aromatic profile: citronellyl formate


Scientific name: 3,7-dimethyloct-6-enyl formate

a.k.a.: Citronellyl Formate

CAS#: 105-85-1

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: Medium

Interesting bits: At 100% the odour is bergamot, cucumber, rose, apricot, peach, plum. At 20% it’s more sweet, green waxy, floral, apricot, citrus, mandarin! Citronellyl Formate is also a chemical component of Geranium.

My nose: Citronellyl Formate opens fresh, floral, geranium, rose, pink and clean. After 30min it’s much more geranium now, citronellol and citronella too! Clean and light. 1hr and now it’s very linear, same characteristics as before with little change, but it does seem wider, more ample though. After 2hrs the same, no real change, other than it regresses a bit and is not as powerful as in the beginning. 3hrs later and it’s lemony, sharp, geraniol, citronellol, still a bit floral and still very linear, like the one, constant note that keeps the rhythm in a beautiful piece of music. 7hrs into the dry-down and I’m still mainly getting geranium, still mildly pungent, citronellol, could definitely add consistency to a blend or accord. Now 11hrs later and it’s still very much geranium I get, but more rosey, floral, like it’s grown up and gotten serious all of a sudden, planted its feet on the ground and ditched the excess baggage.

Blends well with: Haven’t tried this one yet, but I can smell this doing well with the floral and the citrus family as well as Galbanum

Considerations: Citronellyl Formate will last for 24 months or longer if stored in a cool, dry place. Recommended usage levels are up to 5% in the total concentrate.

Have a great week-end!

aromatic profile: safraleine


Sceintific name: 2,3,3-trimethyl-2H-inden-1-one

a.k.a.: Safraleine

CAS#: 54440-17-4

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Base – leathery, spicy, woody, warm (Givaudan)

Family: Leather

Diffusion: High

Their nose: Safraleine exhibits warm, powerful, leathery and tobacco facets but its complexity also reveals characteristics of spices reminiscent of natural saffron, enriched by rose ketone-like floral aspects. (Givaudan)

This is a very versatile ingredient: in low doses you can add a spicy undertone to any fragrance, while higher doses will give you a distinct leather note. Blends well with Suederal but can also be used effectively with traces of birch tar in leather compositions. The effect is softer than suederal, more like skin and less like leather depending on what you use with it. (Hermitage)

…a combination of shoe polish/black cherry/air conditioning refrigerating fluid. (Perfume Shrine)

My nose: opening notes are of new leather, a hard leather surface, pristine office space, dentist office, contemporary, minimalism, plastic, rubber(?), hint of something pungent like peppermint (what the heck?!). After 30min I get the peppermint aspect even more, not as harsh to my nose as the first time I introduced my nose to this a year ago, so it’s really interesting to see how my brain has adapted to this aroma chemical to give me a more rounded impression. 1hr later and I get something sharp but not unpleasant, dry, I actually think it’s beautiful  now, I smell this with mint! 2hrs into the dry-down and the projection is still strong, I can smell it above the others when I walk into the studio. I marvel that there is definitely another side to Safraleine that goes beyond harshness, there is also an uplifting side to it. 3hrs later it’s still sharp, but now I get cold steel, more cool, seems to be receeding now a bit, if I could give it a colour it would be grey, steel grey. After 7hrs it smells more constructed, something of mechanical grease, fading the mintiness is almost gone. 11hours later and it’s now more plastic-like in the dry-down but there’s also a brighter side to this and I am convinced there is a camphor-esque quality to it that makes it uplifting.

Blends well with: although I haven’t used this in a blend to date, I have discovered that it is can support the building blocks of the leather family such as Castoreum (real or synthetic), Tobacco and Birch Tar rect’d. I certainly want to try this with something minty, peppermint, spearmint, whatever, I’ve got to appease this curiosity!

Considerations: the TGSC recommended dilution for smelling is 10% or less. My dilution is also at 10%.  Not to exceed 3% in your fragrance concentrate.


aromatic profile: cashmeran


Scientific name: 1,2,3,5,6,7-hexahydro-1,2,3,3-pentamethyl-4h-inden-4-one

a.k.a.: Cashmeran

CAS#: 33704-61-9 155667-06-4

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice (USA)

Note: Base

Family: Woods, Amber

Diffusion: The real benefit, as per Fragrantica and my evaluation can back this up, is it has a medium potency in volume projection but a long trail that surpasses a full day’s length, my experience is more like two full days!

