Sunday, June 22, 2008


A lot of things happened while I wasn't posting on this blog. One thing is that my hubby Mo is operated on his back for the second time. He had a double hernia in his lower back, they were huge. Two years ago he was operated as well, but it didn't work, and the hernia's came back. He was a bit afraid to do a second operation, but he simply had to, the pain was too much. He's now back at home, and he is doing pretty well. He already can walk quit a long bit, but has to lay down every time. The operation was only one and a half hour, and he could go home the next day. Now we are hoping that it will not come back and that his back will get better.

Here a photo of us when his back was a bit better:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Basmati rice and Jasmine

It's been a while since I posted something on my blog. I was very busy with doing other stuff, which I enjoyed very much so though. Well, I'm back!

I'm working on a new perfume, based on Egyptian Jasmine absolute combined with the scent of Indian Basmati rice. This idea was playing a long time in my head and I finally started with it. I'm recreating the scent of basmati rice myself with different materials. One of the materials I use for the basmati rice is 3-METHYL-2-CYCLOHEXENONE which gives a nutty scent. I also used Hexanal (aldehyde C6) and Hexanol (alcohol c6) among others. I want to see if carrot seed oil will work in this fragrance, I guess it only would need just a little. A key odorant in fragrant rice is 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, I still have to get my hands on this material.

I combine the jasmine and basmati rice with musks and woods. I used a lot of sandalwood which combines so wonderful with Jasmine, it makes the scent of jasmine more warm and intense. It's a very interesting experiment at least.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I love you Ida

Ida (Chaya) is a remarcable lady. I met her through this blog where she comment often. She is a warm loving person, so easy to love, she always know how to use the right words, how to encourage people. It gives her pleasure to make other people happy and let them feel good. There is something about her that touch me deeply, and I'm not the only one who has this experience.....

Read a post about Ida at Perfumesmellingthings

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The M. factor

Andy always talk about the W. factor, so this time I will talk about the M. factor. The perfume for the new perfume swap of our perfume group is ready, it's a men's fragrance this time. I needed the M. factor to test it, and I listened to his suggestions. M. once was a professional soccer player, and he loves the smell of fresh cut grass, it reminds him of the soccerfield, so I put in a lot of this scent. A material which smells like fresh cut grass is 'leaf alcohol', I combined this scent with the scent of violet leaf and other green notes. Some of you know that I love the green scent of galbanum, but I didn't use it in this fragrance, it didn't combine well with the other notes.

In the heart-notes I used carnation and clove. The base-notes contains a lot of sandalwood which I combined with the sandalwood materials; Javanol, Bangalol and Aldron. I used the ambernote of Ambrox DL, which to me smells very masculine and finished it with different sorts of musk.

I'm excited because tonight we have a big party from work, there will be something like 1500 to 2000 people. I will go with my friend, it will be so much fun. My camera is broke, but if I can get some photos of the party from my colleagues I will post some of them.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! In the meantime, I'm working on the perfume I will send in for our new 'Perfume Swap' at our Yahoo group. I will send in a men's perfume this time. It's a perfume based on green notes with a lot of fresh green grass notes, a heart of carnation and a base of amber, musk and sandalwood. More about that later....

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Finally I had a long weekend, I had 4 days off! I looked forward to it the whole week, but when it finally was there, I got sick...... I had a terrible cold and was so sleepy that I could sleep for hours, I only watched some TV or sat behind my PC a bit. Not very exciting is it? But today I feel a bit better and even worked on a perfume again. I worked on my perfume that I sent in for the first 'Perfume Swap' that we did on my Perfume making group at Yahoo. It is a perfume based on animalic notes, with oudh and other woods, honey, rose and jasmine. I added less cedarwood and a lot more sandalwood. I can't smell a lot right now because of the cold I have, but I will leave it like it is and smell it when I have a 'better' nose.

That makes me think......

