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  1. #1

    Default Just starting out

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a young guy who has decided he really wants to try making some simple cologne. I never really wore anything in my teen years, and for a while now I've thought it would be good to have something to wear for when I feel like it. I'm not keen on buying something because almost every single cologne I smell on guys seems "overproduced" to me... I'm borrowing that word from music recording, but perhaps it works here too. They smell artificial, and all kind of smell the same after a while.

    I'm not interested in making something extremely complex, and I'm definitely not interested in replicating an existing product. To give you an idea of where I'm coming from, one thing that appeals to me is something I read in a book a while back-- at some point in the last few decades (somewhere in the world), splashing on a little patchouli oil was popular for guys. I want to get a little more sophisticated than just one oil, but the point is that I like the idea of having the scent and character of an oil extracted from a few natural products. That is, in contrast to the yuppies you encounter all over the place who reek of a department store, I'm interested in the immediately-recognizable quality of certain natural scents such as pine, lavender, etc.

    Any thoughts on the best way to get started with this? I'm OK with spending some money here (since ready-made scent is one of the most overpriced things anyway)... of course, I have a limit. I live in a pretty big city so finding a good store to carry oils hopefully won't be a problem, but is it practical to just walk in knowing what you like and buy things that way? Do I need to buy lots of oils and then start experimenting and mixing, or can I do it somehow without getting extra?


  2. #2
    ECaruthers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Rochester, NY
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    Default Re: Just starting out

    Depending on where you live you may be able to find 15 ml bottles of various essential oils in a drug or grocery store. Check the aromatherapy, health and beauty, and atural products departments. Or if it's easier you can buy from the manufacutrers on line - Aura Cacia, Nature's Alchemy, Eden Botanicals. Most can be diluted about 10 to 1 with vodka to make a simple cologne in the flavor you like. Dilution will sometimes change the smell. My favorite example is Ylang Ylang which smells medicinal at full strength and fruity-floral when diluted.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Just starting out

    I've found that a lot of aromatherapy oils, while smelling nice, are not something you'd want to wear as a fragrance, not as a main note anyway. Rosemary and basil for example are typically accessory notes in a fragrance, think of them as small amounts of spice in a food recipe that serve to add interest. It sounds like you're interested in using mostly natural ingredients, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Mandy Aftel's 'Essence and Alchemy'. It'll definitely steer you in the right direction, and will help you avoid spending lots of money on oils like Eucalyptus and Tea tree which you'll end up never using. I made that mistake when I first started out.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Just starting out

    The main probem with just mixing oils is that they have different odour strengths. For example a single drop of rosemary can completely overpower a blend. This is why perfumers generally dilute oils first before blending. If you are blending small quantities for personal use - you need some of the ingredients in quite low concentration so that you can use them - for example when mixing 30-50ml of cologne at 5-15% oils I find having rosemary in a 5% dilution to be about right to control its strength using drops. I use rose absolute in three different strengths for different purposes I have it 10%, 20% and also use it pure for certain things. Jasmine is useful to me pure and in about 5% dilution...etc.

    You could try some high qulaity vetiver from reunion - this can even be worn striaght on skin and smells great. In the old days indian sandalwood would have have been fantastic but it is not available now (in decent purity or quality). Patchouli smells incredible when aged - I smelled some 40 year patchouli which was jaw dropping.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder


  5. #5

    Default Re: Just starting out

    I've started making perfumes, too, and completely agree with what you say about most of the commercial ones being overproduced and cookie-cutter. Perfume making can get to be an all-consuming hobby very quickly. My suggestion would be to go your local health food store (or any store that has aromatherapy products), get 5 or 10 essential oils that you like the smell of and start experimenting. Pine and lavender are both strong, and with both you run the risk of making something that smells like a cleaning product or air freshener. Pine, especially, smells very different depending on the variety. Vetiver would be a good place to start, and so would patchouli (another very strong oil). Clary sage, orange or grapefruit, and jasmine are nice and available in most stores. I'm particularly fond of frankincense. Most of all, have fun!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Just starting out

    Here you can find some formulas:

  7. #7
    gupts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    S/E suburb

    Default Re: Just starting out

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder View Post

    You could try some high qulaity vetiver from reunion - this can even be worn striaght on skin and smells great.
    Patchouli smells incredible when aged - I smelled some 40 year patchouli which was jaw dropping.

    Is Reunion vetiver oil same as Bourbon Vetiver oil that one can buy from this source that you mentioned in another thread?
    Also can you suggest some place where one can find a good Patchouli oil too? Thanks

  8. #8

    Default Re: Just starting out

    Cool, all that helps. I'll try to get several oils to start and experiment with different concentrations. I'm planning on spending some more time to browse this forum, but if anyone can link me to some good men's scent recipes that you like and that have some simplicity to them, that would be great.

    Oh yeah, one big question: I know oils smell very different depending on concentration and other factors. For starting out, does it work to go into an aromatherapy shop and, say, pick three bottles and hold them together and smell, just to see if I like enough to buy? Or is that totally useless?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Just starting out

    Quote Originally Posted by gupts View Post
    Is Reunion vetiver oil same as Bourbon Vetiver oil
    Bourbon can mean that it is from Reunion (Reunion was formerly called Ile de Bourbon / Bourbon Island), but also that it is from a (former) French territory in or around the Indian Ocean like Reunion, for instance Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte etc.

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