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  1. #1

    Default Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    I was wondering if any of you did something like obtain some EOs of pine needles, frankincense, myrrh, patchouli, oakmoss, and vetiver, or something along those lines, and just tried to get a nice balance among them. In other words, very deep/rich/heavy, but basically just a base. If so, do you have any formula suggestions? Thanks.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 8th June 2014 at 12:47 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    Yes I did something similar and I found that even the smallest amount of
    patchouli in the formula didn't fit in well. On the hand, real distilled amber EO
    is a great resinous addition.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Odeon View Post
    Yes I did something similar and I found that even the smallest amount of
    patchouli in the formula didn't fit in well. On the hand, real distilled amber EO
    is a great resinous addition.
    I'm going to suggest that competence with such accords is one of the fundamental skills of natural perfuming. It's one of the things that can be done successfully with all natural ingredients.

    With natural perfuming, you don't dictate what the perfume is going to be. Rather the ingredients dictate to you what it will be. With contemporary perfuming, you can implement an abstract idea. In natural perfuming, you must be somewhat of a slave to the ingredients you are working with. So that is a point of difficulty.

    Working with resinous and balsamic scents is one good way to discover that.

    I have zero problem getting patchouili to work in that context. Sometimes I feel that one's thoughts about patchoili going in can interfere with one's success in making accords from it. Most everyone I know in my everyday life hates patchouli. I love it. I could not work without it. You would not believe this, but I had a nice accord of this type that was 50% patchouli! It was nicely aged patchouli. It could be worn every day.

  4. #4

    Default Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    I've found the same to be true with patch; it just plays nice when it's among its brethren. Vetiver, however . . .

  5. #5

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    I've found the same to be true with patch; it just plays nice when it's among its brethren. Vetiver, however . . .
    My highest wearable vetiver accord is 40% vetiver. I could wear it every day with no problems. I guess you could say natural perfumes are an aquired taste. Obviously, they are earthier. Once you get over that fact, you are fine. Department store perfumes are far from perfect themselves.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmellThis View Post
    I'm going to suggest that competence with such accords is one of the fundamental skills of natural perfuming. It's one of the things that can be done successfully with all natural ingredients.
    All natural ingredients or all-natural ingredients?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmellThis View Post
    With natural perfuming, you don't dictate what the perfume is going to be. Rather the ingredients dictate to you what it will be. With contemporary perfuming, you can implement an abstract idea. In natural perfuming, you must be somewhat of a slave to the ingredients you are working with. So that is a point of difficulty.

    Working with resinous and balsamic scents is one good way to discover that.

    I have zero problem getting patchouili to work in that context. Sometimes I feel that one's thoughts about patchoili going in can interfere with one's success in making accords from it. Most everyone I know in my everyday life hates patchouli. I love it. I could not work without it. You would not believe this, but I had a nice accord of this type that was 50% patchouli! It was nicely aged patchouli. It could be worn every day.
    I built my most favourite fragrance around patchouli as the highest % ingredient. It is blended in a way
    that it loses the common offending notes and is difficult to identify as patchouli. So I am far from
    being against its use.

    But in my resinous formula it just didn't work [the way I hoped] and I didn't want to change my direction
    near the end just to say I managed to incorporate it. There turned out to be better ways to get what
    I desired.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    Maybe get some more resins? I would suggest Peru balsam, Tolu balsam, Benzoin and Opoponax resinoid..
    I think these will work at any proportions

  8. #8

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    Don't forget to try the inclusion of Labdanum Absolute, and instead of the Frankincense EO, try Frankincense Absolute, or the modified "Heart Note" EO of Frankincense (to reduce or avoid the turnpentine high note of most Frankincense EO's).. I have used all of these together, in the form of the absolutes (of those that are available in such form) of the materials that both you and Nizan mention (though have always omitted the Myrrh and Opoponax as well as the amber by destructive distillation stuff), and as long as the Vetiver and Patchouli are added in minor amounts, you will find that as Nizan suggests, the actual proportions are not critical. Not to suggest that you not pay attention to how much of each you use, as you will have different variations on the amber theme by using these materials in different proportions.

