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  1. #1

    Default Starting with basenotes

    I have difficulty explaining fragrances past the normal citrus, woody, spicey, etc. So I've decided to buy some synthetics and learn the individual notes and how they smell in chords. I'm planning on buying the base notes first and work with the middle and top later. Should I just buy all of them or can I slim the base list down. I noticed the that some of the base descriptions were very similar to others. I'm lookimg at perfume apprentice.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    When I started my perfumery training, I started by learning my smells. Learning the smell and behaviour of the raw materials that are used to create fragrances; and I started with synthetics as it is simpler that way. The smell and behaviour of a synthetic chemical is far less complex than that of an Essential Oil, as an oil is, in itself, a complex mixture of chemicals. An Essential Oil can be thought of as a natural fragrance.

    I don't think it matters whether you start with all base notes, or all top notes or a mixture of all three types. You should follow the behaviour of the individual chemical over hours, and even days; you will soon find out whether a particular chemical is a tiop note or not.

    From memory (and it is a long time ago) we started with about 20 chemicals. I'll try to remember what they were, in no particular order:-

    Phenyl Ethyl Alcohol
    Linalyl Acetate
    Cinnamic Aldehyde
    Benzyl Acetate
    Cinnamic Alcohol
    Hexyl Cinnamic ALdehyde

    I'm afraid I can't remember any others. They are a good start. Try to describe them in your own words, and it doesn't matter how daft the description. If that's what you think it smells like then that's fine. Only when you are familiar will all of thee should you refer to the "official" description. It takes time.

    - - - Updated - - -


    Once you have become familiar with these materials and are happy that you know what they smell like. You can think about getting some more, and also getting some Essential Oils. Make notes. Do whatever it takes to become familiar. You can also start making simple mixtures to see what happens. It is all very exciting, and interesting. Enjoy.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    Agree with David! Here in the EU, a part of the training I follow is to know the olfactory profile of the 26 perfume allergens that must be labeled as such. These are also important because many natural extracts contain them and they are used very often in perfume compositions.
    Those allergens are:

    Amyl cinnamal (CAS 122-40-7)
    Anisyl alcohol (CAS No 105-13-5)
    Benzyl alcohol (CAS No 100-51-6)
    Benzyl cinnamate (CAS No 103-41-3)
    Cinnamyl alcohol (CAS No 104-54-1)
    Farnesol (CAS No 4602-84-0)
    Citral (CAS No 5392-40-5)
    2-(4-tert-Butylbenzyl) propionaldehyde = lilial (CAS No 80-54-6)
    Eugenol (CAS No 97-53-0)
    Linalool (CAS No 78-70-6)
    Hydroxycitronellal (CAS No 107-75-5)
    Benzyl benzoate (CAS No 120-51-4)
    Isoeugenol (CAS No 97-54-1)
    Citronellol (CAS No 106-22-9)
    Amylcinnamyl alcohol (CAS No 101-85-9)
    Hexyl cinnamaldehyde (CAS No 101-86-0)
    Benzyl salicylate (CAS No 118-58-1)
    d-Limonene (CAS No 5989-27-5)
    Cinnamal (CAS No 104-55-2)
    Methyl heptine carbonate (CAS No 111-12-6)
    Coumarin (CAS No 91-64-5)
    3-Methyl-4-(2,6,6-tri-methyl-2-cyclohexen-1-yl)-3-buten-2-one = alpha-isomethyl ionone
    (CAS No 127-51-5)
    Geraniol (CAS No 106-24-1)
    Oak moss and treemoss extract (CAS No 90028-68-55)
    Hydroxy-methylpentylcyclohexenecarboxaldehyde = lyral (CAS No 31906-04-4)
    Treemoss extract (CAS No 90028-67-4)

    Also important are various kind of musks, especially to determine if you are anosmic to any.
    David mentions Galaxolide, but there are many others for example:

    Musk ketone (CAS 81-14-1)
    Ambrettolide (CAS 7779-50-2)
    Tonalide (CAS 1506-02-1)
    Exaltolide (CAS 106-02-5)
    Velvione (CAS 37609-25-9)
    Ethylene Brassylate (CAS 105-95-3)
    Muscone (CAS 541-91-3)
    Habanolide (CAS 111879-80-2)
    Cashmeran (CAS 33704-61-9)
    Celestolide (CAS 13171-00-1)
    Helvetolide (cas 141773-73-1)
    Cosmone (CAS 259854-70-1)
    Musk lactone (CAS 3391-83-1)

    Last edited by Irina; 7th October 2012 at 06:23 PM. Reason: chemical names & CAS added

  4. #4

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    Thanks for the info guys. The aroma chemicals will replace my monthly perfume purchase. I want to explore and learn how to explain all the perfume that I have right now. There's just one montale that I have to have though!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    I wanted to start slowly; there is time for all the others. And by the way, allergens only have to be labeled if they are above a certain level in the end product. Just because it is there doesn't mean it has to be labeled. Not all of the allergens are easily obtainable either.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    I learn one a day most of the time. I feel I haven't accomplished anything if I miss a day. It is a wonderful journey. The main thing is to have fun at the same time. There is no rush. It is my favourite passion.

    I have about five or six Frankincenses and they all smell different to each other. I expect that is why the chemicals are easier.

    Do chemicals smell any different depending which manufacturer made them?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    Mumsy, yes. The main component will be the same but the trace impurities will be different. Also, possibly, the ratio of various isomers will be different. When you start learning about smelling stuff I always think that chemicals are easier because they are simpler (with a few exceptions, of course; there are always exceptions). Essential Oils and other extracts can contain hundreds of different chemicals all evaporating at different rates, all contributing to the overall ever changing smell. An natural perfume, if you like.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    Not that I'm interested you understand.....

  9. #9

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    Of course not dear, of course not.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    I went with the aroma chemical kit instead of buying everything seperate. The chemicals are pre diluted so I figured it would be easier starting off. Can't wait to smell what my perfumes are made of.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I went with the aroma chemical kit instead of buying everything seperate. The chemicals are pre diluted so I figured it would be easier starting off. Can't wait to smell what my perfumes are made of.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    Good idea - I think the PA one is pretty good - is that the one you bought?

    Take your time with each material: they often surprise in being different over time and of course you can try combinations by putting one material on one smelling strip and one on another and then smelling them together, which is very informative.
    ďBattle cries and champagne just in time for sunrise.
    ― David Bowie
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    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Starting with basenotes

    Yes, it's the PA kit. I'm totally focusing on learning the individual materials and being able to pick them out and describe them with words. I want to be able to describe what I'm smelling. For instance, I was wearing Lonestar Memories and thinking about andy's description of the cowboy setting up camp after a long day in the saddle. While I was wearing lonestar, it hit me.....damn this smells like dusty spice. Making a olfactory painting out of a story is pretty amazing? Would I have still smelled that if he hadn't given me a story to go along with it?

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