Aroma Profile: Fructalate


Musings on making scents with Fructalate: It was fun one to evaluate this aroma chemical; just like stepping back into my childhood again when company came over. They would give me and my brothers money because they hadn’t seen us in ages, and we hopped the back fence, and ran off as fast as our 10 year old feet would take us to the Short Stop (the equivalent of a 7Eleven in the States) for all the Gob Stoppers, Jolly Ranchers, Big Bubble and Popeye Cigarettes money could buy…ah, good times, good times!

Common names: Fructalate

Chemical name: 1,4-cyclohexanedicarboxylic acid, diethyl ester, raspberry dicarboxylate

CAS #: 72903-27-6 (Firmenich)

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Heart

Family: Fruity

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Citruses or fruity notes. 

Interesting bits: can give volume to fragrance compostitions with it fruity, raspberry, apple, ethereal notes. (Perfumer & Flavorist)

Fructalate is amazingly versatile – in small doses you can use it to enhance diffusion of almost any fragrance – larger proportions will give you a fruitiness that is dry rather than sweet and can be pushed in the direction of almost any fruit. It is especially good at enhancing room fragrances. (Hermitage Oils)

Fructalate is a remarkable performer when you’re searching for unbelievable boost…a fruity lift, says Master Perfumer Gary Marr. “It stands out among other fruity notes for its longlastingness, which reaches well into the middle of the fragrance to achieve remarkable diffusion.” Perfumer Etienne Bouckaert identifies Fructalate as the ultimate enhancer. “A chameleon among the fruity family. Fructalate magnifies the unique character, effortlessly pushing the bloom of a wide spectrum of fruity notes.” Perfumer Wessel Jan Kos adds, “Personally, I like to use it with citrus notes for liquid media to achieve outstanding freshness and pulpy juiciness.” (Perfumer & Flavorist)

Their nose: “Fruity, raspberry, apple, ethereal. Non−edible fruity note with good tenacity and volume. A long lasting fruity, berry note, which is powerful, affordable, and stable. The product is great in aircare and liquid applications for bloom and is used frequently for its boosting effects on fruity, citrus and herbal notes.” (Firmenich)

My nose: Fructalate opens fruity (no, duh!), sweet, berry, chewing gum, round, makes an instant impression. 15min into it and I am slapped with the memory of Jolly Ranchers! That’s the candy smell I couldn’t remember before. Fruity and juicy now. 30min later and it’s now drier, less juicier, fruity yes, the berriness is till there but it’s becoming much more hollow. After 45min it’s sweeter but much drier now, less generous, and a bit more ‘weathered’. After 1hr Fructalate’s fruitiness is fading quite quickly, it has slowed down quite a bit. 2hrs now and it’s a much softer fruit, more like a berry juice than a candy, less child-like, kiddy stuff, a bit more grown up fruit (if that makes any sense at all). Beginning to beat a steady retreat now. The smell after 3hrs is still fruity, soft and somewhat sweet, holding up okay event though fading. At the 7hr mark it’s still fruity – that impression doesn’t budge – but now its lighter, drier, and much more simpler. I missed the 12hr evaluation, rats! And the 24hr profile is still nice and fruity; it’s not as fresh as in the beginning, but still alive and well as a berry.

Enjoy the wonderful memories experimenting with scent brings your way today!



what’s the hurry?


Today’s quote isn’t really a quote per se, it’s more of an observation and a continuing question to myself…what’s the hurry? Where’s the fire? Where’s the race to finish learning perfumery and start selling perfumes to the public?

I have to ask myself this as a way to keep grounded and keep things real whenever I spend too much time online in my favourite perfume DIY forum, on Facebook pages or websites of perfumers that are already out there in the marketplace with 3 or 4 perfumes under their belt and here I am almost 3 years into it and still learning my materials, still working on accords, still no where.

Well that’s the B.S. I tell myself before I slap myself with an imaginary wet towel (followed by a nice hug and a warm kiss, of course) and remind myself that this is not a race…not even with myself. So stop the nonsense.

When did “make-money-doing-what-you-love-as-fast-as-you-can” become the ultimate goal for creatives? Why isn’t it just okay to be doing what you love? Why isn’t it okay to just create? Period. End of story.

I love to watch other artisan perfumers getting recognition and making money doing what they love to do. I love to cheerlead! But more often than not there is also an overwhelming sense that where I am, what I am, is never and will never be enough because I’ll just never catch up.  Hrmph! Shoulders slump, dejection sets in and I begin to wallow.

