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  1. #1

    Default An essential oil chypre

    Hello all! I have been playing around here and there with scent blending, with mixed results. Some good, some awful. My favorite perfume types are chypres, and I'd like to have a go at blending one.

    I have a vial with bergamot, oakmoss and labdanum that I mixed last night. Another vial with rugosa rose, galbanum and rosewood. This scent of this second vial smelled so wonderful and gave me the idea that I'd like to try for something along the lines of Cristalle. A green floral chypre. So I have another vial with jasmine, lemon, a couple drops of neroli and a few drops of vetiver. After getting my Cristalle out and having a good sniff I realized that labdanum probably wouldn't work, so I mixed up a little bergamot and oakmoss by themselves.

    So my question is, what's the procedure now? Whenever I've played around with blending before, I just put drops of this, that and the other thing into a vial as they occurred to me. Looks like now I have 3 accords, is that right?

    Where do I go from here? And, if anyone has any suggestions on what to add or take away from what might make a nice green floral chypre, I'd love suggestions!

    Thank you much!

  2. #2

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    Hi there. It depends if you are just tinkering or wish to become structured about your approach. Drops will never give you a consistent result so without a scale, your current approach is just fine and great fun. We all begin like this and it is something not to cloud the issue with to make it too serious, too early, and risk dampening enthusiasm. Just record on paper exactly what you are doing each stage of the way. You will see that if you are mixing drops from each of three accords how quickly your maths will muddle because the formula will end up with fractions of drops and be unrepeatable.

    If you wish to become more methodical, you might like to think about these things and continue playing with them in mind.

    An accord is when two or more ingredients make a different smell to that of each of the blend, being neither one nor the other.
    A scale is cheap enough at the jewellery end and will help you be accurate.

    If you want to get into good methods then blend many versions with gradual increases of each ingredient to see where the balance is pleasant.

    Here is what you have, but in what proportions?

    Vial 1 = bergamot, oakmoss and labdanum
    Vial 2 = rugosa rose, galbanum and rosewood
    Vial 3 = jasmine, lemon, a couple drops of neroli and a few drops of vetiver

    So if you are intending to blend those you will have this:-

    Top notes:- Bergamot, Lemon, Neroli
    Heart notes:- Rugosa Rose, Jasmine, Rosewood, Galbanum
    Base notes:- Oakmoss, Labdanum, Vetiver

    You can see now that this will be a fairly citrus, floral beginning with powdery green notes and a sharp edge to it. The proportions will be your key here. Galbanum is a terribly strong thing and will easily dominate, as is Labdanum. Think about which notes you would want to sing and which you may like to subdue or remove. There are many opinions on what proportions of top to base notes there are. A good place to start is 20/25/55 for ethanol and load the top more for oils.

    I hope this helps you think about where you would like to go. I haven't smelled Cristalle so go to any net pages and look at what notes are in that perfume and read many descriptions and review of others. This will give you clues as to where to take yours next. Also look up the great chypres and learn what is in those.

    Above all, just have fun. Also any blend you make will soften after leaving it a while so don't be too self critical too soon.
    Currently wearing: Armani by Giorgio Armani

  3. #3

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    Thank you for all the info!

    I have discovered that about galbanum. I have 1 drop in that vial and it has completely taken over.

    So the ratio for top should be 20%, middle 25% and base 55%, or the other way around, top notes at 55%?

    This will be an oil based perfume. I have both fractionated coconut oil and jojoba, haven't decided which I'm going to use yet.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    I've not had a lot of success with making accords then mixing accords together. The results are really unpredictable and if you end up with something lovely or horrible its quite difficult to know which EO is causing the result. What I've been doing is mixing experimental 3 note accords like you then picking the one I like best. Then I flesh out that accord by adding more materials that either enhance or contrast with the mixture, while rebalancing for proportion. I add each new material one at a time, stir then let it sit for a while before retesting. That way I have an idea of what each EO does to the overall mix. When I've got something I really like I let it sit for a week before retesting again and making adjustments. EO blends change a lot over a few days and not always the way you expect. Oakmoss and May Chang for example build intensity over time but are not that noticable in the freshly mixed blend.

