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  1. #1

    Default How many notes is too many?

    If you were going to make a diluted fragrance out of a bunch of oils, how many different oils/scents would be too many?

  2. #2

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    it sort of depends upon what oils you refer...?

    Essential oils have a lot of molecules, and it is easy to make "MUD" out of them really fast.

    Fragrance oils have less molecules, and it is harder to make it bad.

    Aromatic Chemicals are often just one molecule, in which case you might need a lot of them to make a rounded fragrance, and it takes a lot to make "MUD" out of your mixture...
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

  3. #3

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Slightly on, slightly off topic:

    I'm a painter (oil), and i'm sure all painters had the same experience with their first painting: it turns out brown. Plain brown. Just to excited to use all the colours on the pallet. ;-) I think it's a nice metaphor for the MUD Paul is describing. And yes, i recognize the mud in perfume formulations! It's a long way to select the right and few essential oils and add rather transparent layers of single molecules to the painting of scents. It takes some time to avoid the brown mud, colours start to sparkle and you get used to the different acts the molecules put together in a perfume composition.

    But now, the funny part. Something i've never ever experienced before in all my compositions and formulations. It's the equivalent of painting for hours and ending with a white canvas. I was experimenting for a green, fresh, dry scent, inspired by Creed's Green Irish Tweed. The perfume mixture settled for three days now. Just after composition it had all the tones i expected and i was wondering how it would blend the next 48 hours. As you know, mixtures tend to smoothen out, certain molecules start screaming loudly while others tend to fade away.

    Guess what. The total composition faded away! The only scent on blotter and skin after 48 hours (of maturing, not of wearing!) is a faint sweet/salty ambergris hint, from the first minute on. As if it's just water. I'm completely puzzled. Any suggestions? I used this formulation (drops, about 65 in total, or about 3 ml in 18 ml perfumers alcohol):

    Bergamot EO 20
    Lemon EO 8
    Violet leaf abs 25% 1
    Alpha irone 10% 3
    Ambergris abs 3% 5
    Dihydromyrcenol 8
    Allyl Amyl Salic. 4
    Ambroxan 10% 8
    Sandalwood EO 3
    Alfa Jonon 1
    Vanillin 25% 1
    Peppermint EO 1
    Phenyl Acetate Aldeh. 2.5% 1

    Any suggestions what causes a blend that starts rather rich and full while composing settles down after 48 hours (of maturing, not of wearing!) to a transparent faint watery non-scent with just a vague ambergris note in top, heart and base? And if i sniff real, real, deep, i can recognize the sweetness of the vanillin. (as i should figure, because that molecule is strong). But all others: gone....from the first minute! I'm puzzled!
    Last edited by jsparla; 31st January 2013 at 10:16 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Quote Originally Posted by Athenry View Post
    If you were going to make a diluted fragrance out of a bunch of oils, how many different oils/scents would be too many?
    Difficult question. If you listen to Jean Claude Ellena talk about the development of his own approach to the art he will tell you that one of his first perfumes contained hundreds of ingredients and describes this as "far too many" however I will just mention that he isn't talking here about his first aprentice blend but a perfume that has sold millions of bottles . . . Now however he seeks to work with no more than about 50 ingredients and that is an approach I would endorse - I rarely go beyond 70 in my work and often as few as 35. But then in my work I use a lot of naturals, whereas JPE uses very few, preferring the simplicity of the synthetics: a matter of artistic choice.

    You need to be mindful of what Paul has said about naturals: when you put rose otto into your blend you are adding some 700 different aromatic chemicals in just one drop - quite a different matter from putting in a drop of Dihydromyrcenol which is just one. Patchouli is similar in complexity, while at the other end of the extreme bitter almond oil is pure benzaldehyde - one chemical: so you need to know what you are dealing with when you use naturals in order to make that judgement.

    So how many is too many? However many it takes to spoil the blend.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by jsparla View Post
    Slightly on, slightly off topic:

    I'm a painter (oil), and i'm sure all painters had the same experience with their first painting: it turns out brown. Plain brown. Just to excited to use all the colours on the pallet. ;-) I think it's a nice metaphor for the MUD Paul is describing. And yes, i recognize the mud in perfume formulations! It's a long way to select the right and few essential oils and add rather transparent layers of single molecules to the painting of scents. It takes some time to avoid the brown mud, colours start to sparkle and you get used to the different acts the molecules put together in a perfume composition.

