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  1. #1

    Default Study plan suggestions

    Hello everybody,
    My name is Andreas, I'm from Denmark, and I am one of the newer additions to this wonderful forum of DIY perfumers.

    I recently have gotten into perfumery, and so i bought a bunch of stuff from Chris over at Pell Wall. I ordered the first two kits from the 100 essential AC's series and an accessories kit, as well as a couple of other products, and he was so kind as to throw in a bunch of other stuff.

    So now I have around 50 different materials plus a bunch of solvents and additives (which i haven't got a clue when to use ), and I've been blending and smelling quite a bit. I've been trying to dilute different materials and smelling them at 100%, 50% and 10% and noting whatever characteristics i could, however I found that it can be quite difficult to describe everything and also it has been somewhat difficult to even smell a difference other than strength, and sometimes it's been difficult to even smell the material at all.

    Also, I've been blending some accords, just using drops (however I just got my hands on a KERN .01 g scale today), and i feel like that's where I've learnt the most so far. I've been feeling relatively large progress each time I've made something new, and after just a few new accords, the older ones already seem so horrible.

    I could bombard you all with a ton of questions, but I'll try to be brief.
    What I really would love to ask is, what should I be doing as a beginner? Where do I start?

    Thank you very much.
    - Andreas

  2. #2
    Basenotes Junkie Dmitriy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    In fact, the answer is very simple in my opinion. Study your materials thoroughly: Sniff, sniff, and smell them (and everything around too, if you can, 24 hours a day) study everything (their strength, duration on the blotter, shades , qualities and "texture" of each smell, etc.), create simple accords, analyze the results constantly, record your impressions and continue to do it over the years..)) Gradually, more and more regularities and subtleties of this interesting skill will begin to open up before you.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Everything Dmitriy said but no reason also that you can't also jump in. Compose with your accords. Mix your trials together. Take more notes. Wear the acceptable ones. Figure out a concept you are most interested in and work on it. Make something easy so that you have a "win". Like a rose base. Most importantly keep doing it and keep having fun.

  4. #4
    Basenotes Junkie Dmitriy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by RSG View Post
    Everything Dmitriy said but no reason also that you can't also jump in. Compose with your accords. Mix your trials together. Take more notes. Wear the acceptable ones. Figure out a concept you are most interested in and work on it. Make something easy so that you have a "win". Like a rose base. Most importantly keep doing it and keep having fun.
    I also completely agree, this is the most important!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    I'm a beginner too, and the process of actual creation is daunting. But I don't think either of us would be starting this journey if we didn't believe we had a sense of adventure coupled with (hopefully) intuition as to what is needed in a formula. In other words -- and as an example: 'feeling intuitively' (intuitive sense of smell) that red grapefruit will work far better than lime in a particular top note combo. I try to let my nose guide me -- which is the FUN for me personally. And my failures are great tools as every material will do its thing regardless of what my nose intuition is telling me. Such is the mystery of alchemy.

    At first I went wild -- and made a lot of mud -- didn't listen to my nose, was more interested in what would happen if I put 'this' material in or this one and so on. That approach was irresistable. But after I got that out of my system I settled down and focused on specific notes and began to build around those notes by 'nose' and if a material surprises me anyway, then I've learned something more.

    Finally I had a win -- but interestingly the material that made the win possible was one I added on a whim -- just to see what would happen.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by RSG View Post
    Everything Dmitriy said but no reason also that you can't also jump in. Compose with your accords. Mix your trials together. Take more notes. Wear the acceptable ones. Figure out a concept you are most interested in and work on it. Make something easy so that you have a "win". Like a rose base. Most importantly keep doing it and keep having fun.
    completely agree, especially with creating simple and easy accessible accords. you can find a lot here in the forum, and @ the good scents company.

    and talking about wearing notes as RSG recommended: since years i'm wearing diluted musks (and musk accords of course...) for learning purposes. this gave me such a deep understanding of musks, that seem to me somehow impossible to gather when evaluating just on a blotter.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Although I have been perfuming for two years I still consider myself a beginner since there is so much to know.

    Everyone has their own style of learning but for me the best way I learnt was in this order:
    1. Label each bottle with a sticker with basic information - type of aroma - substantivity - fixative/blender/diffusive/ - the power of the matierial, high medium or low.
    2. In addition to this I keep a word document which I update when I can with more detailed information about the material - what does it blend well with, what can it be used for, any IFRA restrictions etc.
    3. As you have done I would then smell the material and try to understand it better. i would use the information I have already got on the material (goodscents is very useful for this) and use it to work out what best to smell it at - at 100%, 10%, 1% 0.1% or even 0.01%
    4. After smelling it I would make some notes but mostly I would try to retain as much information in my mind since it is much more useful to be able to access this information quickly.
    5. I would attempt to make perfumes - at the start I was really hopeless and most of the perfumes I produced smelt awful. Do not be put off by this. Every time you make an error you will learn what not to do. Once you have learnt what not to do it will lead you down the path of what to do.
    6. The best way for me to learn is to try to produce a copy of an existing perfume. I would sometimes produce over 10 versions until I am very close or spot on. This has helped me to appreciate the balance of the materials - if it is between different aromas or between top middle and basenotes. Even after 2 years I have not attempted to produce my own perfume, I am still learning about materials and different perfume classes.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    There will be better advice than mine, but in case it helps:

    I definitely second all the advice above.

    I'd like to add that I think there is a similarity, maybe not often commented on in either regard, in improving ability in perfuming to improving ability in music.

    A really good musician "hears" in his or her head first what they want to produce, then they produce it. A person who is not as good -- and will stay not as good if they keep with the following way -- uses their fingers or their body to get the sound and they find out and judge as it's produced whether they like it or not. And hope that through repetition that what they produce will get better. But they're not "hearing" it some better way before playing it.

