Nice tip. Will try this. Thanks!
Thread: Decant Without Atomizing
Here is my method for decanting a fragrance from a spray bottle without atomizing.
I don't think its wise to spread misinformation/insecurity, From my experience there is zero change to a fragrance when it is redistributed via atomising.
If an aspect of a fragrance is lost via an atomised spray then we'd never spray it on ourselves to begin with.
Love it BC.
Can you provide some specifics on the syringe volume and needle thickness and length?
Also, have you seen any vids showing how to remove the atomizer instead?
I've seen it mentioned a couple of times on the board but never actually seen a vid.
Kron, I am sharing this technique specifically so that anyone can do it. I think you are correct that many fragrances are not affected by being atomized twice (that is what we are preventing here--not atomizing them once onto the skin). But scents with highly volatile top notes, especially those susceptible to oxidation and quick evaporation, most certainly could lose some of their brighter qualities. I say "could" because I have done an informal experiment with Poivre 23 that has lead me to this hypothesis; I will not say that they "do" until I can prove it conclusively (or be proven wrong, which I would be happy about).
In the meantime, I would rather be safe than sorry.
I will go further and say that the volatility of perfume ingredients is well established. They are shipped in air tight bottles for a reason. There is absolutely no question that atomizing them (and exposing that much surface area to oxygen) is going to degrade them at some level. The question is whether the degradation is detectable to us or not. As far as I am concerned, this is an unanswered question, and it is equally irresponsible to presume the answer is no as it is to presume that it is yes.
Unanswered questions aside, I was able to decant more quickly and with less mess using this method. What is not to love?
Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 15th May 2012 at 12:51 PM.
Thank you for figuring this out and sharing.
Precise and neat. Thanks for making/sharing the video.
Interesting concerns. I think the oxidation/evaporation rate for perfume materials/chemicals/molecules must be much longer than the amount of time that it takes to spray some into a decant bottle. They have to be relatively sturdy or they would degrade in their original bottles after the first spray. An atomizer sprayer is like a respirator, it pumps oxygen in every time it expels perfume, mixing new oxygen onto the surface of the perfume/liquid.
That said, a certain amount of top notes are surely lost to evaporation when something is decanted through the atomizer.
Any chemists willing to chime in here?
Has anyone made a decant of Hermes Pampelmousse Rose? The pink grapefruit note in that one has to be one of the most volatile materials used in a commercial perfume. On the skin it lasts about 60 seconds. If it withstands a atomized decant, then the majority of other aroma chemicals probably do, too.
Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 15th May 2012 at 05:44 PM.
The difference between the oxygen going into the bottle and the exposure during the spray is quite different. When atomized, the thousands of tiny droplets aer exposing massive surface area to the air. My suspicion is that the effect varies from scent to scent, but I was only lead to form this hypothesis after being somewhat astonished at the difference between a non-atomized and atomized decant of Poivre 23. It doesn't prove anything until I can do a double-blind comparison. But it's made me suspicious.
I really don't think it's a huge deal when you're sharing a 2ml sample with somebody. When it matters is when someone is buying into part of a split. I just went in with three other people on a $340 bottle of vintage Derby. When people are giving me $88 apiece to have 20ml of the juice, I want to make sure they are getting exactly the same thing as the person who keeps the bottle--even if it means going a bit overboard to make sure.
Brian - I think this method is ingenious ! I will try this out when I can . It never occurred to me that one could put a needle down the spray tube of a bottle.
I don't much like atomising ( though forced to because there is no other way unless it's a screw on top ) when doing a decant simply because I think I am wasting scent - it's not very precise. I do also wonder about top notes .
For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.
Please do not be insulted. I have never heard of anyone who was unsatisfied with your meticulous splits, including myself. You are a hero for doing them.
I realize that what I'm discussing affects you, but it came about having nothing to do with you. I've been perplexed for some time about why atomized samples sometimes smelled differently from what later came directly out of the bottle. I still haven't answered these questions, but I didn't want to explore them in depth before I could at least demonstrate a solution to the decant problem. I did this demonstration more for you and heperd than anyone else, to be honest, because I wanted to share the solution before having a lengthy discussion about quantifying the problem (which I intend to do).
In the end, this is about better understanding (and possibly improving) the way that all of us are decanting. Please don't take it personally. I treasure you both as someone I buy splits from and as a friend. Having done some splits now myself, I can also say they are tedious and time-consuming, and I can't say enough how much I appreciate you hosting so many of them.
My buddy has been using this method for a few years now. Its really neat. To be honest the only reason he does it is the no mess and easy to measure part. Using a syringe or atomizing the fragrance is the same. We have compared both. We couldn't find any differences.
