Friday, September 29, 2006

Hobby perfumers

After receiving an email from a lovely woman telling me that she's a hobby perfumer as well and would love to exchange experiments I thought it would be time to tell you about my group at Yahoo: Perfumemaking. It's a friendly group with all kinds of perfumers; hobby perfumers, natural perfumers and perfumers that want to make perfume on a professional basis using naturals and chemicals. We all learn from each other and help each other where we can, it's like a big family.
Perfume making is a lonely hobby in a way, and not everyone understands what you are talking about when you talk about the making of perfumes. This group is a wonderful way to talk to others about what you do and exchange experiments.
Here is the url:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Filling up the gap

Still working on my Chypre/fruit fragrance. I tried adding some notes but some of them didn't work, the character of the fragrance changed too much. I must be really careful not to change the fragrance too much. When I'm making a fragrance I also look at the way the fragrance change after applying it on the skin or on a smelling strip. I study the way the top notes flow over in the heart notes and how the heart notes finally melt in to the base notes.

Top notes are the first notes you detect when smelling a fragrance, the top notes are the more volatile notes, they have light molecules and evaporate real fast. Examples of top notes are lemon, bergamot, orange, peppermint and grapefruit.
After that you smell the heart notes that have notes that evaporate slower like rose, jasmine, tuberose and violet.
And finally the base notes that have the heaviest molecules like musk, benzoin, vanilla, civet and oak moss.

But there is more....
Some notes are between the top and heart or between the heart and base notes and act like a bridge between those notes. Using only top, heart and base notes can leave a gap between the two stages. Examples of notes that are between the top and the heart notes are petit grain and neroli they both are neither a top or a heart note they are a bridge between the top and heart notes.

That's why I have to know the time each note stay on a smelling strip, I write the time of each note down. This way I know how to use the note. If I detect a gap in the fragrance I know which note I can use to fill up that gap, so the fragrance will smoothly change over time.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Perfume without a name

Yesterday I worked on my Chypre/fruit fragrance. I don't want to change too much because I really like the fragrance as it is I only work on it to enhance some notes or to round things of and deepen some of the notes. Perfectionicing a perfume takes the most work of the whole creation process and needs a lot of patience and time. Every time I need to study the effect of what I have done and be honest about it to myself. Sometimes I found out that I have to keep some notes out of the fragrance, even when I thought in the beginning the fragrance really needed these notes.

A fragrance need complexity but too much complexity makes a perfume without character, it's important to find the balance between complexity and character. The Chypre/fruit fragrance has fruity top notes of Mandarin, Lychee, Pineapple, Neroli and Bergamot decorated with a Brandy note. The heart notes possesses notes of Egyptian Jasmine absolute, Tuberose absolute, Watercress, Rosa Damascena and Violet. The base have notes of Cedar, Iris, Vetiver, Leather, Oak moss and Patchouli.

The fragrance starts fruity with an interesting Brandy note, the heart is fruity flowery in the beginning but soon gets darker because of the Damascena rose, right now I'm working on the rose note to deepen it a bit more, I added the wonderful materials Damascenone and Damascone Delta and I love the effect of it. The base isn't a soft sweet base but a complex woody mossy base that's not hiding in the background but making a real statement through the whole fragrance. I like perfumes that makes a statement, I don't want to make a perfume that just have a pleasant smell I want to create a perfume that triggers a reaction and emotion and I think the Chypre/fruit is doing just that. It's not a girly fruity flowery fragrance but more an adult complex fragrance.

The funny thing is that I never give a name to a fragrance I''m creating, so I will think about a suitable name for it instead of calling it Chypre/fruity.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blind smelling

I envy the way Luca Turin can translate into words what he smells. Sometimes when I smell something I can tell exactly what it smells like but sometimes I need days until I found out what it does remind me of. I think it's possible to train yourself in it, I like to smell my materials "blind" and try to find out what kind of material I'm smelling. I pick up a bottle without looking at the label or do it with someone else and ask to give me a bottle without telling me the name. It's funny to smell the material with an open mind and without being prejudged, sometimes I smell nuances of the material I never smelled before. Radio New Zealand did an interview with Luca Turin about smell, the interview is 30 minutes long and very interesting, you can listen to it here:

Have a nice Sunday!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ylang Ylang

The essential oil of Ylang Ylang was one of the first essential oils I buyed. The smell of Ylang Ylang oil is intense sweet, flowery, exotic and somewhat fruity. Ylang Ylang came originally from the Philippines but also growing now in Java, the Comores and other places. The Ylang Ylang "extra" is the first distilled oil and the best oil for fragrances. To obtain 1 kilo essential oil there is needed 50 kilo's of Ylang Ylang blossoms.