What if a perfumer can't smell anymore? Is it possible to create perfumes anyway? I think so, if I recall correctly, there was a perfumer who couldn't smell anymore, but still created perfumes, I don't remember who it was. Well, if you think of the fact that Beethoven was deaf when he composed music, a perfumer could only by remembering the smell and the combination of materials, compose a perfume too. Without actually smelling the result, the composing would be done in his memory, in his mind.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Far away, yet so close

This morning I was reading the post on Andy Tauer's blog. He wrote about how the Internet brings so many people close to each other. And I can't agree more, it's amazing how many wonderful, beautiful, interesting, inspiring, creative, lovely, sweet, caring people I've met through Internet. Internet gives us the chance to meet people with the same interest from all over the world. How would it be if the little 'home perfumers' were living in a time when there was no Internet? We would probably be sitting in our home creating perfume and could only share it with a few people who would live close to us. Now thanks to the Internet, we can share it with people from far away places, far away but yet so close. I was surprised to read my own name in his post, Andy wrote: "The world villagers are waiting for yours, Jenny!" I'm working on it dear Andy, I'm working on it.......

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scent and memory

It's strange that sometimes when we smell something, we can't find the right words to describe what it is. We have the feeling that we should know what it is, because it smells familiar, but if we search in our brain to find the answer the answer comes slowly or not at all. I guess we all have experienced this once, I experience this a lot of times, because I work with a lot of scents. Sometimes I smell a material and the only thing that my mind tells me about it is that it smells earthy, floral or fruity. But it takes more time to search in my mind for a memory where I smelled this scent before to finally get the 'aha' moment. I once had this experience when I smelled the fragrance material: Butyl Quinoline Secondary, I recognized the smell of soil and earth, but I knew that I smelled a more specific scent. It took a while before I recognized the smell of red beets which also smells like soil and earth but was a more specific description of what the materials smells like.

Smell for the most part aggravates the lymbic system and the right side of our brain, where Episodic connections are received. Our right hemisphere is associated with memory of events, times, places and emotions. It looks at wholes not at parts of certain things. It's subjective, uses feeling and it's creative.

We use our left hemisphere of our brain to recognize and rationalize things Here are the Semantic connections received. We use it for meaning, analyzing, understanding, knowledge and language. It sub-divides and reconnect things. It looks at parts and it's objective. It uses logic.

Of course it's not as simple as this, there are grey areas in this field, but it's a rough explanation of how our right and left side of the brain works.

These two parts of our brains communicate with each other. Our right hemisphere send information to our left hemisphere, where the received information will be 'labeled', 'packaged' and analyzed. If we mostly use our right hemisphere if we smell something, then it's logical that it's hard to describe in words what it is, we need our left hemisphere to help us with it.

For example, if we are in traffic. Our right side of the brain tells us that an object which is going fast, that it is coming close to us. It doesn't tell us what exactly is coming close to us, but it's something that is going fast. Our left side of the brain however, recognize the object and tells us that it's a car and explains to us that we have to be careful. The same with scent, our right side of the brain 'looks' at things as a whole. So it will provide us with rough information such as; it smells floral, earthy, fruity. The left side of our brain will look at it as in parts such as; it smells like jasmine or it smells like peach.

A perfumer needs to recognize scents and needs to train his or her brain to do so. Using words to give a name to a certain scent is very useful. If something is named, it will be more recognizable. If people have to distinguish different nuances of colors for example, it will help if they know the names of the colors, to concentrate more on these colors, to distinguish them from the other colors. If they are confronted with these color nuances and their names a couple of times, their recognition of these nuances are getting better and better over time. The same with scents. It helps the brain to receive more than one 'code', in this case smell. The trick is to give your memory more than one way of remembering. You can do this by using more than one sense, (touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell).

