Code of Conduct
Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1

    Default Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Hello,

    I am new to perfume making and am in the learning and experimental phase. I am interested in making alcohol based perfumes with no added water. I have purchased perfume alcohol from Remet in California (very nice people) which I believe is what is used in the commercial perfume industry. I have encountered a frustrating obstacle.

    After I mix my essential and fragrance oils together to my satisfaction I then add the alcohol. It seems that in almost every case, whether I have mixed only 2 or up to 20 oils together, the addition of alcohol immediately alters the scent giving off what I can only describe as an overpowering, sour, metallic odor and/or sickening, sweet, fizzy, grapey odor--it is as if a chemical reaction takes place and the mixture "putrefies". Basically, almost every combination of oils and fragrances I have come up with (I've tried at least 40 different combinations buy now) seems to be adversely affected by the addition of alcohol. I have also tried adding the oils to the alcohol but the same thing happens. What am I doing wrong?

    I have also noticed that some oils simply do not play nice together, immediately clouding up the alcohol and/or "putrefying". Is this normal and part of the experimental and discovery process of the likely endless possible chemical interactions between essential and fragrance oils and alcohol or am I doing something wrong?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

    TGS

  2. #2

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Hi, welcome here and to perfume making
    This sounds to me like the purity and quality of your fragrance materials is problematic. What are your sources?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Thank you for your welcome and for your reply. I live in Seattle and have acquired my oils from the stores Zenith Supplies, Vajra, Tenzing Momo and Rainbow Natural Remedies. Some brands are Simplers and Uncle Harry's Natural Products. Most of my oils are from Zenith, Vajra or Tenzing Momo but they do not divulge the companies from which they get their oils. Are you familiar with the quality of oils that are available from any of the above mentioned stores? From my limited experience I am finding that each store seems to have oils of varying qualities (according to my nose). One problem I am finding is that the stores themselves are so saturated with scent, after a short time in them it becomes difficult to discern differences between many of them. I go outside when that is an option. Thanks again for your help.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Is it possible that instead of perfumer's alcohol that they sent you another kind of alcohol by mistake? Or do they only make perfumer's alcohol at remet?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Starsoflight View Post
    Is it possible that instead of perfumer's alcohol that they sent you another kind of alcohol by mistake? Or do they only make perfumer's alcohol at remet?
    Hmmm, interesting. Remet actually makes many different kinds of alcohol and products. It appears they did put their own label on a generic metal can and, although the label reads correctly, it could have been put on the wrong can. I wonder how I would know?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    That is really strange, what does the alcohol smell like on its own? Does it leave any trace of odor after evaporating? Once it evaporates there should be no odor. I've been using Remet alcohol for a couple years, and have been very satisfied with it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Does the alcohol smell grapey before you use it? I don't know exactly the kind of differing alcohols they make, but you could always call the company and ask.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by joxer96 View Post
    That is really strange, what does the alcohol smell like on its own? Does it leave any trace of odor after evaporating? Once it evaporates there should be no odor. I've been using Remet alcohol for a couple years, and have been very satisfied with it.
    Well, the alcohol does have a subtle odor on its own--nothing like isopropyl but more like Vodka. When I have tried a mixture on my skin that has gone bad, the initial smell is so strong and nauseating that, even after it evaporates, there is a lingering, foul odor. I should mention that sometimes a mixture smells ok when the alcohol is first added but a few hours or even a day later it seems to have gone bad.
    Last edited by TGS; 9th March 2010 at 04:33 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Starsoflight View Post
    Does the alcohol smell grapey before you use it? I don't know exactly the kind of differing alcohols they make, but you could always call the company and ask.
    The alcohol does have a subtle odor on its own--nothing like isopropyl but more like Vodka.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    ...