Interesting Bits: Cashmeran is commonly referred to as Blond Woods. It’s part of the musk family and is fairly inexpensive, a 1 oz bottle from Perfumer’s Apprentice is $18. “it’s scent profile takes over a vast sea between woods and ambers, abstract and indefinable,” says Fragrantica.

Cashmeran is hydrophobic (insoluble in water), it’s therefore a prime target for use in functional perfumery since it won’t rinse out, so you’ll find in anything from detergents to fabric softners.

Their nose: According to Fragrantica, it’s reminiscent of concrete (especially the abstract woody scent that concrete gives when hit upon by rain…) also lightly spicy lightly powdery…. It is, however used as a powerful floralizer, as it aids in the expansion of those notes, especially accords of Jasmine. TGSC calls it rich, spicy, musk, woody, clean.

My nose: Cashmeran never screams, it whispers. This opens up soft and powdery, youthful with a hint of what Ambergris is to me, musky, airy, light, spacious and a puff of clouds w/a hint of sweetness. 30min later it’s even more pronounced like its woken up; there’s a hint of an edge there which is interesting, like something bitter and dry. After 1hr now there’s a sharper quality to it and it’s even more peppery, definitely still soft and smooth, oh and the dry, woody part I get now! 2hrs later and Cashmeran gets softer and softer at times there’s a peppery quality to it but that edginess remains, still airy and powder but not overwhelmingly so. After 3hrs now there seems to be more sparkle and shine! It’s more luminous on the intake a hint of incense which reminds me of Sandalwood? so much more powdery and warm now! 7hrs into the dry down and now soft wood is the main impression, it’s drier and more of a background note, now it’s whispering. After 11hours Cashmeran is definitely dwindling but its softness persists, drier and more woody, more musky (but in a good way!).

Blends well with: other modern components like Ambroxan, the damascones, ethyl maltol etc. as well as naturals like Frankincense, Clary Sage, citrus, geraniol, linalool, Patchouli, Tonka bean Vetiver, etc.

Arcadi Boix Champs says that Cashmeran combines very well with green grass notes, “…it’s interesting to note the effects of Cashmeran with subtle, fruity chemicals and … absolute Maté,” in his book Perfumery: Techniques In Evolution 2nd Edition.

TGSC: Check out there, oh-so-useful “Blenders” tab for a host of other suggestions like Carrot seed eo(!), and Costus root.

Considerations: TGSC recommends smelling at 10% dilution or less, in fact 99% of all my synthetics are at this dilution. Cashmeran has a shelf life of up to 36 months or longer if stored safely, according to TGSC.

Have a beautiful Friday!

aromatic profile: brazilian pepper berry


Common name: Brazilian Pepper berry (a.k.a. Rose pepper, Brazilian pepper)

Genus name: Schinus terebinthifolius (a species of the Cashew family Anacardiaceae)

Supplier: Hermitage

Note: Heart

Family: (cool) Spicy

Diffusion: 5

Blends well with: black pepper, pink pepper, citruses, bergamot, Sumac (smoke tree)

Chemical components: Mostly mono­terpene hydro­carbons (to­gether about 10% of the mass of the dried berries): 21% Δ3‑carene, 20% α‑pinene, 13% α‑phell­andrene, 9% limonene, 8% p‑cymene and 6% β‑phell­andrene. Further­more, mono­terpene, sequi­terpene and tri­terpene deri­va­tives were re­ported: cis‑sabinole, carvo­tanacetone, β‑caryo­phyllene, α‑ and β‑cubebane, α‑amyrin, α‑amyrenone, mastica­dienoic acid and hydroxy­mastica­dienoic acid. The sweet taste (cf. licorice) of the dried berries is due to considerable amounts of sugar. (Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages)

The major constituents are a-pinene 16.3%, limonene 13.3%, delta 3-carene 10.8%. The content of phellandrene is 8% and this is responsible for the peppery element of this oil. (Hermitage)

Pink peppercorns don’t have any of the pungent piperine found in black, white, and green pepper heat, but they do have other aroma compounds in common. Pinene, limonene, phellandrene, and carene are found in both types of peppercorns. Terpene flavour Compound family – highly volatile and easily evaporate and oxidize when exposed to air, light, and heat. (Table Fare)

Interesting bits: grown widely as an ornamental plant, native of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.  Not to be confused with Pink pepper because it is not a true pepper, although related to the Schinus molle.  This shrub or small tree can thrive in all kinds of ecosystems. This is also a melliferous plant meaning it produces a substance that can be collected by insects and turned into honey.

