Monday, July 20, 2009

Do you REALLY want to know how to make perfume?

I started a new perfume in April (2009) and just produced a small batch of the final result last night -- three months later. Some samples of this fragrance in its not quite final form were tossed into my Sample Bag at the end of June. Hopefully I'll have an ad ready for it by mid-August and the first bottles ready to sell in September. I won't tell you the name in case I change it at the last minute but you'll be able to guess my working title if you purchase the Sample Bag. It's the fragrance that has only one sample.

Looking at the finished result (see the photo at the right), I find myself fascinated by the aesthetics of the golden color of the compound -- the "juice" as perfumers would call it. Once I've added the alcohol, it will take on a much lighter coloring but still have a golden tone to it, thanks to the particular materials I used.

This fragrance came together rather quickly in "outline" form. (I sketch my perfume outlines, for the most part, with the 25 aroma bases included in the PerfumersWorld Foundation Course.) Then, after I had my outline, the slow and sometimes painfully frustrating work of making the modifications and decorations began. Those who tell you that 95 percent of the time you spend on a perfume go into the final few adjustments speak the truth.

The purpose of this blog is twofold. First, I want to make you aware of my fragrances which I sell at my Frank Bush online store. But it's more likely you are reading this blog because you have an interest in making perfume yourself and the second purpose of this blog is to encourage you in that interest. Yes, you can learn perfumery and make your own perfumes -- to sell, if that's what you want. And I'd like to help you. But I get frustrated at times (and so I'm venting a bit here) because too many people who ask me how to make perfume seem to think this is knowledge I can reveal to them in an email, or even a tweet.

Learning to make perfume requires study, discipline, materials, and a qualified teacher. It requires a commitment of years (not minutes). It's true that, as a student, you can often produce some gratifying results in a short period of time -- sometimes in just a few days or weeks. But at that point, unless you develop a passion for perfumery -- a desire to explore the world of aromatic substances and how they might be blended together -- you are a bit like the weekend painter hobbyist who struggles to copy the teacher's work, or even paints by the numbers. But at least these would-be artists are working with paint.

The most frustrating cases to me are those who say they want to make perfume but, when you tell them exactly how to get started (with materials and lessons -- lessons that require WORK!) they just ask the same question over again without taking the first step themselves. It's like somebody saying they want to play hockey yet they won't buy a pair of skates.

Last night I started a new perfume project. I have a theme. I want to play around with some aroma materials to see if I can find a favorable starting point. The theme was suggested to me by someone in another country and she will be among the first to receive a sample when it gets close to being finished.

How do I get started on a new fragrance? In this case I have an "idea," I have some "research," and my challenge is to create a fragrance that will please a select group of women who have never heard of me, who have never seen this blog, and who have never been exposed to my ideas on fragrance creation.

I love the challenge. The fragrance I finished yesterday is my new favorite. But the one I started yesterday has me really excited.

If you can feel that excitement over aroma and if you can commit yourself to hours of study and more hours of experimentation and learning, I really do encourage you to take up the study of perfumery yourself. You'll find all the resources you need to get started in the PerfumersWorld Foundation Course. This is what got me started in perfumery and the British perfumer who created this home study course has been a most wonderful mentor.