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  1. #1

    Default Can you use too many naturals?

    I remember Chris once spoke to this maybe six months ago, but I wanted to ask this explicitly.

    Is there a rule of thumb how many naturals you can get away with?


    I do have my own opinion, but I don't trust it. The last perfume I marketed was fairly successful, and had about 150 ingredients, probably 125 naturals(defined as abs, EO, not nature identical chems). I could have just been lucky, because that seems too many now -- too much complexity. A "Mille de fleurs effect" of bland non-descriptness is the concern. I was fearless before, as I "didn't know what I didn't know", but now am second guessing.

    I probably create very similarly to PK, just from the impression he gave.

    114 ingredients so far, but that will go up by maybe 25 before it's over. About 70 are naturals so far. A lot of the naturals are at very low levels, 0.1 to 0.3%. then maybe 40 or so at "higher" levels. Less than 20 of those at "high" levels, at the core, the highest two being 17% and 30%. There are six major kinds of accords (generally speaking, wood, musk, floral, fruit, amber, spice) in the perfume, all of which have some detail.

    Should I be working to elimenate some of my naturals? My idea has originally been to have some at high levels, then a lot in trace amounts, as I said. But I don't want to condemn the perfume to a mille de fleurs effect before even starting.
    Last edited by DrSmellThis; 11th May 2014 at 08:41 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Creating a fragrance is a bit like juggling, the more balls you have in the air the greater the risk of you dropping them. I would have thought that 125 naturals in one fragrance was way too many; however, you say that it worked. Shows how many balls you can keep in the air.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    The danger of too many naturals is two fold, one is as you say, a bland non-description, and, or vs., one of mud.

    Mud can be made VERY quickly with too many naturals. I've smelled it many times... I call it 'mud', but it is this smell of too much, that ruins things. So if you can balance the naturals with a lof of them, then *you* can do it, but it's not so easy peezy mac and cheesy. (As my kids say... :-)

    The thing about a lot of naturals, is in fact a muddying up of the tones, whether or not you actually get to the mix smelling like "mud".

    Of course I do use naturals, sometimes a lot of them. But I also use the synths for clarity of tone and purity of note.

    There was a Winter Freshness Perfume Challenge between Nov and Jan, this past. The challenge/task was to create a perfume on that concept, with up to 15 Naturals, two of which needed to be tinctures. (no synths) I decided to take it on for a personal challenge, even though I don't normally work exclusively with naturals solamente. I won the perfume challenge, but it was harder that I thought it would be, I had to run at it four times with several subsequent modifications before being happy with it.

    After the Challenge, I took the concentrate and blended it with 60& more synths that matched and complimented the naturals in it. WOW! It really opened it up, and it had SOOO much more Grace. (As well also of clarity, volume, strength, and longevity of course.)

    I shared the blend with several supliers who were interested in it, because of the many naturals included, Robertet foremost, since I listed three Robertet ingredients in the formula. All agreed upon the better improvements found in the synth and naturals blend.

    Gotta go now... have a great Mother's day..
    PK
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Yes, taking mom out to eat. A pleasant mums' day to all here. Got a pmail from mumsy too, so my day is complete.

    Thanks everyone for the feedback. The perfume I'm talking about took a year and a half of working on it every day, so PK you are correct it is not easy.

    For what it's worth, a lot of "damage control skills" are developed, and you try to minimize how much damage control you have to do. I ended up with a quite obnoxious, yet quiet note in the final product (It took me a month to tame it). It bothered me, but it's kind of like that "ugly scar on the woman", I suppose, that many overlook. People, apparently, can deal with maybe one clunker note, perhaps as many things in nature are like that -- a little funk mixed in, the weeds in your garden. Then it's as PK said, you work with strengths instead of weaknesses, think about what qualities it needs vis a vis available materials. Then you have little tricks to make the whole thing more pleasant.

    Would it have been easier without so many naturals? Ha ha, most probably.

    So I think Chris said he prefers to limit his creations to about 30 naturals (He will correct me if the number is off a little). Is that about what you all think?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmellThis View Post
    Yes, taking mom out to eat. A pleasant mums' day to all here. Got a pmail from mumsy too, so my day is complete.

    Thanks everyone for the feedback. The perfume I'm talking about took a year and a half of working on it every day, so PK you are correct it is not easy.

    For what it's worth, a lot of "damage control skills" are developed, and you try to minimize how much damage control you have to do. I ended up with a quite obnoxious, yet quiet note in the final product (It took me a month to tame it). It bothered me, but it's kind of like that "ugly scar on the woman", I suppose, that many overlook. People, apparently, can deal with maybe one clunker note, perhaps as many things in nature are like that -- a little funk mixed in, the weeds in your garden. Then it's as PK said, you work with strengths instead of weaknesses, think about what qualities it needs vis a vis available materials. Then you have little tricks to make the whole thing more pleasant.

    Would it have been easier without so many naturals? Ha ha, most probably.

