Sunday, July 25, 2010

Deborah Dolen on Perfume Crafting with Exotic Oils Recipes and Formula's

Excerpt How to Make Perfume and Aromatherapy Basics Copyright © Deborah Dolen 2011 This e-book is available in full version on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook. By Deborah Dolen Mabel White

Making your own perfume or cologne is extremely easy if you have lots of time to just experiment with blending various scented oils. Almost all scents originate from the oil part of a botanical extraction. Even if a scent is not usually found in an oil form it is always best to try to find the oil version of the scent you like when trying to blend. Vanilla would be a great example. Vanilla is usually sold as water based (extract) but can be purchased as a much harder to find oil (essential oil)-however the oil based vanilla is going to last much longer in most professional applications. In a nutshell, I made my first perfume years ago by combining different precious oils, fragrance oils, flavor oils and essential oils I liked and had on hand. My formula was a mixture of vanilla, musk, neroli, vetivert, sweet spices, white florals (such as lilly of the valley, white rose) and oppomax. It took months to "build." For about a year I just dabbed the oil I formulated on myself. It was not until I took that oil mixture I adored and dropped it into a very high proof alcohol - did it "bloom" and blow me away. I cannot recall why I did that - I think I was just bored or trying to make what I did have stretch to also share with a friend. Dispersing the oil in a high proof alcohol gave the scent so many new facets. Like my creation went from two dimensions to several. Most importantly it made it "throw" just like the Chanel #22 I was trying to copy. Chanel had ceased making that arrangement years back and I could not envision living without #22. Number 22 was known as the "wedding" perfume made with only white flowers. Knowing this was a major advantage to coming close to a copy I liked.

Dilutions: What Makes Perfume Grade vs Toilet Water Grade?

I will call your final product a “compound” or “ester.” Once you have designed a great scent (compound) and given it a name it is going to be fantastic in any dilution! Your masterpiece “symphony” of oil based compounds will become more multifaceted with the addition of a high proof alcohol. A high proof alcohol such as Everclear 190 will “solve” your oils. Some states can only secure 150 proof and that is acceptable, but still not as good as 190.

Real perfume is usually 10-20% of the master oils formulation and 80% a very high proof alcohol. Some perfumeries add 5% distilled water in exchange for part of the alcohol but I never have. Colognes are usually maxim 3-5% of the precious formula with 10% distilled water. Toilet water is usually maximum 2% precious oils to 80% alcohol and 20% distilled water. Body splash is pretty much in the cologne dilution category. I do worry about oxidation of precious raw materials so I drop anti-oxidants such as dendritic salt and or vitamin E into my oil blends. ROE, Rosemary Oleoresin extract is also great and very powerful but can discolor the project.

Perfume = 10%-20% compound /5% distilled water/80% alcohol
Cologne 3-5% compound/10% distilled water/85% alcohol
Toilet Water=2% compound/18% distilled water/80% alcohol

Materials to make Perfume?

Beyond securing a high proof alcohol such as Everclear 190 and distilled water, you can draw raw materials to make your compound from many places. You are going to want to buy some atomizers when you are on a roll with a great scent or two. Sephora makes some really neat ones I buy on line. Always keep careful notes. Your best creation could be what you felt your worst mistake. My readers generally have the same materials around the house that I have in my lab. They generally already have fragrance oils, flavor oils and/or essential oils. My Chanel #22 copy had about 50% fragrance oil, 20% flavor oil and 30% essential oil because I drew from what I had. I made careful notes about my sources of each scent because, for example, a vanilla fragrance oil is no where near as strong as vanilla essential oil. This means much less vanilla is needed in my formula if I ever replaced vanilla FO with vanilla EO.

Your Blend Can Go Into Lotion and Crème

Your compound can usually blend right into an already made lotion or crème without adding alcohol. Vanilla is my absolute favorite ingredient, and in almost all of my formulas, but the down side is browning. Vanilla seems to “bloom” into pink dots and over a month’s time make the entire lotion a pinkish brown. It looks just like women’s’ cosmetic foundation. Although the change always freaks me out, many of my friends liked that attribute and felt it was more natural. I am still on the fence about the “blooming” but I still loving my vanilla.