Their nose: The smell is a cleaner version of pink pepper, soft, gentle, enticing, it draws you in and just when you think you understand the smell, it hits you with a gorgeous, warm, peppery punch. (Hermitage)

My nose: Of course this opens up wildly pungent, piercing, happily spicy, terpine-like, radiant and sunny! It follows through, 15 minutes later, to become warm, sort of Cedarwood in quality, pencil shavings is what I get here. 30 minutes on and it’s still pungent, piercingly clean, a bit understated now, exotic, masculine a bit herbaceous. After 45 minutes I still get pencil shavings, strongly terpenic, a flash of spice, fading but much more slowly, and I remember sharpening my pencil in front of the classroom. 1 hour later and I get particles, pieces, shavings, hushed and woody, yes, that facet comes through strongly for me, cooler now, lingering and definitely not imposing. 2 hours later and it’s much less terpenic, much more green in quality, now I can envision it with florals, much less aggressive, but also less radiant now too, I see the leaves of the rose not the blossom when I smell Brazilian pepper.  Then 3 hours later it’s a very no-nonsense, clean, clear-cut smell dwindling down to a very refreshing note.  7 hours into the dry down and it’s somewhat piercing, dry, the paper is coming through and it’s almost gone.  24 hours later and it’s still clean, clear, still fully “peppery” and quite long lasting.

Musings on composition: I get this working with Cedarwood, Sandalwood or Fir Absolute, even with my beloved Black Spruce Absolute.

aromatic profile: black pepper


Common name: Black pepper

Genus name: Piper nigrum

Supplier: Perfumery Art School (part of our school kit)

Note: Heart to Top

Family: Spicy

Diffusion: 6

Blends well with: See my other post on Green Pepper tincture.

Chemical components: See my other post on Green Pepper tincture.

Interesting bits: In the winters, black pepper essential oil becomes a great substitute used as warmth-generating aromatherapy constituents. Black pepper essential oil is used as an aromatherapy massage oil, to increase the blood circulation. The essential oil can make a room feel warmer and cosier when used in an aromatherapy diffuser. (Fragrantica)

Their nose: See my other post on Green Pepper tincture.

My nose: pungent, spicy, wakes you up, but warm though. Lovely.  It’s like a burst of sunshine. That’s how black pepper begins its story for me. Then after 15 minutes it becomes comforting, very warm, very familiar, subtle and elegant, refined. It was so surprising for me to find black pepper to have a gentle, lived-in feeling. It was like rediscovering an old friend. 30 minutes later and it’s still very alive, familiar, citrus quality(?), it seems to add structure, a certain predictability, sharp. After 45 minutes I just love this note, now there is a sweetness to it. It’s glowing softly, it’s sheer! It’s light and translucent; it’s as if the presence of black pepper could gentrify the whole. 1 hour later and it remains just beneath the surface with a sensation of ice, this note is very integral, almost proud. 2 hours and it’s still pungent, it almost has the ability to make you forget it’s the humble black pepper. Clean, freshly pressed, centred. The prevalent impression is clean at this point. 3 hours later and it is still explosive, powerful, thin, dry, very dry actually and refreshing. After 7 hours it is still pungent and piercing but no longer really noticeable as black pepper. 24 hours into the dry down and it still possesses that uplifting characteristic, though fleeting — much more so than the Brazilian Pepper berry. Still recognisable as pepper because it is sharper.

Musings on composition: more than intellectual, I can feel this note together with other top notes to add radiance, the kind of radiance that Galbanum imparts to a blend or that we get from other synthetics like green leaf alcohol.

Hey! Get out there and smell something different today OR smell the ordinary differently.

aromatic profile: green pepper tincture


Common name: Green Pepper

Genus name: Piper nigrum (of the Piperaceae family) native of Malabar India

Supplier: bought a small bag from the grocery store and tinctured in 96° alcohol

Note: Heart to Top

Family: (cool) Spicy/Green

Diffusion: 3

Blends well with: gourmand accords, Oriental accords, spice accords, amber bases particularly with sandalwood, rosemary, citrus, lavender, ginger, clove, lemon, coriander, geranium, litsea cubeba

Chemical components: a-pinene 30.7%, b-pinene 16.2%, d-3-carene – 1-15%, b-myrcene 0.8%, limonene 19.3%, elemene 2.1%, B-elemene 0.1%, B-caryophyllene 4.8%. (

piperine, piperetine and piperidine, amides-peperyline, piperoleins. (Fragrantica)

