How to make perfume

The sense of smell is our least understood mind. Perfume can manipulate the mind and instantly develop childhood memories. It affects our feelings so effectively that it has become a global industry. But scents can no longer whine themselves out but have to scream to be heard in the perfume jungle. Walk into Rinascente in Milan and you will literally get attacked by fine salesmen and women who want you to try their latest scent. It is a matter of running fast to not be soaked with involuntary perfume.

But how are they even standing there screaming out the perfume's name? How is the finished product? Everything starts with an idea. Someone has a vision of how their perfume will smell. And then the perfumers come in. The raw materials, the lab coat is on and it's time to start testing. Thousands of counted drops.  Maceration. A scented blindness of too much sniffing. Maceration again. Repeat, do right until the final result becomes as spot on as the vision. Vips et voilà, you have created the formula for the new monster hit. Easily explained on single lines, but it must be added that it is much more difficult than that.

When the perfumers start, they start with the raw materials. Every substance they use is either naturally extracted from, for example, flowers, leaves, spices or trees. Or, they are synthetically produced molecules, but that can smell even more natural than the true raw material.

Once you decide which notes you want to use, whether naturally extracted or synthetic, it's time to start building your chords. The records consist of a compilation of notes that are put together to create a composition. Just like music! However, it becomes difficult when it comes to understanding how different notes react with each other. Jasmin smells terribly in excess, but with other notes it becomes magical. Sandalwood, on the other hand, is not at all apparent at first, so the risk is to drop too much. Maceration is, therefore, the most widely used word of the perfume maker. That means you have to let the smell rest. It has to be floated into a composition that captivates its users. You can imagine, but you can not feel the perfume all at once. You won't get away without maceration.

Hundreds of combinations are created to match the vision, some are well, others land in the bin. Only the chord itself takes time, and then several chords together form a complete formula. So time-consuming! And since there are hundreds of failed attempts behind each chord, there are thousands of wasted variants behind each created perfume. For example, Parle Moi de Parfum's perfumes have a number next to the name, revealing how many attempts it took to create the final result that managed to match the vision.

So, when all comes around, perfume is about knowing your molecules. Put on your protective glove and let's do this! It's a bit like being a pharmacist but with a sense of what smells good too. All are not track dogs who smell scents miles away, so a little luck helps along the way!


- P.P

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