Creating a Natural Perfume
The challenge in creating a perfume is to understand how aromas come together to release continuous layers of harmonious odor. Perfumers build a scent around 2 predominant scents in each chord of base, middle and top notes. Choose a family of preferred scent: citrus, 4 oranges, floral, mint, lemons, spicy, woody, earthy, balsam, resins, herbal, anise, pines and spruce, edibles. Several scents are so strong I usually use them alone. These include eucalyptus, peppermint, oregano, tea tree, pine and artemesias. They are more beneficial in medicinal blends. I will profile them in the future.
The following are examples of individual scents in families of odor. Perfumers use absolutes and concretes to extend the aromas.
Citrus: pink grapefruit, lime, bergamot (a hybrid of orange and lemon)
4 Oranges: blood orange, bitter orange, petitgrain, sweet orange
Note: tangerine and mandarin are included in citrus or orange. Neroli is
derived from the flower of bitter orange.
Floral: jasmine, linden (lime) blossom, ylang ylang, neroli, rose geranium,
French tuberose, lavender, helichrysum absolute
Roses include Bulgarian, Turkish, Egyptian, Indian, Moroccan, and
distilled and has a much lower intensity of odor that does not last as
long as the absolutes of roses.
Mints: Spearmint, wintergreen and several herbals
Peppermint and pennyroyal are used in medicinal blends
Herbal: Rosemary, sage, thymes of various flavors, clary sage, lavender
absolute and concrete, marjoram, anise, basil of various flavors, fennel,
marigold mint, tarragon.
Lemons: Lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon and litsea cubeba, (May chang is from a flower grown in China)
Earthy: Angelica root, labdanum absolute, vetiver, patchouli, ginger root,
oakmoss, carrot seed, valerian root.
Spicy: Coriander seed, cinnamon leaf, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, ginger
, absolute, clove and clove absolute, black pepper (also green pepper from green seed pods), juniper berries.
Woody: Cypress, cedar, sandalwood, palmarosa, rosewood.
Spruce: (Pine, all varieties) Fir absolute, black and white fir absolute. Spruce is only used for perfume; pine is medicinal.
Balsams: Benzoin, styrax, Peru balsam, Tolu balsam, tonka bean.
Resins: Myrrh, francinsense, opopanax.
Edible: Roman chamomile, green and black tea, cocoa, coffee flowers, cognac, vanilla bean, all varieties.
I have a miscellaneous section: hay, tobacco flower absolute, ambrette seed flower, costus, blue chamomile absolute, beeswax and tagetes.
To build a perfume, make a chord of 3 to 5 compatible scents each of base, heart and top notes. Here is a list of essential oils, absolutes and concretes categorized into the 3 major notes. Base notes are chosen first.
Ambrette seed Helichrysum absolute Tarragon absolute
Angelica root Labdanum absolute Tea, black or green
Benzoin Lavender concrete Tolu balsam
Blue chamomile Myrrh Tonka bean
Clary sage absolute Nutmeg absolute Vanilla
Cocoa Oakmoss Vetiver
Fir absolute Peru balsam
Hay (Black and White) fir absolutes
Choose harmonious aromas, that do not overpower one another. For a vanilla base, choose Peru balsam, benzoin and vanilla. For an Oriental or Spicy base, choose patchouli, sandalwood, frankinsense and possibly a drop of nutmeg.
For an edible base, with an alluring touch, choose cognac, green tea and cocoa.
For a phermone base, choose ambrette seed, helichrysum absolute and labdanum absolute.
Heart notes will extend the aroma of the blend as the predominant scent. There is a wide variety of scents and combinations. Blend the aromas as a separate chord. Cure for at least 3 days before combining the base note chord. It takes up to 30 days to totally marry a blend for perfume.
Allspice Lavender absolute Tagetes
Basil Lemon verbena Tuberose, French
Beeswax Lemongrass Violet leaf
Chamomile, Roman Linden blossom Ylang ylang and
Champa Litsea cubeba concrete and absolute
Clary sage Neroli
Clove and clove absolute Orange flower absolute
Geranium and geranium Black pepper absolute
absolute and concrete Rose concrete and all
Ginger absolute rose absolutes
Jasmine absolute and Styrax
Choose a combination you really enjoy and will blend with your base notes. Rose, jasmine absolute and bergamot are the most versatile.
For a sultry blend, choose jasmine absolute, ylang ylang absolute, and orange flower absolute
For an expensive, love blend, choose rose absolute, neroli and champa (also called champaca)
For a citrus blend, choose melissa, lemon verbena, litsea cubeba and linden blossom
For a delicious scent, choose cinnamon, coffee and beeswax
For an inexpensive rose scent, choose geranium, rose concrete and lemon verbena
For a spicy blend, choose allspice, clove absolute and ginger absolute.
Head notes or top notes, grab your attention and leave quickly. They are the first aroma the brain perceives. Citrus scents are very versatile and friendly top notes. The following are all essential oils. Their odor intensity is high, but not long lasting. Black pepper is often used to reduce the over sweetness in a blend.
Anise Mandarin Wintergreen
Carrot seed Nutmeg
Cabreuva Bitter orange
Cedarwood Orange blood
Coriander Sweet Orange
Fennel Black pepper, green pepper
Pink grapefruit Rosewood
Juniper berry Spearmint
For an uplifting, friendly blend, choose Orange blood, pink grapefruit, bitter orange and lemon.
For an all orange blend, choose bergamot, tangerine, and sweet orange and mandarin.
For a festive blend, choose fir, rosemary, spearmint and lemon
For a rose-like blend, choose rosewood, palmarosa and lavender
For a down to earth blend, choose coriander, cedarwood, ginger and petitgrain
For a spicy blend, choose nutmeg, black pepper, bitter orange and pink grapefruit.
A basic formula for creating a perfume is 3 drops of the top note or blend, 2 drops of heart notes, and 1 drop of base note. Begin with this formula and allow the perfume to cure 3 days, if possible, before adding more of any note. To complete a blend, you may need twice the amount of top notes compared to middle notes, and only a few drops of base notes. Build the blend carefully, adding a small portion of blends every 3 days until the perfume is complete. Make careful notes before and after each addition. Use perfume blotters to smell the result of each addition before you cure the blend for 3 days. Each perfume you create may require 1 to 6 weeks of preparation before you are satisfied. Then allow the entire blend to marry up to 30 days.