And so, for the last time, when I came out of this mist I told myself, that’s it. Maxine, the reality is you do not need to make money with perfumery to make ends meet, which is a most fortunate position to be in. Allow money to come into your life from wherever it comes from (currently from teaching) and do what you love to do. This moment is a gift. You have been given the gift of being able to study the things you’ve always wanted to learn with no pressure to earn a living at it.

Yes. Last week I gave myself a good talking to about what I should be doing and I took the words business and sales off the table indefinitely where it comes to perfume making. No. I have nothing against making money, on the contrary, I’m a firm believer in healthy capitalism. But. Pronouncing those words at such an early stage of learning adds a level of complexity and anxiety that is not conducive to learning for me. I recognise we’re all at different stages and that’s okay — there are classmates of mine that are already making money with their perfumery education and they are a great inspiration for me. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where I should be now or should be heading.

I breathed a wonderful sigh of relief as my heart settled down into a new space. Ahhhh! I may never end up seeing my perfumes for sale at LuckyScent, I may spend a lifetime making perfumes only for me, my family, friends and some private clients and, hey, that’s okay. For the moment I love writing this blog, developing it and helping others learn about the art and joy of perfume making!

Have a wonderful Monday and see you Wednesday for a profile on Ho Wood essential oil.



Image credit: Watercolor Texture Frost by Aurora Wienhold


four new tea tinctures


Slowly I’m discovering that one of the things I like to tincture most are teas – probably because I love to drink it too.  Wearing it is also wonderful in Bulgari’s Green Tea perfume that I often use in the summer.

A few months back, you may remember I did a Lapsang Souchong tea tincture that is simply an incredible olfactive treat and a Mate tea tincture that is very surprising. White Lotus Aromatics sells the Lapsang Souchong concrete (of course it’s on my list!).  At any rate, back in June, I purchased a few from Tee Geschwendner, my go-to online store for teas.

I tinctured four and here’s a sort of overview.  Scent profiles to follow when I filter later this year.

China Pai Mu Tan tea tincture
China Pai Mu Tan tea tincture

China Pai-Mu Tan (white peony) – this is a white tea from the province of Fuji, made from the silvery buds and the first two leaves of each bush. It’s harvested in early spring and is known to have “…a sweet complex honey aroma often compared to muscatel wines”.  — 10gr of tea in 100ml of alcohol.

China fancy white peony tea tincture
China fancy white peony tea tincture

China Fancy White Peony — also from Fuji province, this is first grade Pai Mu Tan. This tincture is immediately different than the other because it is clearer, absorbs less of the alcohol than the first one did.  It also has a very delicate aroma. — 10 gr of tea in 100ml of alcohol.

China Oolong Kwai flower tea tincture
China Oolong Kwai flower tea tincture

China Oolong Kwai Flower — Kwai flower is Osmanthus flower!  You can imagine how happy I was to find this out.  This is a dark Oolong from Fuji and there is definitely a fruity aroma to this one right from the start. The colour is a very pale green. — 10gr of tea in 100ml of alcohol.

Caramel black tea tincture
Caramel black tea tincture

Carmel black tea — this one is a wild card; it’s obviously flavoured with caramel which is but a hint in the beginning.  The colour is a cognac colour, a wonderful brown and the smell is intriguing.  — 10 gr of tea in 100ml of alcohol.

Let’s see/smell what we get in 3 months.

Enjoy your weekend!

thuja berry tincture


The other day we were out at Villa Carlotta on Lake Como and while strolling along the lake I noticed a coniferous full of berries.  Curious of course, I picked one and was gently caressed by the scent that filled my nostrils.  Gotta have this stuff, is all I thought — but what the hell is it?!

Luckily, LV having studied as a landscape designer, knows by name over 3,000 species and genus’.  Thuja Occidentalis a.k.a White Cedar (the man’s a walking database).

Of course we picked some and the next day it was in an alcohol bath where it’s been sitting as you can see, since the 25th of July.

I just took the lid off this one and holy cow it’s like full blown Juniper berries! From my research Thujone, the chemical component prevalent in Thuja berries can be toxic and one viable substitute is of course Juniper berries.

More on the details when I do a scent profile in a few weeks — or a couple months. What’s the hurry, really?

Have a great day!

pushing the boundaries of scent


Yesterday I was itching to explore my creative boundaries so I sat on the couch for what felt like a very long time contemplating, listening. Sounds counter productive I know but I needed to trust that it was right.  What lay beyond called me.  I felt like I was in a garden surrounded by a beautiful wall, after perusing its perimeter I was curious about what lay on the other side.

The Ionone blends that I did for the class experiment were still sitting there looking at me, and an inspiration that I got from an article I read recently popped into my head inviting me to try an unexplored direction: why not apply a few drops to one of the many rocks, pebbles and stones that LV and I have a passion for collecting wherever we find ourselves? Ooooh, intrigue!