Perfumers do not only have to recognize the scent of one single component, they sometimes need to recognize this single component in a blend as well. Some perfumers can, if they smell a perfume, recognize many of the components of this fragrance. A trick to recognize some of the components is called 'smelling in patterns'. Let me first give another example to explain it a bit more:

Most people can only remember 7 numbers in a random order, for example the numbers:


It's getting more difficult to remember 14 numbers in a random order like:


But if we would group the numbers in meaningful groups like important dates of events like:

12.6.1941 (bombing on Pearl Harbor) or
7.21.1969 (the first landing on the moon)

We remember the numbers a lot easier. The same with recognizing components in fragrances. If the perfumer can group some single components and recognize these groups, it will be much easier to recognize the different components. The perfumer can group these components if he or she knows how certain combinations of single components do smell. For example, if the perfumer recognize a Fougere note (perfume family) in the fragrance, he or she knows that the Fougere has to have Amyl Salicylate, Coumarin, Lavender and Oakmoss. Once this group of components is recognized, the perfumer can put this group 'aside' in his mind, and smell around this group.

It's said that the right side of the brain is dominant with creative people, here is a test to find how creative you are.

I found something incredible at YouTube. Some people see the girl turn clockwise and some see her turn counter-clockwise, some people even don't see her turn but see her swing from left to right. I had to try it a couple of times before I could 'make' the girl turn every way around and let her swing from left to right. They say that if you see the girl turn counter-clockwise you use more of your left brain(analytical) and if you see her turn clockwise you use more of your right brain(creative). The first time I watched the video, I saw the girl turn counter-clockwise and at the end of the video I saw her turn clockwise. Strange that I see her turn counter-clockwise what means that I use more of my left side of the brain, while I always am creative. I should have seen her turn clockwise, but I didn't. I wonder if it's because I watched it as an analytical experience and forced my left brain to give attention. I don't know how much this test proofs. Which direction do you see the girl move? If you like to know how to let her move all kinds of directions I will let you know.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Chypre, indolic flowers, fruit and spices

It's wonderful that I have more time for the creation of my perfumes again. The whole weekend I was busy with experimenting. I took a closer look at my new friends, some materials I didn't study yet. I mixed unexpectedly combinations of materials, some of these mixes turned out stinky combinations, and some of them were surprisingly nice. I smelled my Velvet Blossom again, and I love the result very much. A very satisfying feeling to have accomplish exactly what I had in mind for this fragrance. A tender, fresh, but oh so velvety floral fragrance, based on Magnolia and Lilly of the Valley. I also worked on my fruity/chypre again. A perfume based on a Chypre accord made of oakmoss, labdanum, pathouli, vetiver, cedar and a little bit of castoreum. I combined this accord with fruity notes of bergamot, lemon and lychee.

I added a herbal green note of basil, a material I love very much, it gives a fresh green and a bit minty note to the fragrance. I also used watercress which gives a wonderful green leafy and very fresh note. The perfume so far smelled of course like Chypre, but also fruity green and floral. One of the flowers I think I always will use in my fragrances is jasmine, so also in this fragrance....

I used a jasmine absolute from Egypt, a very high quality absolute which smells wonderful. I also used may rose and gardenia. There is no such thing as a gardenia absolute so I had to reconstruct the scent of this flower. The floral notes are real nice, but I wanted them to smell even more indolic, so I added some more indole, and after testing the fragrance, I added even more of it. I just love indolic perfumes. The perfume smelled very nice, but I wanted to add some spicy notes to give more character to the fragrance.

So I added coriander seed, which works real fine. But I wanted the fragrance to smell even more spicy. I started with adding a tiny bit of cumin, a note that overpowers a fragrance real easy. So I had to be careful. But it was safe, I could use more of it, so I did. I wanted the fragrance to have a more dry spicy note, so I added some black pepper as well. Yes, that was a good idea. The black pepper is really nice in combination with the lychee. I also added some cardamom to give an effect to the citrus notes. It gives a very fresh spicy dry citrusy and even a bit bitter green note to the bergamot and lemon. And finally I added a tiny bit of clove. So the list of spices that I added is rather long: coriander seed, cumin, black pepper, cardamom and clove, but a nice combination of spices, which works really nice with the fruity notes. I have to remember this combination of spices when I want to cook......

