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Perfumery, A Simple Art: Making a Perfume from a Memory

There are many perfume schools out there, teachers, and books. Many of them say that perfumery is difficult or you are keen to mess it up without the correct guidance. However, I disagree. Perfumery is easy. All you have to do is trust your nose, trust your body, trust you senses, and remember your life experience. You've smelled lovely things since you were a young child and engaged with them. Your most fond memories usually have a certain smell or feeling to them.

To craft a lovely perfume, simply start with a wonderful memory or feeling. Bring up the memory or sensation and really bask in that experience. Get your essential oils and smell each one. Note down which fragrances either remind you of that memory, or empowers that memory. Start with just three different oils. These three oils will be your main accord.

Bring each of the three opened bottles to your nose and see if you generally like the smell they make. If the smell is a bit off, consider having one oil the main ingredient and the other two as very small percentages of the blend.

Take a 5ml spray bottle and add each ingredient one drop at a time, after each drop test the fragrance on a piece of paper.

As an example I am making a Jasmine, Neroli, and Tonka accord. These oils remind me of summer nights in Texas when I was a child. My mother had a lovely jasmine and orange tree garden. Neroli is orange blossom oil. I added tonka because of it's aromatherapy benefits, also because it tends to warm and balance floral accords. Tonka is said to help reduce inflammation, stress, tension, and promote a feeling of calm groundedness. I also find that the smell promotes feelings of joy.

I would like the main note to be neroli, then jasmine to support, and tonka in a very small percentage to give just a hint of vanilla scent. When holding up all three bottles to my nose, I noticed I liked the smell of neroli the best for this blend. It reminded me most of the childhood memory I was working with.

I started with this to test the ratios:

Neroli: 7 drops

Jasmine: 4 drops

Tonka: 1 drop

If you are using pure undiluted essential oils, aim to have about 20-24 drops total for your 5 ml bottle. I doubled the amount to get to 24 drops total. (If you are using diluted versions, aim to have between 40 and 80 drops total)

Neroli: 14

Jasmine: 4

Tonka: 2

Once you have your blend, fill the rest of the bottle with 95% alcohol (everclear or perfumers alcohol) and you have your finished perfume!

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