Monday, November 4, 2013

From a few drops to gallons

    I'm finalizing the formula for a new perfume. It's called "Confusion II" and it's part of a multimedia presentation surrounding a piece of sculpture called "Confusion II." Music is being composed and recorded, a video is in the works, and the formula for the perfume is being converted from dropper bottle drops to grams, kilograms, liters, and gallons. This is the essential step in getting the formula ready for production.

    When I develop my formulas I use bottles with eyedroppers, writing the formula by the number of drops, 1/2 drops, and traces of each material I have used. This method has the advantage of allowing me to develop fragrances using very small amounts of aroma materials as the expense of these materials can add up quickly. On the other hand, drops are not an accurate measurement, only an approximation. So for a production formula the drops have to be converted to grams. This is how I do it.

Weighing out "drops" formula to convert is to grams

    Say my formula calls for just 30 drops total of all the materials I've used. This is too small an amount to get an accurate weight using an electronic scale. So I multiple the formula by ten or twenty or more, then make it up with drops while the container is on a scale. As each material is added I note the weight of the material. Once I've done this, I do it again. Why? To see if the weights recorded for the second batch are very close to those recorded for the first batch. It's easy to goof up when counting out a few hundred drops and you want to catch any errors you have made.

    If the first formula by weight closely matches the second formula by weight, I'll average each material out for my final formula. If the weight of any one material differs greatly from one batch to the next, I'll weight out another batch -- and keep doing this until the weights of each material are consistent from batch to batch.

    Then I'll check the final batch with my nose, to make sure the fragrance is what was intended.

    This is the first step in getting the formula ready for production.

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