Interesting bits: Pepper grows as a woody, climbing and flowering vine that can reach up to five meters. Green Pepper essential oil is directly distilled from the unripe, undried green colored peppercorns (the fruit). Black peppercorns are formed when the unripe pepper is picked and then dried in the sun. (White Lotus Aromatics)

Black Pepper, christened as “King of Spices” and “Black gold” is the most important and the most widely used spice in the world, occupying a position that is supreme and unique. Black pepper essential oil is stimulating, warming, comforting and cheerful. The quality of pepper is contributed to by two components. Piperine that contributes the pungency and volatile oil that is responsible for the aroma and flavour. (Fragrantica)

The flowers may be unisexual, with monoecious or dioecious forms, or may be hermaphrodite…The pepper is crushed to a coarse powder and on steam distillation in which ammonia is evolved (in common with, for example, ginger, pimento and cubebs). (Fragrantica)

Their nose:  a fresh, light. spicy-aromatic(pepper-elemi-cubeb complex) bouquet with a dry, woody, terpenic undertone (White Lotus Aromatics)

hot and bracing note, short-lived and earthy spice…pleasant, fresh, spicy and peppery, warm, woody (Fragrantica)

My nose: my green pepper tincture opens with a light, barely-there element, then the pepper jumps out! Green, wow! Uplifting, spicy, almost watery and watered down, yes I definitely get that impression of dilution. 15 min later and it’s now very exotic spicy, like India, I get India with this tincture. Almost aniseed-like, aged, old, like it’s been sitting in the spice cabinet for years. After 30 minutes it’s fading very quickly, I don’t seem to get a thing when I sniff, just a vague impression of aniseed. 45 minutes into the dry down and now it’s just a glimpse, a hint of green and pepper is the last impression. It’s a cool spice note. Aniseed tea that mom used to give us for tummy aches. After 1 hour when it slides into the heart note it’s almost gone, I have to blow on it to wake it up but the pepper quality is still in tact. After 2 hours it smells faintly of a spice cupboard but it’s pretty much gone only a slight green note remains. 3 hours later and there’s a faint smell of spice lingering so is the aniseed thing. 7 hours into the dry down and all I get is a faint green impression mingled with paper – dry!  24 hours later and the impression of green pepper is so faint I think I’m imagining it. It’s gone.  But for a tincture it lasted much longer than expected.

Musings on composition: I would use this tincture as a base or backdrop for colognes because the impression is so weak, but that’s what I would want anyway. I discovered spicy can be both cool and warm and that this particular tincture could straddle both the green and the spicy family. Hmmm, all these facets of the single notes that no one can teach me really, I simply have to discover them for myself as I open up to learning more.

Wishing you a wonder-filled day!

aromatic profile: peach co2


Common name: Peach

Genus name: Prunus persica (subfamily Prunoideae – think: cherry, plum, apricot and almond, of the Rosaceae family – think: apples, pears, quince, raspberries, strawberries, and rose)

Supplier: Hermitage

Note: accent note, Heart

Family: Fruit, Floral

Diffusion: 4-5

Blends well with: Perfumer’s Apprentice has a nice peach accord to try.  I did some research and it seems to play nicely with: florals, clove, vanilla, patchouli, oakmoss, agarwood, cinnamon, iris, pepper, rose, vetiver, bergamot, juniper berry, sandalwood, opoponax, mind, lavender and plum.

Chemical components: More than 80 chemical compounds contribute to the peach aroma. Among others are found C6 gamma-lactones, C8 and C10 (gamma-decalactone), C10 delta-lactone, several esters (such as linalyl butyrate or linalyl formate), acids and alcohols, and benzaldehyde. – Wikipedia

Interesting bits: “Peaches are first mentioned in ancient Chinese scriptures from the 10th century BC, where they were regarded as the most precious fruit, favored by emperors and nobles. The peach entered Europe after Alexander the Great conquered the Persians and brought into his homeland what was then called “Persian apple.” French word for apple is “pêche,” and this is how the modern English name for peach came to life.” – Fragrantica

“For Chinese people, peach is a symbol of longevity, as it blossoms even before the leaves sprout.” – Fragrantica

“The rich flavor of ripe peach stems from its high contents of lactones, especially gamma- and delta-decalactone, and combines very well with fruity and floral compositions. Peach note adds a hit of velvety suppleness to an olfactory harmony, and it is commonly used to ground chypre-based compositions.” – Fragrantica

