Saturday, March 9, 2019

New Perfume: Followup 2

    From my notes I see that I started this not yet publicly named project on December 28, 2018 -- not so long ago. There have been seven distinct versions. The first was very close to what I wanted but I wanted to see if I could make it a little more balanced, a little more blended, so I kept working. For the last month I've been using "Version 7" daily and have declared it the winner. But, at present, I have just a small amount in a single small bottle. Here's where the production routine kicks in.

    The first decision now is "how much should I make?" This is a two-part question. First the oil must be made and then the alcohol (or alcohol and water)  added. Working backward I must decide how many bottles I want to fill. Then, from this count, I multiply the bottles I want by the capacity of each bottle to give me the amount of finished fragrance I'll need. I'll add a little extra in case of some waste in filling and in case, ultimately, I want to fill a few extra bottles.

    I don't have big commercial dreams for my new fragrance. My goal is to be ready to fill about two dozen bottles but initially I'll just fill about half a dozen of them.

    Let's do a little math. I have three bottle options for this new fragrance. The bottles are on hand. Two hold one fluid ounce (about 29 ml) and the third holds 50 ml. To be on the conservative side in my production run I'll calculate the amount of finished fragrance needed to fill thirty 50 ml bottles.

    30 x 50 ml = 1500 ml which is 1.5 liters.

    So I'll need 1.5 liters of finished fragrance. This will easily fill twenty four 50 ml bottles, allow for some spills, and still leave me enough to fill several more bottles if needed.

    The finished fragrance will be produced by mixing the "Version 7" oil with alcohol and water. To calculate how much oil I'll need I must now decide what percentage of the finished fragrance will be oil and what percentage will be alcohol and water.

    Although this is a men's fragrance that might typically have 10 percent or less oil to 90 percent or more alcohol, I'm going to 20 percent oil as I've done quite successfully with other men's fragrances.
    Twenty percent of 1500 ml is 300 ml so I'll need 300 ml of my "Version 7" oil to blend with 1200 ml of alcohol and water.

    The alcohol will be 10 percent water -- 180 proof. To make this I'll blend 120 ml of de-ionized water with 1080 ml of 200 proof (pure) (SDA 40B) alcohol. I have both the alcohol and de-ionized water on hand. Blending the alcohol and water is the simple part of this operation.

    The oil, "Version 7", will be produced from its formula. But the original formula that produced the batch I'm currently enjoying, was measured out in drops -- drops from small dropper bottles. The "drops" formula must now be converted to a "percents" formula. This article and the accompanying video explain how this is done.

    I'll get to the next step in my next blog article. If you want to be notified when it comes out (it will be soon!) join my mailing list.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


    The fragrance I'm currently working on. I nailed it on the first try -- or did I? How could I be sure? The obvious answer is, "by testing some small variations." Would I like one of them better? You don't really know until you've given it a try.

    So now I have seven variations of my theme. To each I've added alcohol (about 90%) and allowed it to sit and blend for a week or so. Now I can try each of them, first on a smelling strip and then, if that works, on my body. How the fragrance "works" on my body is the ultimate test.

    And, if none of these ring a bell with me, I'll do some more adjustments and test again.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

How do you know you've got it right? How do you know when to stop?

    The fragrance I'm currently working on. The first try was perfect. I nailed it. Too easy. It had never happened like this before. But was I ready to sign off on the formula and produce a larger batch? Not quite yet.

    Instead, I began to test variations. Changing the proportions of some ingredients; adding a bit of something I hoped would smooth out some sharpness, although it was the sharpness I liked.

    Each time I make an adjustment I'm discovering what I really liked best and that continues to be the original concept and the original formula.
    But does that mean I'll quite trying variations? Not quite yet. I want to be really sure I like the original formula or the original formula with (very small) adjustments. It is coming together, that certainty that will tell me I've done it. I'm already starting to gather up larger quantities of the ingredients I'll need so when I press the "go" button, I can get right on it.

    Meanwhile as I continue to test these small variations I'll review the name I've planned for this fragrance and the story I’ll use to promote it. I'll also be thinking about graphics to go with the story, graphics that will imprint the story and desire for the fragrance in people's minds.

    When I know I've got it I'll stop. You can't sell a fragrance you haven't finished. You have to know when it's right ... and then stop.

