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  1. #1

    Default Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    I've heard many complaints here about this or that very expensive frag that would be great (and worth every penny) if only it was tweaked in some way. I've also read that some expensive frags are close to being an absolute. So my question is why not just try to put together the exact niche type frag you are looking for, assuming it is a rather simple one? I'm going to try and do that with a tobacco frag. If I succeed, I will have exactly what I want at a very low cost, and I can make a huge batch of it (again, for very little). I'll post back when I get my ingredients and see if I can get it right.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Interesting idea, Bigsly. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Yes, good luck Bigsly !
    If I were brave enough, I think I would attempt a very oakmoss heavy chypre fragrance ( no points for guessing where THAT idea came from ! *LOL*) . My husband has often said he would love to do this ( even though he is not a fragrance nut like me ) because he is a chemical engineer and he loves tinkering with stuff like that.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Been working on several for years.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Good luck! Keep us updated, eh?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    My best wishes! Your idea is just grand since there is no cardinal rule stating that niche frags are automatically expensive

  7. #7

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    It's not as easy as it sounds. Ingredients are too expensive unless you really want to get into perfume making, not worth the investment to make 1 or 2 perfumes. I'm talking about Quality ingredients of course. Moreover, you don't know every note in every perfume, many notes are not listed, some of which you will not even smell, but they affect the overall "impression" of a fragrance. And of course, some perfumes are blended in certain ways and according to certain orders (e.g. add 5 ingredients in that order today, 5 after 2 weeks.). It's just not as simple as it seems. Of course, when you're new it will start out expensive, but once you've got a knowledge and skill base, it will start getting cheaper. That is, of course, if you're aiming for a good copy. Making a low quality, less complex version is not extremly hard. There are many small shops specialized in that, and selling bottles for $10-$30. Mostly designers, but some niche copies could be find here and there. Now for someone who just wants a perfume he likes it's easy to just buy one of those bottles. For someone like me, dropping that extra $100 is worth the extra quality and complexity.

    I'll be looking forward to hear about your attempt.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    There's a reason perfumers spend years in school and learn thousands of aroma chemicals.

    While it's possible that you could make a slight alteration to a frag that needed minor tweaking and be happy, I am almost sure that such alteration would likely affect other areas of the frag that I do enjoy. Adding a tiny bit more of some base note, may, for example, reduce the lift/sparkle/diffusion of the top notes in a very negative way.

    It's kind of like the idea of layering to augment some area of a perfume that seems lacking. It sounds great in theory but never really works out as well as you imagine (at least for me). I'd rather just spend the time and money searching for a perfume that I love as is. And I say this as a part time natural perfumer. I know the difficulties inherent in making modifications that don't mess with the rest of a given formula. I also feel that it's a bit of an artistic disservice - it's like putting a leaf over an artistic nude's genitals.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Been interested in that for years and seriously planning on trying it out for a couple of weeks. I will report back once i did try.
    Smellin good

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    I find that careful, experimental, and critical layering provides some very excellent combinations. For me it works best by bringing together complementary fragrances which are heavy in one aspect and deficient in some other.

    I've made some simple fragrances from components - enough to realize how hard it is to make a really good, full perfume. Using a few good components, it's possible to make interesting scents that are completely wearable. I imagine that it's also possible to tweak existing fragrances with individual components.

    It's very much like programming. Several good ways to begin are to write some simple programs, or to make mash-ups, or to tweak existing programs to one's liking.

    Just as it is possible for people to become "IT professionals" who understand and appreciate the things which surround the actual act of coding, so I think we are among those who surround perfumery. I think we're somewhat analogous to "power users", IT bloggers, and industry analysts. Or as one of my friends calls himself, a "coder groupie".
    * * * *

  11. #11
    AromiErotici
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    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    I've made some simple fragrances from components - enough to realize how hard it is to make a really good, full perfume. Using a few good components, it's possible to make interesting scents that are completely wearable. I imagine that it's also possible to tweak existing fragrances with individual components.
    That is interesting Red since I was just thinking along the lines of "enhancing" certain frags in my drobe with some "outside" help.

