foods (onions, garlic, coffee, curry, etc.)
    • Avoid contaminating your hands, clothes and hair with samples. Tie your hair back if it is long.
    • Careful not to contaminate your nose by touching it with the smelling strip!
    2) Material Samples
    • Use dilute solutions (to prevent odor overload and fatigue).
    • When you need to smell materials in undiluted form (neat) and to prevent olfactory overload and fatigue:
    • Minimize sample size; Dip the blotters in shallow (not deep) increments.
    • Minimize exposure; Limit to several brief inhalations.
    • Use appropriate solvents, i.e. - Alcohol for perfumery.
    • Use the final diluents “mixture” in your smelling sample, as each diluent will affect the odor performance of a perfume material.
    • Do not smell undissolved crystalline materials (the smell will be imprecise because of trace surface impurities. You might inhale actual crystals and deaden your sense of smell for a very, very long time).
    • Do not sniff at an open bottle directly (it will deaden the sense of smell for a prolonged time).
    3) Smelling Strip & Blotter Recommendations
    Common blotter recommendations:
    • Standardize using the same brand and stock of blotters (to avoid changes in smell from manufacturing differences and trace elements)
    • 13cm to 15cm.
    • 0.5cm to 1cm width.
    • Unsized (not treated or bleached).
    • Roudnitska:
      • 18cm length.
      • 1cm wide.
      • Folded with a groove (to prevent bending).
      • Tapered (to fit small bottles, and reduces material consumption).
      • Paper grade 180gm/sq cm.
    • Jelinek:
      • Minimum 10cm.
      • Thin blotters (allows different smelling phases to be recognized due to less tenacious holding of volatile materials).
      • Thick blotters (for presentation, as it holds the composition better than a thin blotter)
    • Dowthwaite:
      • Chromatography Paper (its thinner and has special characteristics).
      • Tapered.
      • Bend the smelling tip 3cm from the end (so you can easier coordinate your hands, and to help prevent the smell of your hand from contaminating the sample).

    4) The Act of Smelling
    The nose quickly adapts to unchanging smells, so time is short to fix an impression!
    • Smell some known samples from your lab in the same category you wish to identify to help refresh and reacquaint your memory.
    • Concentrate, your mind is really doing the smelling!
    • Be relaxed and comfortable.
    • Arrange samples from weak to strong (to offset olfactory fatigue).
    • Dip strips to a depth of 0.5cm.
    • Keep the strip 1cm-2cm perpendicular to the nostrils.
    • Close eyes to prevent visual distractions.
    • Use short shallow inhalations. Sniff-Evaluate—Sniff-Evaluate. Use short brief inhalations to experience the smell, move it away from the nose, then use your memory to hold the odor and evaluate. The first sniff will give the clearest impression, subsequent sniffs will blur.
    • Inhale through the mouth by holding it 1cm away from the lips to experience the odor differently by introducing taste sensations. Exhale back up past the throat and through the nose.
    • With a weak smelling sample, warm the sample by breathing gently out your nose onto the strip. The warm breath will warm the sample and increase its evaporation and activity.
    • Pose a series of “yes” or “no” questions to cycle through until an identification is made. (i.e. - Is it aliphatic? No, then is it citrus? No, then is it…).
    • Keep a database and write prolific notes of your immediate odor impressions. You are forced to think and smell with awareness when you do this, and it will help to recall the smell in the future. You will also be able to search and find the characteristics later.
      • Write with lucidity in your expression of the odor
    • Have rest intervals (for your nose to recover)
      • Go outside for fresh air between series of smelling sessions.
      • Stimulating deep breathing and circulation helps clear the nose. It has been suggested to run up and down a flight of steps!
    References:
    Perfumery Practice and Principals, Calkin and Jellinek
    How do you smell?, Stephen V. Dowthwaite


    Wow! This one is really awesome! thanks for posting. There should be a lot more of posts like this. great job!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    I realise this thread was started quite some time ago, but I just wanted to say a big thank you to LGV for providing such useful, lucid information... and I also wanted to share my horror at the price of Calkin & Jellinek's book!!
    ---

    I am a Jasmine Award winning fragrance critic, amateur perfumer, Basenotes contributor and regular columnist for Esprit Magazine. My perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published by Hardie Grant. Click on its title for more info.