    A more specific example: A not-that-good violinist finds out what pitch he's going to get only after he places his finger on the fingerboard and plays the note. Oops, it was flat. Well, with repetition, hopefully he'll get in the habit of placing his finger better!

    A really good violinist already "hears" in his head the exact pitch he wants and then places his finger to get that. Now, he might make a mistake too, but the process was different: he was "hearing" it first. And the outcome will be different. He will be doing interesting and great sounding things that the other fellow wasn't even conceiving and so has no hope of getting.

    Perfuming I think is very challenging this way, and there absolutely will be surprises where things don't combine as you would have predicted. That's vital! However, a LOT of the time you can have the vision in your head of what you are looking for and pick what you add and how much based on having the vision of how this is going to come out. The more that is developed the better you will be!

    And the more practice you have, the more this skill will develop because you'll have experienced a lot of otherwise-unexpected combinations before and now you can have the feel for them.

    Lastly, don't do as I recently did. I moved into an extremely small space and was working multiple jobs and felt I had to put perfuming off, didn't think it would be that long, and kept everything packed. I just started unpacking now. And I realized how foolish this was. No matter how little time I had, I still could have had time to quickly smell a few aromachemicals and extracts every day, and make little challenges for myself, things to smell blindly a month later after I'd forgotten what was in that bottle.

    I'd be so far ahead if I had done that all this time!

    So, always keep learning! Which is done largely by experimenting with yourself as the subject, and frequent repeated exposure to what you work with until it's really internalized. Being internalized is really key.
    Last edited by Bill Roberts; 18th June 2019 at 06:00 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Speaking to what both of the people above said. I keep a spread sheet, 2 lines for every material in Google sheets. All of the info and notes for each material. This way I can search concepts and replacements easily. It's also available in other locations. I often have a small perfume case and use my spreadsheet to practice, compose, or even do dilutions. Having all of my substantivity times in a spread sheet let's me compose by vapor curve even on a plane.

  10. #10
    Dependent mattmeleg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    1). Make lots of notes

    2). record and write everything you do

    3). for vocabulary + description, purchase this book
    https://www.amazon.ca/Perfume-Flavor.../dp/0931710367

    4). here are some nice accords:
    https://bedoukian.com/fragrance-2/fragrance-accords/

    5). take your time and continue reading

    6). make "study cards," or "flash cards," with materials on them:
    a). name of material on front
    b). information on back
    https://www.amazon.ca/Oxford-Ruled-I...gateway&sr=8-4

    you can carry these cards with you, and compose "imaginary accords," from your imagination.
    Put them on your desk, organize these cards in different ways.
    I want to help newbies, like me!
    Matt`s Youtube channel: we examine materials, make accords and simple perfumes and talk all things scent related.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpi...5IG9nbG20t-lIQ

  11. #11
    Dependent mattmeleg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Smell and sample professional perfumes all the time.
    Don`t "stick to your own vision," Do not lock yourself away from commercial perfumes.
    Commercial perfumes are very good. Very well made. Expose yourself to as many commercial perfumes as possible.

    Make notes about them,
    Why they are interesting. Note their level of sweetness, freshness, their texture etc.
    I want to help newbies, like me!
    Matt`s Youtube channel: we examine materials, make accords and simple perfumes and talk all things scent related.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpi...5IG9nbG20t-lIQ

  12. #12

    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mattmeleg View Post
    3). for vocabulary + description, purchase this book
    https://www.amazon.ca/Perfume-Flavor.../dp/0931710367
    Seeing as I only have around five or six naturals, the rest being blends and primarily aroma chemicals, is it still that relevant to get my hands on this right now? I mean, I'll get it, but I'd rather wait, if it's gonna be intended for studying naturals only.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by andreasmg13 View Post
    Seeing as I only have around five or six naturals, the rest being blends and primarily aroma chemicals, is it still that relevant to get my hands on this right now? I mean, I'll get it, but I'd rather wait, if it's gonna be intended for studying naturals only.
    Don't purchase it. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?...view=1up&seq=9

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Alysoun View Post
    Well, at only $23.00, it's certainly affordable and fine to buy a copy to leaf through and keep to learn through...

    https://www.amazon.com/Perfume-Flavo...=UTF8&me=&qid=

  15. #15
    Basenotes Member Ivor Joedy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Study plan suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by andreasmg13 View Post
    ... I've been trying to dilute different materials and smelling them at 100%, 50% and 10% and noting whatever characteristics i could, however I found that it can be quite difficult to describe everything ... however I just got my hands on a KERN .01 g scale ... Where do I start?
    The scale is the clue, perhaps you use the widely used balance as I do, Kern EMB-602, it is sufficient for naturals. I would start with knowing natural raw materials perfectly, absolute perfect as far as possible, then combinations. Having the printed version of Arctanders book I consider to be inevitable.

    What is often underestimated in course of own studies (and is a building block in other arts), is blending and modifying perfumes after good recipes of other "autors". And further on to realise an imagination as precise as possible to meet the limits.

    For this, and if you can read only a bit of german, try for the start the book: "Brigitte Bräutigam: Natürliches Parfum selbst gemacht. ISBN-13: 978-3730602010" with about 30 good and wearable recipes of Fougeres, Chypres, Colognes etc., based only on ca. a dozen natural raw materials.

    The other book you should take into consideration is available in english: ISBN: 978 90 828722 1 7
    http://shop.hexapus.nl/books/p-1a/
    or
    https://www.hekserij.nl/26-diy-perfumes/
    Last edited by Ivor Joedy; 20th June 2019 at 07:17 PM.




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