    So I think Chris said he prefers to limit his creations to about 30 naturals (He will correct me if the number is off a little). Is that about what you all think?
    I honestly can’t remember whether I gave a suggested number previously but if I had I think it would have been around the 30 mark in all likelihood. Thinking about the question today though I’m not sure it’s realistic to put a number on it because, to paraphrase Orwell, “some naturals are more equal than others”. So for example you have some, like Wintergreen and Bitter Almond that are, in effect, just one chemical. At the other extreme you have things like Patchouli, Rose and Oud that have several hundred chemicals contributing to their aroma.

    In between the extremes on the numbers front you have qualitative differences. So for example the strong similarities between the various citrus oils make it easy to blend many of them together with no danger of mud. Herbal oils are much more variable and accordingly more difficult to blend successfully.

    All in all I think using a small number of ‘feature’ natural, supported with a strong skeleton of synthetics and, where you need it, the addition of a number of trace-naturals (or complex bases) to add the necessary level of complexity is probably the way to go. By complex bases I am thinking of things like synthetic civet or castoreum more than the rose bases, but it can work with them too.

    As always in perfume composition there are no rules, only trends and guidance.

    Does that help?
    A 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 I’m happy to quote: if you want free advice, that’s what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Of course it helps. You gave your honest take on the issue. Thanks.

    Some of the reason I get away with a lot of naturals is related to your point. For example, I used several kinds of sandalwood. I don't think that causes much of a problem. Or say, a mix of spices. Or two kinds of sage. Or as you say, multiple kinds of citrus. Or mixing animal notes. Or mixing balsams. Then there is clove, which maybe 80% one chemical.

    There are a number of ways to get away with more numbers of naturals, perhaps. Most flower absolutes seem to mix well together.
    Last edited by DrSmellThis; 12th May 2014 at 11:48 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    With all naturals, the worst muddle is definitely mud. Mille fleurs takes a lot of them and isn't always a lovely blend either. I think the challenge to make the notes soar is much harder but numbers are not something that determines that. It can also take very few ingredients for a good mud and i've made my fair share.

    One of the main things I find is to make sure ingredients are the purest possible. Any unnecessary additions or stresses to an ingredient will not help. The other thing to bear in mind is to let naturals settle a bit before adding more. The increased complexity of a natural compared to a single chemical is that there is more chance of reactions and bondings of elements within that can happen after blending to entirely change what you thought might happen. Sometimes this is good but more often it is not.

    There is also an order to the additions that determines whether that happens one way or another. Some ingredients seem best left till last but I cannot tell you the scientific reason why. Perhaps the more reactive ingredients need leaving out until all others have rebonded and used all the spare slots so the newer ingredient can stay free. I presume that happens too with aromachems.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    There is also an order to the additions that determines whether that happens one way or another. Some ingredients seem best left till last but I cannot tell you the scientific reason why. Perhaps the more reactive ingredients need leaving out until all others have rebonded and used all the spare slots so the newer ingredient can stay free. I presume that happens too with aromachems.
    Hi mumsy. Thanks for adding to the thread. I wanted you to know that, as a naturals person, I came to the exact same conclusion you did years ago. Order of compounding is very important to me. But I don't say anything about it so as not to appear nuts (or "daft" or whatever the equivalent where you come from). Ha ha. I can't explain the reasons, or any of the chemistry, and I feel silly. But sit alone with some EO's and absolutes, etc., for enough years, and you start to develop strange beliefs! For me, every ingredient must be compounded in order. Some time we should talk about this, but I will resist the urge to hijack my own thread!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmellThis View Post
    Order of compounding is very important to me. But I don't say anything about it so as not to appear nuts (or "daft" or whatever the equivalent where you come from).
    I will quickly agree with mixing in the same order for the most accurate re-creation. Or mixing as quickly
    as possible to negate the effects of order, if you only have a few ingredients.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    DrSmell, may I then take this opportunity to hijack this thread on your behalf?

    I find very interesting the comments by yourself and Mumsy regarding the requirement to blend in a specific order. This is something I have been slowly learning myself to be of more importance than I had in the past understood it to be.

    So, my question, if you would be so kind, is, where within the order of blending, would Sandalwood EO be incorporated? Beginning of creation of blend, end, otherwise? Any information in this regard that either or both of you (and anyone else) could provide would be much appreciated.
    Last edited by islearom; 14th May 2014 at 06:53 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    There is no 123 order about it as far as I can tell. A chemist can tell you differently I'm sure. If you are making a blend of your sandalwood, then it would entirely depend on what you were intending to put with it. Trials and different orders in little pots will tell you best.

    I noticed that if you mixed one set of notes together then the others at a later stage, sometimes, and only sometimes, the result is slightly different than if you did it the other way around or all at once. It is something that I've noticed time and time again but it doesn't always happen. The only notes i've noticed do it more often are orange and some of the citrus notes. It is easy to put them in at the beginning, but often they seem more pronounced to my nose if they are added at the end. I couldn't tell you about aromachems.

    By end I mean after a week or three when all the ingredients have finished their intermingling and have settled into each other as one.

    I am no scientist so I cannot say why or how. I have just noticed it in some blends. The ingredients interact with each other depending on what ingredients are used.

    I will try and illustrate what I mean.

