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  1. #1

    Default Some basic information

    Hi!

    Thank you all for this amazing forum, so much information!

    I have some questions on how you practically go on about doing accords, and mixing in general when it comes to base/heart/top and a scent as a complete work. There is quite a lot to grasp in terms of dimensions for a newbie. Basically there is first and foremost the whole "accord" concept, which I have understood to be where a certain mix looses is individual scents and created a new scent (correct?). And then you have the top, heart/middle, and base notes, which is longevity of any scent (and not as easy as 3 stages, but a unique time for each scent and the 3 stages is just a marketing/esy classification). For me, these 2 areas are quite confusing, and in theory doesn't always makes sense, so would like to throw out some mixed questions.

    - Is the usual way to create a scent to first create different accords? Or do you start with let's say the base or the top?

    - What is your normal way from A to Z when starting from 0 and to a complete perfume?

    - Could an accord be in both top and middle, or even top to bottom? Or do you usually try to create an accord that has the same longevity in its different parts to make the whole accord feel the same way throughout (hence an accord will therefore try to stay within "top" or "bottom"). If I create a burnt wood accord, the burnt parts will probably be top notes and disappear quite fast, but the cedar could stay long. This way the "accord" will be part of all 3 stages of the perfume, but change within. So is that acceptable or am I thinking about it in a wrong way?

    - How do create accords? Often when I mix accords it is very difficult to feel that point where they completely change character? Will that "new scent" always happen or is it merely a figure of speech that they "create something new"?

    - Do you save accords in small let's say 2 ml containers to see what mix was the best when trying to mix a few items into an accord? And hence having a bunch of different mixes of maybe 2-3 ingredients sitting for a week or 2 before evaluating an accord and modify from there? Or is that done in real time on scent strip?

    Thank you for any clarifications!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Some basic information

    I recognize this stage of working! And firstly: this is part of the job, and I think you are going about it the right way, it just takes some time to figure out.

    To address some of the questions:

    - Yes, an accord is usually the sum of many parts making up a certain scent-profile.

    - Yes, the marketing pyramid is not of much use to perfumers. It's there to 'explain' a fragrance to buyers, but it isn't going to tell you what's in there and in what stage of the fragrance. There is a difference in perfumes that are made up of 'stages', with a pronounced top, heart and base note, but there are also fragrances that are more linear, so they stay more or less the same when worn.

    - There is no real 'usual' way to create a scent. You can start with an entire structure, like a chypre and than tweak that. You can also start with one accord that is going to be at the heart of your perfume and add a base and a top as desired. The way you work will depend on your inspiration, your preferences and what makes sense to you. There isn't a real "right or wrong" here when it gets the job done. What is advisably, I think, is working in a way you keep a grasp of what you're doing. So don't start writing a formula that has 70 components, but first blend a part that you think works well and add on to it later.

    - An accord can be in the entirety of the fragrance, yes. You can even make the whole fragrance smell like one accord, if that's desired. I think something to get a grasp on is the way you want an accord to work. For example if you would add eugenol and only have a brief moment of floral-ness, it's going to be a carnation, accompanied by the florals and when they die out you are left with just eugenol. The same with smoky topnotes on ceder. You would have smokiness at first and after that 'just woods'. If you would want to have a smokey accord going through the fragrance it would make sense to use, at least some, smokey materials that will accompany the ceder to the base, for example some birch tar. That way you would be able to enhance the smokiness in the top, but still keep some character of smoke through to the base. But what's acceptable here is really up to you! It depends on what you want to make and what you feel works well.

    - Don't weigh the "totally new smell" too heavily. In some cases, like the melis-accord, the sum of two parts is something else entirely from the two parts you used. In other cases I think you could aim for "the moment where no material really sticks out". If I would do a fig, for example, using gamma octalactone and stemone, there is a certain point where you sort of 'know what's in there', but there isn't this instant "Ah, stemone"-moment. It's probably best to aim for something that feels well-blended, instead of finding these certain 'magic accords', because coming across those is pretty rare. :-)

    - Yes, it's pretty handy to save small mixed and evaluate over time. I think a week or 2 is pretty long, but monitoring them over a few days is very helpful. Also, when you have a mix you really like, it's worth while to make a larger batch and add certain 'effects' in smaller portions to see what happens and what you like. After years, I still like to do that, because you can try out different routes and see which ones work, without wasting a lot of material. I do monitor fragrances straight away on a scent strip and see if I feel I'm close and than take a break from an accord or fragrance to give my brain and nose a rest. Usually when I come back to it a few days later, I'll have a firmer grasp on what I'm doing and test again on a strip. From there I see which blends I like and want to continue working on, evaluate which materials are causing problems and sort of determine how to proceed. :-)

    And again, there is no real 'right' way of working. You'll find out over time what works for you and what you're comfortable with, but trying things out, feeling confused and testing a lot are a huge part of the process. :-)

    I hope this was helpful and happy perfuming!

  3. #3
    Basenotes Member Talya_Israel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some basic information

    Renskevanvroonhoven
    Thank you very much for your detailed answer. Very helpful for all beginners.
    "because the sound is beneficial for the spices" (from the Jewish prayer)

  4. #4

    Default Re: Some basic information

    @Renskevanvroonhoven. Thank you for an amazing answer! Really appreciate it! As for accord, I guess you say that within one, I should try to use materials with roughly same longevity and not totally different, so that the goal is to make the accord harmonize somewhat as it develops.

    And thanks for clearing out the "totally new smell"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Some basic information

    Thank you guys, nice to hear I was of some use to you :-)

    And you are right, Sugarrush, to have a stable accord it's easiest to stick to materials that have roughly the same longevity. Although if they fit in well together and have uses in different structures of the fragrance, that works well too. What you should look out for is moments when one certain materials is still going strong without any (proper) context. So that could mean that for example the eugenol in a carnation later has a part in a spicy-basenote structure, and that's off course totally fine :-)

    What I've had happen a while back was using indole in a jasmine-accord that after a while was totally unsupported... In that case you start of with a beautiful jasmin and end up in solid-indole-poopiness, which was quite undesirable ;-) And again, it's not really about rules, but more about the common sense of it and what you are looking to achieve. In some cases overdosing or emphasizing a certain ingredient works totally fine, in others you really want that seamless blend.

    If you are wondering about certain ingredients, in most cases the Goodscentscompany page also has a recommended dose in a perfume. That can be a pretty handy guideline if you are new to a material. :-)

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