    But now, the funny part. Something i've never ever experienced before in all my compositions and formulations. It's the equivalent of painting for hours and ending with a white canvas. I was experimenting for a green, fresh, dry scent, inspired by Creed's Green Irish Tweed. The perfume mixture settled for three days now. Just after composition it had all the tones i expected and i was wondering how it would blend the next 48 hours. As you know, mixtures tend to smoothen out, certain molecules start screaming loudly while others tend to fade away.

    Guess what. The total composition faded away! The only scent left on blotter and skin after 48 hours is a faint sweet/salty ambergris hint. As if it's just water. I'm completely puzzled. Any suggestions? I used this formulation (drops, about 65 in total, or about 3 ml in 18 ml perfumers alcohol):

    Bergamot EO 20
    Lemon EO 8
    Violet leaf abs 25% 1
    Alpha irone 10% 3
    Ambergris abs 3% 5
    Dihydromyrcenol 8
    Allyl Amyl Salic. 4
    Ambroxan 10% 8
    Sandalwood EO 3
    Alfa Jonon 1
    Vanillin 25% 1
    Peppermint EO 1
    Phenyl Acetate Aldeh. 2.5% 1

    Any suggestions what causes a blend that starts rather rich and full while composing settles down after 48 hours (of maturing, not of wearing!) to a transparent faint watery non-scent with just a vague ambergris note in top, heart and base? And if i sniff real, real, deep, i can recognize the sweetness of the vanillin. (as i should figure, because that molecule is strong). But all others: gone....from the first minute! I'm puzzled!
    Could it be that you have inadvertently hit upon the olfactory equivalent of White Noise and everything has cancelled out?
    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.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Thank you all for the advice. I'm very new to this and never realized how complex some scents are. I have in mind a mix containing quite a few fragrances, but ending up as a blend of tobacco, leather, bergamot and spices. I may post a list of what I plan to include on here before I order everything to get some more advice. Thanks again.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    @jsparla
    Funny you should say about the painting because I paint too, and that is very much how I approach my blends with an overall view of composition. It looks to me like a painting with lots of sky and water, with some land but hardly any shrubbery or flowers or animals. The world here has little in the way of richness unless you specifically designed it as an abstract.

    You have many ingredients here with very short longevity, a couple in the middle/top, then nothing and then five galloping to the full monty.

    You are getting a fast blast of the lemon, peppermint, bergamot, Dihydro, then a flash of Alpha, Allyl, (wasn't sure what the Janon one was) then all that is left are the longevity notes of violet leaf, Ambergris, Ambroxan, Phenyl, Vanillin and sandal.

    That kind of makes sense to the way you describe it. The violet leaf will be giving that metallic note to the ambergris and the sandal and vanillin some substance. The composition looks nice but is like a skinny model and needs a Reubenesque touch.

    Only IMO.....

  7. #7

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Hi Mumsy, hi Christ,

    Thanx!

    @Christ: that's a neat article, i had never heard before of the White Noise Syndrom in Olfactory, but i could have hit it, could be, could be... ;-)

    @Mumsy: thanks for your analysis! Yes, you are completely right, however i used comparable amounts of the same ingredients in other formulations and they never expressed so little scent from the first minute on. It's quite linear and the blast of lemon, dihydro and bergamot (almost 50% of the mixture...) is not even there. There simply is no blast, only this weird watery scent; probably "seawater" resembles it the most. I'm going to boast it to Reubenesque proportions! Step by step that is, i'm really interested if i can find a chem that will "open up" the mixture, as there is probably now a balancing act going on which closes it down after some 48 hours of maturation.

    Oh, the Alpha Jonon probably translates to Alpha Ione or Alpha Ionon in English, sorry for that typo

  8. #8

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Hi Mumsy, hi Christ,

    Thanx!

