Solutions: Solutions or Problems?

It would seem that perfumers love to use solutions; dilutions of materials in low-odor or odorless solvents. They treat them as different materials with unique characteristics; sometimes, it would seem, almost mystical characteristics.

The compounding department, by contrast, hates solutions and quite justifiably so. When making a 1,000 kg batch of a fragrance, using 50 kg of a 10% solution would seem redundant. Surely it would be better to extend the original formula by adding 5 kg of the 100% material and 45 kg of the solvent. This saves on weighing time, a separate worksheet, batch records, quality control of the solution, tying up stock (in different solvent combinations), logistics and storage space.

Are solutions really necessary? Are they a perfumer’s white elephant, given to compounders to maintain the authority of the perfumer and to preserve the mysticism of perfumery? Are there guidelines that can be established to rout out solutions that are unnecessary without risking quality assurance?

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