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

It's New Year's eve and I make myself ready for the party tonight with our family. It's dark and smokey in Wolvega right now, the air is filled with smoke and it smells like sulfur. I hear bang's of fire work outside, something I will not play with, but we will have a wonderful show of fire work this evening which is organized by some people. Something I always find very romantic to watch in the arms of my DH, calling out ooohs and aaahs together while watching these miracles in the dark sky. I will wear Gucci no3 tonight, I think it will fit for this joyful evening. Looking back at 2007 I can say it was a great year. At new year's eve we always ask each other if we have plans for the next year or wants to quit bad behaviors etc. My plan is to spend more time with friends and family and finish some of my perfumes I'm working on. I will spend more time on creating perfumes than I did last year. Last year I had many other things to do as well, I spent time on creating perfumes but not enough, that will change next year.

I wish you all the best for 2008, may it be a happy, peaceful, healthy, loving, joyful and fragrant year for all of you.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas


Which perfume are you going to wear this Christmas?
I will wear Gala by Loewe the first day and Chanel no 19 the second day I think

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What I love to do most

I finally have some more time to work on my perfumes again. Last months I spent a lot of my time working on my Yahoo group, I love doing that and I love to help people, but there was no time left to work on my perfumes anymore. I decided to slow down a bit with the work on the group and spend time on what I love to do most; perfume making.

I worked on my perfume Velvet Blossom, a perfume based on delicate white flowers with Magnolia and Lily of the Valley combined with Mai rose and Sambac Jasmine. A perfume inspired by my sister in law, who loves delicate white flowers. I wanted the perfume to smell delicate white floral, with a bright fresh opening and a velvet smooth end. The result was really close to what I had in mind, but I want to soften the top notes a bit more and accentuate the white petal like floral notes and bring the lily of the valley a bit more towards the top notes. I added some Cyclamen aldehyde to bring out the lilly of the valley a bit more, also a bit more Mayol added to the perfume gave a more petal like result. To smooth the top notes, I added a bit more Ambrettolide, a wonderful warm smelling musk with a touch of fruitiness, which appears in the base notes but also smooth the top notes at the same time. I didn't change much, only adding a bit more or less of the materials that I've used already. The only new thing that I added is a touch of Cyclamen aldehyde, which works real nice in this fragrance. I'm really happy with the result. Now I have to mature it for a while to see if it's really better than the last one. In the mean time I will work some more on my 'fruity/chypre' fragrance, more about that later....

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Why is it that if you mix the colors blue and yellow you will get a green color? We know it, but why is it? I can't give a logical explanation for it (maybe someone likes to explain), I only know that it is. I love to read the blog of Octavian 1000 Fragrances, and read the post where he asks a very interesting question. He asks why it is that certain combinations of perfume materials smell a certain way, if there are 'rules' for it and how to control it.

I don't know why some combinations of materials smell a certain way, I just know that it is. If we smell a rose or jasmine we smell a combination of different aromatic chemicals, we recognize the combination of these chemicals as a rose or jasmine scent. If we smell a combination of Benzyl Acetate and Indole, we recognize some sort of jasmine scent, and if we smell a combination of Phenylethyl Alcohol and Geraniol we recognize some sort of rose scent. If I would combine these four materials of the rose and jasmine; Benzyl Acetate, Indole, Phenylethyl Alcohol and Geraniol, and add for example Ionones, such as Methyl Ionone Alpha and Beta Ionone, the result would smell a bit like raspberry. But if I would combine the four materials(Benzyl Acetate, Indole, Phenylethyl Alcohol and Geraniol) with Linalool, Methyl Anthranilate and Linalyl Acetate, the result would smell like orange blossoms. Why this is? I don't know, it's how the combinations are recognized. This is what a perfumer calls 'smelling in patterns', we smell different aromatic materials, but we recognize them as something familiar, because we know the smell of the combination of these chemicals. That's why we can recognize a perfume in an instant, even though it contains hundreds of different chemicals.

