I'm finally at the in-depth experimentation phase. I worked through my aroma chemicals and came across a few that I think will work in my blend. I've been taking paper smelling strips, dipping one in ambergris and the other in an aroma chemical. I then compare them.
As I was pondering my ambergris experiments yesterday, I made a somewhat obvious realization. I don't have the experience or sense memory to construct a perfume, in my mind, completely with synthetics; I'm continuing to learn them. Instead, I work through my chemicals and naturals and find things that go along with my blend. I then start comparing on paper strips and eventually start blending the ingredients. I have found that this system also provides for happy accident, for it has always been accident--carefully tamed accident--that has led me to my various concoctions. I once came up with a perfect gardenia but somehow lost track of what I was doing. I never was able to reproduce it again. I discovered my musk by accident too. I was visiting a friend and had brought some musk experiments with me. We spent the afternoon smelling them, comparing etc. but none seemed to stand out. The next morning the strips were sitting on a tray. I, without thinking, picked one up and gave it a sniff. I immediately knew that that was the one. I'm hoping that what I lack in experience can be compensated by the "vision" I have of my mother's antique perfumes. While no always certain how to achieve it, I at least have a clear idea of what I want to achieve.