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  1. #1
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    Default Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    While I like bergamot and it's bethren, really I do. They make everything smell really same-ish to me. I'd like to try some fragrance blending that doesn't involve citrus. I've got a little blend happening that I really like at the moment involving patchouli, vetiver and geranium bourbon. What I love about the geranium is it's sweetness coupled with that green herbal note. So what kind of top notes would help that green herbal aspect really sparkle? I've done a search of commercial frags involving geranium but it's not a popular note...apparently.

  2. #2
    Trufflehunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Great question! I have exactly the same problem and I look forward to our resident experts chiming in. There are many synthetics (benzyl acetate springs to mind) but naturals seem far more limited.

  3. #3
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Top notes other than Citrus Oils include (amongst others) Ylang, Pine, Artemesia, Eucalyptus, Aldehydes, Davana, low carbon esters (i.e Amyl Acetate), Galbanum, Lavender, Spike Lavender (both really good with Geranium), hexenol, triplal, Allyl Amyl Glycolate, diMethyl Sulphide (found in Geranium Oil, smells of boiled cabbage), Tea Tree; oh, enough already.

    Don't stick to "naturals", there's no point.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Ok, NOT lavender. It came right in with heavy iron shod boots and stomped geranium into the dirt. Do not like lavender. Everything smells like Aunty Mary's soap. Gah! Back to the start again. Only put a tiny bit in...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    top, green, sparkling, non-citrus - may be cis-3-hexenol and basil, touch of peppermint and star anise

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Coriander. Pink Peppercorn. Cardamon. Basil. Linalool. Cistus.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Thanks for the suggestions I appreciate it. I realise now my collection is really short on green notes and I'll need to buy a few things. I managed to rescue the lavender disaster but sadly it took my creation in a completely different direction than I had in mind. I think I'll just let it sit for a while until I feel like fiddling with something with that particular vibe. I mixed up a new base to start over with my current project.

  8. #8
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    The basic accord for a traditional Fougere contains Bergamot, Lavender and Geranium; in the right proportions, of course.

    And a couple more top notes: Clary Sage, Anise and Olibanum.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    i looked on my ingredients list and found some non-citrus fruity ones, here you are:

    -verdox - fruity, green apple, woody
    -allyl caproate -pineapple, with rum nuances
    -fructone - apple, fruity, green
    -isoamyl isovalerate - apple, apricot, mango
    -pharaone - pineapple
    -melonal -green, melon, marine
    -hexyl butyrate- green sweet fruity apple
    -manzanate- apple, pineapple, melon
    -rhubafuran - rhubarb, green, fresh

  10. #10
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Unfortunately several of your suggestions (Conni) are not top note materials. Verdox, Fructone, Pharaone, Melonal, and Manzanate are Middle or even Base notes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Sorry if im wrong, i took it over from the Perfumers Apprentice site, there they are all listed as top notes. For Pharaone on the Givaudan Ingredients list they write "it gives lift and freshness to top and mid notes". When i look on the good sents company site for verdox and manzanate they indicate a substantivity for 4 and 8 hours, so in my humble opinion it should be a top note...but im not an expert, my only source is the internet.
    But maybe that explains why i mostly have problems with the top notes, because they dont behave like i want, hehe...
    Last edited by Conni HD; 2nd November 2012 at 10:28 PM.

  12. #12
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Don't want to be too picky, but something lasting for between 4 and 8 hours isn't a top note (in my opinion). Several of the materials mentioned (especially Pharaone as it is so strong) will affect the top note, but will remain after the top note has disappeared.
    Last edited by David Ruskin; 4th November 2012 at 08:31 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    David, you are not picky, im always grateful to learn something ! What would we do without the experts here, who have learned it from the beginning.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    I presumed The Good Scents Company's substantivity ratings were for undiluted materials. Galbanum is listed at 72 hours, lavender 12 hours, and cis-3-hexenol at 4 hours.

