Sharing my chypre experiment

Last time I was experimenting with a Chypre formula. The one from “An introduction to the perfumery” by Curtis. The original formula:
Bergamot FCF – 15
Sandalwood – 8
Vetiver (Bourbon) – 6
Oakmoss absolute decolorized – 5
Rose base – 6
Jasmine base – 5
Gamma-methyl-ionone – 3
Patchouli – 5
Musk-ketone – 3
Clary sage – 2
Neroli oil reconstructed – 2

Well, first of all I made a basic reconstruction of this formula using synthetic Sandal base and took just a couple of essential synthetics molecules for each of the mentioned bases (like PEA+citronellol+geraniol+rosone for the rose base). I also used a little bit of natural jasmine and rose absolutes as well as rose and neroli oils to brighten up the formula. Here there are conclusions I made before I’ll start on the second version:
- It’s very important to work separately on floral heart and balance it well before mixing with the chypre base.
- It’s also important to use naturals in the floral heart to make it strong enough to be able to compete against the strong chypre base (made off almost naturals only).
- Labdanum resinoide is in my opinion essential in a chypre – it gives a very soft ambery note and softens the oakmoss.
- I would be more careful with Clary Sage next time and may be even omit it.

Another interesting experiment was to create a natural chypre fragrance based on this formula. Well – it’s easy to think that you can just substitute the bases with the corresponding amounts of rose, jasmine and neroli oils and absolutes. But there is a problem – those precious and powerful essences and require very delicate balance – using just 6 parts of rose absolute and 5 part of jasmine absolute instead of rose and jasmine bases would result in a an "overrosed" accord. So, it’s very important to work carefully on the floral heart and balance it before mixing with the chypre base.

Methyl ionone is not an easy one to substitute with naturals – it is used not only as an iris-violet note, but also as a bridge between the woody and floral accords. Next to iris absolute or concrete there is also a Guaiac oil. It doesn’t smell like ionone at all, but it possess the function of the bridge between woody and floral notes. I used Guaiac oil with some Iris CO2 absolute.

Musk ketone can be substituted by natural musk or ambrette seed absolute. I only had ambrette seed tincture, so I used this one.

It was also interesting to create a “low budget natural formula” – to see if it’s possible to make a basic chypre using just the smallest amounts of expensive rose, jasmine and neroli oils and absolutes. For this formula I took just a drop of palmarosa and geranium oils (as a “rose” part), ylang-ylang oil (as a "jasmine" part) and petitgrain (as "neroli" part). I added some lavender oil to accompany the clary sage and geranium as well as some lime oil to accompany bergamot. Labdanum resinoide is really important chypre compound, so I added it too. Of course I used jasmine absolute, rose oil and absolute, neroli and iris CO2 just enough to add a finishing touch. Guaiac oil (as well as a touch of iris CO2) was used instead of methyl-ionone.

Well, my “low budget” formula was surprisingly pleasant. Definitely masculine, somewhat ascetic, deep and not cheap at all. It has character.

And there is something else I discovered about perfume. The better it’s balanced and the more natural ingredients are used the more intense is the emotional influence of the perfume. Like the last chypre I described – the feel of silence and restfulness filled me in at the moment I inhaled it.

P.S. Please, be aware of fact that amounts of oak moss used in this formula is higher than IFRA restrictions.

2 opmerkingen:

Andy zei

I so fully agree: natural are so important when you try to create a perfume that touches the wearer inside. It may not be conditio sine qua non, but it sure helps. And then, I feel that balance is the door opener. But so tricky to reach.
...thank you for sharing.

AromaX zei

Thanks for your comment Andy. The tricky balance. You know... you can't really calculate it (even you know it's in the golden ratio and there are formulae to estimate a balance between two raw materials). It's completely beyond the rational ability to understand. But you have learn to experience it, to feel it, to understand irrationally... Frustrating and inspiring at the same time :o)

And the ability of perfume to touch the feelings... another tricky and fascinating things. Unfortunately nowadays the most of modern perfumes are trying to reach your feeling via marketing tools and tricks and not with the power of juice itself...