In case you were thinking you'd dash out to your natural food store this afternoon, pick up some inexpensive oils and whip up a lovely perfume to wear tonight ... think again.
It's a fantasy among some perfumistas that "I, Too, Can Create A Perfume." Really, it's not likely. Two scentists with whom I correspond have disabused me of the notion that it's easy -- or inexpensive.
For instance, I currently am wearing two rose chypre perfumes, one on each hand ...
[A definition of chypre from perfumersworld: Chypre represents a perfume structure where fresh notes, (principally citrus) are combined with oakmoss and usually the rich woody-animalic characters of labdanum and patchouli. In modern chypres the fresh notes may be modified or even replaced with fruity or green combinations. Frequently chypres display a leather character and many men's fragrances are based on the basic chypre structure. The archetype of this comes from Chypre by Coty (almost 100 years ago) and modern examples are Miss Dior and Aramis.]
It's astonishing to me that each of these two versions of rose chypre comprise seventeen different oils (including the wildly expensive rose absolute). The only difference is that one utilizes a synthetic element among its other oils, the other not. It's also incredible how vastly different these fragrances are, just from the use of one synthetic in one, and not the other.
The non-synthetic version has an initial blast of citrus ... while, oddly to me, the version utilizing a synthetic is much softer, with the moss more predominant initially.
Description will vary between noses: C, the perfume's creator, agrees that the non-synthetic's initial scent is bitter citrus, while she feels the synthetic has sweet rather than the soft green topnotes I perceive.
I know from yesterday's test that each of the perfumes will reverse their sweetness in midnote and dry down to a soft, spicy rose. The one differing element seems not to matter as much the longer the scent is on the skin.
All this is interesting to me, but most interesting is how much time and work has gone into these two small vials I have in front of me. Before I received these to test, C had gone through at least five, maybe ten other blend versions -- all rejected for various reasons.
And scent isn't the only consideration. There's the time the fragrance lasts -- and whether it remains true to definition through its evolution on the skin.
And this is before base oils are mixed with alcohol to make an actual parfum. Once this happens, the parfum begins a journey into sometimes maniacal change for the next three to four weeks ... and will this still be the happy result anticipated by the perfumer?
So much work. So I'm pretty respectful of these two small vials and the person who created what's in them. Pretty sure I couldn't do it. And glad that C can, and did.
Today's fragrance: Clearing's Rose Chypre, two versions. Opening with bitter citrus softening to sweet green; drydown is spicy rose. Yes, these are surprising transitions ... but they are a lot smoother than words convey. You get the sense that all players are present from the beginning, and that they're playing well, and quietly, together. First a not-acidic unconventional citrus (not orange) slowing moving into green soft moss and just as slowly and softly moving into a spiciness with an (now this IS surprising) element of rose. The blend works, even if I can't adequately describe it.