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  1. #1

    Question My Fragrances vs Professionals

    I have around 40 essential oils here and a few fragrances such as Musk, Woodland and Amber. I experiment and mix them with perfumers alcohol into a glass jar and leave them to fuse together for a few weeks. I ensure I have a good ratio of base, middle and top notes.

    I've made around 15 different fragrances now and some smell pretty nice but I am curious. When I smell a professional perfume/fragrance/aftershave from a well known brand, they smell so much better than mine, even if I tried to replicate their smell using the fragrance directory on this site. It's almost like I am missing out on key ingredients to give my fragrances that edge.

    Can anyone explain what I am doing wrong? Why aren't my attempts anywhere near as good as the professionals?

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    1. profession of determining the quality of used ingredients.
    2. profession of mixing

    it's a difficult job that requires (apart from talent, etc) lots of education, training, experience. even then, most fail.

    what did you expect?

  3. #3

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    you will get more in depth explanation than mine, but the first thing I notice is you seem to go from the 'notes' published with the fragrances by the perfume houses, as available in the fragrance directory.
    the 'notes' come in numbers of 1 or 2 figures.
    the actual ingredients are often in the hundreds ! so to simplify you can buy ready made accords.

    maybe you can check the d.i.y thread in the other part of the forum. more members are dabbing in the fine art of making perfume.
    Vivre d’erreurs et de parfums.

    Pour comprendre le bonheur, il faut le voir comme étant une récompense et jamais un but. (Antoine de St Exupéry).

  4. #4

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    The notes listed on any website never, never, never correlate to actual essential oils of the same name. Unless otherwise stated, any scent you see in the store is a combination of aromachemicals that reproduce approximations of the notes listed. And often, the notes listed are just marketing BS, or multiple lists of notes are in conflict.

    For a good idea of what actually goes into the marking of a professional perfume, please read the article below about the making of Hermes Un Jardin Sur le Nil. The article details the creative processes taken by one of the top perfumers of our time, Jean-Claude Ellena. I strongly encourage you to read it in full if you're truly interested in this.

    http://www.chandlerburr.com/articles/chandlerdetail.htm

    If you want to really try to reproduce what the pros do, you'll need in invest in a perfumers organ, which includes the common industry aromachemicals, which you can purchase at:http://shop.perfumersapprentice.com/ and other places.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  5. #5

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    OK, thanks all for your input, I have a lot to learn. So to be sure, with my perfumers alcohol and the 40 or so essential oils, I cannot make a professional smelling fragrance? It will only be OK but not great?

  6. #6

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Quote Originally Posted by gohan2091 View Post
    OK, thanks all for your input, I have a lot to learn. So to be sure, with my perfumers alcohol and the 40 or so essential oils, I cannot make a professional smelling fragrance? It will only be OK but not great?
    Watch the BBC 3 part documentary series on Perfume. It's amazing the amount of chemistry knowledge many of these perfumers have.

    Watch some Youtube vids on how to make some of the simpler scents

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAHgLhCTgKU

  7. #7

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Can you give us some idea about what you are doing, specifically. and what differences you perceive?

  8. #8

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Hi Gohan !

    Did you check the fragrance diy threads ? http://www.basenotes.net/forums/15-Fragrance-DIY
    Vivre d’erreurs et de parfums.

    Pour comprendre le bonheur, il faut le voir comme étant une récompense et jamais un but. (Antoine de St Exupéry).

  9. #9

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Quote Originally Posted by gohan2091 View Post
    OK, thanks all for your input, I have a lot to learn. So to be sure, with my perfumers alcohol and the 40 or so essential oils, I cannot make a professional smelling fragrance? It will only be OK but not great?
    sorry, if my first answer came across as a bit harsh.
    it takes years of learning before you can make something ok. there is no shortcut.
    and you can't make anything that's remotely like the perfumes in the stores without aroma-chemicals. these products consist mainly of them, the natural stuff is usually only 10%-20% of the formula.

    where did you get the essential oils? what are they? you know, most things sold as such simply aren't. there are only a few suppliers out there who can make the distinction between fake and real, and even they can make mistakes and sell you some adulterated stuff. if you give me a list, and the name of the supplier, there might be some pointers. if you, for instance, have an apple eo, or an lilly of the valley eo (typical), i can tell you they are fake. no such things exist. that means this supplier sells crap. for futher explanation of this, octavian just posted an article about this very common scam on his blog.

  10. #10

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    some good advice by adonis, check this bbc doc, episode 2. you will see perfumery students at their school. it is an intensive 4 years course ('many apply, very few are taken') and during this course, they will be making no perfume, they only learn. so don't think they are proper perfumers when they're finished and can make great things, they are only ready to start. they will need experience, and will likely start out as an assistant to an experienced perfumer until they win their first brief, and are assigned to make a real perfume.

    if you still want to learn about this, follow laureline's advice, and check out our diy forum. there is a sticky about suppliers, a thread about starting with aroma-chemicals, you can ask questions, etc.

    my advice is: start simple. very simple! too simple to be perfume proper. just practice accords, only a few ingredients, and use only decent quality stuff. it's not that hard to make anything that smells good with only 3 ingredients. it's very hard to make anything that smells good with 30 ingredients. you could compare it to write a little melody that sounds good on a piano (anyone with a little talent can do it) versus writing a symphony for an orchestra (that's a different story, you will need education).