If I'm creating a perfume, I don't build it from base towards top notes. I start with a combination of materials, an accord. I don't see the materials as were it single notes, I use them in combination with other materials. I want to know the general impression the perfume will have before I go further. It's not that if you combine fruity, floral, woody and musky notes, the perfume will smell like that; fruity, floral, woody and musky. The combinations of these notes will turn into something complete new, sometimes in a way you didn't expect. That's why I can't build a perfume from base to top notes, how would I know how the combination of these notes would smell like in the end? It would be like I'm creating a perfume, but I have no idea, or control over how it will smell like, I can't 'see' (read smell) the total picture of the perfume if I start from the base and build it up towards the top. I have to find out, beforehand, how the combination of the most important materials of the perfume will smell like.

That's why I'm always 'playing' with materials, I always try to find new accords, nice combinations of materials. I put the materials on scent strips and hold them to my nose, to smell the combination of these materials. The combinations of these materials sometimes smell totally different than expected, a green note can turn into a fruity note, a material that appears as very weak can unexpectedly change the overall picture of the perfume tremendous, a material that appears as very strong on the other hand, can become very weak in combination with other materials, materials which smell like they wouldn't combine together, could become a wonderful combination etc. I know that some combinations smell a certain way because I read about it, but a lot of combinations I have to find out by myself. If I found a nice combination of materials which work real well together, I use these accords as my starting point for a perfume. This gives some control, but it's impossible to know the result of adding more materials. It's an endless way of experimentation's and experience. That's why I love to make perfumes, it always surprises me, I never know the result some combinations will give. Even though I learned and experimented a lot, it is and it will always be a mystery to me. A mystery I love.

Read here more about accords

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I'm reading the book: Fragrance The story of perfume from Cleopatra to Chanel written by Edwin T. Morris, for the second time now. It's a very interesting book which discusses the history of fragrance and fragrance materials. An intersesting part is where he talks about the scent of flowers. We are not the only ones who are attracted to the scent of flowers, insects are attracted to their scent as well. Some flowers mimic the insect pheromones, and some of them the scent of their food sources. The moth for example, is attracted to the white night blooming heavy indolic scented flowers such as jasmine and honeysuckle. Among the white flowers we find the greatest number of aromatic blooms. Second place for the odorous flowers are the reds and pinks. These flowers are favored by the day-flying butterflies. The bees however prefer yellow, lavender and blue flowers.

We humans have our preferences as well. Although there is no standard in our preferences. We all have our own unique scent preferences, mostly created by our scent memorie. If we have a nice memorie of the scent of vanilla, we probibly will like the scent. But if we have had a bad experience while smelling vanilla, we could have created a bad vanilla scent memorie and the scent can be associated with this experience.

That's why it's simply impossible to create a perfume that will be liked by everyone. I sent samples of my perfume Velvet Blossom to people from all over the world to get some feedback. Most people who smelled the perfume said they would leave it like it is, and don't mess with it too much, they liked it. Other people liked it too, but gave me some tips on how to improve it. The tips I received were all so different, here are some:
it would be nice if it smelled a bit greener, another told me to make it smell less greener, again another one told me to make it more spicy with cumin notes, another more ambery, yet another asked me to use more indolic jasmine notes, another to use more woody notes etc etc.

It's difficult to make a decision on what kind of advice to follow. I personally want to make the top notes a bit softer, another option to ad to the others. I decided to try some of the tips and created different batches, and will see if it makes a difference.

