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  1. #1
    Super Member MNX's Avatar
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    Default "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Ok, so I read some feedback that perfumers alcohol is actually not good for perfumes because it creates a drying effect and shortens the fragrance lifespan on the skin. It's preferred to use ethanol apparently. In the UK, however, I've not found ethanol for perfumes easy to find. I've been using Perfumer's alcohol from Mistrani, but it's pretty smelly and I'm not found of it. I did find, after trying it, that the statement that alcohols subdues the fragrance and shortens it is actually true.

    Does anyone have an opinion on this? Where do I find ethanol suitable for perfumes in the UK, and what is the recommended quantity?
    "Perfume is a form of writing, an ink, a choice made in the first person, the dot on the i, a weapon, a courteous gesture, part of the instant, a consequence." ...

  2. #2

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Erm...perfumer's alcohol IS ethanol. SDA 40B "perfumer's alcohol" is 99.9% ethanol with 0.1% denaturing agents to make it undrinkable.

  3. #3
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    pkiler's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Agreeing with Ourmess above, Ethanol is denatured to make Perfumers alcohol.
    You can choose to not use ethanol/Perfumers Alcohol, and use other substrates or dilutants, but then you will have less solubility of certain materials.
    Ethanol / Perfumers Alcohol is the choice of Perfumers, because of nearly universal solubility as a carrier and quick evaporation to deliver the aromatic molecules.

    If you choose the substrate as an oil, say, then yes, you can make some molecules last longer, due to the oil itself not evaporating. But you must nearly triple the topnotes in an oil perfume than as compared to an alcohol substrate, for a similar profile to your perfume product.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  4. #4
    Super Member MNX's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    I am talking about a mentioned preference to only use ethanol rather than Perfumer's alcohol with Isopropyl myristate and Monopropylene glycol.
    "Perfume is a form of writing, an ink, a choice made in the first person, the dot on the i, a weapon, a courteous gesture, part of the instant, a consequence." ...

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    I seem to recall many people describing the "Perfumer's Alcohol" product from Mistral as having an unpleasant smell. As a hobbyist, I have been using this product for years and find it very satisfactory.

    MNX, you say you find it "smelly". Have you ever smelled non-denatured ethanol?

    Out of curiosity, I have just dipped two smelling strips; one into the Mistral Perfumer's Alcohol, which is mostly ethanol but also contains some isopropyl myristate and monopropylene glycol (in unknown quantities; I will ask about this next time I order), and one into some non-denatured ethanol that I bought online some years ago (I used it to make various tinctures that I might want to use in food or drinks - search for Spirytus or Prima Sprit).

    The non-denatured ethanol has a moderate-strength sweetish smell, similar to Vodka I suppose. The smell lasted about 20 seconds on the strip (well saturated).

    The Perfumer's Alcohol from Mistral had a slightly stronger smell, slightly more chemical/solvent-like (a very vague description, but it's the best I can come up with). The smell lasted about 40 seconds.

    Visually, the non-denatured ethanol seemed to evaporate more quickly, as you would expect, while the Perfumer's Alcohol took longer, and the strip retained a very slightly noticeable translucency (I use thin paper).

    After a minute, both strips are, to me, completely odourless.

    As for Mistral's Perfumer's Alcohol shortening the lifespan of your perfume, versus one formulated with non-denatured alcohol, this doesn't make sense to me. If anything the added IPM and MPG would have a slight fixative effect, but probably not much because there is probably not much in it anyway.

    All that said, I find Mistral's Perfumer's Alcohol perfectly good for the hobbyist perfumer, and probably not significantly inferior to trade-specific denatured ethanol of the type actually used in the industry.

    The slightly stronger odour is pretty much a non-issue when it is incorporated with a perfume compound, certainly one with any kind of volatile top notes.

  6. #6

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    The benefit of using ethanol is that is helps push the scent outwards (silage) moreso than a carrier oil ever could, I also don't notice much difference in longevity between an aroma chemical diluted with IPM vs 200 grain perfumers alcohol. The only downside would be the olfactory stinging effect of the alcohol upon spraying.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Hi MNX,

    In the UK if you want ethanol for perfumes then you look for TSDA (Trade Specific Denatured Alcohol). You can buy it from Bonnymans and The Soap Kitchen but you need to apply for a license from HMRC first. You can fill the form in online on gov.uk and then print it off. You will need to specify your desired annual limit and when you order you send a copy of your license to the supplier. You will need to keep copies of delivery notes etc and log what you use it for as they may come to inspect the alcohol. I am about to apply myself as I've very recently completed a 4 day perfumery course here in UK. Be careful when applying - you need to specify what it is for and which formulation you want (you will see a list of descriptions). TSDA 1 is intended for perfumes to be applied to the skin. See Section 18 of the guidelines on the gov website.

    Andy

  8. #8

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    If you are not worried about milkiness/water in solution then you can use whatever drinking alcohol smells good to you, spiced rum, gin, vodka, etc.
    The perfume industry uses stinky denaturants to satisfy regulations. Everyone would use undenatured alcohol but you can't make a product that teens and toddlers will drink.
    A good oil to absorb fast is camellia.

  9. #9

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Quote Originally Posted by Thea in Fl View Post
    The perfume industry uses stinky denaturants to satisfy regulations.
    may i ask how you come up with an assumption like that?
    do industrial produced fragrances smell like denaturants to you? and if so, how do those denaturants smell to you?

  10. #10

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Huh?... that is why all perfume avoiders I know avoid perfume in the first place.

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Quote Originally Posted by pavomi View Post
    may i ask how you come up with an assumption like that?
    do industrial produced fragrances smell like denaturants to you? and if so, how do those denaturants smell to you?
    They smell like... the last time you refinished a piece of furniture with stripper. When you are young, no one at the perfume counter tells you not to spray something on your arm and immediately stick your face in it. They should say look, you need to wait 15 minutes for that bad stuff to vape off, here try a test strip.
    The first 15 minutes of wearing a perfume is so painful that I think most non-perfumers avoid perfumes for that reason.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Quote Originally Posted by Thea in Fl View Post
    The first 15 minutes of wearing a perfume is so painful that I think most non-perfumers avoid perfumes for that reason.
    Alcohol used in Perfumes, is completely evaporated, when sprayed on skin, within 45 seconds, at most. What may be left as fluid after 25-30 seconds would be mostly water, which will take another minute or even half a minute to dry, depending upon humidity..

    Here in (the desert area near) Los Angeles, a Perfume sprayed is just about completely dried in 30 seconds, water included.

    I'm really not sure where 15 whole minutes of pain comes into play on this topic...
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  13. #13

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    Okay, looks like I am spreading at least some misinformation here. Tonight I was at regular weekly clay class and brought this up. Only one of the eight people in the room has the same issue, and another said "yeah, because you are buying perfumes here. If you buy your perfumes from France, you won't smell that icky stuff" lol!
    Next week I will ask if she can spray some a bit of her 'nice stuff' so I can see.
    All denaturants are not the same, but you don't know which you are getting unless you read the label. I just wish they sold some perfumes in liquor stores so people didn't have to deal with that other stuff.

  14. #14

    Default Re: "Alcohol is not good for perfumes"....

    I never tried it myself but most people report "Everclear" to have not to bad a smell. I don't think there are regulation in place preventing you from using pure alcohol but sales regulations and taxation making it difficult to obtain and/ or expensive. Where I live there is no problem getting 99.9% or 96% pure alcohol so that is what I use and mix with appropriate amount of distilled water. Price of alcohol is very small compared to other ingredients anyway.

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