Building an Aroma

The perfect fragrance can be hard to find. There are countless fragrances on the market, and hundreds on alone, but sometimes you have a product that needs that extra special touch. A uniquely blended fragrance has the potential to take your product from pleasant to unforgettable in just one whiff.

Fragrance Blending Basics
Fragrances can be comprised of many different ingredients. Some of the most common are essential oils, absolutes, CO2 extracts, attars, and synthetic fragrance oils. The fragrances are then carried in an oil, a solid balm, a perfume, or directly in a product, such as a lotion, soap, or room spray. Building a great fragrance has been compared to architecture, musical composition, or even madness! The most notable comparison is that of the process being musical. Musical terms are found throughout perfumery.
There are three sections of a fragrance:

LavenderTop notes are the first aromas to be experienced by the user. They are often sweet or fruity, sometimes
fresh, green, or even spicy. Top notes are a great place for playful scents because they are the first to fade away. They make up the smallest part of your fragrance at only 15 to 25%. Some good examples of top notes are:

Apple, Basil, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Green Tea, Lavender, Lime, Mandarin, Neroli, Pear, Pine, Spice, Tangerine, White Peach

Middle notes
, also referred to as heart or bouquet notes, act as a bridge between the top and bottom notes. Their scents are usually distinctive aromas, such as florals, herbs, or spices. Their aroma blooms after the top note has faded. Middle notes make up about 30 to 40% of the total fragrance. Some examples of middle notes are:

Cedar, Chamomile, Coconut, Clove, Gardenia, Honey, Jasmine, Lily, Petitgrain, Magnolia, Oakmoss, Rose, Rosemary, Tiare, Ylang Ylang

IncenseThe base or bottom notes make up the bulk of the fragrance, usually comprising 40 to 55% of the total
formula. They are the longest lasting element in a fragrance. These notes are often deep, heavy scents, like woods, resins, and spices. Some examples of base notes are:

Amber, Frankincense, Ginger, Musks, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Vetiver

For a detailed list of aromas categorized by note, please visit our Aromatic Notes page.

When you have achieved a fragrance that you are happy with, there are many ways of using it. Fragrance blends can be used to enhance products or they can be showcased in perfumes. For more information on making perfumes and blends try one of these great books from the Bookstore!

The Aromatherapy Companion by Victoria H. Edwards
There is a lot more than just perfumery in this book! It is an indispensable resource to me and I’m sure you’ll find it to be the same. Pertaining to this subject, it has a great chapter on making natural perfumes and shares a lot of expert advice on blending essential oils.

Perfumes, Splashes and Colognes Book by Nancy M. Booth
A more in depth look into creating perfumes and other fragrance based products. There are a lot of great recipes in this book and is great for someone who really wants to dig their teeth into perfumery.

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