But it is a really nice upside that using a needle is faster, neater, and very precise. I don't see any drawback other than the slight annoyance of procuring syringes in the first place.
That's very encouraging. What fragrance was it?
If aroma chemicals are so volatile that exposure to oxygen alters them, then perfumes would have to have expiration dates on them.
Luca Turin has written that the biggest factor in aroma chemical's breakdown/degradation is actually heat and light, not time.
I've read that the ubiquitous aroma chemical linalool degrades into peroxide.
If it's true that aroma chemicals are as volatile as you suspect, and they are oxidized by atomization, especially the volatile top notes, these chemicals/molecules must also be oxidized by the air in the bottle. The only difference would be the rate of oxidation.
I'm interested in this hypothesis because I truly do not know. I have personal anecdotal evidence that could make a case for either outcome. I think Oupavoc's experiment is very compelling in favor of it not being true; on the other hand, there are easily google-able documents on the web describing the oxidation issues with aromachemicals and advising perfumers on how to account for them. Given that atomizing a liquid is a super efficient way to accelerate oxidation (this is exactly what wine aerators do to wine), I think it is definitely worth an inquiry to find out whether the degree of degradation is detectable or not. Same goes for the potential effects of evaporation.
Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 15th May 2012 at 06:46 PM.
And I'm not just going to sit on a thread and boviate. I am actually going to do an experiment. In the meantime, if anyone wants to know how to circumvent the potential issue, there you have it.
Chris Bartlett has posted on oxidation's effect on perfumes. I recall he said that citrus notes and aldehydes are affected most.
Ever since I started keeping my fragrances in the cool and dark, I have not noticed any deterioration in the quality of the scents as the air in the bottles increases with use. Not even with my citrusy fragrances or those with citrus top notes, of which I have many. And to tell the truth, I haven't noticed the perfume in my spray-decanted travel atomizers smelling any different from the juice in the bottles they were decanted from.
Nevertheless, I look forward to reading the results of any experiments done.
a) This method is excellent and I look forward to using it in the future when I need to decant things
b) My only concern, and this is only based on ideas in my head so I could be very wrong, but, if we're concerned about oxidation, then we should be concerned with fragrance molecules interacting with the air, right? Well if that's the case, wouldn't plugging the syringe into the spraying tube and pushing it down inject air directly into the fragrance? Also, wouldn't the simple act of leaving your decanted bottle open be dangerous as well?
Personally, I'm choosing to believe that fragrances aren't affected by sprayers enough that we should be bothered by the effect. Really look forward to your experiments! Thanks again for sharing this great idea!
Also- like you said, this is an inexpensive and quite simple way to achieve decanting. Regardless of how it affects top notes, it's a great method nonetheless. I recently lost a massive amount (at least 10-12 mLs) of L'air du Desert Marocain while decanting and I'm still a little bitter.
The uncovered bottle should not be part of the process. For some reason, I turn on a camera and forget what's what. I usually keep that cap over it at all times, except when I'm plunging the liquid in.
Another improvement: bottles with larger openings would allow the syringe to go completely inside, and the liquid can be ejected into other liquid instead of being pushed out in a stream.
I haven't seen any vids on removing atomizers, but I understand that you can use pliers to grip the base and rock them gently back and forth while pulling upward. I would have done that for this split except that someone asked to have his juice in the bottle.
Kron, if I were you i wouldnt feel insulted at all. Ive talked to Brian about this and it works for him and he is willing to take the time to do it so i say go for it. He's not saying everyone else is doing it wrong. I wont be using it for my splits because it will make it far too slow if im going to be decanting lots of bottles. Ive never noticed a change in top notes and everyone has always been happy.
BC i do think you should keep track of exactly how many syringe fulls you draw up. Its hard to tell a few mls differenc just by eyeballing, especially in a bottle that size. Looks like a 3ml syringe right? and a 25 gauge needle.
Also, have you ever seen the Anal Retentive Fisherman sketch that Phil Hartman did on SNL?
You might actually be interested to know that I fully decanted that bottle of Derby into 3 bottles in <10 mins. Maybe I'm not as fast a sprayer as you, but having a larger syringe took this process from ridiculous to very practical. It went faster and my hands were not covered in backspray at the end. You should try it out.
"No elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
Has anyone ever had trouble replacing the sprayer knob after removing it? Are there any bottles you could not remove the sprayer knob from?
Someone told me once that after he had removed the sprayer knob, it never sat evenly after he replaced it.