Their nose: “fruity note, fleshy, sweet, nectarous” – Fragrantica

“The subtly sweet, cozy, comforting scent of milk is a prized note in perfumes. Not only does it create a regression to childhood, welcome solace, but it enhances floral components and matches the sweeter elements really well. White florals and classical chypres often exhibit “milky” notes, due to added lactones, components whose name derives indeed from the Latin for milk; this is because in nature tuberose, jasmine and gardenia do contain lactones among hundreds of other molecules in their chemical makeup. And so do certain fruits which find themselves recreated in fruity chypres, such as plum, peach and apricot. Their infamous skin compatibility (bordering on the naughtily cuddly) isn’t such a mystery; our bodies decompose proteins breaking them up in analogous materials, therefore lactones stick well on skin.” – Perfume Shrine

My nose: Peach concrete opens up fruity and bold like a bowl of ripe summer fruit, jammy! Sweet, hint of animalic quality, warm and pleasurable. 15min in and it’s still very jammy, reminding me of breakfast, fruity, chunky bits hiding in the background, edible. 30min later and it’s almost gone! Plump, fruity, jammy still, sticky , sweet, honey-like in quality and emotion, needs the heat to come alive it seems. 45min and I get an impression of the peach kernel, I can sense and almost feel the grooves and texture and luscious juiciness. No, it’s not gone completely, just sort of receded. 1 hour later and it’s still sweet, jam, apricots even, pleasure of the kitchen, satisfying, summer, is what I get. 2 hours into it and it remains pretty linear, it hasn’t changed much, it holds the note intact throughout. 3 hours and it continues in sweetness, now I get an orange colour, thick, jam, nectar like juice nectar, just like apricot nectar from a juice box!  After 7 hours what is that I smell? Wet dog?! Something smells like it has gone bad! Very unpleasant odour like rotting fruit. Wow!  24 hours later and there is still a slight impression of peach but I’m getting more of the rotting fruit aspect, some peach, apricot, warming in the sun.

Musings on composition: I get an impulse to try this with florals but nothing striking jumps out at me immediately. I also feel inspired to create an accord around this concrete with the help of some synthetics but I’d love to get this accord to sparkle.

I wish you a happy day!

aromatic profile: tuberose absolute


Common name: Tuberose

Genus name: Polianthes tuberosa

Supplier: Proxisanté

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 7

Blends well with: carnation, gardenia, jasmin, neroli, peru balsam, rose otto, violet, ylang ylang (Artisan Aromatics). Beeswax absolute, benzoin absolute, bergamot, amyris, bois de rose, caraway seed co2 and eo, carrot seed co2 and eo, clary sage eo and abs, clove bud eo and abs, coriander seed co2 and eo, frangipani abs, geranium eo and abs, ho wood eo, labdanum abs, mandarin eo, narcissus abs, neroli eo, oakmoss abs, orange flower abs, mandarin petitgrain eo, petitigrain eo, lemon petitgrain eo, rose abs, tonka bean abs, violet leaf abs, sandalwood eo and abs, ylang ylang abs and eo (White Lotus Aromatics)

Chemical components: Methyl benzoate, methyl anthranilate, benzyl alcohol, butyric acid, eugenol, nerol, farnesol, geraniol, 1,8-cineole, limonene, sabinene, a-pinene, b-pinene, indole, myrcene, camphor, methyl salicilate

Interesting bits: “The Pre-Columbian Indians of Mexico first domesticated the Tuberose, one of the most fragrant of all flowers. It was one of the first plants introduced to the Old World from Mexico.” – Eden Botanicals

“Tuberose (Polianthes tuberose) is a plant belonging to the lily family (Amaryllidaceae) native to Central America. Like most night blooming flowers, tuberose is pollinated by nocturnal moths, which explains the white shade of the flowers. Like jasmine, tuberose continues to produce its scent even after the flower is picked, thus, lending itself as a perfect candidate to the traditional painstaking enfleurage method.” – Bois de Jasmin

“In Ayurvedic tradition, tuberose is also known to stimulate serenity, creativity and psychic powers….tuberose is frequently combined with jasmine and orange blossom, lending further opulent depth to one and dark richness to the other.” -Bois de Jasmin

Their nose: “tuberose absolute opens up with a faint green note before warming into a sweet jasmine-like scent underscored by a rubbery accord. It vacillates between the coconut sweetness and the warm skin impression, as it dries down.” – Bois de Jasmin

“This sensuous deep orange-golden brown oil has a warm, very sweet, “plump” and most intoxicating floral aroma with peach leaf and soft spice-like background notes.” – Eden Botanicals

There’s a great article on Fragrantica with perfumer Pierre Bernard around the Tuberose note. It’s an insightful read with lots of good information.  I could cut and paste forever but the best thing would be for you to just mosey on over there and give it read.

