Different Types Of Accords Used In Making Perfume

Welcome to part two of the three-part series on creating accords in perfumery. If you missed last weeks newsletter you can view it here

We’ll be delving deeper into accords creation in The Artisan Perfumery Mastermind next week with a special one-off live masterclass so if you’re not in the programme yet make sure you join here to grab your spot on the live session.

So, what are the different types of accord and how are they used in perfumery?

The two different types of accords we commonly talk about in perfumery are vertical and horizonal accords. All that means is we are either creating an accord with materials of the same level of volatility (horizontal accord i.e., all top /all mid or all base notes) or of different levels of volatility (vertical accord i.e., a mix of top/mid/base notes)

I often recommend that people start by creating horizontal accords especially if using all natural materials as its easier to manage and will give you an insight into how materials interact with each other in the top, mid, and base of a simple fragrance formula.

However, as we move on to more advanced formulating there are a lot more questions that come up that I will be answering on the live masterclass next week

In the meantime. I’ll address a couple here.

Can I use materials of different fragrance families in an accord?

There are some instances where you might want to use all woody materials to make a woody accord, or all green materials to create a green note.
But what if you wanted to create a Chypre accord as the central theme of your fragrance?
You can absolutely do that too.
Most classic fragrances are built around a strong central theme or accord which is then modified with other ancillary notes which could be in the form of accords or single materials

How do I know if its an accord or a finished perfume?

Well that really depends on you and your fragrance creation style. I’m sure some would disagree with me, but I love simple accords and often wear them as finished perfumes.

I always remember a story that perfumer Mark Buxton told about the creation of the original scent for Comme Des Garcons. He created an accord based on a trip to Morocco and presented it at the briefing meeting for the fragrance. The client loved it and off he went to create several trials using it as the central them. All were rejected as the client actually wanted the accord as is and that became the fragrance they launched.

Traditionally a finished perfume would be made of multiple accords that are used as building blocks to create the complete fragrance but if you are creating simple therapeutic scents or fragrances for skincare or body products then an accord could serve as the finished scent if that is what works for the brief. The level of complexity is up to you.

We go into this in a lot more depth in The Artisan Perfumery Mastermind but a simple fragrance structure using accords could be like this:

  1. An accord for your central theme (i.e. a floral bouquet)
  2. A couple of accessory accords (i.e. a green accord and a fruity accord)
  3. A base accord for longevity (i.e. a soft woody musk accord)

I hope that clarifies a bit more about using accords and next week I’ll give you a couple of methods of creating accords for yourself.

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