Last week, Capella Singapore was abuzz with the Old World Spice and Wine event – a series of spice themed affairs (read more about it HERE).
The series of events included a special workshop with perfumer Nora Gasparini, which I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of. This workshop was particularly interesting because we got to try our hand at creating our own special blend of perfume – something truly one of a kind.
The fundamental idea of perfume making is actually not too difficult – the tricky part comes when mixing the various scents to get the right composition for your ideal fragrance. What I learned is that perfume is made up of three different “notes” which are the descriptors of the scents that you may identify when you smell a fragrance.
The top notes usually possess the lightest smells, your first impression of the perfume. Some examples of top note scents would be grapefruit and peppermint. The middle notes like lavender and pine are the scents that emerge after the top notes evaporate and together with the base notes, which help to give depth to the fragrance, form the main body of the perfume. Examples of base note scents include frankincense and vanilla.
The variation of scents comes from the different amounts of top, middle and base note scents in each perfume. During the workshop, we were each given three chances to mix our scents. After we had selected the top, middle and base notes, we could experiment with the different compositions before selecting one for the perfume.
Once the favoured combination was determined, alcohol was added to complete the process. The perfume must then be allowed to rest for some time to allow the alcohol to fully mix in with the oils before the perfume can be used.
An interesting take away from the workshop was actually the difference between eau de toilette, eau de parfum and cologne. The answer lies in the composition of different notes – eau de toilette possesses more middle notes while parfum is made up of a higher concentration of base notes. Cologne, being the lightest, is made mainly with top notes.