Perfume is a perfect marriage of spices, grasses, flowers, herbs and trees and from early man we have always loved rubbing smells onto our skin, it has been used in rituals, prayers, medicine, magic and mystery.
We surround ourselves with the fragrances we love, how many of us can walk past a rose bush without inhaling its wonderful heady aroma, rubbing lavender between our fingers and inhaling or placing our nose into a bouquet of flowers and trying all the samples in the beauty department of a store. Some we love, some we dislike and some we hate, we all have our favourites. Smell is probably the strongest sense we have, it helps us to remember happy, wonderful times and sad, upsetting, hard times – fresh mown grass reminds us all of Spring!
There are hundreds of perfumes on sale each year new ones being brought out to tempt us and bombard us with, from models, to film stars to pop stars they all have their name on the bottles even though they do not make them. Sadly today, most of the perfumes you buy at a reasonable price would have been produced using manmade synthetic fragrances only the most expensive perfumes on the market use natural aromas. This is not a problem as it takes a very clever person to re-create what nature has provided us with. In our busy hectic lives we have lost touch with the true magic of our perfumed universe.
I have always loved working with nature’s own haven and after creating my very first perfume on BBC Countryfile, called Poppyland I have become totally immersed in creating wonderful perfume blends to compliment my products on the Aroma Natural website.
You will always hear me talk about Top Notes, Middle Notes and Base Notes which are the building blocks and evocative scents of all perfume.
Pick up a bottle of perfume, close your eyes and breath in – the first aromas you get are the top notes which are the most volatile and will be the first to disappear, the next will be the middle notes, often flowery and make up the body of the perfume which will last for around 15mins to an hour. Finally we have the base note, the perfumes long lasting scent which can last for hours and sometimes even days.
If you really love perfume you can try and pick out the different scents that are in the bottle. Close your eyes and breath in – what can you smell, is it light, fresh, citrus, woody - quickly write down your thoughts on paper – this will be the top note. Keep smelling the perfume until you can detect another scent is it – spicy, flowery – what does it remind you of, write it down before it changes as this is your middle note. The next note, the base note is probably the hardest to detect and will take an experienced perfumer to separate the different scents but as you breath in get lost in the smell. Are you in the woods somewhere, is it earthy, musky deep and inspiring or are you in a shop where its chocolates and sweets, are you walking down a country lane with trees and flowers around or have you been whisked away somewhere hot and exotic. Put your thoughts down.
Now put your perfume on the inside of your wrist and repeat the above all the while writing down your immediate thoughts. When you have finished compare the two, the smell from the bottle and the smell from your wrist – is there any difference. After half an hour see if you think your wrist has changed in its scent and then try again after an hour. Occasionally during the rest of the day test your wrist and see if anything has changed, what remains and how long is it before the scent has gone.
You might find this difficult at first but the more you practice the more scents you will be able to pick out. Familiarise yourself with different essential oils if you can, perhaps start with some top notes as you will already know some of them and when you feel more confident go onto the middle notes, again many of these you will know. The base notes you might find much more difficult as only a few are in our every day world like Vanilla, Sandlewood, Patchouli and perhaps Jasmine, however, in the natural state straight from the bottle they can be very powerful and overwhelming.
Later I will start with the base notes and go more in depth with them but hopefully this blog will give you a quick insight into perfumes and our natural world.
Blends for you to
Top Note : Orange (30 drops)
Middle Note : Lavender (15 drops), Ylang Ylang (2 drops)
Base Note : Patchouli (4 drops)
Top Note : Mandarin (20 drops), Bergamot (10 drops), Lemongrass (10 drops)
Middle Note : Geranium (5 drops)
Base Note : Benzoin (3 drops)
Top Note : Lemon (25 drops)
Middle Note : Lavender (15 drops), Roman Chamomile (1 drop)
Base Note : Vetivert (1 drop)
Choose your blend and pour this into alcohol i.e perfumers alcohol which can be hard to buy or into a colourless/odourless alcohol like at least 80% vodka.
Eau de Parfum : 2ml alcohol + 40-60 drops essential oil
Eau de Toilette : 6ml alcohol + 40-60 drops essential oil
Eau de Cologne : 10ml alcohol + 40-60 drops essential oil