    I don't know how feasible it actually is to "add" an essential to an existing formula. I have gone the layering route and still do it occasionally. I'm persuaded to think that "adding" or bolstering a frag in your drobe would be more advantageous than layering, but can't say for sure.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Well, I've added vanilla extract and a simple amber frag to others, and this certainly works if you are careful about getting the balance right, possibly adding some vodka too. My thought for this thread, however, is more about the typical, simple "niche" frag, for example one that is said to be similar to vetiver extract/absolute/essential oil. Since I try to avoid top notes anyway, I may find that bases are all I need (the perfumer's apprentice has a bunch of these at very good prices, for example). And if it's too harsh, I can just add a little vanilla or the amber frag I have, along with perhaps a bit of vodka. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to do this by the end of next week !

  13. #13

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    I've dinked around with essential oils from a local fragrance shop. It's a fun hobby. Best wishes for success with your experiments. I've never landed on a perfect, unique, made-it-myself fragrance, but a little amber, little jasmine, little of this, little of that. . . it's all kind of fun. Enjoy.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    It's a lot of fun to play with aromachemicals. It's not easy to develop something really nice though. Have fun Bigsly.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Bigsly - I agree that a good base may be all you need - particularly certain naturals. Or just enhance it a bit. For example, pure guaiac wood oil, diluted in perfumer's alcohol, has excellent complexity and development. You can see how (relatively) straightforward it would be to center a small niche frag around that. I think the perfumer's hand is needed to make something that sells and impresses from that, but if what you're going after simply needs to please YOU, then it's not beyond reason that you could tinker and make something very pleasing to yourself.
    * * * *

  16. #16

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Start with cheaper extracts like vetiver, patchouli, citrus and coconut. Use grain alcohol and after you've gained some experience, seek to employ the expensive floral stuff with vanilla and maybe agarwood (oud). Best of luck. Damn these niche houses doing patchouli with little differences from each other and charging a hefty lot. Don't let them take you for a ride.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Best wishes for your efforts! I don't mean to be cynical but quite often, you spend what seems like ages perfecting your own 'niche' scent and then someone comes along and says "Hey that smells like...<insert fragrance name here>!" Well, you know how people sometimes try to form associations with anything they find less familiar?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    At least here in Baltimore there's a business, SoBotanical, that will make blends of essential oils to your specs. Theresa is really generous and patient, and will sit with you for a long time and let you smell anything you want. She doesn't have the training that a nose would have but she has lots of experience and she's aware of the genres of perfumery. If you want something really subtle and specific, they might not be able to help you. If you want a by-gum chypre with by-gum oakmoss, for instance, someone like that can make it for you quite affordably. So you might see if there's a similar business in your area. At the very least, it's a great pleasure to sit and smell dozens of essential oils and talk about combinations, etc.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    There's a reason perfumers spend years in school and learn thousands of aroma chemicals.
    Ain't that the truth!

    Still, if one works to train the nose, accumulates a large library of aromachemicals, becomes familiar with the notes of all the scents on the market, reads anything related to perfumery available and has a good combination of skill, luck and talent-- it is possible to teach oneself-- though it requires a LOT of trial and error and time to get things right. When I started, I thought it was going to be easy, but it was difficult for the first two years. Eventually, I began to have some personal breakthroughs and perfumery became much more intuitive, though the trial and error is something that is just part of the craft. I wish I'd started out when I was much younger and could have gone through formal schooling, but that just wasn't in the cards.

    One of the things I've always done to practice my skill is to try to "hack" existing scents and recreate them as closely as I could. Some of the scents I thought would be most difficult to copy were occasionally easy, while some of the scents I thought would be easy were just perpetually evasive.

    Still, as to the subject of this thread, I did once hit upon the basic structure of Kouros and spent a lot of time taking it in different directions. In one variation I emphasized more of the herbal accord as in the Summer flanker; In another, I went as close as I could to the original; In other versions, I tried to go for fresh, sporty accords like the Tattoo/Tonique editions. Then, after I got as familiar as possible with the basic tune-- I let myself get creative with differently imagined versions. I did one version that I would have thought of as a Kouros EDP/Intense-- it had a nice mossy base with a tobacco note and a touch of synthetic oud. Still, I could tweak forever and still not be totally satisfied.

