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  1. #1
    Dependent OctaVariuM's Avatar
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    Default How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    I hear a lot of things in this area of the forums, and I had to ask. Just how hard is it to get into fragrance creating? I know you need bottles, perfumers alcohol, a funnel, and of course, fragrant oils/absolutes. I've looked it up and it's not cheap of course, but is it difficult to learn how to layer notes? I mean, you only will have so many when you start (since they are so expensive), and it takes so much time to settle (I hear up to 6 weeks before you can wear it), is it worth it?

    I'd like to consider myself creative, but I'm not sure it's worth the investment and time.
    Last edited by OctaVariuM; 20th January 2013 at 08:22 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    http://pellwall-perfumes.blogspot.tw/search/label/DIY

    I'd say it's worth it. And Chris is an excellent teacher. His fragrances are an inspiration. Also, not something one could dupe as he makes some of the ingredients himself from his own garden. The ultimate in unique. True Haute Couture.

    You tinker, you have more freedom. You can make what ever you want using whatever you can get your hands on. I have taken a particular delight in amassing the *prohibited* substances as they are quite lovely. I am not allergic to any.

    You know your teacher is good, when a young lady asked me the name of my perfume and that she hadn't found it in the stores. Chris and Pkiler get credit for that. An EO scent blend altered based on their suggestions, EO mix is easy,. but to make it beautiful? That is completely personal and subjective. The Art. { I'm a lousy artist, but I have fun anyways}

    To me, it's worth it. I don't want a scent any one else can buy. I love perfume. Used to have a large collection, and still do. But I don't wear them. I like mine better.

    Jil Sander Parfum#4. Discontinued. Practically full bottle for sale.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    It's as difficult and time-consuming to master fragrance as it is to master any other art. And there's no guarantee you'll ever make anything that you really love. If you're not sure that it's 'worth it', then don't do it. I stopped tinkering with scents more times than some people quit smoking, thinking that it was pointless. But I still keep coming back, because there's that passion there, even if only for a hobby. So if you keep coming back to fragrance creation too, then there you go. If it's fulfilling to you and sustains your interest, then it's worth it.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    It takes a long time to learn, as edshepp said - I'd say longer than most other arts because for the most part it's impossible to really learn from those who've come before unless you go the route of becoming a professional perfumer and get schooling. With music or art or whatever, you can find tons of learning material from books to online courses, videos on youtube, you name it. Perfumery? Nope. None of those, really.

    That and it requires extreme patience. That's the hardest part for me. Having to wait days to see how a little change actually affects the final result is difficult, not only because it takes so long but because it increases the time from experiment to result which makes it harder to learn from (especially if you get impatient and tinker more with the blend before it has fully settled.)

    It's kind of like cooking, except with no cookbooks, where each meal takes days to cook, and where sometimes ingredients interact with each other in extremely bizarre and logically unexplainable ways.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    It takes a long time to learn, as edshepp said - I'd say longer than most other arts because for the most part it's impossible to really learn from those who've come before unless you go the route of becoming a professional perfumer and get schooling. With music or art or whatever, you can find tons of learning material from books to online courses, videos on youtube, you name it. Perfumery? Nope. None of those, really.

    That and it requires extreme patience. That's the hardest part for me. Having to wait days to see how a little change actually affects the final result is difficult, not only because it takes so long but because it increases the time from experiment to result which makes it harder to learn from (especially if you get impatient and tinker more with the blend before it has fully settled.)

    It's kind of like cooking, except with no cookbooks, where each meal takes days to cook, and where sometimes ingredients interact with each other in extremely bizarre and logically unexplainable ways.
    Totally second this.
    Plus adding that most information available on the net is bogus. There are a few good books and blogs though.
    Customized consultancy on perfume formulation, safety, training and marketing & olfactory research
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    THE thread for all newbies DIY fragrance