Friday, November 09, 2007


I want to share this amazing video with you which I found at YouTube. This woman of 84 years old plays Liebesleid by Fritz Kreisler on the piano. She plays this beatiful piece of music with such a passion and soul, I just had to share it with you. It's beautiful.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Not everything we see, hear, or smell is what it seems like. Sometimes we need more information to get to the bottom of something to understand what it is that we see, hear or smell. The information provided to us is not always accurate and can even be misleading. Think of a situation whereby someone purposely wants you to believe something and therefor provides you false information to create a misconception of the truth. We are easy being fooled, and it's hard to get this misconception out of our head once it has settled there. Some people use this tool to create for example a war, they use the tool fear for this purpose. Fear is a very powerful tool to create a misconception in our mind about the truth. The idea that there are people who are purposely creating a misconception of the truth among the people to get what they want, is too much to believe for some people. And yes, it's something that is going beyond our mind, that's why it such a powerful tool, no one will doubt the information provided, why should they, right?

Well, things have changed since there is Internet and information from around the world which is easy to access. But at the same time, not everyone uses this chance to get to the bottom of the provided information to check if it's true. That's scary, people are even being killed because of this. This is something that is playing in my mind a lot of times. It's scary that some people are being fooled this easy and not even trying to find out what is really going on in the world, but make up their mind by information only provided by the same people who wants to have power and money, and not looking any further, but yet making important decisions based on the provided information. Of course it's not realistic that everyone will search for all information, a lot of people are not interested in doing that. But sometimes I wish more people would try before they judge, because even though they don't have the time or feeling to search for more information, they do judge anyway, or even give their own lives or the lives of others.

Bring this subject back to perfumery, right now we are giving feedback about some perfumes made by members of my group. We call this a 'Perfume Swap', I talked about this before. Some of our members including me 'swapped' their own perfumes. We even share our formulas with the participants of the swap. We start the discussion about a perfume with a 'guessing round', that means that before we had the chance to see the formula, we have to guess which notes or accords the perfume contains. This is real fun to do. Sometimes we smell things that aren't even there, and we get crazy because of this, because we really smell these notes. This can be caused because of the fact that some combinations of notes create a whole other new note, or just because of a misconception of what we smell. We learn a lot by guessing the notes of a perfume, we also learn how to recognize combinations of notes. Next week my perfume will be discussed, I'm curious what will be said about it, maybe I can learn something from it and adjust the formula of my perfume.

Not everything you see at first sight is what it is, sometimes you have to take a closer look at things to understand things better.

Friday, October 19, 2007

New packaging for fragrances by Michael Storer

My friend Michael Storer has recently changed all of his fragrances to eau de parfum strength and put them in brand new beautiful packaging. Monk is now darker, more incense-y and richer, while Djin and Il Giardino have been adjusted to meet the requests of his customers. I urge you to visit his website and see his great new lineup.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How I create perfume

Sometimes people ask me, what it is that I do, how I make perfume. If I tell them that perfume is alcohol with aromatic materials, a lot of times I hear the same story. They tell me that when they were little they put roses in water trying to create perfume. They tried to create rose water, something I did when I was little as well. Although the product that is sold by the name 'rose water' is not made by soaking roses in water, but a side product of the distillation of roses. The picture that some people have of what I do is that I work with plants like roses, lavender, clove etc and soak them in oil or alcohol to create perfume. Of course sometimes I did things like that, but this is not the same as creating a perfume, this is making tinctures or macerates. I sometimes used a tincture, but mostly they are not stable enough. When I tell them I use essential oils and absolutes, I see that it's sometimes confused by some people with plants macerated in an oil like almond oil. An essential oil is a concentrated oil which is distilled from the plant, many kilos are necessary to obtain a little bit of this concentrated oil, these oils are volatile, not the same as almond oil, jojoba or coconut oil etc. I've seen many times when I show a bottle of an essential oil that they want to put the oil straight on their skin, as it was a perfume based on an oil like almond oil. While many essential oils can't be worn pure on the skin, they are so concentrated that it can irritate the skin. I also explain that these oils and absolutes have all kinds of different molecules all having different smells. That a rose doesn't contain one molecule that smells like rose, but has a combination of hundreds of different molecules, all having their own specific odor, which all combined create the scent of rose. I explain that I not only work with these combined molecules like an essential oil or absolute, but with single molecules as well. These are from natural sources or man made. Which I for example can use to build my own rose, jasmine or other scents.

