Coca-cola: The perfect accord.

Russian version - click here

Accord is a basic concept in perfumery. In fact it’s a well-balanced mixture of two or more notes (or fragrant materials). But when is accord well-balanced? Well, if you have an idea of a certain smell in your head than “well-balanced” means the combination that gives you the closest match to your goal. But you can also search for a point of “olfactory balance”. The last one is a proportion when neither of two (or more) components dominate and the resulting smell differs from the “sum” of smell the components. Such an accord smells like an individual note and it becomes difficult to recognize what notes it’s made of.

A famous classic example of a well-balanced accord is a mixture of benzylsalicylate and eugenol in 4,5:1 proportion. A deep balsamic and sweet benzylsalicylate and sweet spicy eugenol mixed together yield a sweet spicy floral impression of carnation. This is a main accord used in L’Air du Temps by Jean Carles. Filled up with Ylang and iso-eugenol this accord makes almost 20% of the formula.

But the fact that olfactory point of balance between those two materials is found at 4,5:1 proportion doesn’t mean it’s always used this way. Various carnation bases uses those materials in different proportions that depends on the idea of carnation in the head of perfumer – the goal to be achieved.

One of the example of the perfect accord is Coca-cola. The major part of its smell is based on citrus oils like lemon and orange. But Cola doesn’t really smell citrusy. Here we deal with a perfect accord between citrus notes and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander). Together they form a new smell that is neither citrusy nor spicy. There are different recipes of Coca-cola in the Internet like this one or that one. I did try one of them and I can say that those recipes are just guide-lines. You still need adjustments to get the olfactory balance between the citrus and spicy notes. Otherwise you get just spicy Fanta lemon. I seem to need more trials to achieve the goal.


Another Kiki impression from indorso (@livejournal)

Written by indorso (in Russian)
Translated by AromaX

Yesterday I’ve got an envelope from la_myrrhe with some samples of Vero Kern perfumes! Hastily I put my little child in hands of his father and escaped to try (“consciously”) those long-awaited perfumes.
Kiki is the most delightful lavender that I ever could smell! It’s so clean, ravishing and prattling like a fresh brook. Even the essential oil of lavender can’t compete with Kiki in its cleanness. I just nestled with my nose in my wrist for a couple of minutes… I did understand why AromaX compares Kiki with a lavender delight! It’s exactly what it is and I’ll not repeat what is already said. The one who knows what I am talking about will understand – I can’t say it better than it’s already written.
But there is a very surprising part… I do admire Kiki very sincerely, but… I don’t want it! And I can’t understand why.
I have a very similar feeling to Onda. Later I’ll write about it.

May be someone knows why those things happen? When you don’t really want something that you do like so much?

P.S. Alena, thank you very much for the possibility to try those perfumes. It was delightful! Like light shining in the Dark Kingdom of my yesterday (and always of today :)


Ethyl maltol (&Co) in making berries

Image of ethyl maltol formula from Wikipedia

Russian version - click here

After reading that Alex consider to sign his future fragrant creations with raspberry accord I wanted to play with its main components: vanillin, beta-ionone and raspberry ketone. The last one is not an easy thing to understand – it doesn’t smell “the promissed” raspberry there as the name would suggest. So, I think I’ll have to smell fresh raspberries one time and try to understand what aspects the juicy red berry it’s reminiscent to. Now I smell rather a slightly bitter green leave scent (that could be a raspberry leave altough).

Ionones – very unique aromachemicals with various applications. They smell is more likely to violet or iris with a fruity and woody note. I don’t have a beta version, so I decided to use a gamma one (alfa-iso-methyl-ionone). The fruity note of ionones makes them suitable for use in various berry-like compositions.

The raspberry I got from the mentioned components was a poor creature. It was rather a cheap candy flavouring reminding on raspberry after you read an etiquette. And I do understand why. First of all I have just mixed a couple of drops together without making an effort to get a balanced accord. And I haven’t used a proper ionone. But when balanced properly, this raspberry accord might be very promising. But balancing might be a good goal for the future experiments.

Later I added a drop of ethyl maltol to the raspberry. This is a very nice molecule smelling of burned sugar. A very pleasant and balanced note that doesn’t need any modification or imrovement. Just a drop of it gives a perfect sugary note to any gourmand base from canned fruits to Butterschotch chocolate. I think it’s ethyl maltol, that was used in Angel perfume.

Adding a drop of ethyl maltol to my poor raspberry made a… strawberry. Not a perfect one and it was in need for some further balancing. But it was very close to a strawberry perfume oil I bought once. May be if I substituted methyl ionone with beta (or even alfa that is less woody and more soft and floral) and used less of it…

A drop of so called “strawberry aldehyde C-16” turned my potion into a candy made from sugar and milk called “Strawberry cream” (like the one I know from my childhood). And the drop of so called “peach aldehyde C-14” was very good in taming too prominent ionones. And even a drop of 10% solution was powerful enough almost to “kill” all the fragrance. This peach aldehyde is a real beast – use with caution. And it’s the same peach aldehyde that was used to tame the dominant smell of the oakmoss in “Mitsouko”.

After all that fruity and sugary staff it was nice to put some freshness. I decided not to use a famous “leaf alcohol” (cis-3-hexenol), but one of its ethers – salicylate that combine a green note with a sweet medicinal one (like a bit of an anti-cough syrup). The strawberry turned into a pineapple guava berries (feijoa – a green berry).

It was like a magic where each drop called another creature to appear on the smelling paper.

