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  1. #1

    Question Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    Yes, I've read all the stickies, several times. But I still have some questions.

    1. If somebody is posting a formulation e.g.
    20 Musk Xylene
    5 Oakmoss
    10 Patchouli
    15 Sandalwood

    Why does the numbers have no unit? Is this drops, microliter, milligram or something other?

    2. What ingredients gives a perfume a masculine or feminine scent? Or can you not say that directly and it depends more on personal taste?

    3. How do you organize all your substances, so you quickly find what you want? As a beginner I have at the moment just 40 essential oils and aromachemicals. But it is getting more and more. Do you sort them alphabetically or in odor groups? Do you keep them in different boxes? Do you color code them? What is the best way to keep track?

    4. How do I decide about the ratio of the different components? I've learned, you should mix 20 % base note, 50 % middle note und 30 % top note. But how do I decide the ratio within the notes? Lets say I want to make a base note out of Ambroxan, Ethylene Brassylate, Kephalis (Giv) and Oakmoss. How do I determine the best mixing ratio?

    5. If I mix essential oils with aromachemicals, how much oil do I use? Lets say I mix a middle note of Neroli, Ylang Ylang oil and Iso E Super. What will be the ratio between the essential oils and Iso E Super?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    1) They should be by weight and you can plug in whatever unit you want. What counts is ratio not total amount.

    If your materials are diluted to 10% in ethanol you could use drops and get a fair approximation. With undiluted materials, ratios would be wildly off as drop size will vary wildly.

    2) Smell them and see. It is not a physical reality inherent to the materials but is psychological perception and will vary according to culture, era, and individual perception. Even then, a Perfumer can easily make what you call a masculine perfume while using some materials you would consider feminine if smelling them individually, and vice-versa.

    3) A lot of discussion already. It sums to: do what works for you.

    4) Smell it and see. To make trials that have better chances of succeeding, research common usage levels. If something is usually used at 0.1 to 1%, you'll probably do better trying it at somewhere within there rather than trying it at 30%. Similarly, if something is usually used at something such as 10-30%, while it's possible an experienced Perfumer might have reason to use it in tiny quantity, you'd probably be wasting your time trying it at 1%, now 1.5,%, now 2% etc.

    5) See #4. And essential oils can't all be lumped together, nor all aromachemicals. One AC might be limited to very tiny usage far below 1%, another could be OK at a third or more of the fragrance. One essential oil might easily be used at 20% of a fragrance and another is best used at only 1% or less. There is also no ratio of essential oils to AC's to decide to follow, or ratio of top/middle/base, etc.

    Rather than look for plug-in templates that should be matched, research and smell.

    I am reminded of Battlestar Galactica, "All this has happened before, and all this will happen again." There will be many threads easily found with more extensive replies on each question but fundamentally I think it comes down to merely the above.

    Not to be too repetitive, but for example:

    Lets say I want to make a base note out of Ambroxan, Ethylene Brassylate, Kephalis (Giv) and Oakmoss. How do I determine the best mixing ratio?
    Get an idea of the common use ranges, smell the materials individually (both freshly applied to strips and over time), get ideas in your head, make mixes, smell them. It's up to what YOU want and is a product of you smelling your work rather than following some system to determine "best mixing ratio."

    Even aside from the above, "best" for what purpose and to whom? There is no one answer to that and quite different combinations could be good choices for differing perfumes. Do you want an Ambroxan bomb, or don't you? I don't want one, but you might. Either way can work, there is no best answer except relative to what you are aiming for. You are, in fact, the only one in a position to answer what balance of the above is best with regard to the perfuming you are doing at a given time, no one else here is.

    The desire for a template or system that says how to balance ingredients is super common or even nearly universal when starting out, but it's not the way to go.
    Last edited by Bill Roberts; 14th April 2021 at 06:27 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    Thank you so much for your very details answer. It seems perfume making is like cooking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Roberts View Post
    To make trials that have better chances of succeeding, research common usage levels.
    This is my intension. But where do I find common usage levels? For example if I want to know the common usage levels of Champaca or Agarwood, where can I look this up? I've searched with google, but I can only find the composition of the oil.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    You're very welcome!

    The TGSC site has demo formulas: http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/search2.html

    Enter the material you are searching for, and a bit down on the next page you get, there will be Fragrance Demo Formulas.

    Additionally a member here has generously contributed a site for this purpose: https://www.unguentarius.com/ingredient-statistics

    Relatively exotic essential oils are tougher to find examples for than are aromachemicals or really common essential oils such as Lavender. Sometimes you do have to just try and see; having reasonable starting points for most of the ingredients being considered is a big time saver compared to having none, but it's not a problem having a few that you purely have to wing.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    Yes, the https://www.unguentarius.com page I already found and it helped me a lot. I did not know you can find demo formulas at http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com
    Very helpful, thanks. Seems I have quite a few exotic oils, because I don't find anything about them. I need to make some tests then. If these substances were not so extremely expensive, testing would be less of a problem.

  6. #6
    Basenotes Junkie Casper_grassy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    Quote Originally Posted by polysom View Post
    Yes, the https://www.unguentarius.com page I already found and it helped me a lot. I did not know you can find demo formulas at http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com
    Very helpful, thanks. Seems I have quite a few exotic oils, because I don't find anything about them. I need to make some tests then. If these substances were not so extremely expensive, testing would be less of a problem.
    Some of the oils may be under different names.
    I wouldn’t use them yet if they are expensive, just smell and learn them very well, so when the time does come to play, you’ll have a better grasp on how to use them.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Casper_grassy View Post
    Some of the oils may be under different names.
    I wouldn’t use them yet if they are expensive, just smell and learn them very well, so when the time does come to play, you’ll have a better grasp on how to use them.
    My approach to learning how to integrate the more expensive materials was to take a portion of them and turn them into sensible dilutions that I could mix together without depleting the batch rapidly! Something like neroli I would dilute to 10%, others 1% even depending on their impact...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    Interestingly, if I search google for "perfume example formula", I don't find so many useful things. If I search for "perfume demo formulas", I find quite a lot. Seems you really need to know the correct search term here.

    One question about the math, which I maybe misunderstand. If it says for example "the mean dose for cedarwood oil virginia is 2.0%", does this mean 2% in the base fragrance mixture or 2% in the final perfume (2% in relation to the alcohol)?
    If it is 2% in the base fragrance mixture, what will be the rest 98%? If it is 2% in the final perfume and I want to have a "Eau de Parfum" with 15% fragrances, does this mean I need to add other oils/AC until I reach 15%?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casper_grassy View Post
    Some of the oils may be under different names.
    This is a good hint, thanks.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    2% of the total aromamaterials, not counting alcohol or other diluents.

    If you intended to use Cedarwood Oil Virginia at 2% -- in the context of what is meant from Big L's search engine -- and had nothing else in mind yet, you would indeed need to figure what to do for the remaining 98%.

    You would then have completed your concentrate. If you wanted a 15% strength perfume, you would then mix 15 parts of your concentrate to 85 parts of alcohol.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Some (maybe stupid) beginner questions

    Now I get it, thanks. And yes, it is from Big L's search engine.




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