Other Ways to Garner Scent

Many people do not realize water is the most used solvent known to man. When we make a cup of coffee we are using water to “solve” the parts of the bean we are after. This is also known as solvent extraction. Now envision putting barks, petals, spices (in whole or freshly crushed form,) citrus peels and/or moss in the coffee filter. The end result would be a melange of scent.

Looking at scent compounding another way, think of vanilla extract. It is made over time by placing the vanilla bean in a high proof alcohol. To save money and perhaps reduce any residual alcohol smell, some distilled water is added to most extracts.

Just for Fun! Extraction Project

In 16 ounces of a high proof alcohol (2 cups) put lemon citrus rinds, cinnamon sticks, a vanilla bean (partially macerated- spliced- for maximum flavor,) crushed whole nutmeg or any other peel, rind, aromatic you can think of. Petals are OK but do brown. Allow to sit for a few months, shaking a few times a week. Filter through a coffee filter. For a stronger result do it a second time. I call this “folds,” such as “four fold” if I repeat the process 4 times. The end result should be a wonderful aromatic base you can spray around your home. Keep this away from heat because alcohol is very flammable.

A very comprehensive list I created years ago is here:Designer Perfume Notes Index Dolen on Perfume Crafting with Exotic Oils Recipes and Formula's Dolen on How to Make Perfume to Making Perfume and Most Important 66 notes to Have: Propensity Chart by Deborah Dolen

Years before this I made a comprehensive list of top, middle and bottom notes of perfume favorites. Below is part of that list.

In alphabetical order:


Top Notes: Freesia
Heart Notes: Apricot blossoms

Alexandra (Alexandra de Markoff)

Top Notes: Italian Iris, South African marigold
Heart Notes: French Jasmine, Moroccan rose, French jonquil
Base Notes: Indian sandalwood, Singapore patchouli, Reunion island vetiver

Aliage (Estee Lauder)

Top Notes: Greens, peach, citrus
Heart Notes: Jasmine, rosewood, pine, thyme
Base Notes: Oakmoss, musk, vetiver, myrrh

Alchimie (Rochas)

Top Notes: Blackcurrant, bergamot, grapefruit
Heart Notes: Acacia, jasmin, passiflora
Base Notes: Sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean

Amarige (Givenchy)

Top Notes: Mandarin, neroli, violet leaves, rosewood
Heart Notes: Gardenia, red fruits, ylang-ylang, acacia farnesiana, mimosa
Base Notes: Musk, vanilla, tonka bean, woods, ambergris

Amazone (Hermes)
Floral-Fruity, this is a dry scent (not too sweet)

Top Notes: Mandarin, neroli, violet leaves, rosewood
Heart Notes: Daffodil, hyacinth, narcissus, black currant bud, iris, jasmine, raspberry, lily of the valley.
Base Notes: Sandalwood, vetiver, cedarwood, neroli, ylang-ylang, oakmoss

Amour Amour (Jean Patou)

Top Notes: Bergamot, strawberry, lemon, neroli
Heart Notes: Jasmine, narcissus, rose, ylang-ylang, carnation, oregano, lily
Base Notes: Vetiver, honey, musk, civet, heliotrope

Anais Anais (Cacharel)

Top Notes: White Madonna lily, black currant bud, hyacinth, lily of the valley, citrus
Heart Notes: Moroccan jasmine, Grasse rose, Florentine Iris, Madagascar ylang-ylang, orange blossom, Bourbon vetiver.
Base Notes: Russian leather, musk

Angel (Thierry Mugler)
Oriental, chocolate-vanilla

Top Notes: Fruits, dewberry, helonial, honey
Heart Notes: Chocolate, caramel, coumarin
Base Notes: Vanilla, patchouli

Animale (Suzanne de Lyon)

Top Notes: Neroli, bergamot, hyacinth, coriander, greens
Heart Notes: Jasmine, rose, pimento berry, ylang-ylang
Base Notes: Patchouli, vetiver, musk, labdanum, oakmoss

Anne Klein

Top Notes: Greens, galbanum, hyacinth, neroli, cassie, bergamot, aldehydes
Heart Notes: Bulgarian rose, mandarin, lily of the valley, jasmine, orchid, rose
Base Notes: Sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla, amber, benzoin, musk, civet