    For giveaways, reviews of new perfume releases and thoughts on all sorts of scent-related matters, please visit Persolaise.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Many thanks.

  21. #21
    oliverandco
    Guest

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    thanks for these tips! very helpful

    regards from Spain

  22. #22

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Great tips, and some of them are good for your general health as well. (particularly the running up and down stairs between sessions to clear the nose!)
    [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/fragrancereviews/38140"][B]Actias luna's fragrance reviews[/B][/URL] | Now blogging with [i]AromiErotici, Carrie Meredith, Mimi Gardenia, Sugandaraja, Asha, bluesoul, shamu1, Redneck Perfumisto and Daly Beauty[/i] at [URL="http://aromierotici.blogspot.com/"][B]Il Mondo di Odore[/B][/URL] [URL="http://www.ebsqart.com/Artist/Kathleen-Harper/3794/Art-Portfolio/1/"]
    [B]Art[/B]: Actias luna's other hobby[/URL] - along with some impromptu [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/threads/268480-Why-Mouchoir-de-Monsieur-Act-III-Resumed"]"performance writing"[/URL] here on Basenotes!

  23. #23

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    welcome LGV and your post is very informative i will definitely follow this.
    A Perfume Maker newbie, soon to build a perfume empire.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Quote Originally Posted by Eau_Boy View Post
    Presumably you leave plenty of pages between samples so they don't blend with one another. I might do this in addition to gathering samples in drams. Having it saved in a notebook is a good idea, but I wouldn't stop there.
    I was thinking about using one of those business card holders (the kind that resembles a notebook, but that has plastic transparent slots for cards) to store the mouillettes sprayed.. that way, they won't contaminate each other, and the scent will have a reasonable duration. What do you think?

  25. #25

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Hello LGV

    Thanks for starting a great thread.

    Jean Carles says you need to practise every day - he compares this to a musician who practises every day. He says he and his associates spend at least one-half hour every day in the lab smelling - new fragrances and old.

    It makes sense.

    All the best.

    Warmest regards
    Bill

  26. #26

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    I will add this to my notes. : pun not intended ' ' )

  27. #27

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Definitely, You have explained smelling techniques guide and summary in very well way, which is really informative.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    This is a brilliant article on how to smell. Thanks!

  29. #29
    Basenotes Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Really appreciate this post. Will utilize these in the future when sniffing fragrances.
    Thanks,

  30. #30

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    This is a unique thread and thank you LGV for the invaluable data.
    This page should be kept for reference here for ever!

  31. #31

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Anosmic? Some additional handy smelling techniques

    A small addition on this excellent 'smelling technique' thread.

    I figured that i was anosmic to some aroma chemicals and had to 'learn' them.
    At least, my nose had to recognize them, and since then i mastered to recognize them better and better.
    I had to 'learn' a lot of aroma chemicals, Musks in particular, like Ambrettolide and Velvione.

    Please, refer to this tread, where i describe a neat little trick, which might help anosmic noses to detect scents.
    A general 'vanille' trick and a more specific trick with 'same aroma chemical family blenders'.
    And last but not least, Chris Bartlett describes what dilution can do for you!

    Happy perfuming.
    Last edited by jsparla; 13th February 2014 at 06:37 PM.

    Your'e welcome to visit my formulation blog, with a dozen of perfume formulations and accords to share!

  32. #32
    Basenotes Member
    Join Date
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    Southern California
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    21

    Default Re: Smelling Techniques: Guide & Summary

    Great post! Thank you.

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