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  1. #1

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    Default DIY vs Commercial Quality

    As a beginner to perfumery, I have a question. If one purchases high quality essentials oils and takes every measure to ensure quality control (eg: limiting contamination, proper storage and handling, appropriate aging, etc.) is there any reason why a perfume made at home can't be every bit as good as one purchased from say, a house like Tom Ford or Creed? Realizing the term good is subjective, what I mean is, is there any reason why it can't smell as appealing/complex/natural?

    If I am purchasing natural ingredients and my recipes smell good, what stands in the way of my fragrance being at least as good as a Creed fragrance? Do they have access to better quality ingredients? I suppose I am trying to get a sense about what quality differences might truly exist in a fragrance made by Creed, Tom Ford, Bond 9, etc versus something made at home and whether their marketing would have me believe they are superior or if they actually are superior for some reason.

    I have a lot of ideas on how I will endeavor to craft my own scents but I would like to know if there are known limitations to achieving the quality of these aforementioned fragrance houses or if these are simply perceived limitations.

    Let me put it differently. Clearly there will be skill limitations. But if we took the noses from any of these houses and sat them down at my perfume desk, giving them access to my ingredients with my "at home processes" instead of fancy laboratories, would they be able to produce comparable fragrances under those circumstances?

    What advantages does the DIY perfumer lack that can result in a detriment to quality? I only use Creed and Tom Ford as examples but this same question could easily be applied to any high quality commercial perfumer using natural ingredients.

    Is there anything limiting my creations other than my own level of knowledge and skill?

  2. #2

    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that even a lot of natural perfumes contain some element of synthetics in order to polish them and make them viable as a commercial proposition?
    Last edited by ClaraAus; 26th December 2012 at 01:27 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    Is there anything limiting my creations other than my own level of knowledge and skill?
    The IFRA. If you want to do 100% natural, It will be quite tricky. Basically as ClaraAus stated. You are limited by your materials, and limited by the limits of certain materials and some really nice ones, are prohibited. Others, are bleeding expensive.

    In short, pretty certain a person with a passion for perfuming could create something just as lovely as anything on the shelves, but to sell it legally? Doubtful. Unless you take the renegade route. Slap a label on your creation that reads: Contains allergens known to affect less than 3% of the population. Use at your own risk.

  4. #4

    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    Firstly you mention only Essential Oils and "natural ingredients"; neither Creed nor Tom Ford produce all natural fragrances. Apart from that there is nothing stopping you from creating as good a fragrance as any perfumer using your materials. However to compete with any commercial producer of fragrances you need to have the same palette of materials that they have. Don't know how many oils you own, but when I was a working Perfumer we used a palette of 1500 aroma chemicals and Essential Oils. And that list had been reduced. There are many more.

    You don't mention whether you want to sell your creations. If you don't you need not worry about regulations. If you do, then you need to know about IFRA regs and any others pertinent to your country, and where you want to sell them.


    "Is there anything limiting my creations other than my own level of knowledge and skill?" What do you think?

  5. #5

    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    Yes and no. Skills can be developed. The road of a self-taught perfumer is however longer and bumpier you might learn things that you'll need to un-learn later.

    Materials are important. Essential oils available on the market in small quantities (aromatherapy grade) are often a scam. Quality control is more than about storage, is about being able to identify what is real and what has been adulterated and how. If you have never smelled the real thing, how can you attest for the quality?
    For the cheaper stuff like orange essential oil that isn't such a huge deal but when dealing with say, jasmine absolute, the differences are huge.

    Also there is a difference in the quality of materials available in small quantities due to 'natural' conditions like oxidation. The more often a material has been decanted from a bigger quantity into smaller quantities that are again decanted etc. the bigger the chances of oxidation. That affects natural and synthetic materials alike. My experience is: the more middle men the less quality.

    However when somebody is really skilled and talented, art can happen with any kind of materials. Did you even watched Ready... Set... Cook!, that cooking show where 2 cooks compete to make the best dish with just a few common ingredients in 20 minutes? You'll see there that it's really about the skills, using different combinations and thinking outside of the box. If you focus on that as a DIY perfumer you'll have heaps of fun and also learn a lot. Opposed to working from a brief with a budget to please a particular focus group (that's how commercial perfumes are made).

    So basically you need to ask yourself: why do you want to make your own perfume? Then the how will follow.
    @SomethingSmelly

  6. #6
    Basenotes Member Luís Carlos's Avatar
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    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    I think you can make perfumes as just good or even better than Creed and Tom Ford. The point is to make people believe it.

    You need to consolidate your name in the market first. You need to increase their distribution channels, since only sell things that are on sale. You need to increase their scale of production to buy the ingredients for prices similar to Creed and Tom Ford to compete with them on price.

    While you do not get that (IMO), perfumes Creed and Tom Ford will be better than their perfume even though no one has even smelled them.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    Hello all,

    Thank you for the responses. I should have stated that I am merely a hobbyist who is exploring this to create scents for myself. I do not intend to sell my creations, at least not initially.