    Don't forget my books on perfume development and marketing. You'll find the download and Amazon links at my Perfume Projects website.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Creating perfume involves transformation

    There are lots of lovely smells you can surround yourself with. Think of the many people who enjoy a dab of their favorite essential oil from time to time. The oil is just itself, unchanged from what the extraction process produced. Perfume, for me, is something quite different. Perfume involves transformation.
    Perfume, for me, is taking aroma materials and combining them in such a way that the result is a fragrance different from that of any of the individual ingredients. This is not a say that the trained nose (or even some untrained noses) might be able to identify one or more of the materials that were used but when comparing each ingredient to the result, no match will be found.
    Perfumery is the art of creating new smells, smells that previously did not exist. This does not mean that a perfume must have such a radical small that it is overwhelmingly conspicuous. A perfume might just be a subtle modification of the familiar. For the perfumer, the prize is not won by the degree of change but by the harmony and beauty the change has wrought.

    This is the challenge for anyone setting out to create a perfume. The "trap" is that there are so many aroma materials available which themselves have beautiful aromas, just like favorite essential oils. Why mess with these beautiful substances? Why change what can seem to be so perfect? Why? Because that is what perfumery is all about -- taking that which is and transforming it, through mixing and balancing with other materials, some of which may not smell so nice.

    Why do it? For pleasure. That is the only answer. Perfume exists to please. Giving new pleasures to the nose is the guiding principal in perfumery and, for the layman, perfumes are ONLY judged by the pleasure they give, whether they are simple or complex, brilliant creations or rough, cheap or expensive. It all comes down to the pleasure they give, and this "giving" comes from taking that which already is -- the raw aroma materials -- and, through art, using them to create something new, a transformation.

    It is a lovely art.

    By the way, we have some books I've written at our website. You might find one or more of them interesting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Will anyone know my formula is so simple?

    I started live testing it yesterday. My wife asked "does it get more mellow after a while?" Today, after a while, she pronounced it mellow. This fragrance, after a little testing and tweaking, will become the third member of my "alternative" fragrance collection -- Xotic (formerly 'Toxic' until I sold the name), Blackberry, and this new fragrance that has a name I'm not yet ready to reveal but I think is really, really good.

    The "bones" of this fragrance came together in less than an hour. I was reading something that inspired me, something about perfume, and it just came to me that I should try mixing "this and that" to see what might happen and, with minimal adjustments, it "happened." I've never had a fragrance come together like that before.

    So I've started to wear it. And I've thought about both making slight adjustments to the proportions and, possibly, "decorating" it a bit with teensy weensy bits of several other materials. This is the time to experiment, before the formula is finalized.

    The final question is, what will I do with it once I've got the formula nailed down? Yes, I'll mix up a batch and bottle it and offer it for sale at my PGLIghtyears website. I'm not expecting it to set the world on fire but I will be pointing to that web page with several blog posts and emails explaining my marketing strategy -- and what others can learn from what I'm doing.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Finding the right bottle for a men's cologne

    I can claim more success with and perhaps more interest in men's fragrances that those I've done for women. And I can claim more success at achieving lower production costs for my men's fragrances against those I've done for women. The reason for these lower costs is the bottle. (See examples here.)

    For a man's fragrance you don't need a spray and a fine mist spray pump, purchased in only hundreds or thousands rather than tens of thousands, can represent a large chunk of the product's total cost. Using a screw-on cap rather than a spray represents a huge cost saving. So, for this article, I'll rule out any use of a spray. Perhaps we can deal with that another day.

    Because our interest is in bottles that can be sealed with a screw-on cap, we will only be discussing bottles with a "continuous thread" neck -- bottles with threaded necks that allow the use of a screw-on "closure," in this case a screw-on cap. Caps are generally made of plastic and can be ribbed or smooth. Ribbed caps have vertical grooves and provide a better grip.

Overall considerations

    Selecting a bottle for a men's fragrance involves finding a glass bottle you like that has the capacity you want and can be purchased at a good price in the quantity you need.

    Your decision on capacity is important. The more than goes into the bottle, the more it will cost to fill it. Filling a 2-ounce bottle will be twice as expensive as filling a 1-ounce bottle. While this is obvious to any accountant, a creative mind can sometimes get carried away by the particular shape -- the "look" -- of a bottle and fail to notice that, due to its size, filling it will blow the budget.

