Perfume making: lesson 6 – when you’re done experimenting or formulating for the day, bloody well, stop! Not one more drop, no, not right after this last ingredient, leave your curiosity exactly where it is drop it and leave. Why? Because if you push the process (experience speaking) what usually ends up happening is a mess. Everyone has their own limits and you, the perfumer, are going to have to find yours.
I typically start at 8:30/9am and go till around 5 or 6pm. But there are times when I’m just so inspired by a new combination and I want to rush off in sorts of olfactive directions and that kind of creative energy (in me at least) needs discipline.
So, the other day when I told myself I’d call it quits and didn’t, “just one more ingredient!” I ended up adding Neroli eo to my Iris accord instead of to the cologne vials where I should have added it!
The next morning I had to reformulate the whole lot from scratch! And from that moment I have made it a rule that whenever I get the nudge to stop that I stop and don’t push myself beyond my limitations because of impatience. Tiredness in my case makes me do stupid things and it’s only lately that I recognise it as exhaustion.
It may not seem like much but being in a studio, all day, smelling chemical compounds even if they’re natural and even if you love it, does have an effect on you after a while and that effect needs to be taken into account. It’s different for every perfumer, some reach it sooner, others have a higher tolerance, and maybe the tolerance level builds after years of being exposed to concentrated smells, but they exist.
So to make sure you keep the love intact and don’t burn out. Set boundaries. Go out and o other stuff completely unrelated to perfumes and live life!