Creating a Natural Perfume

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.


Base Notes


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

Cognac                                    Opopanax

Costus                                      Patchouli

Fir absolute                              Peru balsam

Frankinsense                            Sandalwood

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.

Heart Notes


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

Cinnamon                                 Melissa

Clary sage                                Neroli

Clove and clove absolute          Orange flower absolute

Coffee                                      Osmanthus

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.


Head Notes


Anise                                        Mandarin                                  Wintergreen

Bergamot                                 Marjoram

Carrot seed                              Nutmeg

Cabreuva                                 Bitter orange

Cedarwood                              Orange blood

Coriander                                 Sweet Orange

Cypress                                    Palmarosa

Fennel                                      Black pepper, green pepper

Fir                                            Petitgrain

Ginger                                      Rosemary

Pink grapefruit              Rosewood

Juniper berry                            Spearmint

Lavender                                  Tangerine

Lemon                                      Tarragon


            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.







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