  11. #11

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    I actually saw the BBC Documentary on BBC iplayer website but I didn't download it... stupid me! I now regret this a lot.

    Here are the oils I purchased:


    Essential Oils Direct Ltd
    Lemon (Citrus Limonum) 30ml
    Sage Spanish (Salvia Lavendulaefolia) 10ml
    Patchoili (Pogostemon Cablin) 10ml
    Musk Fragrance 20ml
    Amber Fragrance 20ml
    Jasmin Absolute 5% Blend in Almond 10ml
    Orange (Citrus Sinensis) 30ml
    Coriander (Coriandrum Sativum) 10ml
    Lemon Verbena (Thymus Hiamalis) 10ml
    Chocolate Fragrance 20ml
    Vanilla Extract (Hydro Glycolic) 10ml
    Bergamot FCF (Bergamia) 10ml
    Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllata) 10ml
    Cinnamon Leaf (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum) 30ml
    Lime (Citrus Aurantifolla) 10ml
    Cypress (Cupressus Sempervirens) 10ml
    Petitgrain (Citrus Aurantium) 10ml
    Juniper Needle (Juniperus Communis) 10ml
    Ylang Ylang III (Cananga Odorata) 10ml
    Autumn Leaves Fragrance 20ml
    Woodland Fragrance20ml
    Magnolia Fragrance 20ml
    Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) 10ml
    Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) 10ml

    iHerb & eBay UK
    Spearmint 10ml
    Cedarwood 20ml
    Tea Tree 10ml
    Geranium 10ml

    The Pennine Collection
    Frankincense 10ml
    Black Pepper 10ml
    Citronella (Cymbopogon Nardus) 30ml
    Benzoin 10ml
    Lemongrass (Cymbopogon Citratus) 30ml
    Vetiver 10ml
    Rosewood 10ml

    I don't know the quality of these oils but they smell strong and of a high quality. I have made some nice blends with these oils. Remember, I am from the UK but have been given information for US companies which are of no use to me. I noticed the suppliers thread has many US links, are there any I can purchase from within the UK? I understand that fragrances should not be used for perfumes but I purchased them to experiment with smell.

    What I do is add 5ml of Perfumers Alcohol into a measuring tube then add bass, middle and top notes to the tube. I work out what oils I will use first and write them down on paper, along with the amount of drops. I usually add more top notes than middle and more middle notes than base. At the start I was adding around a total of 40 drops of essential oil to 10ml of Perfumers Alcohol. I now believe this is too much, so I use fewer drops now. I recently purchased a book called "Personalized Perfumes - More than 40 recipes for making fragrances with essential oils" (Gail Duff). From using the recipes in the book, I have made some very nice 5ml blends which aren't too strong like mine. I am learning from this and seeing what oils go well together.

    I've never heard of aroma-chemicals but I will do my research on these. I just thought I could make fragrances of similar quality of professionals using high quality essential oils. I will also check out the DIY threads and see what I can learn. I will also check out other links given to me on this thread.

    Thanks all!

  12. #12

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    they all look like they could be real. no fancy names of things that couldn't possibly be essential oils, thank goodness. i don't know this supplier, though. one in the uk that gets good mentions is aqua oleum. ask around in the diy forum about your supplier, maybe other people know them.

    the most important advice i can give you is this: evaluate! first thing. your first impression should be very, very, very thorough. turn off the phone, everything that makes noise, be alone, no smells around, nothing distracting in sight. clear your nose. concentrate. for the next hour, smell a blotter (briefly, with intervals, use your memory!! too much exposure and your nose will fail you!) and make notes as absolute as possible. nail it down completely. keep track of the scent on the blogger for as long as it's odor is there, write down the changes over hours, days, weeks, months if needed. make a note when it has disappeared (you now know it's longevity). you should take this very serious, or your only chance at ever creating something really good is lots and lots of luck (like winning the lottery).

    keep a database or excel spreadsheet.

    i can't stress it enough. this is possibly the most important thing in perfumery. don't start to work with anything that you don't know well enough, you will get the wrong impression and these false ideas will be very hard to shake.

    for these evaluations, most natural material should be diluted to 10% in alcohol (1:9). this is important, too. extremely strong materials should be even further diluted, 1% or sometimes even 0.1% (but these are mostly aroma-chemicals).

  13. #13

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    There are over 2000 different raw materials used in perfumery; you are using 40 essential oils. Go figure.