    @Christ: that's a neat article, i had never heard before of the White Noise Syndrom in Olfactory, but i could have hit it, could be, could be... ;-)

    @Mumsy: thanks for your analysis! Yes, you are completely right, however i used comparable amounts of the same ingredients in other formulations and they never expressed so little scent from the first minute on. It's quite linear and the blast of lemon, dihydro and bergamot (almost 50% of the mixture...) is not even there. There simply is no blast, only this weird watery scent; probably "seawater" resembles it the most. I'm going to boast it to Reubenesque proportions! Step by step that is, i'm really interested if i can find a chem that will "open up" the mixture, as there is probably now a balancing act going on which closes it down after some 48 hours of maturation.

    Oh, the Alpha Jonon probably translates to Alpha Ione or Alpha Ionon in English, sorry for that typo

  9. #9

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    When I was trying to make a huge bad smell for my sons London project. I stumbled upon a funny phenomena where notes actually cancelled each other out completely. It was completely extraordinary. I will find the thread later. I have to go out.
    Last edited by mumsy; 31st January 2013 at 12:02 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    When I was trying to make a huge bad smell for my sons London project. I stumbled upon a funny phenomena where notes actually cancelled each other out completely. It was completely extraordinary. I will find the thread later. I have to go out.
    Tough question. My first perfume, which sold decently, probably had 200 ingredients. But my personality lends itself to over complexity, and that's really the only reason.

    I respect those who say to keep it simple. They are maybe right. However, I find it hard to do that. And I believe that there is no limit to how many oils you use, rather it's how you use them, and how much you use of each thing.

    More to the point, I do think it is important to be conceptually clear in your creations, where you're not sending too garbled a message. The human mind can only comprehend so much in terms of the concepts in a perfume. So even using a lot of ingredients it is valuable to always be thinking of ways to keep noise, over complexity, out of your creation. The important thing is to be focused on having a clear image, vision, or concept, at least in the end.

  11. #11
    Basenotes Member edward t's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    This is how mudding out happens to this amatuer:

    I make a base that is "somewhat good" with a blend of all the top, middle and base notes with essential oils. I let it sit for a few days unless I get impatient and only wait a day. I open the top 4 or 5 times and think "If I add this EO or single note" it will do this". I then add the ingredient which either (1) ruins the mixture or (2) does not quite do the job I intended it to do. So after some contemplation I think "if I add this essential oil or single note, it will do this". I then add the ingredient and either #1 or #2 happens eventually. It doesnt take but one drop too many of certain EO or single notes to mess up a whole batch. I have learned though that once mudding occurs, cut my losses and just start over as I have yet to have anything that was slighty muddy get fixed.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Yup... Once you make Mud, Pour it on the backyard fence.

    And unfortunately, I only learned this by verbal pronouncement and memorization, so I'll spell it phonetically, and then translate it from the Basaa language in Cameroon, where my Grandparents were missionaries in the 1930's:

    "Mon bohdy bon hagy ban la, Yaguameda oon la, hongle ondigi jonlini, Konde nade"
    (I have *NO* idea how even close that is to the written Basaa, Sorry, anyone from Cameroon...)

    If at first don't succeed, Try, try Again...
    Last edited by pkiler; 14th April 2013 at 01:01 AM.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

  13. #13

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Hehe Edward - join the club & suggest mud is usually best in small quantities

  14. #14
    Basenotes Member edward t's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    "Hehe Edward - join the club & suggest mud is usually best in small quantities"
    So if I understand this correctly, mud is best in small quantities ,
    and if mud is made,
    "Once you make Mud, Pour it on the backyard fence" ..or
    Give it those people that call themselves your friend but only call when they need or want something! :b

  15. #15

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Lots of mud poured into the same pot eventually creates the most beautiful 'Millefleurs' fragrance. Most useful for soaps and unrepeatable bath oils for family or own use.

  16. #16

    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    Yes, mumsy, totally agree that everything has a use
    - although Edward's idea started me thinking

    p.s. & keep trying as Paul says
    Last edited by lpp; 15th April 2013 at 07:34 PM.

  17. #17
    Basenotes Member
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    Default Re: How many notes is too many?

    I am also new to all of this and I am liking what I am reading. It actually makes sense looking for the “too much” boundary in mixing scents. I tried mixing 2 to 3 at one point and smelled so strong and ugly. I tried doing the same thing but with a different scent and it smelled perfectly ok.
    www.luvessentials.com

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