    I used to wear the Christalle EDP, which does have a heavier character than the EDT. That parfum was galbanum and jasmine rich with an overall dry and bitter character. It didn't have a strong citrus top note. I'd remove vetiver, labdanum and increase your wood proportion if thats what you're aiming for. Natural material perfumes lack the airyness of the synthetics I've found. You get a more condensed scent even using citrus so it's difficult to recreate something like the sparkling Christalle EDT with naturals alone.

    I also like chypres and recently had a small success with an O De Lancome type scent with naturals. It's not light and airy like O, but it does have the same herbaceous, soapy, green character as that EDT in a more condensed and longer lasting form. It's very enjoyable to wear but I'm already seeing where I can improve this blend in my next incarnation of it, there are a few moments in the drydown which aren't pleasant.

    I'm using an oil base and as I'm generally making up only 2mls of EDP at a time, which I will use quickly I've just been using rice bran oil for the base oil. Either of your chosen oils will be fine for that purpose, unless you want to keep your blend for years on end in which case you might want to use mineral oil or FCO.

    And just to be clear. I'm a 'tinkerer' at the moment so my advice should be considered accordingly.
    Last edited by ClaraAus; 23rd December 2012 at 10:00 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    There are very little essential oils in those 3 vials, I was just starting. Maybe I'll mix the whole kit and kaboodle together and start out with one vial, adding essential oils one at a time.

    I had maybe 7 or 8 little vials of failed experiments done over maybe a year stashed. I moved last early summer, and found them and a couple of them smelled wonderful! Had I written down what the blends were as I made them? Yes! Had I named or numbered my experiments and then labeled the vials? No. I wish I had because I've seen for myself that something that smelled like this right now can end up smelling like that a year later.

    Thanks, ClaraAus

  6. #6

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    I had maybe 7 or 8 little vials of failed experiments done over maybe a year stashed. I moved last early summer, and found them and a couple of them smelled wonderful! Had I written down what the blends were as I made them? Yes! Had I named or numbered my experiments and then labeled the vials? No. I wish I had because I've seen for myself that something that smelled like this right now can end up smelling like that a year later.
    Did same, and wish I'd recorded. Was going to toss them, but...surprise. They are beautiful now. Even better was when a young fellow asked, "Are you wearing perfume?" Yes...why ? Does it stink? " smells elegant. "

    From what this tinkerer has gathered, the classical Chypre is a mix of 5 notes, citrus( bergamot, orange,lemon, neroli) Floral ( rose , jasmine) and woods ( patchouli, oakmoss, amber and/or musk). Then there are the variations on a theme which can be whatever you prefer.

    pkiler shared this link is very useful for approximating the chemical constituents in the EO's. For the scent profile is useful for the descriptions of each component.

    Elemi is a nice light wood fragrance. Mid to top note. Balsam Peru as well, bit heavier. I don't know Cristalle, never smelled it.

    My tendency is towards the spicy oriental and woods. And, pretty much everything the IFRA says I cannot use.

    Galbanum is powerful, but with oakmoss, Styrax tonkinesis[ benzoin probabably as well ] and labdanum, you can make a nice leather accord with good staying power.
    Last edited by DragonN; 24th December 2012 at 05:34 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    Yesterday evening I combined the rose vial, the jasmine vial and the oakmoss and bergamot vial (no labdanum), added 2 drops of sweet basil and the result smelled wonderful! Just now I put 1 drop in a vial with a few drops of FCO and put some on the back of my hand. I didn't much care for the immediate top notes, kind of boring and flat, but what came after about 2 minutes was a OMG moment. Right now it kind of reminds me of Diorella of all things, it even has a hint of that garbagey note Diorella has. I wasn't expecting this. It will be interesting to see what the drydown is like!

    DragonN, I love spicy orientals too, and that's what I usually try to make, but I also don't have any luck making them.