    I have a few more questions.

    1.) I was looking to make my first essential oil haul from http://www.edenbotanicals.com as they were suggested in the suppliers list in this forum. Can anyone here speak to the quality of their oils and explain to me the difference between their "fine perfumery grade" oils versus their "therapeutic grade" oils? Many of the oils I'm after aren't available in "fine perfumery grade" so I was going to purchase them in "therapeutic grade". Is that ok?

    2.) Now that I have my recipe formulated and all notes selected, are there any other ingredients I need to consider adding to my mix? I don't mean ingredients that are necessarily added for their scents but rather added as constituents to help blend notes, make transitions, improve longevity and preserve the fragrance so it remains stable and doesn't spoil. I am basically referring to any chemical or additive that people tend to include that will better the fragrance overall even though it may not directly contribute a particular note. Hopefully that makes sense?

  8. #8
    Super Member racuda's Avatar
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    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    Eden Botanicals has high quality products. All of their oils are suitable for perfumery. The distinction is that the absolutes and some of the oils are not suitable for aromatherapy, and so are designated as "fine perfumery grade".

    As for what else you need to add to the mix for blending, transitioning, etc, I find a couple of synthetics useful, Hedione and Iso E Super. Also don't forget the musks. Check out www.perfumersapprentice.com for these.
    Randall

  9. #9

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    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    Thanks Racuda for the helpful reply!

  10. #10

    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    For the synthetics: http://perfumersworld.net/. Pretty hard to beat. Fast shipping and cheap. Excellent raw materials and I can get them raw.

    Ambroxan Crystals

    base note
    dry ambergris sweet
    CAS # 6790-58-5
    Can use up to 1% of total concentrate 80ml for $62.00 , weight 0.3500[units]g/oz ??? I have no idea what this means. Can somebody translate.

    So bought Ambroxan at perfumersworld and called it a day. I got 10 grams of pure substance for $48.00. I have found it very useful in the EO blends. Nice. Doesn't change the scent, but lifts it.

    This company http://www.av-at.com/ in the US has a good selection and decent prices. They also test.

    I'm only playing with my materials. Many of the *prohibited* substances in EO land have come down in price, just depends where you buy them. Load up on those. They make for truly gorgeous scents. I could care less about the IFRA, so have freedom. If someone is creating to sell, then they are stuck using synthetics.

    Ambergris, that is worth to have. Pricey, but worth it. For personal use, why not?

  11. #11

    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    I would say get as many samples as you can from as many suppliers as you can. Don't always go with the most expensive as you're just in the 'educational' phase. Set a budget and a bare minimum of materials you would like to experiment with first. Also make of habit of diluting all your materials in ethanol at a standard of 10% unless specified otherwise (for example with Ambroxan a change is noticeable at little as 0.001%). You won't 'waste' as much materials and a dilution of even a small 1 ml sample can go a long way. Try resisting mixing too many materials, especially naturals all at once. You'll get the muddy aromatherapy result that doesn't resemble any perfume and only time will tell what it will eventually become.

    For beginners I always say: start with single aromachemicals, synthetic or natural isolates. Those can be easier mixed and changes are much easier to smell and learn. Then go on with mixing accords like a rose base or an amber.

    If you have a patient and methodical personality give the Jean Carles method a chance.

    You're talking about 'recipes'. Where did you get them?
    On another note perfumers call recipes formulas, sounds fancier doesn't it?
    hth
    Last edited by Irina; 27th December 2012 at 08:56 AM.
    @SomethingSmelly

  12. #12
    Dependent Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: DIY vs Commercial Quality

    Quote Originally Posted by stoavio View Post
    Hello all,

    Thank you for the responses. I should have stated that I am merely a hobbyist who is exploring this to create scents for myself. I do not intend to sell my creations, at least not initially.

    I have a few more questions.

    1.) I was looking to make my first essential oil haul from http://www.edenbotanicals.com as they were suggested in the suppliers list in this forum. Can anyone here speak to the quality of their oils and explain to me the difference between their "fine perfumery grade" oils versus their "therapeutic grade" oils? Many of the oils I'm after aren't available in "fine perfumery grade" so I was going to purchase them in "therapeutic grade". Is that ok?

    2.) Now that I have my recipe formulated and all notes selected, are there any other ingredients I need to consider adding to my mix? I don't mean ingredients that are necessarily added for their scents but rather added as constituents to help blend notes, make transitions, improve longevity and preserve the fragrance so it remains stable and doesn't spoil. I am basically referring to any chemical or additive that people tend to include that will better the fragrance overall even though it may not directly contribute a particular note. Hopefully that makes sense?
    I am a hobbyist, too. It appears as though you've already received very good advice. My advice is that you, like Irina said, order from various suppliers. Eden Botanicals is good, but I was unhappy with one (very expensive) absolute they sent. After that experience, I have decided to return anything that does not smell right on first opening the vial. Eden has a sample program so go for it when you do order. I am awaiting a first order from Enfleurage; they are expensive, but seem to be focused on quality.




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