Fixation (continued)

True iris, called “orris” by perfumers, has long inspired me with its lovely root-like, earthy, and floral aroma. While it is this delicate fragrance I’m striving to attain, I haven’t just promised iris, I’ve promised black iris. Because a black iris is more fantasy than reality, I’ve decided to include other aromas than just the orris accord to make up the dark part of the perfume. 

The gorgeous iris accord opens soon after the top notes evaporate--in a minute or two--but after an hour or so, starts to fade. As my deeply-animal, faux-natural musk creeps in, the iris goes from purple to black. After about two hours, the musk takes over and the iris is barely noticeable. 

I still want the iris to last longer.

Older perfume formulas often call for concretes. A concrete is extracted from plant matter with hexane, which is essentially very pure gasoline. When the hexane is evaporated off, there remains a concrete, usually a solid. An absolute is made by extracting the concrete with alcohol and evaporating off the alcohol under vacuum. Because concretes contain large amounts of waxes and other high boiling point materials, they act as fixatives. The obvious thing was to track down some iris concrete. This was not easy as few people use concretes and they’re rarely sold. 

After my tiny sample of concrete arrived in the mail, I combined it with my iris accord. The perfume smells great, projects reasonably well, and most of all, lasts for hours on the skin. There is only one problem: iris concrete is outrageously expensive, though a small amount normally goes a very long way. However, I need to find out if I’ve made the perfume too exorbitant. Whether people will pay for this loveliness, I don’t know. 

My next step is some number crunching.