Anne Klein II
Oriental-Ambery, vanilla

Top Notes: Peach, rosewood, greens, lemon
Heart Notes: Lily, jasmine, rose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, orris, carnation
Base Notes: Vanilla, amber, sandalwood, musk, patchouli, civet, benzoin

Antilope (Weil)

Top Notes: Grasse neroli, bergamot, chamomile, sage, aldehydes
Heart Notes: Lily of the valley, jasmine
Base Notes: Patchouli, iris, ambergris, vetiver

Antonia's Flowers

Notes: Freesia, jasmine, lily of the valley, magnolia, fruits

Apres L'Ondee (Guerlain)

Top Notes: Violet, bergamot, cassie, neroli
Heart Notes: Carnation, ylang-ylang, iris, rose, jasmine, mimosa, vetiver, sandalwood
Base Notes: Vanilla, musk, amber, heliotrope

Aromatics Elixir

Top Notes: Chamomile, orange blossom, bergamot, coriander, rosewood, aldehydes, greens, palmarosa
Heart Notes: Jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, tuberose, orris, carnation
Base Notes: Sandalwood, oakmoss, vetiver, patchouli, musk, cistus, civet

Arpege (Lanvin)

Top Notes: Bergamot, neroli, aldehydes, peach
Heart Notes: Rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley
Base Notes: Sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, vanilla, musk

Asja (Fendi)

Top Notes: Fruits, citrus
Heart Notes: Bulgarian rose, Egyptian jasmine, ylang-ylang, cinnamon, nutmeg, mimosa
Base Notes: Sandalwood, musk, vanilla, amber


Top Notes: Fruits, gardenias, aldehydes
Heart Notes: Jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, orris
Base Notes: Moss, styrax, amber, vetiver, patchouli

Azzaro 9

Top Notes: Pineapple, aldehydes, mandarin, bergamot
Heart Notes: Jasmine, foxglove, tulip, wisteria, clematis, lily, mimosa, rose, orange blossom
Base Notes: Sandalwood, cedarwood, musk, moss, vanilla

Bal A Versailles
Oriental-Ambery Spicy

Top Notes: Grasse jasmine, Bulgarian rose, Anatolian rose, May rose, Farnesian cassie
Heart Notes: Sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver
Base Notes: Musk, ambergris, gums, resins, civet

Balahe (Leonard)

Top Notes: Bergamot, mandarin, clary sage, coriander, pineapple, plum
Heart Notes: Rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, tuberose, orange blossom, orchid
Base Notes: Vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, musk, civet

Bandit (Robert Piguet)

Top Notes: Artemisia, bergamot, gardenia, aldehydes
Heart Notes: Jasmine, orris, rose, carnation
Base Notes: Moss, castoreum, patchouli, amber, vetiver, civet, myrrh

Basic Black (Bill Blass)

Top Notes: Bergamot, mandarin, ylang-ylang, cardamon
Heart Notes: Rose, violet, coriander
Base Notes: Patchouli, oakmoss, sandalwood

Beautiful (Estee Lauder)

Top Notes: Bergamot, galbanum, lemon, cassie, fruits
Heart Notes: Rose, ylang-ylang, lilac, violet, lily of the valley, carnation, sage, geranium, rose violet, narcissus, orange blossom, mimosa, marigold, freesia, chamomile, tuberose, jasmine, neroli, jonquil, magnolia
Base Notes: Sandalwood, vetiver, musk, vanilla, cedarwood

Bellodgia (Caron)

Top Notes: Rose, jasmine, lily of the valley
Base Notes: Spicy carnation


Top Notes: Ylang-ylang, narcissus, orange blossom
Heart Notes: Persian jasmine, Bulgarian rose, lily of the valley
Base Notes: Moroccan oakmoss, sandalwood, patchouli

Bill Blass

Top Notes: Galbanum, hyacinth, pineapple, greens, bergamot, geranium
Heart Notes: Iris, tuberose, carnation, ylang-ylang, orris
Base Notes: Amber, sandalwood, benzoin, cedarwood, oakmoss