    Last edited by TGS; 9th March 2010 at 04:34 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    I have never used oils from any of the sources that you mention, but if the essential oils are diluted with jojoba oil (or if they're water-based tinctures of some sort), it will be hard (or impossible) to mix them with alcohol. I would think it more likely that the problem lies with your "oils", not with the alcohol. I mix EOs with perfumer's alcohol all the time and although the scent does change a bit as it sits and blends, it certainly doesn't "putrefy". You might want to check out one of the reputable online EO suppliers like Liberty Natural. Order a few oils from them, mix them with your alcohol, and compare with the oils from the shops that you mention. Pure EOs should go right into solution in alcohol with no problem, and there should not be a significant change in odor.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Elly View Post
    I have never used oils from any of the sources that you mention, but if the essential oils are diluted with jojoba oil (or if they're water-based tinctures of some sort), it will be hard (or impossible) to mix them with alcohol. I would think it more likely that the problem lies with your "oils", not with the alcohol. I mix EOs with perfumer's alcohol all the time and although the scent does change a bit as it sits and blends, it certainly doesn't "putrefy". You might want to check out one of the reputable online EO suppliers like Liberty Natural. Order a few oils from them, mix them with your alcohol, and compare with the oils from the shops that you mention. Pure EOs should go right into solution in alcohol with no problem, and there should not be a significant change in odor.
    Thank you so much for the information. I think you might be correct that the trouble lies in the oils. I am now not sure if it is a quality issue, a chemistry issue or both. I have done a little experimenting and I might have identified some of the culprits. I have 3 different perfume alcohol bases I purchased before I found Remet. It seems that the cumin EO, ginger EO and cedar-atlas EO I have react adversely in any of the alcohols if either used separately or in any combination. Ginger and cumin seem especially strong and cumin reacted even when highly diluted (1 drop EO in 1/2 oz alcohol, for example). I gravitate to these scents because I like spicy and they most definitely are. I am now wondering if anyone else has had problems with trying to use cumin, ginger and cedar-atlas in perfume? I have experimented a little more this evening and discovered that cayenne immediately clouds up alcohol and calendula makes any mixture turn bad in the same way cumin does--with an overpowering, pungent, chemically acrid odor. Are there some EOs that simply don't work in perfume or does something need to be done to these oils before they can be used in a perfume? Please advise.
    Last edited by TGS; 9th March 2010 at 05:45 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    I have not had problems with cumin, atlas cedar or ginger EOs. Cumin and ginger do have very strong and distinctive odors, and have to be used with caution, but I'm not sure why they react badly with your alcohol. I have not tried calendula or cayenne, so can't say anything about them. Is the calendula an oil or an absolute?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    The calendula I have is a (somewhat expensive) essential oil. I have a feeling you are correct about oil quality. My guess is that the cayenne EO I have involves jojoba which would explain the clouding of the alcohol. I also like your idea of trying Liberty. I guess a true test would be to get the specific EOs I am having trouble with from them and see if they work better. Do you mix your oils, absolutes and fragrances together first and then add the alcohol or do you add them to the alcohol? Does it make a difference? I mentioned in an earlier post that I have tried both and have had the same problem but I would like to know if there is correct/preferred method.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Also check out Eden Botanicals, their products are top notch. Liberty is a bit cheaper, but I've found the quality is generally not as good as Eden's. Personally I like to work with dilutions of all my ingredients, usually at 10%. Cumin and ginger I'd dilute down to 1% because they can both quickly overpower a fragrance. The two big advantages for working this way are that your raw materials will last you ten times as long as you experiment with blends, and that you get a much more accurate idea of the different aromas. Many ingredients smell quite different once diluted. The downside is that you need twice as much storage space in order to store bottles of neat and diluted ingredients.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Some things have to be diluted in order to even test them in a formula. Others I use undiluted for testing. Once I have established the formula, I make up a concentrate from EOs (pure or diluted), diluted absolutes, and anything else that needs to go in. I can then dilute the concentrate in alcohol as appropriate for perfume, EdP, EdT, etc.

