High Racks

Still breathing a collective sigh of relief after a tense week.

High Racks is another ingredient-driven creation for me. Hyraceum smells quite warm and inviting on its own, despite its provenance as excrement on a rock. I’d been meaning to do something with it, and then I came across a description of Zoologist Hyrax as “a peppery rose with a strong, very pleasant animalic note” by Luca Turin in Perfumes: The Guide 2018. If I ever did smell Hyrax, it was rather quickly on a whirlwind sniffing tour and I don’t remember the scent. The pairing of hyraceum with rose sounded quite attractive, and I set out to build a fragrance around that.

The smell of hyraceum can be very dense and heavy, so I tried to balance it out by adding cooler woods, particularly Atlas cedarwood. I also overcompensated with citrus at first, adding neroli and then sweet orange, but later abandoned them both in favor of bergamot.

Hyraceum in excess wasn’t immediately overpowering, so it wasn’t obvious right away whether there was too much, but it became clear over time that adding more ingredients to brighten more hyraceum wasn’t the way to go. It would have to be a modest featured act or none at all.

Once the level of hyraceum was toned down to something reasonable, I was surprised to discover that there was room to add other strong, animalic ingredients to complement it. I started experimenting with isobutyl quinoline (IBQ), a relatively harsh leather note that’s more reminiscent of toughness and ink than any luxurious suede. However, I felt that it added definition and an outline around the amorphous hyraceum note.

  • Top notes: bergamot, Atlas cedarwood, aldehyde C12 MNA
  • Heart notes: rose absolute, amyris, tuberose, Hedione®
  • Base notes: hyraceum, IBQ, Edenolide

With the later addition of aldehyde and Hedione to open up the fragrance, the mixture smelled more cheerful than I had expected. Calm, too, like a light sweater. Lightly floral before passing the baton to IBQ and a musky base. High Racks is a tame animal.


4 thoughts on “High Racks

    1. Haha… what part do you find horrifying?
      Fortunately none of the smells stick around for too long, whether they’re pleasant or not.
      I used to dab my creations on my wrist sometimes (and usually the scents disappear too quickly), but recently started spraying on some of the older ones that have had plenty of time to macerate. This way I found that they stay for longer, but I also realized that I enjoyed the smells more from a vial than on my person. So far, I haven’t really tried to make scents that mimic perfumes that I already own and wear, because I like to explore different ideas and materials, so I don’t have a reference point for how the mixtures should turn out.


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