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Well – the first perfume assignment I had to make was Eau de cologne as I already have mentioned.
Eau de cologne is not really a perfume, but more a refreshing water consisting of citrus, herbal and floral notes. Eau de cologne is not used to perfume ourselves, but to cool and refresh. That is why it doesn’t have to be tenacious or strong, but it should be light and have a fresh smell. Nowdays eau de cologne is also a synonym to a low concentrated perfume. There are also perfumes called eau de cologne (like one made by Chanel) – they possess the citrusy fresh smell of eau de cologne and qualities of a real perfume.
The formula I got to make was consisting mostly of citrus oils mixture – bergamot, lemon and mandarine natural oils made almost 60% of the formula. Some synthetics were used to enrich the citrus scents. An interesting aromachemical widely used in modern perfumery is dihydro myrcenol. It’s a fresh citrus smelling chemical with a distinguished lime note. It’s used as a lime oil replacement and it also gives a kind of noble masculine citrus accent. Another aromachemical used is citral. It gave it a barley sugar sweetness reminding of lemongrass oil (containing sometimes up to 90% citral). The use of citral and lemongrass oil is restricted by IFRA as they may cause skin irritation. Funny to mention the severity of IFRA. As I remember from my student period citral was a medicine. For inner use it was prescribed in much higher concentrations than IFRA forbid to put on the skin. I also remember that I read at Octavian´s blog that IFRA forbid the use of lemon balm oil at all – even for non skin applications. So, the next time when you drink a lemon balm tea, please, be careful not to smell any. And of course, avoid any skin contact ;-)
A drop of menthol is used to enhance the freshness and a drop of C-10 aldehyde gives some sparkles. Both are modifiers that mean you can’t easily recognize their smell in a final product, but they do have effect on a total composition.
The herbal part of the formula consisted of a couple of drops of lavender and rosemary oils.
Another interesting part was the use of linalool and linalyl acetate combination. Those are two chemicals are widely found in numerous flowers and herbs. In perfumery they are also used in numerous floral bases. Linalool smells a fresh, but chemical with a woody undertone. Rosewood oil consisting mostly of linalool might give a good idea about how linalool smells. Linalyl acetate shares the fresh chemical note with linalool, but differs by its fruity note reminding of pear and more bergamot like freshness. Mixed together they do smell fresh, but not pleasant enough to be used alone.
To fix the eau de cologne a drop of synthetic musk was used.
To test the formula I mixed all ingredients and made a 5% solution in the alcohol. Actually the most of eau de colognes has about 3% of fragrant materials. After a couple days of riping it was ready for a first test.
What did I get from the vial? On the blotter – a nice fresh citrusy smell sweetened with Citral giving a note of barley sugar and refined with lofty dihydro myrcenol. Unfortunately it doesn’t stay long on the skin – the citrusy freshness disappears in a few minutes and the only scent you smell is a camphorous note of lavender-rosemary supported with linalool chemical note. The problem is that the longevity of citrus oils mixture is shorter than the longevity of lavender-rosemary-linalool-linalyl acetate mixture. The only drop of synthetic musk seem to be not enough to make the smell more pleasant.
It looks that the improvement in this case should be pointed to the top to middle note. What materials could be used to cover the campharous note of lavender-rosemary combination and to lift up the chemical accents of linalool-linalyl acetate accord. I was thinking of using of ginger oil as it would nicely blend with barley sugar note of citral, ommiting of rosemary if needed and the use of hedione – a nice fresh long lasting chemical mostly used to give freshness to jasmine compositions. I was also thinking to use some materials to simulate a neroli odour (as linalool and linalyl acetate are also the components of neroli bases and neroli is widely used in eau de colognes). And of course I can enrich the base with some resin components.
Roxana has also made a nice blog entry about eau de cologne.