    If ingredient A reacts both with ingredient B and C and they are all put in together then the blend is (A+B)+ (A+C)

    If A is put with B first, and B occupies all the reactive spaces, then we get (A+B)+ C

    If A is put with C first, and C occupies all the reactive spaces, then we get (A+C)+ B

    We need a chemist here because I'm sure he/she will tell me I'm talking copralite.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Thanks Mumsy, I do get the general drift. It does make sense that various compounds will be created when an initial set of various botanical extracts are mixed, and the result of such mix will effect that which is added thereafter. Looks like I need to do some experiments of my own to see how Sandalwood added earlier compares to blends with it added later.

    The chemistry of the botanically derived materials is so complicated that it would seem like quite a task for even the chemist to figure it all out.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I'd agree with what mumsy said. I definitely think in those exact terms too. Mumsy was nice enough to simplify it well. You have to imagine things interacting, marrying or bonding as you mix them, with whatever is already in the mix. and then maybe the image of concentric spheres is helpful too, to get a sense of "inside" and "outside" a mix. Things added first go inside, and things added last go outside. so that implies basenotes first and top notes last, but there are plenty of exceptions, and that doesn't imply that a given material is only one thing or the other (top, mid or bottom).

    Whether you put in sandalwood first or last, to me, depends on your goal, the amount in your formula, whatever else is in accord with the sandalwood, and other factors, in my opinion. But I am hesitant to say anything, because someone will call me out on it, and I will struggle to justify my opinions. It's just based on experience.

    Even the nature and amount of solvent can affect desired order, for me. Also what you want something to bond with the most.

    I feel like order is more important with naturals, due to the sheer amount of chemicals and unanticipated reactions involved.

    The assumption is that things interact when mixed in various ways. But I cannot tell you the chemistry of it. Some of it might have to do with the nature of fluids, that area of knowledge, and not just chemistry.
    Last edited by DrSmellThis; 16th May 2014 at 11:23 PM. Reason: typo

  14. #14

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Thanks DrSmellThis...I can see that my question was too broad for an easy answer. As it is normally the accepted "rule" that the procedure for blending requires creation of the base first (then the addition of the middle, then top), I was kind of wondering how adding a base note, in my case, Sandalwood, at the end would work. It seems that I need to have much more experience with blending and formulation in general to see how this would work for my circumstances.

    Thanks to both of you Mumsy and DrSmell for taking the time to reply to my inquiry. Much appreciated.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Surely the order of mixing becomes irrelevant after the finished fragrance has been allowed to mature for however long you folks mature it. Also, when you talk of ingredients "reacting" with each other, do you mean chemically reacting, or what? As far as I am aware the little chemical reaction that occurs, occurs over time and is not instantaneous. But then I have not been inculcated into the mystical world of all Natural Perfumery, and it may be different there.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I think thats what I meant by leaving it a number of weeks first.

    I don't know either. It's just something I noticed when messing around. I suppose after a longer time any reactions may all meld eventually. I haven't made enough for long enough to know, nor used any chemicals. I suppose chemical reactions can undo themselves too.

    Does that mean this theory is copralite?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    So, I made the mistake of googling "copralite"...

    There are some arguments pro and con the effect of addition order. Maybe we can dig into this later, but first you need to prove that there actually is an effect. I suggest you do a classical triangle test, it´s fun. Make two variations of the same perfume, but with different addition order. Pick one of which you are pretty sure now that you have observed the difference.

    Now let someone help you. You need to evaluate three smelling strips, two of them have a drop of the first brew, the other one has a drop of the second brew. Only your assistent is to know which of the three is different from the other two, the order in which they are handed to you should be at random. Ideally, you are blindfolded, so that the color, or other things dont help you picking out the different one. Your assistent doesn´t speak, he just hands you the strip you ask for.
    Pick the one which you think is different from the other two. Your assitant should know if you are right or wrong. If you are right, there is only a 1/3 chance that you were guessing. Repeat this on a later occasion. If you get it right again, there is only a 1/9 chance that you were guessing. 1/27; 1/81;...
    Dont cheat, and you may even convince David that there is an actual difference. After that, we can discuss possible explanations

  18. #18

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Oh you scientists!!!

    mumsy, I don't think the theory is fossilised sh*t, honest I don't.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Testing it is then….. onwards ye natural scientists…..

    Much. much better if this theory is not true really because it adds too many variables.

    Many thanks for being lured over thomash.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I would hope that Natural Perfumery (so-called) would proceed by way of the laws of physics as they are understood in the regular, mundane world that scientists regularly work with, and has nothing to do with processes that fall within some sort of "mystical" realm...it gets complicated enough just sticking with the laws of nature as we understand them.

    I don't know that I'll have the opportunity to run an experiment as Thomash describes, though it sounds as if such an experiment would clear up some matters in regards to the sequence in blending question.

    As an easier way out, for the time being, I just threw in a bunch of Sandalwood EO to a blend I started on yesterday, and will see if it matures into a potential future Eau de Copralite, or maybe a Eau de Mud. I suppose the possibilities are infinite (but the Mud more likely).