Normally they are hard to remove because they use compression. The only way actually got one off without breaking the bottle was using heat to loosen the atomizer. The problem with that, it's not going to be the same as before. Imo its a great method if your decanting the whole bottle.
This is an interesting issue because I am always decanting vintage frags and sometimes there is a problem with the lack of pressure in an ancient spray. I will try this and see what happens.
The top note loss issue is perpetually discussed with vintage frags, and just for my pennysworth. I am always playing with vintage frags, and I do not think the loss is achieved at such a rapid rate as suspected here until the heat of skin affects it by evaporating the alcohol off and taking some of the aroma with it. I suspect this gives the impression of rapid note loss. I say that because some are not atomisers and do not lose notes, even with air.
However, in saying that, I do not live in a hot country, so there could be external temperatures to consider when decanting. Perhaps if any frag were refrigerated before decanting, whether sprayed or extracted, then any loss of notes, if any at all, would be minimal. I am pro your idea merely for mess reasons rather than any fear of note loss.
When I was decanting many perfumes all at once, I constructed a cone like guard for each perfume so that any wide spray got caught and directed back in. Again, modern perfumes have better spray mechanisms than vintage ones. Some of the older ones are turbo charged with a wider spray area. Very messy and smelly.
They work great, as long as it is a very basic syringe, with no safeties on it.
Here's the problem I often have.
All the syringes I have now are high tech safety syringes that have some kind of mechanism on the thing that either automatically retract after you depress the plunger, or have some kind of bulky plastic guard that makes it difficult to negotiate the top of a perfume bottle. Most of them are single use only.
Also, will this method work if the bottle is almost empty? Can you completely evacuate a perfume bottle with this?
I think that's a great method. Where do I get syringes if I am not in the medical/health field?
First of all, I think this is a great method. I really like the fact that you push down as if it were being sprayed, to let the needle pass down, and the liquid pass up. I was wondering how one could do that without damage to the sprayer mechanism. More than nice - it's a real hack!
The closest thing I have seen to this are those scent genies, which basically allow for direct passage of liquid into the decanting vessel, by virtue of having what amounts to a sprayer-receiver on the bottom. In non-fragrance, some spray oils (like Rem-Oil) have thin plastic tubes that fit into the spray-head, in order to deliver a stream, but frankly that's a bit crude next to this.
Before I weigh in as a chemist, I'll offer a comment as a physicist or a physical chemist. The law of conservation of mass (we don't need to worry about energy, unless this is Eau de Chernobyl) basically says that if you smell anything, you're losing something. The question is really whether there is a change in composition in what remains liquid. The intuitive, gut answer is correct for compositions like fragrances. The vapors will have a different composition from the liquid they left behind. More volatile stuff will escape faster. Vapors *must* be richer in topnotes, and liquid MUST be richer in basenotes.
Is the differential enough to worry about? No simple answer. I tend to spray-decant very quickly, carefully, and forming as much of a "closed system" as possible, by using a small funnel, by streaming when possible, by spraying quickly and efficiently when it's not. I feel that there is very little change in composition. But the bottom line is that Brian's method is going to reduce topnote loss and oxygen exposure to almost as low as they can possibly go. If you want to remove all doubt, use the syringe method.
A simple fact from the organic chemistry lab proves that this method is superior. When removing chilled, pyrophoric (instantly burn or ignite in air) liquids from their septum-sealed, refrigerated bottles, using syringes with long needles (which incidentally is a very dangerous operation, which killed a beautiful female student rather recently due to - if I remember correctly - a plunger separation from the syringe), it is instantly apparent that air contact with the
fragrancepyrophoric liquid is taking place, because the liquid will smoke, smolder, or burn brightly as air contacts dripping liquid at the end of the needle, depending upon the degree of pyrophoricity. Were one to spray liquid from the end of the syringe, the reaction would be colorful at the least, and highly dangerous even more likely. Thus, one sees why for the more pyrophoric substances, performing this operation in a glove box under an inert gas like nitrogen or argon is preferable, if not mandatory.
In any case, there is no doubt that contact with oxygen and evaporation occur when liquids are exposed to air, and that spraying produces immediate and intimate exposure to oxygen. That contact isn't the end of the world for a fragrance, but every oxygen contact and every spray nickels and dimes it, just a tad, IMO. I'm sure you could measure it with machines. No doubt about it. But is it enough to worry about? Most cases, for a single decant, probably not. But I'll bet that there is a xerox effect with decants of decants.
I think it's clear that Brian's method is as good as it gets, short of decanting with a syringe in a glove box under argon.
I am curious if this method can be applied to even the most stingy and inaccessible spray-head, by using a thin enough needle, applied into the tiny outer hole of the spray-head, in its depressed state. Very cool if so.
