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

Sandalwood: Faking It

Let’s say, right off the bat, that sandalwood can’t be replicated accurately. Perfumers have been trying for centuries and, now that the real oil has gotten so expensive, the effort has accelerated. Not knowing better, making a viable sandalwood was my first effort at perfumery.… Read More »Sandalwood: Faking It