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  1. #1

    Default Woodsy fragrance - Too sharp/harsh, ideas?

    Hello fellow Basenoters!

    I come here searching for advice. I'm currently testing out some samples I recently bought and found a fragrance I really like. The problem is that it comes of far too harsh and pungent, it's especially overpowering just after application, it calms down but is still a bit strong for my liking . The fragrance consists of cedarwood, some hiba wood, sandalwood and clary sage and a tiny bit of birch tar. The tar even though a small dosage is very potent.

    I'm looking for suggestions on what I could add to make a more "rounded off" scent, something to lessen the sharp edge. The first that comes to mind for me is vanilla and benzoin, but are there any others? I'm a bit low on cash right now so any advice would be real helpful when buying new samples to experiment with.

    Thanks for your time and help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Woodsy fragrance - Too sharp/harsh, ideas?

    I would suggest what this blend needs most is some musk to round it out a bit - ideally use more than one. I would also reduce the amount of birch tar further (if necessary pre-dilute it - I normally keep mine at one tenth the strength of most materials because it's so powerful).

    You may not want any, but the blend is also lacking in top-notes so you could consider using some citrus to give a fresher feel to the opening, although if you add vanilla that will also help as vanilla works from top to base.
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Woodsy fragrance - Too sharp/harsh, ideas?

    Hello Chris, thanks for your reply!

    Valuable input, I will try to get my hands on some musk.
    Do you know any UK sellers that carry any type of musk that will ship to Sweden?

    I think I'll get vanilla and add to the blend, I bought som 10-fold vanilla before but I have a real hard time working with it because of the consistency and also because it won't blend with other oils. Thus I'm looking for something that's a bit easier to work with (maybe go for a vanilla fragnant oil?). I'm trying to find a fragrance I'm happy with that doesn't involve too much work that I can use for soy candle making.

    I'm pretty satisfied with the Birch Tar, altough I could've used a single drop whereas I used two drops. I like the smokiness and woody smell it brings. Overall I'm looking for a smell that feels like wood burning/a campfire. And I think that I'm quite close, although I need to round it off and bring it together.

    How do you feel about some Neroli to top it off with?

    The finished fragrance would consist of this (I know a single note isn't restricted to just top/middle/base, but to give a general idea):
    Top: Hiba Wood, Neroli
    Middle: Cedarwood, Clary Sage
    Base: Birch Tar, Sandalwood, Musk, (Vanilla)

    Thanks again Chris and have a great weekend.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Woodsy fragrance - Too sharp/harsh, ideas?

    Happy to help.

    To buy musk there are three suppliers I can suggest, one is me - I can do small quantities of any of several musks that I stock for my own use and I also have a pre-made woody-musk base that you could try. Other options are De Hekserij, who have several musks in their stock list and Olfactik who stock two musks. Both will supply in small amounts though I'm not sure about minimum orders or shipping costs.

    With vanilla I would suggest one of two options - either buy some vanilla absolute pre-diluted or use vanillin or ethyl vanillin instead - the latter comes as crystals that dissolve easily in ethanol and DPG (vanillin or ethyl vanillin in DPG is essentially what you'd get if you bought a vanilla fragrant oil anyway).

    Now regarding soy candle making, candles are not my area of expertise but I do know that by no means all materials work satisfactorily in that environment - David Ruskin may be able to advise - I know he has experience with fragrances for candles.

    Now that I know you are seeking a camp-fire type fragrance I see that you'll need the full birch tar. When I made my own woodsmoke fragrance I found cade oil, traces of guaicol, plus Kephalis, cyclohexenol, cedramber and Iso E Super were all helpful as well (I can help with supplies of all those if you only need a little, with most I have plenty in stock).

    Neroli is a lovely material and makes a very fine top-note, however it's quite expensive and I wonder if you'd be getting full value from it in this context. I would try some sweet orange or bergamot first, supported in either case with some pettigrain (which will help integrate the citrus with the woods), only if you are not satisfied with those would I try the more costly neroli.