    It was not a matured blend that I added to, so the sequence in this case is most likely irrelevant anyway. And to keep an open mind, I'll consider the possibility that the gods on the astral plane will intervene and have created in that little bottle something much better.

    I think I best do another batch of the same, but without the Lavender EO and Abs that I included on a whim, and which everyone probably knows where that took things (and largely the reason for my inquiry in the first place).

  21. #21

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I'm going to gather herbs in the garden wearing nothing but crystal beads….. maybe chanting a bit…. lol

    (I will test this theory properly at some stage when I'm brewing such things.)

  22. #22

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Those bulky iron cauldrons do take so long to heat up to required temperature.

  23. #23
    Basenotes Plus

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    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Maybe the angels could be prevailed upon to assist at that point?

  24. #24

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    It could be that you're mocking someone's beliefs right now.. Islearom - the gods live on Devachan. They're just expressing themselves in the astral, as we all are.
    I think that if there are some reactions (there have to be, as the scent does change, and that could be the only possible physical explanation), the initially the blending order could make a difference. However, given enough time, chemical bonds or whatever there is there (like Schiff bases) will break and form, and eventually reach an equilibrium.. At that point both experiments should smell the same. It could be, however, that this amount of time might be close to infinity.. There was a discussion in one of the threads about that sort of balance when mixing aldehydes with MA.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I had a laugh yesterday with this New Age Bulls**t generator

    http://tinyurl.com/lgme3zu


    Last edited by pkiler; 15th May 2014 at 08:56 PM.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

  26. #26
    Basenotes Plus

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    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by pkiler View Post
    I had a laugh yesterday with theis New Age Bulls**t generator

    http://tinyurl.com/lgme3zu



    That's fun - my daughter's going to have a link soon

  27. #27

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Love your link Paul, it's even been bookmarked

    Nizan, forgive my ignorance, but what is MA?

  28. #28

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by thomash View Post
    what is MA?
    You're welcome ! :-)

    MA = Methyl Anthranilate

    PK
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

  29. #29

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Superb link Paul. Very funny.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by pkiler View Post
    I had a laugh yesterday with this New Age Bulls**t generator

    http://tinyurl.com/lgme3zu


    Utterly wonderful; thank you Paul.

  31. #31

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Thanks Paul, I also had to bookmark that one.

    Nizan, yesterday when I was at work and away from this computer, I was thinking of this thread, and the bonds that would be created in the mixing of botanical extracts (Schiff's and then some) and thinking of David's inquiry as to whether these were chemical bonds to which I or we were referring, or otherwise...at first, I was assuming, when I wrote initially, the bonds to be of a chemical nature, ie. chemical reactions. I had noticed David's reply and inquiry about the sort of bonds being referred to, but got side tracked in my own writing (or, got lost in my own mind, however....), and neglected to mention that I was, at that time, thinking in terms of chemical reactions.

    Then thinking more about David's question later in the day yesterday, that there might be other non-chemical bonds, had me confused, but then with some additional consideration, the thought of the non-chemical sort of bond analogous to how glue will hold things together without a chemical reaction, per se (Thomash and any other specialists can correct me here as necessary), with the exception of epoxy type of glue (and whatever might be related to that type of bonding, which is of a chemical reaction in nature).

    The bonds of a glue holding two things together, I think, are of a physical nature, but not dependent exactly on chemical reactions taking place.

    David if you could please jump in and advise if this is more or less what you were suggesting as the other sort of possible reaction, if you were even suggesting that there might be some sort of other type of reaction, but which you refer to as "or what?" in your post a bit back (and for the sake of convenience here, we'll put the mystical sort on the side)?

    That is to say, a "physical" bond, sort of like glue holding two materials together, which I think, might be part of the way (in addition to chemical reaction of the components of botanical extracted materials) that bonds are created amongst the various ingredients (natural or synthetic) of a blend, which occur over time, or to say, during the maturation of a blend over time as is so often mentioned to be a requirement for the development of the complete scent profile of a newly mixed composition.

    I'm not sure if I am putting this in the best possible wording, but fear that this post will turn into Mud if I add anything more at this point (or, maybe it already has).

    Edit to add: I think my chakras are starting to feel kind of sore.
    Last edited by islearom; 16th May 2014 at 04:58 PM.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I forgot to include the phenomena of fixation as an example of a bonding that is not a chemical reaction. Or am I mistaken on this?

  33. #33

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I was doubting the existence of any chemical reaction when mixing fragrance materials together. I know that there are some reactions occurring (hemi acetal formation between aldehydes and alcohols; Schiff's bases forming, etc.) but as these are usually Organic chemical reactions they take a bit of time to take place. I cannot see how the order of addition of ingredients will affect the finished fragrance; especially if you mix well and then leave to blend for a week or so. Physical bonds, by which I guess you mean Hydrogen bonds and Van der Waals forces, don't really have anything to do with it; or do they?

  34. #34

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Maybe?

  35. #35

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I'm not going to be using the right terms here, so bear with me.