Ylang Ylang is used in a lot of perfumes in Chanel no5 it is an important note. It has volatile notes that easily can be detected in the top notes of a perfume but it also give powdery sweet, flowery notes in the base.

The essential oil of Ylang Ylang has a positive influence on high blood pressure and helps when you breath to fast. It helps you to calm down. A few drops in your shampoo gives you shiny hair and your hair will smell delicious. Ylang Ylang oil is also perfect to relax the muscles of your face. Blend some drops in your face cream and massage your face with it. Your face will look more relaxed and fresh. Ylang Ylang has a sensual smell and is perfect to use in an aroma burner to create a romantic enviroment. Some find the scent of the oil a bit to sweet and heavy, you can mix it with some lemon oil to make the oil smell lighter.

I like to use Ylang Ylang oil in combination with Bergamot and linaloewood or Howood(instead of Rosewood oil to safe the forrest of the Amazone), this is a classic top note combination of many fragrances. Ylang Ylang is also an important note for creating Carnation and Lilly of the Valley. I like the combination of Ylang Ylang with Sandalwood, Jasmine, Mimosa, Tuberose, Orange blossom as well and so many more, it's an easy oil to combine with other notes.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Traditional Eau de Cologne formula

I would like to give you a traditional formula of Eau de Cologne one of the oldest perfumes that still exist. I always have a bottle beside my bed and use it when I have a headache. It's refreshing and uplifting.

Fantasy colognes are usually modifications of standard Eau de Cologne with floral or other notes to impart special character to the fragrance, small dosages of essential oils such as geranium, rose, ylang ylang, patchouli and vetivert may be used for this purpose. Also interesting is omitting some oils like lavender or rosemary and introducing an aroma chemical such as Lilial, Anisaldehyde, iso amyl salicylate etc. To compare you can make a completely synthetic Eau de Cologne.

Here is the formula:

Bergamot oil 27
Lemon oil Sicilian 20
Sweet orange oil 16
Neroli oil 12
Lavender oil French 6
Rosemary oil Spanish 4
Thyme oil white 1
Clove bud oil 1
Petitgrain oil 3
Clary sage oil 2
Benzoin resinoid, siam 1

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Update on the surgery of my husband

Well my husband had the surgery on his back last Tuesday, and it all went well. 6 hours after the surgery he was able to walk and one day later so on Wednesday he already went home!!! Can you believe it? Now he still has some pain and doesn't walk so well but that takes time. We hope it all turn out well.

Remember my question in the post about what scents could be used for perfumes and which don't? See here.
I never thought there would be a perfume made with the smell of cheese, but there is... there is a perfume called Eau de Stilton and it's based on the smell of Stilton cheese. The perfume re-creates the earthy and fruity aroma of Blue Stilton cheese. Using grape seed as a carrier oil, the Stilton scent features a symphony of natural base notes including Yarrow, Angelica seed, Clary Sage and Valerian. I'm curious about the smell of it but I can't imagine I would like it though. You can find information about this perfume on the site:

Sunday, September 03, 2006

To wear or not to wear

A fragrance can have a nice scent but when do you want to wear it? I like some scents but don't like to wear them as a fragrance. For example I like the smell of an ice cream, melon, coconut or a candy but I don't want to smell like it, I would like to smell it on my wrist maybe just for my self. I could like the scents incorporated in a fragrance though.

When I'm making a perfume I always ask my self "I like the smell of it but would I like to wear it?". A nice fragrance is not enough, a perfume is an extension of your personality it tells something about yourself.

A perfume becomes a part of you, so it's important to find something from yourself in the perfume you're wearing. On the other hand I would like to have a scent bottle with a scent just for my self to put it on my wrist or on a handkerchief just to smell it when ever I like, because I like that smell or because it brings back a childhood memory.