Oud and Sandalwood

My oud source has again run out—there seems to be no more aku akira—so I’ve had to reformulate using new ouds. I ordered 14 different oud samples and tested them all for balance and longevity. I’m now using Malaysian oud, a Hindi, and another one… Read More »Oud and Sandalwood


I’ve been playing a new game: I reconstruct flowers, working with a list of essential oils, absolutes, and aroma compounds, that gives no quantities. The challenge is to balance the amounts of these ingredients to come up with a viable replica of the flower at… Read More »Jasmin


It’s frustrating to discover a fragrance, get all worked up about it, put it on the skin, and have it disappear in 20 minutes. Perfumers describe this phenomenon as caused by a lack of “fixation,” the idea being that certain ingredients— “fixatives” –“fix” the perfume… Read More »Fixation

Top Notes

Top notes—the most volatile and evanescent compounds in a perfume—give an immediate impression and help sell the product. Whether you like them or not, the top notes in today’s fragrances are incredibly smooth. However, the top notes may not smell like the heart notes, which… Read More »Top Notes