    You do have to be cautious of excessive quantity of any of the components though as many of them can in fact take over the whole scent if added in excess. For additional variations on the amber theme, you could include Sandalwood Oil, Cedarwood (Virginia/Texas and/or Himalyan/Atlas) with the Himalayan or Atlas having more of a balsam characteristic than the Texas or Virgina, but they all work. The Peru Balsam, Tolu and Benzoin will have things much sweeter. If you find things getting too sweet for your intended application, you can balance that a bit by way of adding minimal amounts of more Vetiver and/or Patchouli (assuming they are already in there that I say "more" of those EO;s). Excessive Frankincense (as Absolute or Heart Note EO) will bury everthing, so careful with the amount used of that paticular material.Too much Labdanum can overwhelm, but its much a matter of personal taste that will decide whether something is included in the proper amount, vs, the feeling that that same amount is excessive (for any of the ingredients actually)..

    Fir Balsam Absolute is also a nice addition and would add a green aspect. I almost forgot to mention that Styrax, as the Absolute, not the EO, can also add a nice effect to the overall blend. Guiacwood (as the EO, which is solid at room temperature) adds an interesting sweet floral aspect, and Galbanum Absolute can be used for another version of "green note" that is different than that added by the Fir Balsam.
    Last edited by islearom; 9th June 2014 at 12:46 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    I'm just starting out and am learning more about my materials by making simple two note accords. This will help you understand their relative strength profile and how they blend together, smell them immediately after blending then again the next day and so on. You will soon discover which of your two note accords can be blended to make four note accords etc. The materials you've listed are all close in family (perhaps excepting the pine needles - not sure because I don't own it) but try exploring Labdanum and Benzoin too because they're relatively easy to work with.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    I have one I'm working on that's pretty heavy-resinous and smokey...looks something like this:

    Labdanum Absolute 20%
    Copal 20%
    Myrrh 10%
    Frankincense 10%
    Texas Cedar 10%
    Cypress 10%
    Oronox 10%
    Fossilized Amber 5%
    Cederyl 4%
    Birch Tar 1%
    Madhat Scents - My personal limited run artisan perfume project.

    *** NEW Lavhim (Lavender, Incense, Candle Wax, Clove, Fir Needles, Cognac & Green Leaves)*** / Jour et la Nuit (17/18th Century Style Chypre - Oakmoss/Resins/Musk/Vintage Civet Tincture.)

  11. #11

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    DrSmellThis, re-reading your post and your comments about how natural ingredients will ultimately dictate the outcome...I agree and find that if one is willing to accept this fact, that natural perfumery does allow for the creation of many pleasant scents, despite the limitations.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    Surely one should be able to decide the outcome whatever one uses. I think this idea, that the "Naturals" decide, means that you don't understand them properly.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    I don't know that I understand them properly... but I do get the feeling that DrSmellThis does understand them well enough, and by way of my limited experience, I can appreciate what he has to say in this regard.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    I think I can agree with David that natural perfuming would have to be a more difficult path to get a successful result.

    You might want to mix naturals A, B, C, and D in a particular way. It might fit your idea. But it might smell bad in the end. Naturals are so complex, and because of that not always predictable.

    But if you let the nature of the materials moreso dictate what you do, it will at least be possible to get something pleasant. And the bottom line is to get something pleasant to wear. Your customer has to like it. Your customer does not have to think, "this smells just like a rose from my garden, or "Just like my suede jacket". Or, "just like" whatever abstract idea you might have in your head.

    Now that might mean you didn't meet your "abstract idea-based goal" for the perfume. But to me, that is par for the course with naturals.

    If I am working with the whole palette of aromachemicals, I as the perfumer can as a matter of course implerment my abstract idea. I can run a GC-MS, and recreate something from scratch, for example. I can put in a gunpowder note that smells like gunpowder, just because I got that idea in my head.