    If a few different ingredients, were mingled and then by the nature of those ingredients, some of the molecular chains (if that's the right term) swapped parts of themselves, and other parts of the other ingredients moved in to refill the newly available 'hole', 'slot' or whatever you call them. Then that perfume would be considered matured when all that sort of behaviour had finished happening. From the smell angle the perfume is smoothed and mellowed.

    If then, another ingredient were added which might have reacted before in the same 'slot', but that 'slot' was now occupied by the previous lot of ingredients. So now the new ingredient couldn't react in the same way because that 'slot' was already filled. Assuming for a minute the new ingredient doesn't re-break any. Could that not potentially have a slightly different nuance?

  36. #36

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Here's something similar from my line of work
    http://snarxiv.org/vs-arxiv/
    People usually converge to surprusingly low success rates.

    Anyhow, since my chemistry knowledge is practically null, I was probably being to general. I fonsider two molecules sticking together as a chemical reaction, since it basically involves the same mechanisms (spin, EM force, quantum mechanics).. But maybe I was over generalizing.

  37. #37

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by islearom View Post
    I forgot to include the phenomena of fixation as an example of a bonding that is not a chemical reaction. Or am I mistaken on this?

    fixation is the result of the changed vapor pressure of the solution which changes the total evaporation rate, physics actually, not
    organic chemistry.

  38. #38

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    As I said in my original post about compounding order, I am reporting from experience only, as was Mumsy, and I don't have any scientific explanation. I then said I expected to be called out.

    In all good science, practice informs research and theory, and a great deal of respect is accorded practical observation, for example, for generating hypotheses.

    What i was referring to was relations between and among molecules in solution. I'm not a chemist. Far from it. But there are covalent and noncovalent relations. I was referring to both, while admitting I understand neither. In fact, no one in perfuming understands much about the relations molecules form. The science is lacking, and is therefore at a stage where practice-based speculation should be accepted as normal, rather than be mocked as "mysticism".

    Some things are understood about the covalent reactions, the formation of esters and the like. I don't think GC-MS technology can identify it all for us yet, or most of it. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Yet there are also countless examples in nature of noncovalent relations among molecules in solution as well. (Again, I am a layperson as regards chemistry, and am only attempting to coverse about it the best I can.)

    But a solution is by definition a relation among molecules, as it is precisely the degree of relation between a solvent and a solute that determines solubility. Different degrees of solubility imply different relations between a solvent and a solute on the molecular level. Like dissolves like, which means the ideal solvent is related to the soluble molecule as the soluble molecules relate to themselves, clumsily put.

    Usually noncovalent molecular relations are electromagnetic, they have been categorized in detail, though perhaps not exhaustively. There are also liquid crystals which are common in nature. A cell wall is a liquid crystal. Then there the structure of water molecules in water. Water molecules are not randomly arranged, which helps explain a lot of strange characteristics water demonstrates. Salt solutions, surfactant solutions have structures, Viscosity refers to structures of molecules in solution. As David said, there are Van Der Waals forces and weak hydrogen bonds. There is hydrophopic clumpng. Structures and relations can be determined by the sizes and shapes of molecules, and often large molecules tend to interrelate (e.g., to form liquid crystals). concentration in a solution is another variable that affects molecular relations, as is temperature, and the ratio fo organic molecules to inorganic (in the case of liquid crystals).

    My point is that there are many kinds of examples of different molecular interrelations in solutions, and we still do not understand them all, as regards alcoholic perfumes. Yet there are so many different kinds of relations among molecules in solutions in nature, there is plenty of room for reasonable speculation, especially the kind based in practice. It's not as if solutions in nature, or fluids in general, tend only to be a random collection of molecules, identical when viewed from any angle. Certainly water is not that way.

    Again, I don't pretend to understand how to explain the maturation of alcoholic perfumes in terms of the evolving relations among molecules dissolved in the alcohol or other solvent.

    Who does?

    David's apparent claim is that perfume molecules randomly distribute themselves vis a vis one another in solution after two weeks of maturation. If that is the claim, and if I have stated it correctly, then that is a hypothesis, an educated guess, as there were experience-driven guesses by Mumsy and myself.

    In order to test all these hypotheses without viewing fragrant solutions microscopically, you would have to do something like take complex perfumes full of naturals, and compund them randomly, in order, and in reverse order. Then you compare the smells after two weeks under those three conditions. That would start to approach scientific.
    Last edited by DrSmellThis; 16th May 2014 at 10:37 PM.

  39. #39

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    This paper should explain a number of the questions raised in this thread;
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19456979

    although there is not any mention of compounding order, however one could make a case that the order might
    have an effect, based on the reactions mentioned in the paper.

    my mom was a perfumer in the 30's and in some of her notes there are references to the compounding order
    as well as at certain times during the compounding temperature notes.

    forgot to mention, this in a sense could be an example of
    compounding order as well?

    not mentioning the perfume, but a famous perfume that
    used aldehydes, used a unique method, one of the aldehydes was first mixed with 2 parts of phenylethyl alcohol, that formed the hemiacetal, [the protecting group]
    prior to addition in the compound.
    Last edited by luigi_g; 16th May 2014 at 10:26 PM.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    I'm not going to be using the right terms here, so bear with me.