Neck configuration ("finish")

    While all bottles under discussion take a screw-on cap, in addition to capacity, two issues must be addressed: finding caps that are an exact fit for the neck and the opening in the neck.

    The cap issue involves what is called "finish," the configuration of the neck of the bottle. That configuration is defined both by the diameter of the neck, the height of the neck, and by the arrangement of the threads in the neck. To fit properly, the cap size must be an exact match with the neck size, both in diameter, neck height, and thread configuration. You will see the neck of a "continuous thread" bottle described by such designations as "15/425," "18/425," "20/410," etc.  Caps for these bottles will be described using the same system.

    In selecting your bottle it is important to be sure you will be able to purchase the needed supply of screw-on caps in a matching size. When you need a relatively small quantity of caps, a few hundred or perhaps a thousand or so, it is not always easy to find the caps you want in the size you need.

    If you are buying a significant number of bottles and caps it is wise to get samples, before you make your purchase, and test to be sure the caps screw onto the bottles easily and, when filled, the bottles do not leak.

Sprinkler neck bottles

    There is yet one more complication that must be addressed: the opening in the bottle's neck. Bottles with a special constricted opening are referred to as "sprinkler neck" because the constricted neck prevents the fragrance from pouring out and, instead, allows it to be splashed or sprinkled. Without this constriction in the neck the user would get a waterfall of fragrance instead of just a dash.

    In my book, Creating Your Own Fragrance With A 1700 Percent Markup!, I describe a successful project with a men's cologne and, for that project, we used a 1-ounce sprinkler neck bottle. Thanks to shopping for that bottle I became very familiar with sprinkler neck bottles and now, when shopping for a bottle for a men's cologne, my first question is, "does it have a sprinkler neck?" If so, assembly becomes very simple as the only components are the bottle and the cap.   

Orifice reducer plugs

    But suppose you have your heart set on a bottle that does not have a sprinkler neck? Unless you can cut down the flow that is dispensed, you can't use it. When your customer opens it up it would pour fragrance and clearly this is unacceptable.

    But there is a solution -- the orifice reducing plug. This is a plastic plug with a small opening that is inserted into the neck of the bottle. Not only can it give your bottle sprinkler neck utility, since these plugs are available with different size openings, you can select the amount of fragrance you want released when your customer splashes or sprinkles your cologne.

    The downside of the orifice reducing plug is that it must be pressed into the bottle's neck and this takes a bit of force. You might not want to fit a large number of this plugs by hand.

    When using an orifice reducing plug, and I do use them with one particular bottle I acquired in a large quantity at a very good price from a surplus bottle distributor, I use a jig I built that is a bit like the corker used by wine makers to insert a cork into the neck of a bottle. You line up the plug with the bottle, pull the lever, and the plug is squeezed into the neck.

    Orifice reducing plugs are a practical solution to retro fit an open neck bottle to mimic the action of a sprinkler neck bottle but, if you are doing the bottling yourself, by hand, and you have more than a few hundred bottles to seal, the sprinkler neck bottle is by far the more efficient solution.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Four ways to create your own perfume

    Let me ask you this: "Why would you want to create your own perfume?" Are you motivated by art, commerce, or vanity? Your reason for wanting to create a perfume plays a leading role in how you create your perfume. There are four ways you can create your perfume oil, the scent itself, the fragrance that people smell. Two of these ways require substantial investment; two require only pocket change. When you are ready to go ahead and create your own perfume starting with the perfume oil -- the scent itself -- you'll find a complete guide for transforming it into a commercial product in Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!

Method I: Buy a stock fragrance and impress your brand on it.

    A significant number of online vendors sell "fragrance oil" to anyone willing to pay for it. The names of many of these perfume oils suggest they are smell-likes of best selling perfumes. Spend time at local fragrance counters. Sample as many fragrances as you can for free. Purchase a few that you like best. Decide, within the limits of online fragrance oils available to you, on one that might work for you.
    Once you have obtained your supply, and assuming your plan is not to simply market a knockoff, impress your own brand on it. Name it with a name that bears no relation to the name of the famous scent that inspired it. Now it is no longer an imitation of a famous brand. Now it becomes the name you have given it.

    Anyone can do this. You don't need industry connections. There is no mystery over what you are paying or what you are getting. You can compare prices from one website to another as it is likely that more than one will have a smell-alike for the same famous brand. Because these websites take small orders, you can start your project on a very small scale to test your ability to create and sell your own perfume.

