Perfumer's Notebook


Much of a perfumer’s success in formulation of fragrances is due to a thorough knowledge of perfumery raw materials. The implications of this statement are varied. It assumes that the perfumer is capable of forming mental images of individual odorants. Such profiles consist of the principal odor features and the important nuances which affect its compatibility with other components of a fragrance. The statement implies that the perfumer can recognize relationships among odorous chemicals and use this kinship to create harmonious blends of these chemicals. A further benefit to the perfumer is ability to recall odor profiles. This permits partial formulation on paper of blends which will approximate a desired fragrance. Preliminary selection of the target profile and formula can take place before ever approaching the compounding bench.

In the process of gaining this knowledge the perfumer studies the profiles of single odorants both alone and in association with each other. This exercise brings recognition that many are related odorwise. Awareness should come that resemblance in chemical structure usually accompanies similarity of odor. It is important that the perfumer can appreciate these similarities and differences in what may be called families of odorants. This argument gives rise to the premise that it is possible to effectively formulate with blends of related chemicals rather than with single members of odor families.

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