    For some reason, I've tried to copy several Creeds and never had much luck-- except for Green Irish Tweed. I couldn't make an identical copy, but I did make a few nice cousins to it.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    ^ Very interesting, Indie! My own small tinkerings told me that there had to be a lot of trial and error - looks like you are saying exactly that - and that it doesn't go away, even with experience. Again, very much like programming.

    Do you find, now that you're much more experienced, that some of the trial and error process has moved into your brain - i.e., before you even begin to touch real components? In other words, do you now tend to do more thinking and eliminating possibilities before you begin experimenting?
    * * * *

  21. #21

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    You can get an easy start by diluting pure Iso-e-super. That'll give you an exact replica of Escentric Molecule's Molecule 01. It's uphill from there .
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    One point that I think should be made here is that there are at least 2 ways to go about this. You can get a bunch of aromachemicals and try to construct a frag from "scratch," or you can get a natural oil/essence/absolute/extract that is already quite complex and then just decide what you want to add to it, if anything. What I've found is that a "synthetic" frag can be mixed with a "natural" one with possibly good results, but that you can't mix synthetic with another synthetic, unless you want a "chemical mess." If you trust your nose, as I do to a large degree at this point, you will know what is likely to work before wasting a lot of time, effort, and money, I think. I'll soon find out for sure. You probably can't do this if you want to market your own frag, but if you just want to create a big batch that will last the rest of your life, it might work out fine.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 19th September 2010 at 03:38 AM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post

    Do you find, now that you're much more experienced, that some of the trial and error process has moved into your brain - i.e., before you even begin to touch real components? In other words, do you now tend to do more thinking and eliminating possibilities before you begin experimenting?
    Yes. I have a much better grasp on ratios of materials to get myself into the ballpark of what I'm trying to do before I begin. But that's more or less true of different families of fragrance depending partially on how familiar I am with the main accords. I'd say the main benefit of experience in my case is that when I start out on something, I can begin with more materials-- the odds being slim that I'm going to dose one or more the ingredients WAY OFF and ruin the whole ball of wax. Also, as time goes on, I'm better at troubleshooting-- which I think is the biggest problem when one is starting out. You know something is wrong, but your nose can't tell you what, why and by how much.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    You can get an easy start by diluting pure Iso-e-super. That'll give you an exact replica of Escentric Molecule's Molecule 01. It's uphill from there .
    LOL

    I know. On one of my shoulders, the little stereotypical "creative" angel clasps his hands and cries "Genius!", while from the other shoulder, the Ghost of Great Perfumers Past rolls his eyes.
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Indie_Guy View Post
    Yes. I have a much better grasp on ratios of materials to get myself into the ballpark of what I'm trying to do before I begin. But that's more or less true of different families of fragrance depending partially on how familiar I am with the main accords. I'd say the main benefit of experience in my case is that when I start out on something, I can begin with more materials-- the odds being slim that I'm going to dose one or more the ingredients WAY OFF and ruin the whole ball of wax. Also, as time goes on, I'm better at troubleshooting-- which I think is the biggest problem when one is starting out. You know something is wrong, but your nose can't tell you what, why and by how much.
    Fascinating! I really have to respect the hard work of troubleshooting. When I was taking part in that note identification project, it took me an entire night to figure out that the source of a failing formulation was a single bad component - which I might have spotted earlier if I had known what I was doing. Just as automotive repair and programming require a hell of a lot of experience to turn bugs into diagnostics and troubleshooting techniques, it has to be the same with perfumery. Very cool.
    * * * *

  26. #26

    Default Re: Why don't you just make your own "niche" frag ?

    I think that we are talking in this thread more about indie fragrances than niche ones, don't?
    I have alrady wanted to do some testing in tweaking my favorite fragrances to made new ones. Not that I think that i'll produce something as good as a experienced perfumer can do, but it'd be fun to explore this idea. I'd like to produce a cofee scent that had the dry, roasted coffee aroma but that also explored the earthy side, like the smell of a coffee plantation. It would be something like the dry cofee of Amen Pure Malt with the mineral aroma of Terre d'Hermés...

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