Basic Basis

It’s clear that I’ve slowed down a lot in terms of experimenting with making perfumes. My attention is scattered and I haven’t come up with new ideas. I’ve also been frustrated by the lack of strength and projection in my blends. Maybe I diluted too much, or maybe it’s because I expected certain ingredients to stand on their own when they needed more structural support or bridging. I don’t know what I don’t know, and what I do know is very little.

So, as a mini rebellion and desperate attempt not to stagnate in inertia, I decided to take all the strong-smelling materials I had that didn’t obviously clash with any of the others and bung them together. Most of these were synthetic aromachemicals and I tried to keep them within but close to maximum recommended concentrations. I called this Basic Basis.

Not surprisingly, it was easy to tell early on when each blend had “too much” of this or that type of ingredient. Too much lactone (milky biscuit-y). Too much damascone (sweet candy fruit).

I didn’t pursue this very far, but turned my attention to other things (consuming rather than creating) while the 2 versions that I kept sat around in vials for 2-3 months. Occasionally I would check back and they still smelled like I’d just taken a bunch of strong-smelling materials and bunged them together.

However, now keen to put stuff away, I smelled them again and they actually became decent. Such is the case with most of my blends—they are macerated into submission long after the period of time I’m willing to wait before writing about them. Or maybe by then my nose has become too familiar with it to be objective.

The first—and stronger—version, which was the second try, contained:

  • Sparkly top note: aldehyde C12 MNA
  • Fruity notes: cassis base 345B, damascone delta, raspberry ketone
  • Floral note: Dorinia SA (a soapy rose)
  • Green notes: Stemone, styrallyl acetate
  • Mossy note: Evernyl (a synthetic oakmoss)
  • Milky note: gamma octalactone (coconut and fig)
  • Leather notes: Pyralone (isobutyl quinoline), Suederal
  • Woody notes: Orbitone, Pretty Oud, Kohinool (which also has floral and raisin nuances), ionone alpha (with floral and violet nuances)

Now, it smells like a berried, green leather with some sweetness. Those components still smell distinct and separate. It could still do with some dressing up, but it’s not boring.

The other one (the fifth try) was all of the above ingredients except damascone delta, but with some proportions tweaked. More cassis, less lactone, less green Stemone. This version is lighter, and more of a berried rose with undertones of leather. The Dorinia, which is a rose otto blend, is more prominent even though its concentration hasn’t changed.

It was an interesting exercise in learning the effects of various proportions, and demonstrating that time is often the secret ingredient… in life as in perfumery.

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