Building a Therapeutic Perfume
Every perfumer has their own approach to creating a scent but for me everything begins with the concept - what's the feeling, therapeutic quality, shape & texture I'm trying to create? To help get clear on the concept I'll often pull from the other senses & use images, music and physical objects to build a picture.
With the concept defined I'll begin to identify ingredients that speak to it and map out a basic structure of base, middle and top notes, making sure to include things that can act as note bridges.
Once I have a basic formula outlined it's time for the slow and repetitive task of sampling. Starting from the base I'll add ingredients drops at a time, stopping to smell and take notes at every step. This process can take months of constant refining and tweaking to check materials and their levels. When I have a formula I like I'll bottle it and let it sit for 24-48 hours giving the ingredients a chance to really come together before smelling and noting again.
And lastly the best bit, testing. As well as wearing the perfume myself I'll keep samples in my handbag so I can get every friend I see to smell and try it. Even though we have a small vocabulary for scent our subconscious knows and you can see when someone loves (or doesn't love) a smell!