My nose: as Tuberose opens up I get waxy, warm, soft, fruity, sweet and thick. 15min later it’s still warm, comforting, blossoms, the colour orange just jumped out, carnal, fleshy, natural, exotic and lush is what strikes me. 30min later and now its fully floral-POW! In your face floral, sweet, thick, lushiousness, plummy, deep, feminine, golden and oh, so beautiful! After 45min it gets fuller, almost as if it’s now waking up. It’s beguiling, tempting, engaging. This note saunters, sways, it’s in no rush; aphrodisiac, almost like you don’t recognise it’s a floral. As it slides into the heart notes 1 hour later I get such a strong impression of a woman! Fully present now, like a liqueur, yes, smooth, sensual, like a liqueur. Elegant and sublime. 2 hours and now it’s less warm, I sense it now ready to interact with other notes, seems like the true heart moment is opening up at this point; it nuzzles, comforts and reassures you.  3 hours and now it’s becoming sweeter, softer, more floral still, I can smell a slight decay of petals and it’s more quiet and even more composed if that is at all possible.  7 hours into the dry down and do I smell it together with pepper? Now I smell a powdery aspect that wasn’t there before; it’s greener too, also more fruity, drier, more down to earth. 24 hours and it’s settling down into the base notes and it’s still present on the strip though much softer, more alluring, the sweetness is a pure delight. This is a beautiful note all by itself! 4 days later and Tuberose is still identifiable on my scent strip!

Musings on composition: being a night blooming flower makes me consider other night blooming flowers to pair it with but also makes me want to take much care in supporting its gentle opening; notes that coax and coddle rather than poke and prod. Since I am drawn to compose by pairing or juxtaposing chemical compounds camphor strikes me as a possible note to pair with Tuberose, an aspect that would almost wake it up with verve the way I like to get up in the morning.

Keep exploring, being curious and wondering!

aromatic profile: osmanthus absolute


Common name: Osmanthus absolute

Genus name: Osmanthus fragrans

Supplier: Proxisanté

Note: Heart-Base

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 8+

Blends well with: champa abs., benzoin abs., styrax eo, agarwood eo, agalia odorata abs., cassie abs., mimosa abs., ambrette seed abs., ylang ylang abs and eo, davana eo saffron eo, jasmine sambac abs, jasmine auriculatum abs., broom abs., orange blossom abs., fir balsam abs., tuberose abs., frangipani abs., bakul abs. (White Lotus Aromatics)

Chemical components: “The essence of osmanthus naturally contains cis-jasmone (a white floral note), gamma-decalactone and various delta-lactones (peachy-milky notes) as well as several ionones derivates, which accounts for its violet-like sweetness” – Perfume Shrine

“Among the carotenoids of Osmanthus are all trans-beta-Carotene, all trans-alpha-Carotene and Neo-beta-carotene B.” – Fragrantica

Linolenic acid – 17.4%, Linoleic acid – 8.7%, Hexadecanoic acid – 8.6%, b-ionone – 7.6%, dihydro b-ionone – 6.4%, Geraniol – 1.2%, Linalool – 0.8% and a-ionone 0.6% – Essential Oil University

Interesting bits: native to Asia from the Himalayas through southern China to Taiwan and southern Japan and southeast Asia as far south as Cambodia and Thailand. (Wikipedia).

According to Leffingwell: “While the flowers of osmanthus range from silver-white (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. latifolius Mak.) to gold-orange (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. thunbergii Mak.) to reddish (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. aurantiacus Mak.), the extract (alcohol absolute) is usually prepared from the gold-orange flowers.”

“Member of the Oleaceae family like olive and Lilac.  Highly valued as an additive for tea and other beverages where the aromatic extract comes from the golden yellow flowers variety…the variant Osmanthus fragrans Lour. has more carotenoids in its chemical make-up which contributes both to the sunnier colouring as well as the enhanced aroma.” Perfume Shrine

This is an evergreen shrub or a small tree.  I don’t know why, but in my mind I pictured this as a big ol’ tree.