    So this is how it went

    at application - flat, boring, kinda citrus
    at 2 minutes - Diorella clone
    at 15 minutes - rose, rose and more rose
    at 40 minutes - drydown, oakmoss, vetiver and a touch of rosewood
    3 1/2 hours later - faint hint of oakmoss, vetiver and lemon, maybe a touch of neroli too
    Last edited by drummagick; 25th December 2012 at 01:17 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    Sounds good. Fun to play with these things. Haven't smelled Diorella, I don't much care for anything Dior. I know, blasphemy. But so it is. I find them too sickeningly sweet and floral fluff. A garbage note? Interesting....must smell this some time and see if I can pick that up.

    Chinese cedarwood, adds an interesting note in the beginning, almost a stale urine scent, but only for a minute, then the whole composition blooms into something lovely and heady. But...initially, kind of rank.

    Oriental spices, are my Achilles heel. Love them. So, that's my focus, Opium knock off. The new formulation of Opium is, ok...but dull. Lacks the body and headiness of the original. I want to recreate that. The glorious sillage and aura of Opium in the original. One of the mixes smells much like Belle D'Opium, but that is still kind of flat to me. Pretty, but lacking. Too flowery.

    After reading your post yesterday....I put together another accord, Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Labdanum and Ambergris...and will see how that one turns out. Put that together with my spice accord and hope for the best.

    As you mentioned, in your dry down, Rose, rose, rose....I get a spiced rose...not bad...but not Opium. Another is a spiced warm leather, like a well oiled old saddle, also not bad, but not Opium.

  9. #9

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    I was wondering about a drop or two of atlas cedar in my chypre blend. It could use a little wood in the drydown.

    Diorella has a note of overripe fruit, or compost, or something along those lines. I don't know that garbage was the right word to use. Perhaps something that should go in the garbage shortly. Maybe the jasmine I have is heavy on indoles and caused that note in my blend. I'm not a fan of sickeningly sweet or overly floral perfumes and I LOVE Diorella.

    It would be fun to try to recreate Opium. I love that perfume. My tries at a spicy oriental have been abysmal.

  10. #10

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    I really like Atlas cedarwood. I should have added that. Next time. Darn things take so long before they are beautiful. Some are pretty quick it seems...but given more time. Who knows?

    Mixed the spice accord with the Woody one....and dry down is...powdery. Initially, urine like for one minute, then spice. 1 hr later, powdery spiced woods with a floral hang over.

    Over ripe fruit? Wonder what is causing that. I use cassia in several along with Rose Otto, gives a great deal of body, but not an over ripe compost scent. I struggle with the urine aspect, probably due to the Ambergris. Fortunately, it's short lived and doesn't reappear.

    I think my spicy orientals aren't bad...but...they aren't Opium, so it's kind of *meh* The spicy scents or marketed as such I have found to be bland and mostly unimpressive compared to Opium. Albeit, the men's fragrances are far better. So, depends on what you like. I am not perfumer, just having fun mixing things and see what happens.

    Raw materials are the limiting factor at present. Doubt it can be done "all natural" so...a little synthetic help won't hurt.

  11. #11

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    Atlas cedar is a very soft wood and tends not to feature in a blend even in large quantity. In fact I find that to be true of all my cedars I can't get them to feature they just become a support for the stronger eo's I use. I'm buying some sandalwood spicata as it has a far more prominent woody note.

  12. #12

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    Hmm...sandalwood. My drydown needs something, that's for sure. I do have some sandalwood.

  13. #13

    Default Re: An essential oil chypre

    I finished my blend shortly after the last post here and tucked it away so I'd forget about it and quit messing with it, bad habit I have.

    It came out pretty well actually. I'd have to say it is reminiscent of Cristalle. This is what I ended up with.

    bergamot, lemon, oakmoss, rugosa rose, sandalwood, rosewood, jasmine, galbanum, tangerine, neroli, vetiver, basil

    It lasts surprisingly well too. I've made blends before that were gone in a couple hours. I got a good four hours out of this.

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