It’s very interesting to mention the strength of ethyl maltol. When I was awake I smelled a weak and pleasant scent of burned sugar. It was coming from a smelling paper left on the table with a strawberry mixture on it. Ethyl maltol was strong enough to “separate” itself from the mixture and reach my nose.


Things I love...

For example, this song.

Why in perfumery blog? Because it's French, it's about love and passion, it inspires and touches emotions... and of course, because it's MY blog ;-) Enjoy !

It reminds me narcotic white tropical flowers...


Another interesting perfume blog...

Russian version - http://aromax.livejournal.com/15442.html

Recently I discovered a new perfumery blog by a perfumery student. Alex is an American who is studying perfumery in the heart of the fragrant kitchen (which is known to be full of mysteries) - the city of Grasse. In his blog he shares some of events from the life of a perfumery student. He also discusses some actual problems and dilemma's of modern perfumery. So far I read each of his entry and find it really interesting, informative and motivating.

Here is the link: http://jaimeleparfum.wordpress.com/


Kiki by Vero Kern - Parisian Lavender Delight

Image is from the Daily Unadventures in Cooking blog where you can also find a recipe of this delicious lavender chocolate cake.

Russian version - click here

Website of Vero Kern - click here

The idea of Kiki is simple – it’s all about sweet lavender or "lavender delight" … Lavender, caramel and musk with a touch of tropic fruits are the constituents of the Kiki as I read on the website of Vero. And thoese are also exactly the notes my nose can smell there. Except may be a touch of grapefruit fresh bitterness on the top, but I am not very sure about this. And I am also not sure about the tropical fruits – my nose being distracted by the sweetness of musk and caramel refuses to recognize any. But the simplicity of Kiki is based on a genial construction.

First the lavender itself. It has two faces combining the sweet floral notes with salty (and I mean it literally as salty taste) camphareous herbal ones. How could Vero separate them emphasizing the sweet floral quality and soothing the sharp herbal notes? I don’t know how, but it’s really amazing. Although I do suspect a use of Lavender absolute for this purpose. I haven’t smell it yet, but reading about this material gave me impressions that it possesses the qualities to turn lavender into a sweet flower.

Another amazing quality of Kiki is its emotional influence. The calming properties on lavender are well known in aromatherapy. But I have never met a perfume (at least I guess Kiki not to be a botanical or naturals only perfume) with such a strong influence on my emotions. It possesses not only the calming quality… it brings me into a nonchalant mood and reminds me to take life easy and to enjoy… It brings more playfulness into my attitude about life…

Kiki brings me into a lazy weekend summer afternoon when it’s so nice to sit somewhere outside with a cup of tee and an exotic delight like a lavender ice-cream or lavender cake with sweet caramel syrup… It may take place in a garden by a big villa or in a sidewalk Parisian café. Kiki is a moment for yourself, an island of peace and pleasure you create around you wherever you are… It also reminds me a movie about Marie Antoinette – Kiki is like a Petit Trianon where Marie Antoinette could escape her royal responsibilities…

And here is a small preview of Marie Antoinette in Petit Trianon:


Another Onda impression by Alena (la_myrrhe)

Written by Alena (la_myrrhe)
Russian version - click here

Image from the website of Vero Kern

Last summer I’ve renewed my insight into the perfums with leathery notes. During the hottest weather (as hottest as it is possible to get in our North Sea climate) I have tried all my leather stocks kept in bottles and vials. Uncompromising leather fragrances have been shown at their best. Leather, resins, smoke, balsams, moss, vetiver sound surprisingly soft and even refreshing on a heated skin. Discovering new nuances of the old fragrances I become to love them even more. By accident I also found myself not to be versed enough in leather perfumes. Unfortunately I still do not have enough time to go deeply into the details of leather perfumes making.

Some perfumes have revealed their surprisingly multidimensional character during the hot their and one of them was Onda. I have used it till the last drop, but didn’t have time to share my impressions. A surprise from Vero has made me to come back to this fragrance this autumn. After noticing her fragrances in my wish-list she has sent me generous samples of Kiki and Onda. During two crazy days I was grasping for an appeasing Kiki and now I am wearing Onda for the second day.

Now during this time of a year it recalls very different emotions and impressions. But the classical character is still unchanged although the perfume does not develop according to a classical pyramid. Tar, Vetiver and smoke are present there from very beginning till the end. In the beginning they are seasoned with aromatic herbs. I can’t identify them – may be it’s thyme or rosemary or something else. They give bitter and sweet-sour nuances to the fragrance bringing some cooling during the heat and sounding more balsamic during the autumn. Fresh cut ginger combining both the coldness and the warmth can be definitely sensed there. The wealth of herbs and spices doesn’t make the fragrance “tickling” – it sounds soft and intense even on this stage [of development].

The leather in Onda is full of surprises. Sometimes it turns into a cracked leather of an old saddle. But at another moment it’s a finest (thinnest) suede which finest touch makes the skin crawl. I would like to know what animal notes are responsible for the effect making this perfume such tangible. Vetiver trails the fragrance into the lower register, roots and slows down. In Onda I also sense a heat of Amber – the heat of glowing coals cooling down in the depth of the hearth.

It’s a silent room with soft light coming through a blurred window. You can only guess the contours of odd pbjects in twilight. An old book in a leather cover has been touched so often that it has absorbed the warmth and smell of many hands and has got its own life. Wisps of herbs are hanged in the dark corners and there is a fresh one on the table that still keeps the dew drops on its leaves. An old Dutch artist could be the best one to paint such an image. I can only guess who will enter this room and what shall happen there.

An impression of summer Onda has paled in my memory. It’s inseparably connected to the image of my grandfather. Onda could be his favourite perfume, his signature scent. But this is something for another time.