  6. #6
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    It's easy to get into... Just as other responders mention, time and patience are required. Also, the cost of some of the materials can seem prohibitive. I have been fooling around with natural materials for about 4 months and have not created anything fantastic, but I have been very pleasantly surprised with the process of creating. Learning about the individual materials is fun and interesting - I have learned a little about geography, sociology, anthropology, history, botony, etc. with each item I've acquired. I plan to forge ahead because this hobby is unlike any other and it has captured my imagination. Oh yes, and I want to say that the support, and knowledge imparted by the BNers has been very helpful. I'd not participated on one, single blog for any reason before starting this pastime.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    I tinker and its expensive and fun to do that. Depends what you want, if you want to sell and wow the world you'll need professional training. Otherwise these's the tinkering route which is frustrating and satisfying in its own way. Its only worth it if you are prepared ot to master it anytime soon. Otherwise there are more immediate hobbies that will do just as well.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    It takes a long time to learn, as edshepp said - I'd say longer than most other arts because for the most part it's impossible to really learn from those who've come before unless you go the route of becoming a professional perfumer and get schooling. With music or art or whatever, you can find tons of learning material from books to online courses, videos on youtube, you name it. Perfumery? Nope. None of those, really.

    That and it requires extreme patience. That's the hardest part for me. Having to wait days to see how a little change actually affects the final result is difficult, not only because it takes so long but because it increases the time from experiment to result which makes it harder to learn from (especially if you get impatient and tinker more with the blend before it has fully settled.)

    It's kind of like cooking, except with no cookbooks, where each meal takes days to cook, and where sometimes ingredients interact with each other in extremely bizarre and logically explainable ways.
    marvelous explanation, I concur totally. I began with an order of 5 or so different ingredients from theperfumersapprentice and from there I added 10-12 more every few months when I could save some money up. At one point I was ever so fortunate to buy another perfumers organ from her and that took my game to a whole other level. It's a completely hit-or-miss science. With about a year of practice under my belt now, I still make for more duds than I do gems. However, that ratio is narrowing with time, and I learn from evey single missed attempt. Just like cooking, certain things go really well with other things. for example, you would never put steamed peas and asparagus into your jello or pudding or ice cream. Many scents follow such tendencies.

    I have very much enjoyed my experience. I think it's worth a try. Just like any hobby, if you try it and after a year it's still as fascinating as it was to you in the very beginning than you have a real honest to goodness passion on you hands and not just a passing whimsy.

  9. #9
    Paul Kiler
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    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    I have been studying by myself, intensely, now for seven years. I'm smart, a good researcher, a talented artist in many mediums already, and now this past September, I released my line of 11 Fragrances to the world. One has been called the Best Leather Fragrance ever made by the Fragrance manager of Neiman Marcus in San Francisco.

    So, yes it can be done, (Make it into a career by oneself), by the right person, with an appropriate amount of time and money.

    Be prepared to fail miserably. Be Prepared to buy bad materials and spend a lot of money, only to throw them away. Be prepared to make real stinkers and throw them away. Be prepared to spend as much as two years perfecting one of your fragrances - (this is not uncommon, BTW). A professional Perfumer spends quite awhile in education, and still another five to seven years as an apprentice or lowly person, slowly climbing up to full grade Perfumer, maybe after a decade or two. There may only be a few thousand Perfumers in the world, this profession is lonely, secretive, and it's hard to obtain good, nonetheless Great information about how to make scents.

    If you wish to take it past a hobby, as I've done, and intended all along to do so; then prepare to work, and be patient, and spend money, and make mistakes, and still work a lot lot more.

    Being a hobbyist in your spare time is fun, so don't let me scare you away, but just know that the quest that you start on may turn out badly. I've had a few people just give me all their materials, because they gave up and walked away, needing to channel their lives into something else that they think they'll succeed at better.

    Best to, and most of all, Have FUN!

    Paul Kiler
    Last edited by socalwoman; 19th January 2013 at 08:45 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    Just do it. Make small amounts, keep notes, and as for the disasters? Well, I pour mine onto thick absorbent card to make air fresheners, which are much, much nicer than the commercial ones.

    -

  11. #11

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    I save all my experiments in little vials--I have over a thousand now--so that I can go back and smell things with a better trained nose than I had at the time. Some of the stuff I thought was great really stinks.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Irina View Post
    Totally second this.
    Plus adding that most information available on the net is bogus. There are a few good books and blogs though.
    I do so agree with this - all that stuff about glycerin, almond oil and vodka - goodness knows where it comes from but itís so rubbish!