    I guess differently produced oils will have more or less tenacity; some people describe olibanum as a middle note but any of the olibanum oils I've tried have behaved more like topnotes.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    these are measured on a smelling strip. anything will last much longer on a blotter. it's like perfume-time in slow-motion.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    I guess differently produced oils will have more or less tenacity; some people describe olibanum as a middle note but any of the olibanum oils I've tried have behaved more like topnotes.
    olibanum does not necessarily mean olibanum eo. there are at least two other products made from this resin.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    I know, but I'm talking here about the distilled oil. I have some resinoid too which is definitely a basenote but it has only a very subtle odour. Haven't tried it in a blend yet. Going a little off topic, but has anyone used olibanum absolute?

  17. #17
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    I have never experienced Galbanum oil lasting for 72 hours on a smelling strip. Galbanum oil consists mainly of beta Pinene which is very volatile. Given knowledge is all very well, but it cannot beat the knowledge gained by personal experience.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    I think cis-3-hexanol and Triplal would be great choices for sparkly top notes. And I would also agree with the other poster who mentioned that the chemicals on strips are perfumery in 'slow motion.' These are measurements (at least I've always thought) of an ingredient on a strip under perfect laboratory conditions. So of course a typical top note could linger for 4 hours, but on skin it's going to disappear much more quickly and fade into a blend more quickly as well.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    I like to use camphor, peppermint, eucalyptus, spearmint or suchlike for soaring top notes that are not citrus. Not necessarily as themselves, just an underneath whoosh for other notes. So if there were a gentle top soft floral note that was being too fuzzy, I would underpin it with a tiny smidgen of maybe camphor or whatever was suitable to lift it up a bit and sharpen the edges but not enough to smell it as itself.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    I agree about the mints etc - I use those a lot - the trick is to use just a trace (unless you want to have a minty top note as such obviously, in which case you can use much more). Others I like for this are Bergamot Mint, Mint Absolute and, if you are looking for a fruitier top note Melonal works very well and so do things like Amyl acetate, Methyl salicylate and related materials - all in very small amounts again.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    I've taken this advice onboard and so far am really loving basil, peppermint and star anise. Very nice notes and easily available to me. (Aromachemicals aren't really easy for me to get right now but no doubt I will get some when I can figure out what to buy to make the shipping worthwhile). Basil is gorgeous with a tiny amount of May Chang for a citrus-but-interesting top note. May Chang smells more like fresh cut lemongrass to me than straight out citrus. Maybe thats just me though...

    Got some galbanum, artemesia and cardamon C02 on the way (along with some rose and jasmin absolutes...yay!)

    I reworked my geranium creation and its getting there although I've got a feeling I'll never really be happy with it...$#@! happens...
    Last edited by ClaraAus; 26th November 2012 at 11:02 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    My basil has a very cinnamony clovey nuance, not at all fresh, more medicinal.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    My basil has a very cinnamony clovey nuance, not at all fresh, more medicinal.
    Maybe my 'fresh' associations are a little weird? I'm a big fan or herbals, anything that smells like something I might crush in a herb garden is ambrosia to me. Mines a steam distillation, yeah it's medicinal neat thats for sure, but it doesn't smell warm the way clove does to me. It has some of that character, maybe some anise as well. Up really close it also smells slightly bathroom cleaner. But it seems to play nice with geranium in very small amounts (like tiny amounts) and accents whatever that greenery is that I smell in geranium. Maybe yours is a higher quality than mine.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    I shall try it with some May Chang and see. I didn't pay a huge amount for it, so maybe mine is a worse quality. That aspect of perfumery, the quality side, is the hardest one to determine. I have about four or five Bergamots for instance and they all smell totally different.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Ideas for non-citrus topnotes

    My bergamot is sicilian, and doesn't smell remotely like any bergamot I recognise. But the other thing is, even my little lot of EOs smell different on a daily basis to me depending on whatever so I wonder if it's possible to gauge quality with naturals on any kind of objective level at all. All I can hope for is to find a nice version of something that I like from reputable suppliers at the close to the going market rate for such things. The Bulgarian Rose otto dilution I have on hand smells like honey and not much else, but then I suspicious I'm anosmic to rose because I've never been able to smell it in any perfume that contained it, natural or synthetic. I get hints of something rosey now and again but usually end up smelling only the green or sweet notes it contains. I'm beginning to think my nose is particularly problematic, just hoping I can smell the absolute I bought from Hermitage.
    Last edited by ClaraAus; 27th November 2012 at 08:03 AM.

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