Their nose: “the initial top note is somewhat fruity and sweet comparable maybe to eating yellow Mirabelle plums late in the summer. However it is the heart note that makes this utterly spectacular as I detect an infusion of sweet juicy Apricots, fresh cream and a thick helping of Greek Honey.” – Hermitage

“a complex, incredibly rich, sweet, honeyed, floral, leathery, fruity bouquet with elegant precious woods, animalic, spicy undertone.” – White Lotus Aromatics

“It has a green note, but also a dark, earthy quality – almost like old leather – and a fruity, violet floral (methyl ionone & beta ionone) note, which I suspect many people will experience as fresh raspberry-like. It’s very complex and deep, but really not much like smelling the flowers.” – Chris Bartlett of Pell Wall Perfumes, on Basenotes

“fruity-leathery smells evoking plums, apricots and prunes” – Fragrantica

My nose: this is a power floral to me!  There’s nothing, faint, quaint or “nice” about Osmanthus. Those just aren’t words that come to mind when I smell this note. Osmanthus opens up waxy, orangey, BIG, BOLD, and warm, with a very heavy presence for me. After 15min the olfactive “size” is what sticks out most, it’s cloying, cluttering, demanding and there’s still a very strong element of waxiness but now that seems to be settling down, warm and sweet.  30min later and I smell it with Tobacco absolute.  Dense and thick like a thick floral, fruity fog, I feel prisoner, held in its gutsy, juicy pressing folds.  45min into the evaluation and this note just seems to get bolder and bolder! Still a bit waxy but not distractingly so, definitely floral, something assertive in this note that’s why I smell it with Tobacco, a very male presence, dominating, at its core.  1 hour later and it’s still waxy, but now the fruity aspect is more front and centre, sweet, thick, bountiful, gives the impression of abundance.  Very deep scent, sensual and direct.  2 hours later and this note is still loud. It can be “heard” above the other two notes I’m evaluating (Tuberose and Peach concrete).  A bit waxy still but now it’s like it’s freer, more narcotic, oriental, in a word voluptuous.  Its proportions are XL. 3hours into the dry down and its only now I smell the apricoty fruity nuancees. I get dappled sunlight in summer, laying in the grass after having eaten a fruit, jammy ripe, but it’s beginning to taper off to something more subdued.  7 hours later and this seems to be full blown now!  Like its sort of exploded.  Definitely a drier floral note, but still rich and ripe, the fruity aspect has really taken a back seat, still very heavy.  24 hours later and it’s softer, more aged in character but still bold, round, now it’s totally approachable, no longer dominating, it has settled into something much more elegant and refined.  3 days later and it is still present on the scent strip! Monstrous!

Musings on composition: there’s a lot to say about Osmanthus, as you can see. It’s a BIG scent, that’s for sure and so my instincts draw me to counter balance that by little things, supporting actors that totally make this note either shine on its own or convince it to contribute its greatness to the “good of the whole” thereby raising the entire perfume to a whole other level. Of course you’ll have to research and experience what those supporting actors could be for you. As I mentioned above I totally smell an invisible synergy with Tobacco – I’ll have to prove that in some trials eventually. In reading I found that the plant matures in the spring, about six months after flowering. When I check this seeming nothingness with my notes I see that to me it becomes full blown after 6 hours. Hmmm, just another way to look at composition ideas.

Happy Monday!  Remember to love and laugh too.

lessons in perfumery #1


The first “oh, my, God, that stinks!” is really hard to “swallow”, I don’t care what anyone says. I got mine last week when LV smelled one of my modifications and his reaction was like being slapped in the face. Ouch!

How not to get discouraged when creating is as important as creating itself and of course making a lot of duds is part and parcel of any sort of training.  But how do you get past it? Those less than pleasant reactions to formulas we sweat and agonised over for weeks, months even, are what help build our scent files about what doesn’t work for others because sometimes as artists we can be too close, too protective and not objective enough about our work.

One solution that combats these blues that seems to work for me is lots of experimentation.  By lots I mean anywhere between 5 -10 versions of a theme or an accord.  Something good, something unexpectedly wonderful, is bound to reveal itself. Doing it this way makes it much easier for me to accept and let go of the failures when I know I’ve got one or two mods I can run with.  Those one or two are what give me the inspiration to keep going.  I tried formulating one at a time but found myself getting way to invested and attached to the formula. For someone else it might be the perfect solution, but definitely not good for someone like me.

As perfumers we will instinctively create our own processes picking up pieces of how to work until the whole process becomes custom made like a bespoke piece of clothing.  I’ll share how I approach multiple formulation in the next post.  Have a wonderful Monday!


cool stuff and new stuff on the way!


“..because I’m HAPPY! Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.” Yep, totally in love with Pharrell’s new song!

AND my new smelling strips wheel is finally finished.  Elisa of Eligiart (and no, she doesn’t have a website up yet), the marvellous, creative, creature that makes my hand-bound journals and such, made this for me!  I saw it somewhere on a website made of plain paper used for another purpose and when I was in Elisa’s studio I saw the map just laying around and had an aha! moment and here’s the finished product.  This baby can hold a ton of smelling strips and all in an elegant design.  I love it when form and function combine into perfect harmony!  No little clips to fiddle with, just slide them into a fold anywhere.  Love, love, love it!