    On a more positive note though I can attest with certainty that it can be done. Iím in the midst of doing my tax return at the moment which will, Iím fairly sure, show that the business has broken even this year (the 2012/13 tax year) for the first time.

    The number of disasters gets less with time, the amount of heartache required to produce good fragrances reduces. You start to get little glimpses of what might just be great art . . . but Paul is right about the huge amount of dedicated learning it takes to get there.

    I must tell you though, that the first time you smell the scent trail of a stranger in the street and recognise it as one of your own fragrances is worth a great many late nights pouring over the blending bench!
    ďA person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person
    ― Dave Barry

    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.

  13. #13

    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    Just be aware that just getting to know your materials can be a large financial investment. It's great fun though, and certainly develops those synapses in ways that are beyond verbal descriptives. All of us are on scent journeys, seeking those elusive and abstract olfactory beauties, whether purchased or made. If nothing else, trying to create your own perfumes will most certainly give you more appreciation of the ones that have already been created by experts.

  14. #14
    Basenotes Member
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    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    This where I am now- I stopped making soaps and candles several years ago then stopped. Just last year I started reading up ( books, articles, forums, and lovely Basenotes etc.).
    I ordered the huge kit from Sav on Scents and from Creating Perfume to explore scents, the accords etc. Slowly, I started buying higher end Eos, fragrance oils, absolutes and started concocting scents based on the perfume "pyramid"', using sites such as fragrantica.com for a guide.
    Is it luck? So fat I've made 4 scents ( now sitting patiently in dark closets and my fridge)- I check them every 2-3 days... So far... I am quite pleased with the results. Am I going to fast? I've had no issues mixing my essences with perfumers alcohol, IPM and made a couple of solid perfume using beeswax, jojoba and fractionated coconut oil.

    I am nervous though. I shared some with friends, some loved it, some had critiques but none too negative. Bottom line, some said they would wear it....I still feel insecure however. Is there someone we can send our scents for evaluation or opinion?
    Last edited by Bernie K; 19th March 2015 at 02:33 PM. Reason: Correct typos

  15. #15
    Super Member Jeremiah Taylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    You will spend a lot of money, but in all honesty...It's so worth it.
    [ the user formerly known as Saponier ]

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    I agree with Nymphaea above, at this point in the beginning of my journey I'm just focusing on just getting to know the different materials. To learn their scent and be able to mentally recall it with accuracy. It has been great fun to carefully analyze a sample and to get a wave of faint memories; I never would have thought that vetiver would bring me back to running wild around my grandparents ranch in Oregon but it did. Between the different materials, pipettes, glass bottles, funnels, and the carrier oils it has been one of my more expensive explorative hobbies (but very fulfilling). I now have a much deeper appreciation now than ever before for the artists behind my favorite perfumes and other scented products.
    Last edited by Corrie; 19th March 2015 at 07:39 PM.

  17. #17
    Super Member Jeremiah Taylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    Buy small samples where you can! It's a great way to learn materials on the cheap. In fact, once diluted to 10% or so, some of the samples you can get will provide quite a lot of useable material for blending.

    One of the things that I love about it is being able to pick up on the individual components of more complicated aromas. I was in the grocery store last week and wandered into the floristry area and stuck my nose into a bouquet of oriental lilies and started to imagine how I would recreate what I was smelling (of which I wrote down: linalool, methyl benzoate, eucalyptol).
    [ the user formerly known as Saponier ]

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    Quote Originally Posted by saponier View Post
    You will spend a lot of money, but in all honesty...It's so worth it.

    Yes - - lotsa $$ spent on just exploring fragrances and some samples are expensive as well.... then the fun begins....

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How hard is it to get into fragrance creation?

    I started a table of my fragrance supplies - - it does help when I get stuck on creating an essence....

    So I made a table which has the name of the fragrance, aroma or EO, including the manufacturer's name. Then I type out what the description says on the website; then on the next cell in the table, I type in my reflections on this note - was it sharp? pungent? strong? lovely?

    That way, when I need something to "lift" or "tone down" a smell, I quickly scroll through my supply table and by just viewing my notes, I remember the scent and then I use it... has anyone done this? I'm sure there are more in-depth tables/notes floating around Basenotes.

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