    I like Eden Botanical's products, too. The nice thing about Eden is that you can buy small samples of everything to see if you like it. Liberty only sells in larger quantities.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Joxer96, your information is most helpful. I feel like the frustration is subsiding and see new potential. I do need to figure out a way to store supplies--they are starting to take over.
    Last edited by TGS; 9th March 2010 at 09:22 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Elly View Post
    Some things have to be diluted in order to even test them in a formula. Others I use undiluted for testing. Once I have established the formula, I make up a concentrate from EOs (pure or diluted), diluted absolutes, and anything else that needs to go in. I can then dilute the concentrate in alcohol as appropriate for perfume, EdP, EdT, etc.

    I like Eden Botanical's products, too. The nice thing about Eden is that you can buy small samples of everything to see if you like it. Liberty only sells in larger quantities.
    I'm still getting the hang of the discussion process--sorry if the threads are not in order. You have restored my hope--thank you so much. I am very glad I found this discussion group. I was asking questions in the stores that sell EOs but no one worked with alcohol so the info was very limited. Didn't know where to turn until now.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    I also live in Seattle and am also a beginning perfumer. I buy, almost exclusively from Liberty Naturals, on line. They are in Oregon and have excellent product. I bought Myrrh at Tenzing Momo which is fine, and another great source for essential oils in Dandelion Botanical in Ballard, in a pinch. They are retail, so more expensive than Liberty Naturals which is wholesale. LN has a $50.00 min. order. I would never never never buy anything from Zenith Supply. They sell rancid massage oil and have terrible customer service. I do not trust them one bit. Read the blogs - many have been burned. I am venturing again into perfume making after stopping for a while and only doing aromatherapy. Mandy Aftel's book Essence of Alchemy is an excellent reference and source book. I have used Vodka as grain alcohol and do not like it. Currently using jojoba. Still testing base notes so not sure how all of this will work out. I too will be looking for a good source for perfume alcohol at some point. Dont want to buy a gallon of the stuff. Is highly flammable.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Doc Elly - this is most interesting. I find the "put three, single drops together to test for chord" a bit confusing. I did this for a variety of Chypre and Oriental bases and some of the oils/resins are so overpowering I cannot get a sense of what the ratio should really be. Any suggestions regarding Myrrh, patchouli, labdanum (cistus) and oakmoss? These are so powerful but would like to mix with other base notes and have no idea regarding the ratio. Also - I have been testing on blotter paper.
    Is this how you establish your chords?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Elly View Post
    Some things have to be diluted in order to even test them in a formula. Others I use undiluted for testing. Once I have established the formula, I make up a concentrate from EOs (pure or diluted), diluted absolutes, and anything else that needs to go in. I can then dilute the concentrate in alcohol as appropriate for perfume, EdP, EdT, etc.

    I like Eden Botanical's products, too. The nice thing about Eden is that you can buy small samples of everything to see if you like it. Liberty only sells in larger quantities.
    Doc Elly - this is most interesting. I find the "put three, single drops together to test for chord" a bit confusing. I did this for a variety of Chypre and Oriental bases and some of the oils/resins are so overpowering I cannot get a sense of what the ratio should really be. Any suggestions regarding Myrrh, patchouli, labdanum (cistus) and oakmoss? These are so powerful but would like to mix with other base notes and have no idea regarding the ratio. Also - I have been testing on blotter paper.
    Is this how you establish your chords?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Jemscents, Where did you get the statement, "put three single drops together to test for chord"? I never said that, nor have I ever worked with drops or 3-material "chords". As you gain experience, you will get beyond these simplistic "newbie instructions" that everyone seems to find somewhere, and develop your own ways of working. I would not advise diluting all of your materials to 10%, as some will recommend, because you can never make a higher concentration (parfum) this way. Maybe I'm stating the obvious, but with diluted materials you can always go lower in concentration but never higher. Also, keep in mind that each material added dilutes the others that you use in your concentrate. You may want to dilute sticky absolutes like labdanum resin enough to facilitate working with them, but keep in mind that they are diluted when you use them. If you have liquid labdanum (unless it's cistus EO), it's already been diluted by whoever you got it from.

    I can't recommend a ratio of anything, because that's for you to decide using your own nose and your own taste. Moreover, there are many different varieties of all of the materials that you mention, each of which will have a different effect in your finished product. I test materials initially on blotting paper when I receive them to determine odor profile and longevity, but when formulating I like to test on my own skin as well as paper.

    I hope this helps even if it just gives you the confidence to experiment and trust your own nose.
    Blog: www.perfumenw.blogspot.com
    Website: Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes http://orchidscents.com.

  21. #21
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    786

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by TGS View Post
    I'm still getting the hang of the discussion process--sorry if the threads are not in order. You have restored my hope--thank you so much. I am very glad I found this discussion group. I was asking questions in the stores that sell EOs but no one worked with alcohol so the info was very limited. Didn't know where to turn until now.
    I've not used perfumer's alcohol yet. I have been using 190-proof Everclear which is good for experimenting. My favorite places for oils (though expensive) are White Lotus, Eden Botanicals, Aftelier. Recently I ordered from Enfleurage, haven't received my oils yet, but they have a good reputation as far as I know. I plan to try Liberty, too. If you read some of the threads in this forum you will find lots of useful information. Best wishes!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Happy Wednesday all.

    I live in Canada (Montreal) and it seems difficult to get the alcohol I need for my perfume. I just bought that one
    http://www.saq.com/page/en/saqcom/al...obal-94-/90100

    Is that any good? Thanks

  23. #23

    Default Re: Trouble with perfume alcohol

    Looks like it might be ok, but rather expensive...

    PK
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

Similar Threads

  1. Converting perfume oil to alcohol based spray
    By saurya_s in forum Fragrance DIY
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 28th February 2012, 10:09 PM
  2. Add small amount of alcohol to perfume oil ?
    By flouris in forum Fragrance DIY
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 24th August 2009, 06:37 AM
  3. Cigarettes, Alcohol and Perfume
    By Artemisia in forum Female Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 15th October 2008, 10:17 PM
  4. Powerfull tobacco, sweet, alcohol...perfume
    By F.X.F in forum Just Starting Out
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 29th September 2008, 01:52 AM
  5. Perfume trouble
    By lievje in forum Female Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 13th February 2008, 04:46 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  



Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000