The other news is I’ve ordered the following new oils from Hermitage (UK) and Proxisante(France) and can’t wait to bury my nose deep in their mystery.  Here are the descriptions of what’s on it’s way (source: Hermitage and Proxisante), hopefully this week:

Cardamom MD (molecular distilled): Guatemala. Fresh, fusing, green, spicy, very true to fresh cardamom seed. This note is very clean, avoiding any initial camphoraceous and sometimes valerianic impressions often found as a background note in traditional extracts of cardamom.

Éclat de Cedrat: Italy. This essential oil is a sparkling zesty, fresh citrus aromatic. This material is a creation produced from Italian cedrats, bergamots and lemons; useful in the creation of fresh colognes, woody-vetivert accords and adds a sparkling top note to florals.

Guaiac Coeur MD: Paraguay. Produced by molecular distillation of Guaiac essential oil, with the focus being to concentrate the woody and lactonic notes with a floral and sweet-spicy connotation. The aroma is therefore very woody, lactonic, amber, with a soft spicy-floral and suede connotation. Less smoky and cleaner in aroma compared to the essential oil.

Patchouli Coeur MD (Select): Indonesia. The opening is warm, full-bodied, with lots of rich winter fruit notes spiced with hints of sweet oriental powdery musky incense. The heart and base notes are sublime. The rich musk incense notes blossom into a glorious creamy, ambery, woody, musky floral comparable to the heart notes of an aged Indian sandalwood, cedarwood atlas with a sprinkling of white florals and musk.  Honestly, getting this one was a no-brainer, really…how do I love thee, patchouli, let me count the ways.

Poplar Bud Absolute MD: France. Fruity-apricot, flowery-osmanthus, woody, leathery, liqueur-like davana notes with prune and fig undertones. Ideal for floral bouquets, oriental, fruity and leather notes.  I mean really, how could any perfumer say no to this novelty?!  Can’t you just smell it?

Vetiver Coeur (fractionation): Haiti. The main idea of this material is to allow the grassy and rooty nuances found in the heart to play the dominant role in the aroma.  A much lighter, fresher, brighter, crisper version of cedarwood atlas with a richness, warmth and weight associated with materials such as Cambodian oud and maybe Chinese cedar wood.

Sweet Gale essential oil: Scotland. The top notes of this material are candy-sweet and ice water fresh. In the heart a suave floral-sweetness takes charge, the sweet notes reminiscent of a Bergamot Mint and Bois de Rose infusion. … a really gentle sweet-herbaceous note that playfully wanders in and out of detection.  For the perfumer the value is chiefly within the top note, imparting distinctive freshness that would be of extra value to anyone creating an oriental themed perfume.  Sweet Gale is a marriage made in heaven with most spice materials along with fruits such as Bergamot and Cedrat and with floral and herb materials including Lavender, Lavandin, Rosemary, Hyssop and Clary Sage. The main constituents are Alpha Terpineol 11%, D-Limonene 53%, Geranyl Acetate 5%, Linalool 4%, Linalyl Acetate 4%.  I am so totally intrigued, sounds like a love affair.

Elemi Coeur (fractionation): Phillipines.  A very specialist material that of course is rose floral, pink pepper spicy and marine like in aroma. For the perfumer this material brings a very fresh, zesty, pink berry, pepper and peony top note to modern floral bouquets.  I have a tincture I made about a year ago and fell in love with Elemi.  Now this I have to try.

Santalol (natural isolate): Australia.  The aroma is sandalwood clean, creamy, masculine, rich bodied, full of natural sandalwood character without the phenolic and aldehydic notes one experiences with the all Australian essential oil. This will be invaluable to the perfumer creating floral, oriental, woody and ambery compositions adding real volume and substantivity.  And, folks, it’s bloody expensive at €8,95 for 1ml!!!

Cistus Absolute: more on this one when I do my own evaluation.  Something I’m also going to do is try to untangle the confusion around Cistus, Ladanum, Labdasur, and Éclat de Ciste (or Cistus Burst), ’cause my head’s spinning.

Éclat de Ciste (Cistus Burst).  See above.

Labdasur See Cistus.

I think that’s enough rambling for today, don’t you?  Off now to do some evaluations, heal my stiff neck and make a cup of tea…probably not in that order.

Have a gracious day :).