    If a few different ingredients, were mingled and then by the nature of those ingredients, some of the molecular chains (if that's the right term) swapped parts of themselves, and other parts of the other ingredients moved in to refill the newly available 'hole', 'slot' or whatever you call them. Then that perfume would be considered matured when all that sort of behaviour had finished happening. From the smell angle the perfume is smoothed and mellowed.

    If then, another ingredient were added which might have reacted before in the same 'slot', but that 'slot' was now occupied by the previous lot of ingredients. So now the new ingredient couldn't react in the same way because that 'slot' was already filled. Assuming for a minute the new ingredient doesn't re-break any. Could that not potentially have a slightly different nuance?
    Mumsy, I for one welcome your attempts to speculate about this. I get that you're not a chemist, and are just trying to use everyday terms of common sense. Perhaps there will turn out to be some scientific equivalent some day. Perhaps not. But no harm in wondering based on your own experiences.

  41. #41

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by luigi_g View Post
    This paper should explain a number of the questions raised in this thread;
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19456979

    although there is not any mention of compounding order, however one could make a case that the order might
    have an effect, based on the reactions mentioned in the paper.

    my mom was a perfumer in the 30's and in some of her notes there are references to the compounding order
    as well as at certain times during the compounding temperature notes.

    forgot to mention, this in a sense could be an example of
    compounding order as well?

    not mentioning the perfume, but a famous perfume that
    used aldehydes, used a unique method, one of the aldehydes was first mixed with 2 parts of phenylethyl alcohol, that formed the hemiacetal, [the protecting group]
    prior to addition in the compound.
    Nice find. Though it doesn't explain everything, or anything close to it, it certainly is an article I'd want to include in a scientific review of the literature, and is indeed relevant to some of the issues raised here.

  42. #42

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I love all the jesting as well as the serious. That is half the fun on here. What is the point of a DIY section if you cannot pontificate together? Out come all the study files and all the ancient books to see if there is anything. There will be something written on this type of speculation already. It will be old hat somewhere and either proved or disproved.

    I am very game to do some serious testing of it. Not quite yet. There are a few bees to attend to first.

  43. #43

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I mean no disrespect in saying this but.. 125 EOs and Absolutes sounds crazy to me.. that is a lot of molecules! That being said, I'm still a rookie, and have not smelled this fragrance!

    Mix too many harmonics and get white-noise, too many colors and get brown. I think removing the superfluous is due diligence in all art forms, but artistic philosophies are subjective things.

    Truly the smell in the bottle is the only important thing, not how you got there... but personally I would be asking myself what's properly placed, and what's actually sabotaging the essential character of the fragrance.

  44. #44

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    The white-noise factor could be adding to the scent, not subtracting. Ever tried sitting in a sound proof chamber? Also, you're forgetting these aren't randomally mixed. I got to sample a few mixtures which are claimed to be olfacotry-white at the olfactory lab here. They had simiar scent (like Jasmine and Wintergreen), though they had a totally random mix of molecules.
    As for mixtures, I would be surprised if there's more then one steady equilibrium of the mix that is formed after the perfume has fully matured..

  45. #45

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nizan View Post
    As for mixtures, I would be surprised if there's more then one steady equilibrium of the mix that is formed after the perfume has fully matured..
    The question still remains as to the nuance of the aroma after the stability of maturation. Either it can only ever be one result, or as this discussion implies, the possibility that maturation could yield differing nuances if blended in a different order.

    Fascinating. It needs to be tested under strict controls. I shall have a shot soon enough.

    I've been doing a lot of reading all the old books and looking for clues last night and this morning. One thing that seemed more important then (in the 1920's in my book) was the types of alcohol used with what ingredients. Whether it was grape or grain. (That is another matter to this discussion but worth mentioning for another discussion later).

    The other, more pertinent to this discussion, was that particular bases were often made up and matured in advance. This would account for house signatures such as the spicy accord that Guerlain uses and is instantly recognisable as their own. These signatures seem to endure their many variants and keep a 'house style' as it were.

    Could this not indicate that a certain pre-designed base stability would stay as it was, without further chemical reactions for the aroma to stray too far, before the rest is added?

  46. #46

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    I'm not going to be using the right terms here, so bear with me.

    If a few different ingredients, were mingled and then by the nature of those ingredients, some of the molecular chains (if that's the right term) swapped parts of themselves, and other parts of the other ingredients moved in to refill the newly available 'hole', 'slot' or whatever you call them. Then that perfume would be considered matured when all that sort of behaviour had finished happening. From the smell angle the perfume is smoothed and mellowed.

    If then, another ingredient were added which might have reacted before in the same 'slot', but that 'slot' was now occupied by the previous lot of ingredients. So now the new ingredient couldn't react in the same way because that 'slot' was already filled. Assuming for a minute the new ingredient doesn't re-break any. Could that not potentially have a slightly different nuance?
    What you say is true if "some of the molecular chains swapped themselves". But if they did, there would be all sorts of chemical reactions going on. When you mix Perfumery ingredients together there are very few of these reactions occurring, and those that do take time.
    Last edited by David Ruskin; 17th May 2014 at 11:31 AM.

