Welcome to part two of the two-part series on fragrance construction. If you missed part one which is all about making natural perfumes, you can view it HERE
We delve deeper into fragrance construction in The Artisan Perfumery Mastermind with a bonus masterclass in module 5 so if you’re not in the programme yet and are serious about upleveling your perfumery skills you can join here
What method should you use if you are making perfume with natural and synthetic materials?
There are many ways to do this depending on the style of fragrance you want to create and the balance of naturals and synthetics you are using.
Many commercial fragrances are created with a large proportion of a few “linear” synthetic materials with the actual character of the fragrance being made up of a smaller proportion but larger number of high impact materials. I do have a masterclass on this inside the Artisan Perfumery Mastermind, but I wouldn’t start with this style if you are a beginner.
You can definitely use the pyramid method we talked about last week but do keep in mind that many synthetic materials and perfumers’ bases do not fit into the traditional top/mid/base in terms of their volatility but actually perform all the way through the fragrance.
Because of this its often easier to think about construction your fragrance (and even creating accords) based on their function in the finished fragrance. This is a great method that I originally learned from perfumer Stephen Dowthwaite and modified slightly over the years. I love this method as it makes it easier for a complete beginner to map out and create a finished fragrance without having to know every single material and how it will react in a fragrance formula.
Of course, there will always be trials needed and modifications to perfect your finished fragrance, but it really simplifies things – which is always a good thing in my book.
I share more on this method with a practical demo on the fragrance construction masterclass inside The Artisan Perfumery Mastermind but I also wanted to share it will you too so you can get started.
- Start by creating your heart accord (or accords) and use this as the largest proportion of your formulation.
- Create a maximum of 3 accessory accords (especially if you are a beginner) for your formulation making sure you don’t overload with conflicting elements, or it will change the main character
- Create a base accord with fixative materials that will help to increase the longevity of your fragrance without overpowering it or changing its character.
- Add some “bridging” or harmonising materials (such as Hedione/Iso E Super etc.) to smooth any rough edges and add diffusion and radiance to the fragrance.
What about top/mid and base notes?
As I mentioned in the previous post, many aromachemicals work all the way through the fragrance so don’t feel like you need to try to categorise them as a top/mid/base note.
Using this construction method doesn’t mean you need to disregard the longevity of your materials though. Trials and modifications will still be needed to ensure your fragrance not only smells how you want it too, but also performs well over time too.
Things to keep in mind!
Make sure you create a really strong theme for your fragrance (you can learn more about this in the Scent Design Challenge)and use this as your heart accord.
Pick your accessory notes carefully and don’t add too many – they will form a smaller percentage of your overall formulation.
Your heart accord doesn’t need to be all mid notes. For example. if you are creating an amber or gourmand type fragrance, many of the materials that make up your heart accord will be “base notes” and inherently have fixative properties.