  14. #14

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    that bbc doco series was inspiring, unfortunately doesnt seem to be available at the moment. That is so funny that you thought it would be easy - if it was easy, nobody would be able to charge 100 pounds a bottle! But dont be discouraged I'm sure you will be able to make something nice. A lot of people even really like all natural perfumes, though they are different to what you buy in the shops, they can still be lovely

  15. #15

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Quote Originally Posted by pawful View Post
    that bbc doco series was inspiring, unfortunately doesnt seem to be available at the moment. That is so funny that you thought it would be easy - if it was easy, nobody would be able to charge 100 pounds a bottle! But dont be discouraged I'm sure you will be able to make something nice. A lot of people even really like all natural perfumes, though they are different to what you buy in the shops, they can still be lovely
    I thought 80% of perfumes success was due to marketting and presentation, which is why they charge outrageous prices.

  16. #16

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Quote Originally Posted by gohan2091 View Post
    I thought 80% of perfumes success was due to marketting and presentation, which is why they charge outrageous prices.
    while there is some half truth in what you say, it doesn't change the fact that if it would be easy, they shouldn't be able to charge those prices.

  17. #17

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    If it was easy, it wouldn't be fun!! There's a real sense of achievement when you work on a formula, turning it from something that was originally 'smelly' into something pleasant and 'wearable'.

  18. #18

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Quote Originally Posted by xxsillycowxx View Post
    If it was easy, it wouldn't be fun!! There's a real sense of achievement when you work on a formula, turning it from something that was originally 'smelly' into something pleasant and 'wearable'.
    True but very expensive!

  19. #19

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    It appears to me that the quantities of materials you have to work are a real detriment to good experimentation. If you only have 10 or 20 ml of each ingredient, you will not have enough to develop a good perfume with. In perfumery, as in art, you generally need a 'centerpiece' or focal point to work around. Your main accord may be the largest chunk of your fragrance, and it may contain 20 times or more the amount of ingredient as your other modifying ingredients. If you wanted to paint a painting, and all you had was crayons, it would make the work much more difficult. (That may not be the best analogy, but perhaps you get my drift.)
    Last edited by Nymphaea; 24th July 2011 at 11:38 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymphaea View Post
    It appears to me that the quantities of materials you have to work are a real detriment to good experimentation. If you only have 10 or 20 ml of each ingredient, you will not have enough to develop a good perfume with. In perfumery, as in art, you generally need a 'centerpiece' or focal point to work around. Your main accord may be the largest chuck of your fragrance, and it may contain 20 times or more the amount of ingredient as your other modifying ingredients. If you wanted to paint a painting, and all you had was crayons, it would make the work much more difficult. (That may not be the best analogy, but perhaps you get my drift.)
    So if I get 50ml of each oil, this would be enough to really experiment? Price is a serious concern, this is starting to become an expensive hobby!

  21. #21

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    It's not that you need the same amount for each oil/chemical, it's about your formula or where you want to go with the scent. You may only need to get 1 or two in larger quantities, depending on the direction of the perfume you want. Decide that first, then buy accordingly. Generally, the largest quantities of a perfume are top notes. But that is not always true either. Without any real experience in this, maybe you should just focus on learning accords, by blending two or three ingredients together in graduating amounts and learning how they smell together. That's where you need to start anyway.

  22. #22

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    i don't know if i agree with that.

    i usually buy 10ml bottles. because many don't keep well. and if you're starting out, waisting a lot, working with everything pre-diluted might be a good idea. also because you get the idea of how things turn out almost instantly (but mixtures still will change over time). getting an adjustable micro pipette gun (with disposable tips) to work with minute amounts could be a good investment if you want to save money by wasting less in the long run. if you can find one secondhand it doesn't have to be expensive, i paid 30 euro for mine and it's pretty decent.

    and then you can spend you money on some more different materials. with 40 ingredients, i agree with what david said, you need to expand your palette. knowing all the materials you can work with comes before practicing accords, which in turn comes before the actual composing of perfume.

  23. #23

    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    Hello Gohan

    Think about these:

    Gary Player said, 'The more I practise, the luckier I get.'

    Kimon Nicolaïdes said all art begins and ends with integrity, without integrity there can be no art (I'm paraphrasing here, it's been a long time since I read his comment).

    So, just keep doing what you're doing; practise, practise, practise with total integrity and you'll get there.

    This forum is a great place to start. Between comments by people here with far more experience than you or I have, and all the references and links provided, you have a wealth of helpful information to keep you on track.

    With this thing called the World Wide Web, information is free. Check out chemical supply houses and laboratory glassware houses for equipment and supplies at reasonable cost. Check out your local college where they have no doubt recently stopped teaching Chemistry. They will probably be pleased to let you raid their supply cupboard and haul away loads of useful stuff for free. Don't forget eBay. The list is almost endless.

    Relax, enjoy, have fun.

    All the best.

    Warmest regards
    Bill

  24. #24
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    Default Re: My Fragrances vs Professionals

    I think the nose needs to learn individual notes/accords. And the mind has to be able to recall & recognize the characteristic of each note without the benefit of notes or labels. The analogy to music is apt. If we do not know what a C minor sounds like, how can we compose a tune? But there are many good self-taught musicians, driven by nothing but passion. So perfumery is not beyond you, but you must have the passion for it. Passion = FUN. No passion = SLOG.

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