Of course there are a lot of people who do know a lot about perfume, especially the perfumistas on the Internet. I'm amazed how much they know about it. For example I love to read the blog Bois de Jasmin by Victoria she writes wonderful interesting posts about perfume materials. She loves perfumes, but she is also interested in how it's made, and wants to know more about the materials that is used in perfume. But a lot more people only buy perfumes and never thought about how it's actually made, it's fun to hear from them how they think perfume is made. Mostly they are surprised when they hear how it's made.

On the left you can see my 'perfume organ'. I created a special room to create my perfumes and to store my materials. On the photo you see cabinets that I hang on the wall containing bottles with droppers which are filled with diluted materials. I keep the bigger bottles of the pure materials in a closet protected from the sun. For me it's always a bit hard to describe in only a few words what it is that I do. It's not the same as blending some oils together and the perfume is ready. I don't line up a rose, jasmine, sandal, lemon oil and mix them, and my perfume is finished. It's more complicated than that. Rose, Jasmine or lemon oil all have their own mix of molecules, basically they are a complete perfume on their own, where molecules are combined in a certain way. Some of the molecules of the rose could be found in the lemon as well and some of the molecules of the lemon can be found in the jasmine as well etc. I work with these oils which are combinations of molecules, but I also work with single molecules which I can use to bring out a certain element of a scent. With these single molecules I can create bridges between some stages of the perfume, I can hide some unwanted harsh or other unpleasant molecules. I can use these single molecules to add a similar smelling molecule that normally only occurs in the base notes to bring out to the top notes as well and of course the other way around. I can create a rose that smells more fresh, dewy or more honey like etc, by adding one or more materials made of one single molecule. Basically I work on the different single pieces of the perfume, the molecules, I put some single molecules apart and work on those to bring them out more, to smooth them, to hide some of them or to modify them. I'm not only working with molecules that are grouped/combined in a certain scent, like rose, jasmine etc but I also divide or break down these groups of molecules into single molecules. That means I have to concentrate on hundreds of single molecules. All having their own character. Below is an example of a perfume, I wrote the notes down in a pyramid. In the top of the pyramid you can see which top notes are used, in the middle the heart notes and at the bottom you can see the base notes.

This perfume above seems only based on some oils, which all are compositions of different molecules, which are combined to create a perfume. This phase of creating is the most fun and easy part, but it's only a rough basic of the perfume, it's not finished yet. I still have to work on the different materials to create a perfume that is well structured. The perfume below is an example on how these notes are combined with single molecules to create a nice structure.

I know it looks a bit messy and I didn't have enough space to add more notes. But this is a rough idea of what I do. I try to blend notes in a way that they all combine well together, I 'glue' some notes together, create more silage, bring out some elements that I like by adding more of these single molecules etc. This phase of creating perfumes is the hardest but the most interesting phase, it's interesting and feels satisfying to finish the perfume and try to make it perfect. I have to find out the evaporation rates of the molecules and combine them with elements that has similar evaporation rates to create a logical way of evaporation. I have to study the perfume to find out if there is not an element that is too dominant, which I maybe have to smooth or hide with other molecules. Or maybe I like to bring out an element and will add more of this molecule etc.

The most fun part is to find out what kind of effect some materials have upon each other. It's amazing how one material can change if I add other materials. It's not so that I'm always sitting behind my desk and blend, mostly I'm studying the materials on scent strips or on my skin, I combine these strips and try to find out how they combine with each other. The ideas of my perfumes are starting in my head, I'm always dreaming about perfumes, I think about it most part of the day, it's something I do automatically and mostly I'm unaware of the fact that I'm analyzing everything that I smell. I imagine how I can translate some feelings or wonderful experiences into a perfume. I'm always paying attention on things that I smell around me, I store all these information in my head and compare these with the materials and combinations that I've studied. It's a dreamy fantasy world, I try to recreate a fantasy and translate it into a perfume.