    If your intention is to produce a significant number of bottles of perfume, say 500, 1,000 or more, obtaining oil directly off a website may prove more costly than buying directly from a fragrance house that sells to professionals. Quality could also be an issue.

    Much here depends on the level of sophistication of your intended customers. If they are aware of the current crop of best selling fragrances, they may spot yours as a smell-alike and judge your offering both on price and quality. If your price is low and your quality acceptably, you might make sales based on your low price but, unless you can achieve a high sales volume (which is unlikely!), this will not be a great money making strategy.

    On the other hand, if your intended market are less sophisticated and you select a fragrance oil for "your" perfume they are very unlikely to recognize, your fragrance may be able to achieve a substantial markup.

Method II: Go to a professional fragrance house and ask for a fragrance with a smell like that of a major brand that has attracted you.

    This is similar to Method I, finding a smell you like in a major brand and then purchasing an oil with a similar scent. The difference is you're likely to be offered two or more versions of the scent you like, each at a different price. It will be up to you to select the one most suitable for your quality, marketing, and budgetary goals.

    Again, the fragrance will not be reserved exclusively for your but there is a good chance you won't find a competitor using the same oil. Once you have put your brand on it -- the name under which you will sell it -- it is unlikely that it will ever be thought of as anything other than what you have named it.

    In working with a professional fragrance house you'll be introduced to the possibilities that exist for a fragrance oil such as how a particular scent can be achieved using more or less costly materials. You will also be establishing a connection for future projects and you should be able to get some guidance for your project from experienced professionals, guidance you would not get by simply ordered off a website.

    To get the cooperation of a professional fragrance house you may have to demonstrate that you are an established business or a deep pocketed entrepreneur ready to deal on a professional level. And it's likely you'll encounter a minimum order requirement that should not be excessive if you're producing 1,000 bottles or more but could balk you if your plan is to test with just a few hundred bottles.

    If you're making an investment in your perfume and are willing to take some risks, this is an ideal solution. You'll be getting your fragrance oil at a price that works for your budget and will be introduced to the price variations that can be found in trying to achieve the same smell.
    Since you will be asking for a scent similar to one that already exists, the vendor will almost certainly have multiple formulas available and will not have to go through the steps of building a custom -- a unique, original -- fragrance for you. Hence both a lower cost to you and a lower minimum order requirement.

Method III: Work a perfumer to create an original fragrance.

    If you want an original fragrance and you are not a skilled perfumer yourself, you'll go to a fragrance company that can offer the services of a perfumer who will work with you to create the fragrance you want.

    If you just have a general idea of what you want, the perfumer can guide. If you have a strong idea of what you want, you can guide the perfumer.

    By working with a professional perfumer and paying for a custom fragrance, an original fragrance that only you will have, you gain a strong marketing point.

    To obtain the services of a skilled perfumer you will either be required to pay for the development costs or to guarantee the purchase of a certain minimum quantity of the perfume oil thus created.

    Your idea for a unique fragrance may not yield a market success. You may have trouble communicating your idea to a perfumer, making it difficult for him or her to give you what you want. This can lead to costly trials and dead ends.

    While you may be providing the creative ideas for the fragrance, the perfumer who has translated your ideas into a practical formula, will own the formula and you will never see it. If you need more of this fragrance oil, you must come back to this same perfumer or fragrance house. This is standard industry practice although it may be possible to negotiate a different arrangement.

    Your success in creating an original fragrance will depend on your having a clear idea of what you want and finding a perfumer able to create what you want. This is a costly approach to getting your perfume oil and you must consider whether the cost will be commensurate with your goals for the project.

Method IV: Make it yourself.

    If you feel comfortable developing a perfume oil on your own, do it!

    The fragrance oil you develop will be original and exclusively your own and you have the satisfaction of being the creator.

    To develop your own perfume oil you'll need perfumery skills and materials to work with. If your goal is to create a commercial success you must question whether your skill will be up to the challenge. Investing money in your own skill as a perfumer can be risky and few "first time" projects yield commercial success.

    If you are a perfumer, this may be the only path for you.

    If you are an enthusiastic but less skilled, the fragrance you develop will give you an opportunity to share your idea with others and, while it may be difficult to sell what you have made, you might find great satisfaction in putting your own original fragrance "out there."