    With naturals you are limited to what the substance can do. The substance has already announced to the universe what it is, a complex array of chemicals that is going to have a lot of predetermined traits.

    You must accept that and just work with what it gives you.

    This is what I meant. By my way of thinking, David's comment is entirely consistent with what I've been saying. Knowing the materials indeed helps you determine the demands made by the material, the limits of the material.

    With individual aromachemicals, each chemical generally has one or a few properties, and you can form an idea where you mix desired properties in your head.

    There are times in natural perfuming where I felt I had only one option to get something not to smell terrible, so I did it.

    It's more about working with the substance, not dictating to the substance what it will do.

    The bottom line with natural perfuming is that if you can get it to smell good to people, no one can tell you you failed. You get it to smell good by accepting the many limitations of the materials, and picking a more sure path toward pleasantness, somewhat regardless of what notes that creates, or somewhat regardless of your theoretical, intellectual preference. You are not in charge at all times. The material is. Just relating impressions I had.

    If I did not understand this, I would not have had modest success selling my last perfume, a mostly (overwhelmingly) natual product. There were many times where I was panicking just to get it to smell good, almost desperate. There was damage control as some complex combination of notes carried a discord with it. So you add what you have to add, if you know it will result in pleasantness. If you get something pleasant, you may have to quit there. While some of this was probably lack of skill on my part, lack of mastery of my materials, another part was probably the normal "hazards" of the craft.

    With natural perfuming, I believe you are limited in the variety of ways you can have something be beautiful (which is why I now prefer using both naturals and synthetics. Just comparing to a mixed approach). But it can be done. That is the part a lot of people might not get (present company excluded).

    So if Mumsy has even one tincture that smells beautiful, whether it smells "like the thing in itself" or not, then it must be possible to have a beautiful natural perfume based on the nature of that substance. That is the central idea.

    I hope that explained it better.
    Last edited by DrSmellThis; 22nd June 2014 at 04:37 AM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    Thank you for that longer explanation Dr S; it makes more sense.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    To add to that. In my limited experience, I am finding that any perfume is better 'grown' than 'forced'.

    I'm finding that the perfumes in which I am trying to force their direction, are still failing to completely obey me. Sometimes in the most spectacularly disobedient ways that are totally unexpected. Particularly with the total disappearing fragrance trick upon the addition of the smelliest ingredient to an already strong blend. Totally neutralising the whole lot (my latest, and not single, perplexing issue).

    Those that I genuinely 'feel' my way to their end, really trying to use my nose and my instincts, are far better creatures. They do tend to centralise around a particular ingredient that I feel and smell the facets of, then try to 'bend' towards my own goal. I find I cannot just plant the square peg in the round hole and it will work. It seldom does. I'm quite sure this is due to my own lack of knowledge but it can only get better by actually doing it again and again and making all the mistakes along the way.

    Going back to the OP. I don't think you need a formula as such. There are enough basic guides certainly to be found and utilised by a general google search or on sites like the perfumers apprentice. They are not a bad place to start but I would suggest you take your favourite ingredient that you want to be the central player and 'feed' its facets in whatever direction you want the perfume to go to, but gently and not all at once. Feel it there. Taking notes so you can reverse one step when you crash.

    I don't think we apprentices can hope to achieve the good applied results that David can probably achieve straight away. It took years to learn with eons of applied experience and if we want to get that good, then so must we learn and apply that learning, and for a long time yet. Nice accidents of the accidentally-on-purpose nature can happen but more informed guidance is always very welcome.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Simple way to make a heavily resinous scent?

    I do wish that the people I worked for took the same view; "don't try for anything specific, just make something nice". Unfortunately this was not the case. I agree that working only with Naturals is much harder, and there are many more unlooked for results. You are using tens, if not hundreds, of chemicals at the same time; much more complicated. I'm sure with experience it is possible to do it; to be able to create something that is desired rather than trusting to luck. It will take much longer though, and may not be possible.

    Nice accidents are always welcome; I have utter faith in serendipity. But all accidents, happy or not, should be noted and used in future work.

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