I wanted to reach beyond the scent strip, to feel what it would be like to hold an object that I have loved collecting since childhood and smell something I created imprinted upon it. The effect was wonderful and oddly fitting because without planning it I applied a powder base accord to a smooth, round, egg-shaped, object.  They both share some of the very same qualities! On the rock the accord is whimsical, floral, powdery, airy, dry, feminine, dusty, and dries down to a feathery, downy smile.

Obviously I can’t carry around a rock for every note I’m exploring but I have decided to use this as a way to explore hidden corners and facets of accords or formulations that I’m currently working on.  I’ve no doubt that turning something ephemeral like perfume into a tactile object could provide me with hidden inspiration.

Today on my walk I picked up this interesting piece of a branch and snapped a few shots in the studio.  I’m still working on getting my shots crystal clear but I’m quite happy with the overall look and feel.  It was the perfect compliment to what I was trying to achieve.

Have a happy day!

adventures in tincturing – lapsang souchong tea

Talk about smoky!

If you want a smoky note that’s not as overpowering as the Choyas or as intense as Tobacco absolute, then you’ve got to tincture some Lapsang Souchong tea.

lapsang_souchong_tinctureAll I can say is WOW!  I was not expecting to get this kind of tenacity from tea leaves.  It seems to just hold on to the paper and not let go, but in a softer way than the others.

All three add something dark and mysterious in their own way.  Tobacco is dark in a sweet, vanilla, honey sort of way with that unique pipe tobacco aspect.  Choya Nakh is closer to birch tar rectified, more leathery in quality, very earthy and serious. And Lapsang Souchong tea tincture is smoky but also reminiscent of incense burning in a Roman Catholic church, adding a somber note; also recalls what your clothes smell like after being in a room full of smoke.

I sourced this particular brand from Tee Gschwendner in Germany.  Their Lapsang is organic and packs a punch unlike a couple others I tried that are really blasé almost as if they’re afraid to make it too smoky for fear of offending tea drinkers.  Then I say, don’t make it!  The wonderful thing about Lapsang Souchong, both as a tea (and I’m a serious tea drinker) and a tincture for perfumes is the definite smoky odour, so bring it on.

Here’s what on my list to get from them in my next purchase:

  • China Oolong Kwai Flower
  • Caramel
  • China Pu-Erh Tuocha
  • Another bag of China Lapsang Souchong
  • Kenya GFOP Milima
  • Russian Samovan Tea

The great thing about tincturing teas is it’s so bloody affordable!

adventures in tincturing – tahitian vanilla cognac tincture

Decanting the Tahitian vanilla beans that had been maturing in Courvoisier XO cognac since August of last year was pure delight!  What you see here is the result of four months of some grade A vanilla beans drunk on some of the best damn cognac!  What better end?!

tahitian-vanilla-beansThis is only the first of two phases of a recipe I found on the Hermitage Oils UK site here. I sourced some amazing Tahitian vanilla beans from very far away and started the process in August.

On New Years day I took them out of the cognac and now I’m letting them dry.  The Givaudan site used to have an article that detailed (but they’ve taken that down apparently) their drying process as “…after sun drying the beans are slow-dried indoors for about 4-6 weeks on wooden drying racks in airy warehouses.”  Well, my wooden frühstück board and studio will have to suffice.  I’ll let it dry out for longer, probably eight weeks, seeing as how sun drying is six months off.  You should smell it in here!  The whole studio smells like vanilla, it’s glorious!

The tincture itself is magnificently soft, full of character and complexity due to the cognac of course.  From here the instructions after drying are, to chop up the beans and add alcohol with a bit of the cognac tincture.  I love it this way so much I’m reluctant to dilute the beans further but I will.  I have about 10 beans left and I’m definitely going to tincture them again in cognac.

The patience involved in building your own single notes is incredibly satisfying because you know you’re creating something unique, something that, even if replicated, will never be quite the same. It’s also grounding because you can’t rush a single step. It fills you up in a way that no instant purchase of any raw material can, no matter how extravagant, because you made it yourself and you know what went into making it. You earned the final result.  Now that’s gratifying.

Scentually yours,


adventures in tincturing – pine resin (unknown)

Thought I’d begin the new year with some tincture updates because I’ve had some of them sitting there for over six months and was getting really curious, while others it was time.  So I spent my first day of January decanting my tinctures! Let’s start with:

Unknown Resins: back in July LV and I went and gathered some resin pieces off of various pine trees in the mountains.  It was a beautiful, sunny summer day and as we meandered along the trail we’d collect these pieces and they stuck to our hands and our pockets until finally we found a large leaf to wrap them in.