    Sounds like a you should end up with a very interesting accord from it and I like the idea.

    Have a splendid weekend yourself!
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Woodsy fragrance - Too sharp/harsh, ideas?

    Hello again Chris.

    Wow, that's alot of musks!
    Your pre-made woody-musk base do sound very interesting. Do you think it would be appropriate for this blend?

    I also received tips about Auratouch, Auranone and Cosmone. Do you think any of these would be good in my case? They all seem good from what I can gather. I imagine these would be easier for me to work with as a novice? But I don't know if these are available for a good price within Europe (shipping times are kind of crucial in this case).

    Also received tips about using Coumarin rather than Vanillin Ė thoughts?

    Good catch about the Neroli. I didn't look at prices that much in my eager to find an interesting note to work with.
    What do you think about Linalool rather than using Bergamot/Sweet Orange + Petitgrain in this case?

    Now I will measure this more carefully in my next attempt, but for the last experiment I went with with this ratio (sorry for my unprofessional approach here, but I still haven't been able to get ahold of proper utensils, I'm just starting out).

    • 15 drops of Cedarwood
    • 10 drops of Hiba Wood
    • 5 drops of Clary Sage
    • 5 drops of Sandalwood
    • 2 drops of Birch Tar (think it'll do with 1 drop the next time)


    How much musk, vanillin/coumarin and top note (whichever I go for) would you reckon would be needed in proportion to the other notes?

    Once again, thanks for your thoughts and I hope your weekend was good!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ok so Coumarin (I meant a synthetic variety) and Linalool seems pretty impossible to get by. Anyone know where to pick it up?

    Coumarin do sound like it would fit my fragrance very well. So now I'm looking around for Tonka Bean absolute, but it's pretty hard to come by aswell and it's not cheap.

    I'm very interested in your musk Chris! Which one besides that one would you recommend?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Woodsy fragrance - Too sharp/harsh, ideas?

    Regarding my musk blend, if you were planning a room-spray I'd say it was idea, but to go into a candle I'm not so sure. For one thing I make it at a standard 10% concentration in ethanol, which wouldn't be any good in wax and for another there is some vanillin in it, which I believe causes candle wax to discolour (yellow or even brown) though I'm not certain of that - as I say candle scents are outside my experience. With that in mind coumarin rather than vanillin is probably a good tip, though I don't know whether it too discolours and of course you may not mind what colour the wax is anyway.

    Auratouch I use and is very good indeed, but pricey, cosmone I like a lot too but again it's costly. I don't use auranone so can't comment on that one.

    Musks work best in combination (one reason auratouch is so effective - it contains five musks) so I would use a few. Exaltolide although a solid is easy to melt using a water bath and is a lovely musk, Romandolide is liquid and easy to handle but not particularly cheap - in this application you could use the cheaper galaxolide instead as it's not going to be on anyones skin - in that case get it at at 50% in DEP so that it's easy to use. Finally I'd add a very small amount of ambrettolide to round out the others.

    I can supply you with small amounts of both coumarin and linalool as I have sufficient in stock - just drop me a mail. I really wouldn't waste money on an expensive tonka absolute in this as I think you'll have trouble with dissolving it and it's subtle quality will be lost in this application anyway.

    I'd suggest you want 10-15 drops of the musks and 20-30 of the top-notes to be in proportion with the others.

    More later as my train is nearing the end of the journey and I need to pack up the laptop!
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

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    Default Re: Woodsy fragrance - Too sharp/harsh, ideas?

    Not to interrupt or go off-topic, but when you mention "10-15 drops", what is this in relation to? I'm assuming you will be diluting the mixture with ethanol eventually? What is the final size or the end-product?

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    Default Re: Woodsy fragrance - Too sharp/harsh, ideas?

    If it goes into a candle it probably won't be diluted but used neat directly into the wax, or possibly diluted with a carrier oil. I don't think you can mix ethanol with candle wax.

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