Thursday, May 14, 2020

Sometimes I think I'm creating a new ping-pong ball

NOTE: This is a continuation of a story detailing the progress of a perfume I'm developing. Previous "chapters" can be found here and here and here.

    I'm being guided by a picture but a single picture can tell many stories and I only want one. As I look at the nuances of the picture that has become my inspiration, I'm struggling to aim the scent in the right direction. Is it a men's fragrance or is it for women? The fragrance itself is sexless but my on-hand stock of bottles is not. I generally lean toward spray bottles for feminine scents and splash bottles for the masculine. Plus, I sometimes make the masculine scents more edgy so only a handful of guys will appreciate them although my wife seems to find all of them quite nice... so what's the message there?

    Two days ago I declared my formula finished. I was ready to work up a larger batch, weight out the formula converting drops into grams and percents. But I was rushing and, in spire of my enthusiasm and desire to get on with the project, I forced myself to take the final intermediate steps which, for me, involve mixing a few drops of the fragrance with alcohol in a tiny spray vial, letting the alcohol and oil blend at least over night, and then spraying some on a smelling strip and on my wrist, to see how the fragrance comes across in the real world. I hit a speed bump.

    I had partly anticipated it. Although I had declared my scent "finished," deep down I was worrying about a lingering note that might not be considered pleasant. I had calculated it was the result of "too much of a good thing" and I wondered if the problem might be solved if I cut back on one of the ingredients. So, right away, I made another trial with the supposed offender cut back.

    My speed bump -- the fragrance being not quite right -- told me to try the new trial to see if the correction had worked. On a test blotter it smelled like an improvement so I made up another spray vial sampler, this time with the "post-final" formula. My first impression was favorable but patience is required. As much as I would like to rush forward I have to wait for the aroma materials to blend, both with each other and with the alcohol. Like it or not, I have to give it at least a few days.

    As I look back on the trials I have made in developing this fragrance, I sometimes feel I am trying to create a ping-pong ball, the raw materials seem to be bouncing back and forth. There haven't been many changes in raw material since the first "blind" shot at it. A few materials have been injected and rejected. Only one new scent has been added since the beginning of the project but there have been lots of changes in quantity of several aroma materials. This can get tedious and I've had to train myself to make just one change at a time. This is the only way to tell how a particular change has changed the scent.

    By time time you read this I will have tested the "post-final" scent and, hopefully, in a few days I'll be able to weigh out the formula and get ready to make a production batch. Hopefully the ping-ponging will have a happy ending, at least in terms of getting the (male or female or both) fragrance "out there."

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