Fixation III: The Big Bummer

Often when confronted with a new problem, I suddenly get sleepy. I thought this was a defense and just a way of procrastinating, until I realized that during a 15-minute nap, I get a lot of work done. I’ll often awake with solutions to problems or at least possible avenues for experimentation.

This afternoon, slumped over in my chair, I dreamt about the new perfume when it struck me that I had been working with more concentrated tinctures than I had realized. I went over my notes and saw that I had marked everything as 10%—the usual concentration for my experiments when, in fact, one of the tinctures was 15%, several tinctures were 25%, and a couple were 30%. My perfume that lasts so long is more concentrated than it’s supposed to be.

As I floated up toward wakefulness, it was clear that all the tinctures were going to have to be made the same concentration before they could make their way into my next perfume experiment.

So I set to work, diluting or concentrating the various complexes and tinctures until they came out the same concentration as the most expensive finished perfume I can make without going under.

Now that it’s down to a lower concentration, it doesn’t last long enough; it’s not strong enough.

While I’m back to thinking of fixatives I might use to get Black Iris to last longer, it’s important to remember that fixatives, if too strong or if used in excess, mute aromas and cause them to project less. This happened when I experimented with frankincense: it lasted forever but I could hardly smell the perfume.

For many years, perfumers perceived this as an inherent contradiction—it was one or the other. But, then, we must consider exaltants—compounds and naturals that cause a perfume to both project farther and last longer.

What I need now is a substance that both helps the perfume project and gets it to last longer...