  47. #47

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by luigi_g View Post
    fixation is the result of the changed vapor pressure of the solution which changes the total evaporation rate, physics actually, not
    organic chemistry.
    Hear hear.

  48. #48

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmellThis View Post
    As I said in my original post about compounding order, I am reporting from experience only, as was Mumsy, and I don't have any scientific explanation. I then said I expected to be called out.

    In all good science, practice informs research and theory, and a great deal of respect is accorded practical observation, for example, for generating hypotheses.

    What i was referring to was relations between and among molecules in solution. I'm not a chemist. Far from it. But there are covalent and noncovalent relations. I was referring to both, while admitting I understand neither. In fact, no one in perfuming understands much about the relations molecules form. The science is lacking, and is therefore at a stage where practice-based speculation should be accepted as normal, rather than be mocked as "mysticism".

    Some things are understood about the covalent reactions, the formation of esters and the like. I don't think GC-MS technology can identify it all for us yet, or most of it. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Yet there are also countless examples in nature of noncovalent relations among molecules in solution as well. (Again, I am a layperson as regards chemistry, and am only attempting to coverse about it the best I can.)

    But a solution is by definition a relation among molecules, as it is precisely the degree of relation between a solvent and a solute that determines solubility. Different degrees of solubility imply different relations between a solvent and a solute on the molecular level. Like dissolves like, which means the ideal solvent is related to the soluble molecule as the soluble molecules relate to themselves, clumsily put.

    Usually noncovalent molecular relations are electromagnetic, they have been categorized in detail, though perhaps not exhaustively. There are also liquid crystals which are common in nature. A cell wall is a liquid crystal. Then there the structure of water molecules in water. Water molecules are not randomly arranged, which helps explain a lot of strange characteristics water demonstrates. Salt solutions, surfactant solutions have structures, Viscosity refers to structures of molecules in solution. As David said, there are Van Der Waals forces and weak hydrogen bonds. There is hydrophopic clumpng. Structures and relations can be determined by the sizes and shapes of molecules, and often large molecules tend to interrelate (e.g., to form liquid crystals). concentration in a solution is another variable that affects molecular relations, as is temperature, and the ratio fo organic molecules to inorganic (in the case of liquid crystals).

    My point is that there are many kinds of examples of different molecular interrelations in solutions, and we still do not understand them all, as regards alcoholic perfumes. Yet there are so many different kinds of relations among molecules in solutions in nature, there is plenty of room for reasonable speculation, especially the kind based in practice. It's not as if solutions in nature, or fluids in general, tend only to be a random collection of molecules, identical when viewed from any angle. Certainly water is not that way.

    Again, I don't pretend to understand how to explain the maturation of alcoholic perfumes in terms of the evolving relations among molecules dissolved in the alcohol or other solvent.

    Who does?

    David's apparent claim is that perfume molecules randomly distribute themselves vis a vis one another in solution after two weeks of maturation. If that is the claim, and if I have stated it correctly, then that is a hypothesis, an educated guess, as there were experience-driven guesses by Mumsy and myself.

    In order to test all these hypotheses without viewing fragrant solutions microscopically, you would have to do something like take complex perfumes full of naturals, and compund them randomly, in order, and in reverse order. Then you compare the smells after two weeks under those three conditions. That would start to approach scientific.
    Whilst you claim not to know anything about chemistry you then to proceed and try to explain your theory in chemical terms. I would disagree with you that no-one "in perfuming understands the relations that molecules form". I know several Perfumers who are brilliant chemists. No-one is mocking anyone, and I'm not sure why you used the term "mysticism". My claim, is not apparent; I made it.

    You have been given an experiment to try out (the triangle test), why not try it out, and see for yourself. As indeed, you have suggested.
    Last edited by David Ruskin; 18th May 2014 at 10:27 AM.

  49. #49

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by luigi_g View Post
    This paper should explain a number of the questions raised in this thread;
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19456979

    although there is not any mention of compounding order, however one could make a case that the order might
    have an effect, based on the reactions mentioned in the paper.

    my mom was a perfumer in the 30's and in some of her notes there are references to the compounding order
    as well as at certain times during the compounding temperature notes.

    forgot to mention, this in a sense could be an example of
    compounding order as well?

    not mentioning the perfume, but a famous perfume that
    used aldehydes, used a unique method, one of the aldehydes was first mixed with 2 parts of phenylethyl alcohol, that formed the hemiacetal, [the protecting group]
    prior to addition in the compound.
    The key phrase in the paper is "Perfume ageing". Yes, there are chemical reactions, but they occur over time. If I add A then B then C, and wait a week; and if I add C then B then A, and wait a week I will end up with the same mix. If I add A to B, then wait a week and then add C I won't.

  50. #50

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    DrSmellThis, I was also going to mention that there was no suggestion that direct observation as you refer to, is in any way considered by anyone's statement here to be of a mystical nature. I agree with you that Hypothesis is often preceeded by direct observation. And I do trust your and Mumsy's observations. I know from reading many of both of your posts that both of you pay close attention to the details of how you create perfumes as well as the outcome of your various formulation trials. I believe that observations by both of you, of your blending experiements, are definitely valid. I do not think they are the result of what would be analagous to the Placebo effect in medicine, or illusion, or delusion on the part of your senses of perception.

