A perfume is a state of mind, an intimate universe, an alchemy of the senses, a connection with the deepest instincts. The olfactory description of a perfume requires the composition of metaphors.
The profession of perfumer was learned in the past after many years of apprenticeship with a master. Even today, this method is the best to learn the secrets of the trade. The composition of a single perfume includes from a few, to hundreds of different substances. The perfumer has thousands of synthetic substances and several hundred natural ingredients at his disposal.
Nowadays, natural raw materials are rare and expensive compared to those synthesized, but they are worth more for the harmony of a perfume, bringing complexity and a living synergy. Most modern perfumes are blends of natural and synthetic fragrances.
Creating a perfume in old school workshops takes from a month to a few years. Guerlain stated: "to create a perfume, a good perfume, means to have a lot of patience".
An original perfume can be imitated, but a perfect copy is almost impossible, if the original formula and the origin of the ingredients are not known. It can be simulated with five, or hundreds of ingredients, but a refined nose will distinguish the surrogates.
They are easy to prepare as most essential oils, concretes or absolute oils and tinctures are soluble in alcohol, which is a liquid medium, rapidly volatile and which preserves the composition very well.
Fragrant compositions are divided into categories differentiated by the concentration of fragrant ingredients and their duration.
|category||concentration||the duration of the scent|
|PARFUM||15-35% fragrances||one or more days|
|EAU DE PARFUM||10-20% fragrances||up to 24 hours|
|EAU DE TOILETTE||5-10% fragrances||2-3 hours|
|EAU DE COLOGNE||< 7% fragrances||1-2 hours|
The base of these fragrant compositions is alcohol of 90-96°. Pure grain alcohol can be found in grocery stores, and non-denatured 70° alcohol can sometimes be found in pharmacies. For cologne, since fewer essences are used, 60°-90° alcohol can be used. To obtain an alcohol of 60°, mix 100 ml of 96 ° alcohol with 53 ml of distilled water (or floral water).
IN PRACTICE (easy method):
IN PRACTICE (classic method):
Perfumes can be formulated in vegetable oils, for example in jojoba oil, or another oxidation-resistant oil can be chosen which has a neutral odor. An addition of 0.2-0.5% vitamin E is recommended to protect the composition against rancidity.
The advantage of these compositions is that they are well tolerated by the skin and do not volatilize so quickly, but they cannot be applied to clothes. The disadvantage would be that not all perfume essences are soluble in oil, therefore they cannot be used.
In practice, follow the steps listed above for the formulation of alcohol-based perfumes. The composition is left to cure for as long as possible. Decantation and filtration are only required in certain cases.
|category||concentration||the duration of the scent|
|PULSE PERFUME||15-35% fragrances||one or more days|
|PERFUMING OIL||5-15% fragrances||a few hours|
They are based on wax (soy wax is generally recommended but beeswax is also good) and vegetable butters/oils. The concentration of fragrant ingredients can be between 5 and 35%.
To formulate the essence, follow the steps indicated for the preparation of alcohol-based perfumes. The base is prepared by placing the wax and the chosen butter/oil in a heat-resistant container and melting in a water bath. In the melted and slightly cooled base, add the combination of essences, mix vigorously, then pour into the dedicated container (usually a small glass jar). Seal tightly and leave to cure. No decantation or filtration is required.
These notes are not categorized with mathematical precision, so some essences can be classified in multiple categories.
|TOP NOTES||MIDDLE NOTES||BASE NOTES|
|Bergamot, Cajeput, Clementine, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Litsea, Red mandarin, Orange, Niaouli, Ravensara, Verbena||Anise, Laurel, Cardamom, Jasmine, Carrot, Chamomile, Cypress, Sweet Fennel, Geranium, Cedarwood virginia, Lemongrass, Magnolia, Green mandarin, Myrtle, Neroli, Clove leaf, Nutmeg, Oregano, Osmanthus, Palmarosa, Black pepper, Peppermint, Petitgrain, Scotch pine, Rosemary, Lavender, Rosewood, Nard, Thyme, Tuberose, Violet, Sage, Rosa alba, Damascus rose, Tea tree, Ylang-ylang||Ambrette, Benzoin, Peru Balsam, Cassia, Cedarwood atlas, Frangipani, Daffodils, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Ginger, Guaiacwood, Labdanum, Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Amyris, Myrrh, Tonka, Vanilla|
These are essences with base notes that also play a role of fixing the aroma: Vetiver, Patchouli, Guaiacwood, Orris root powder, Cedarwood Atlas
Perfumes feel different depending on the type and chemistry of the skin. Tastes and preferences differ so much, that any perfume with wonderful and pleasant aromas for some people, can cause repulsion in others.
To create your own perfumes you need inspiration, a lot of patience and a little luck.
References and recommendations:
La technique moderne les formulas de la parfumerie, Fouquet Henri, Paris, 1951
Les sens du parfum, Robert Guy , Paris, 2000
Perfumes: The Guide, Luca Turin, Tania Sanchez, 2008
Perfumery: practice and principles. Calkin, Robert R. & Jellinek, J. Stephen 1994
Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances, Edwards, Michael 1997
1000 de Parfumuri, Octavian Sever Coifan, Curtea Veche Publishing House 2003
This formula was developed by Elemental's qualified staff. The recipes are intended to exemplify the use of products marketed by Elemental and are believed to be accurate, however, Elemental assumes no liability or risk associated with the use of its products for the preparation and evaluation of the recipe as the conditions of preparation and use are beyond its control. The Elemental customer must ensure that the reproduction of the formulation does not infringe any intellectual property rights and that it complies with the specific rules and regulations in force. The person who prepares the recipe must refer to the safety data sheets to ensure the safe handling of all raw materials and bears full responsibility for ensuring the safe and correct use and storage of all materials procured and used. Assessments of the safety, stability, regulatory compliance and suitability of this recipe, methods and the finished product are the sole responsibility of the user and/or the legal entity placing the product on the market. Elemental is not liable for any damages resulting from the use of this information, and assumes no responsibility for misuse of selected materials, formula or method, in whole or in part.