It comes as no surprise, really, to find the final tincture super sticky!  This suits me fine as it means it will add greater sillage to the compositions.  What I’ll end up having to do though is dilute it further to reduce the sticky-factor.

The image on the left is of the first tincture back in November 2012 from a piece LV had knocking about the car for some time.  He used pieces of it like chewing gum but kindly gave up the luscious lump for my tincture experiment.  The image on the left is from the more recent collection in July.


1st tincture: this one is more pungent, you can perceive the wood, pine, it screams forest, but it’s soft, calming and relaxing. Definitely woody and comforting. It dries down into a beautiful warm, creaminess that seems to wrap you in pleasure.

2nd tincture: smells definitely sweeter, I can pick up more terpenes in this one, there’s a hint of an off-note in the beginning which eases off during the dry-down.  It’s not as graceful as the first one, it feels almost young and brash.  Maybe I needed to let the resin sit out in the open and age for while before tincturing it.

Something incredible happened to me this morning!  I was resting on the couch this morning while LV was having breakfast and started a fire.  It struck me that I could pick out the resin baking in the flames! Before I could only sense that I loved the smell of the smoke, but this time I was actually unconsciously picking out a single note, proof that I am indeed training my nose..have a wonderful day!

single note evaluations


Part of the fundamental work to be completed for the perfumery course are the weekly single note evaluations that I have to do of each and every one of the perfume ingredients I have.

Now, apart  from training the nose and the brain to create associations and memorize different, single odours, this exercise is also a building block of great importance when it comes to formulating.   This I figured out while trolling the Basenotes DIY Forum and it has to do with timing.

Basically, they explained it thus: let’s say you’ve got a fabulous essential oil but you can’t stand the top note it expresses so you’d like to “hide” it behind another.  What you do is choose another that lasts about as long as the unpleasant top note aspect of your essential oil and by the time the favourable odour ends the more pleasant aspects of your chosen note can then make its entrance.

Cool, huh?  If you’re interested you can find the link to the thread here.

This week I’m going to be evaluating Oakwood concrete, Davana eo, Cognac, white eo, and Elemi eo.  I was in heaven when I saw that Hermitage Oils started carrying Oakwood, I ordered 2 bottles!  Typical.

an exercise in patience

Today I diluted 35 essential oils, absolutes and concretes that I had sitting waiting for a new shipment of bottles and alcohol. Phew!

Apart from being surrounded by wave after wave of new olfactive impressions for my brain and riding a roller coaster of images that the scents conjured I was struck by something that I’m sure they would teach you in a face-to-face class room setting but that I had to figure out for myself and that is how very important it is to not be in a hurry when working with raw materials.

While measuring out the grams on the scale the mind wanders…it flits to things still to do on the to do list, things I said to LV over the weekend, my daughter’s life, people I haven’t gotten back to yet, how far I feel I’m behind still in my learning, comparing my progress to other perfumers and on and on.  And as these thoughts raced I noticed so did the drops flowing out of my pipette!  The moment I slowed down my thoughts and breathed into the moment, the more centred I became and relaxed in the exercise of simply measuring out and doing a precise job of it.

I bring it up because to me the energy with which we do anything has an impact on the final outcome, it is important; recognising the energy I was expelling in that moment and then making the necessary modifications to my thoughts and my breathing is as important to the art of perfumery as learning the individual notes.

good things take time

I have been working on stocking up on new raw materials, sourcing supplies, signing up for a more intensive perfume course, visualizing the kind of perfumes I want to create, getting centred and focused.

I also had to come to terms with the fact that what I’m writing about on the blog at the moment is pretty dry stuff: odour profiles, chemical components and such.  But it struck me that at some point in my future I will draw on it for something and so creating such a resource ahead of time, one entry at a time, is just fine.

In the midst of it all I realise that this is exactly the pace I have spent years yearning for and dreaming about.  Yes, these things take time but more truthfully it takes love to invest in pruning the aspects of ones self that are just no longer working, time out to be a better me.

On to work now and back with a regular post on the odour profile of Sandalwood Absolute tomorrow.

Have a happy day!

aromatic profile: Lilial


Source: Perfumer’s Apprentice. What’s on the bottle as a description: muguet, watery, green, powdery, cumin.  Part of the group of green fragrances and to my nose a top note.

To me the first time I smelled it, it had a lightly floral, white aspect, fresh and clean; some people say they smell a slight watermelon note and I can see how you can get that too.

1 hour later it’s even lighter than before, hidden almost.  There’s a slight sweet sigh going on and it’s dry too.

3 hours later and it’s almost not there to my nose, but I can still detect a light floral aspect.

1 day later and if I blow on it with my nose I can smell something faint.