    Luigi-G, Thanks for the comments on vapor pressure as it being related to (and essentially, the cause for) fixation. Do note, if you have not already, that my comment as well indicated that the bonding of fixation did not involve chemical reaction. We we already in agreement on that part, you did bring me up to date as to the particular part of physics involved with fixation (ie. vapor pressure).

    And thanks David for your patience with all of this. I know much of this seems more theoretical than pratical, but I do think there is a practical aspect that can be derived from any answer that might be eventually provided (re: oreder of sequence for blending, of importance, or, irrelevant).

  51. #51

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I agree with you David,

    I wonder if over the years the accord order somehow was misinterpreted as mixing materials in order,
    e.g. start with the base accord, then the heart, etc... ??

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    The key phrase in the paper is "Perfume ageing". Yes, there are chemical reactions, but they occur over time. If I add A then B then C, and wait a week; and if I add C then B then A, and wait a week I will end up with the same mix. If I add A to B, then wait a week and then add C I won't.

  52. #52

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Wouldn't the paper results suggest that if the accords are matured first, and more so, if they were diluted in ethanol initially (say, by way of dilution of the individual raw materials used for the composition of each accord), then sequence would in fact be relevant?

  53. #53

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    The key phrase in the paper is "Perfume ageing". Yes, there are chemical reactions, but they occur over time. If I add A then B then C, and wait a week; and if I add C then B then A, and wait a week I will end up with the same mix. If I add A to B, then wait a week and then add C I won't.
    And if you wait a month, with the latter won't smell like the two formers?

  54. #54

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Nizan, That's how I understood what David was saying.

  55. #55

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    That is what was being indicated in post 11.

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    I noticed that if you mixed one set of notes together then the others at a later stage, sometimes, and only sometimes, the result is slightly different than if you did it the other way around or all at once. It is something that I've noticed time and time again but it doesn't always happen. The only notes i've noticed do it more often are orange and some of the citrus notes. It is easy to put them in at the beginning, but often they seem more pronounced to my nose if they are added at the end. I couldn't tell you about aromachems.

    By end I mean after a week or three when all the ingredients have finished their intermingling and have settled into each other as one.

  56. #56

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Yes Mumsy, there is a fair amount of redundancy in this thread...I think that will help for this thread to mature into a blend that is superior to the barebones thread without the redundancy.

  57. #57

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nizan View Post
    And if you wait a month, with the latter won't smell like the two formers?
    Probably.

  58. #58

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    No-one is mocking anyone, and I'm not sure why you used the term "mysticism".
    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    But then I have not been inculcated into the mystical world of all Natural Perfumery, and it may be different there.
    I interpreted this in light of the history of such comments here as containing a sarcastic element. If I am wrong, I apologise. Sincerely! If it is just gentle, humorous teasing, I also apologise, equally sincerely.

    But I do not regard my own thinking as "mystical" on this, and if someone states that they believe it is, that I am not being rational, I reserve the right to defend myself, so that readers don't just automatically disregard everything I say. Do you understand?
    Last edited by DrSmellThis; 17th May 2014 at 09:00 PM.

  59. #59

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    I'd be curious to know if these 'compounding order' experiments yield different results when blending chemicals of similar molecular weight only. My mind wanders to images of molecules, many a shape and size, bumping around in an awkward dance of physics until some peaceful "physical order" is reached (and maintained, by virtue of physical forces perhaps).

    And Nizan, I agree that noise has appeal, it's why so many people prefer analog audio equipment to digital: digi is too clean, cold, and sterile: too pure. White-noise and an anechoic chamber are polar opposites, harmonically speaking. I think many perfumers use naturals for exactly that: adding noise.... warmth, roundness, subtle harmonics.

    I suppose its the nature of my philosophy but my creative endeavors are always subject to subtractive processing at one point or another, refinement... Personally I can't help but think such a mountain of molecules could be improved by subtracting (at least to my tastes).

  60. #60

    Default Re: Can you use too many naturals?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Whilst you claim not to know anything about chemistry you then to process and try to explain your theory in chemical terms.
    And what is the problem with that? I read up about something I lacked knowledge about, to be more articulate about what I had in mind, to post a better response than I otherwise could. I think that preliminary work helped get the basic idea across, as intended. To me that is a positive thing to do for the forum, better than shooting from the hip as would have been easier.

    If you disagree, fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    I would disagree with you that no-one "in perfuming understands the relations that molecules form". I know several Perfumers who are brilliant chemists.
    My comment was about the state of the art, in understanding the subtleties and details of perfume mixing and maturation, not about the relative chemistry expertise of perfumers. My impression from readings thus far is that there is still a lot to learn, rather than it being a closed book.

    Do you believe it is already well understood, that we are wasting our time looking for, or wondering about, new phenomena?
    Last edited by DrSmellThis; 17th May 2014 at 09:51 PM.

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