Blue Grass
Elizabeth Arden

Top Notes: Aldehydes, lavender, orange, neroli, bergamot
Heart Notes: Jasmine, tuberose, narcissus, rose, carnation
Base Notes: Sandalwood, musk, tonka bean, benzoin

Bois de Iles (Chanel)

Top Notes: Bergamot, petitgrain, coriander, aldehydes
Heart Notes: Jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, iris
Base Notes: Vetiver, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean

Floral Semi-Oriental

Top Notes: Sicilian tangerine, Calabrian bitter orange, apricot, Persian galbanum, African tegetes, Spanish basilica
Heart Notes: Morrocan orange blossom, Grasse tuberose, Madagascar ylang-ylang, Moroccan jasmine, Auvergne narcissus, British broom
Base Notes: Mysore sandalwood, amber, Indian Ocean vanilla, South American tonka bean


Top Notes: Italian bergamot, Spanish orange blossom, Ceylonese cardamom, Jamaican pepper, Russian coriander
Heart Notes: Bulgarian rose, Egyptian jasmine
Base Notes: Green tea, woods


Top Notes: Mandarin, grapefruit, cassie, marigold, bergamot, peach
Heart Notes: Honeysuckle, gardenia, mimosa, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, orchid, rose, heliotrope, violet, orris
Base Notes: Musk, vetiver, pepper, raspberry

Byzance (Rochas)
Floral Semi-Oriental

Top Notes: Citrus, cardamon, spices, greens, mandarin, aldehydes, basil
Heart Notes: Jasmine, tuberose, Turkish rose, lily of the valley, ylang-ylang

Excerpt How to Make Perfume and Aromatherapy Basics Copyright © Deborah Dolen 2011 This e-book is available in full version on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook. By Deborah Dolen Mabel White

The full list is located here for the moment:


  1. I really enjoyed very well by using this guide.

  2. wonderful work i am very happy to meet this site….

  3. Great tutorial sweetheart with very helpful tips. I'm gonna try this. Thank you!

  4. Dude this is best way i have found till now…

  5. Could u possibly tell me how (if you know) how to get into the Perfume/Cologne industry? Im very passionate about scents and Perfumes :) Thanks!

  6. Great tips and good explanation…

  7. Got a complete finished guide,awesome..

  8. You make some wonderful things that I'd love to try but, I'm going through a lot right now. I pray I'll get around to try some of the things so if it's God's will. Love and peace 2u friend!

  9. Awesomeand i want more recipies plz!!!

  10. I like tha way u explained and inspired me to maky my own,,,**

  11. great vids, keep em comming, there very intresting

  12. hey so nice it helped me in my investigation project..

  13. can you please make a video about how to make perfume with household items or items you can easily aquire?

  14. Thanks,this really helped me out..

  15. you are a goddess... thanks for sharing your knowledge with all of us...

  16. Wow i really dint know this until NOW!

  17. This is very interesting... I may try this :)

  18. would u mind telling us where u buy those oils and the tools for them.thnk u.

  19. i love prefume smelling the yummt vanilla !!!!!!!!``

  20. hmmmmm.. i am going to try this.``

  21. this is exciting.  i would want to make my own perfume line. LOL!

  22. Its really a awesome info thanks.........

  23. Great ideas!!!!
    thanks so much.
    Vanessa Kachadurian

  24. I think making a perfume with exotic oil is a absolutely a great ideas. Will certainly visit your site more often now.

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  25. Oooh such awesome goodies!! This seems like a great deal... Alain Delon

  26. Cardamom oil is sweet, spicy and almost alsamic in fragrance, is clear to pale yellow in color and slightly watery in viscosity.Cardamom was well known in ancient times and the Egyptians used it in perfumes and incense and chewed it to whiten their teeth, while the Romans used it for their stomachs when they over-indulged.

    Cardamom oil is particularly helpful for the digestive system. It works as a laxative and soothes colic, wind. It warms the stomach and helps with heartburn.

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  27. Great read in here. Thanks for sharing all the guides. Wish I can make my own perfume someday because I love using perfume. :)

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  28. alexandra de markoff perfume is my favorite :D

  29. During cold weather, it is advisable that you choose lighter scent but apply it more often, just to keep you smelling good during the entire day or event, as the case may be. Parfum Paul Smith