As for injecting small amounts of air into the bottle before withdrawing liquid - I don't think it matters, since air will ultimately seep in to equalize the pressure at some point anyway. One could inject nitrogen or argon to be totally lab-grade about things, but I think that a bit of air is not much different from what would happen anyway with normal use.
I'll be looking into syringes for decanting my most volatile citrus fragrances, for sure. It's easy - so why not? I use a syringe for filling motorcycle batteries, and I care a lot more about my frags.
One last thing - people around here do have good noses. Raise your hand if you have a bright citrus frag that has gone flat after a couple of years. You know what I'm saying. Evaporation of topnotes is quite real.
Just weighing in that in my own 5 and 10ml decants I've made, I have, on occasion, noticed a difference in the fragrance. This happens most noticeably for me with Reflection Man, where I actually prefer the altered decanted version.
Is it possible though that the difference is coming not from exposure to air, but a different plastic being used for the sprayer tube and mechanism in the decant bottle? The reason I suspect this is because I've consistently noticed changes, sometimes large changes, in samples/decants that have come in plastic bottles. Some plastics seem to cause more change than others, and some seemingly faster than others, but it seems that all the plastic bottled samples/decants I've had have suffered.
Some fragrances do react with plastic. Chandler Burr goes into some detail about this in The Perfect Scent as it relates to samples. When the manufacturer uses plastic for their samples, they have to test it in advance to make sure nothing terrible happens.
Having said that, Amouage samples are all sent in plastic vials.
But you are decanting that vintage Derby into a bottle that reads "Jar Shadow"! Another one of your crazy in-bottle blends?
Very informative! I assume this will work just fine in reverse as well. ie. refilling an original bottle with juice from a decant...
I'm going to post an improved version of this video. I've learned a few things since, including that the needle is too long for some spray mechanisms. A quick snip with the scissors however solves this problem.
I am also interested in trying a method where I modify the atomizing cap by just punching a hole through it so that juice flows out in a stream. But I need to source some extra atomizing caps and not sure where to get them. The ones that come with most decant bottles are larger than the ones used on perfume bottles.
I've definitely noticed the difference in atomized decants I've made of my own fragrances. The vintage Habit Rouge I sent Rubegon lost some of its slightly off citrus top notes and the Vetiver I sent you lost some of its citrusy sparkle. Besides the fact that it's horrendously wasteful to atomize a decant.
My Top Ten:
1: Guerlain - Habit Rouge
2: Guerlain - Jicky
3: Guerlain - Mouchoir de Monsieur
4: Guerlain - Shalimar
5: Knize - Knize Ten
6: Caron - Yatagan
7: Caron - Pour Un Homme
8: Jean Desprez - Bal a Versailles
9: Yves Saint Laurent - M7
10: Salvador Dali - Dali Pour Homme
Atomising is very hard work on the thumbs...
Most of my vintage decants are from bottles with a screw top, so fortunately I've avoided this pain in the backside. Can't wait to try the extraction by syringe method, oxydisation notwithstanding.
Having a little trouble with this method. Looking forward to an updated video
what are you having trouble with?
Ugh. Doing this in reverse is not working. too many obstacles in the way, not to mention that ball bearing valve. My dream of refilling Creed 1 oz. travel size bottles may be coming to an end
Last edited by L8bro; 7th June 2012 at 02:56 PM.
Yeah, I'm not so sure about the reverse thing. For pulling juice out, you do have to make sure that the exposed tube is pushed all the way down (as if the cap had been pressed). The plastic rim of the syringe makes this pretty easy; you just have to make sure that you're in at a 90 degree angle so you don't bend the needle.
Having trouble with aspirating the fluid. I'm pressing down all the way but when I pull up the plunger, all I get is a vacuum.
I also had a situation once where the needle was getting crimped in the pump mechanism. If it's still not working, try snipping off all but a few centimeters of the needle with scissors and try it again.
Also, if you're not already, ignore what I did in that video and start with the plunger all the way down.
Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 7th June 2012 at 06:38 PM.
Will do. Thanks for the tips.
nice tip. I tried this once on a bottle when the pump was actually broken and I could not get the fragrance out. Never thought to use it for a perfectly good working bottle.
When I travel I decant my aventus into a 3ml glass. I notice that when I spray the decant on my skin it has a MUCH brighter pineapple top note that isn't as present direct from the bottle. I prefer the decant in that case.
good question. It is a 3ml from Accessories For Fragrances. Not as strong as the creed atomizer but definably seems to have a nice mist to it.
I wonder if its anything like decanting wine? It seems to open them up a good bit.