I have a deep respect for perfumers that really studied their profession, perfumers that work for popular perfume houses studied perfumery for 10 years!!! Now that I've learned so much about perfumery I understand that these perfumers had to study a lot of things before they became a perfumer. Things I didn't think of before, simply because I didn't know or realized what perfumery really meant. I always say, 'the more you know, the more you realize that you basically know nothing at all'. If you don't know enough about something, you can underestimate the whole thing, and compare yourself to someone who really knows everything about it. You put yourself on the same level of someone who studied this, I would call that arrogant and ignorant. I would like the people who put themselves on the same level as professional perfumers to take a real perfumery exam and see if they will pass. I know I will never reach that level, I can't compare myself to these perfumers. I create perfumes for 8 years or so now, I've learned from books, the Internet, by communicating with the members of my Perfume making group at Yahoo and by experimenting and again more experimenting, that's not the same as to study the profession at a high level. There was no teacher that forced me to learn things that I didn't feel like, but had to know to become a perfumer. I'm sure I skipped some parts of perfumery that I still have to learn, but I do my best and try to learn.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Féminité du Bois

I love this fragrance from Shiseido. This fragrance is based on woods, especially cedar wood. Other notes are not used to round off the accord, like it's done in many classical fragrances, but they are used to deepen the main accord. I can't find it in the descriptions of this fragrance, but when I apply it to my skin, I can smell a very dominant cumin note, besides the notes of cedar wood. The cedar wood can be smelled from the top trough bottom, what makes me wonder what materials are used in this fragrance. Somehow if you create fragrances yourself, you smell and judge fragrances differently, you 'feel' the emotion of the fragrance like any other, but you also want to recognize some materials that are used, it's more analytical smelling. Because I know the smell of many materials, and how combinations of these materials do smell like, it's easier to recognize them, otherwise I can only guess what's used. I think there is some Vertenex used, which smells like wood but appears in the top notes as well. Another note that I recognize is Iso E Super, this material smells woody, but warm and amber like at the same time. It makes this woody accord more warm. I can smell a honey note as well, which I think is wonderful in combination with cedar. I think besides the cedar notes a sandal note is used as well.

So in my opinion the following woody notes are used; Vertenex, to create a woody top note, Cedar with Cedryl acetate and Cedrol, maybe some Cedramber as well, Iso E Super to create a warm woody note, Sandal wood to add warmth, and some Ionones for violet and woody notes, which creates a bridge between the heart and the base notes. Besides the Cumin there are other spices used as well, like clove and cinnamon. There is some sort of animalic scent in the base notes that could be Civet or Castoreum, together with soft Vanilla, but not too much though. Some fruity notes of plum and some floral notes are used as well, but in a modest way, not disturbing the all over woody aura of this fragrance.

Féminité du Bois is created by Pierre Bourdon (photo on your right) and Christopher Sheldrake and launched in 1992 by Shiseido. The bottle was designed by Serge Lutens and he was the one that looked over the shoulder of the perfumers. It's a very mysterious fragrance, I think it can be worn by both men and women. It definitely makes a statement, it's emotional and very unique. Although.... I read a review by Luca Turin where he tells that the perfumer Pierre Bourdon used the idea of Féminité du Bois in another context for the perfume Dolce Vita by Dior. Of course I got curious about it and put Féminité du Bois on one wrist and Dolce Vita on the other. It's true, you can recognize Féminité du Bois in Dolce Vita, I would never come up with this myself. The bottles and the presentation of both fragrances looks so different that I never would have found the link between the two. Dolce Vita is not build up with notes to deepen the cedar wood notes like in Féminité du Bois, but is more dimensional. It has more citrus top notes and instead of plum it has peach as the fruity note. The floral heart is more deepened with 'lighter' floral notes like lilly of the valley. Dolce Vita is more crisp juicy and floral than Féminité du Bois, but the cedar wood and again the cumin note are recognized real easy.