My Favorite Books VI

An Introduction to Perfumery by Tony Curtis and David Williams dedicates an individual page to each of a wide selection of naturals and synthetics. 

Each page starts with a measure of “Odor Intensity” scaled zero to six. In the center of the page is a big diagram of the molecule. To the right, is a column with a list of smells.  

At the top of this column is the “Primary Odor,” meaning that which strikes us first, followed by “Secondary Odor.” Below that, we find the base notes. Last in this column, are “Odor Characteristics.” These are qualities that describe characteristics of the scent that aren’t smells in themselves, such as diffusiveness and tenacity.

Last is a list: “Appearance” describes an ingredient’s consistency, color, and clarity; “Storage” tells of precautions we must take such as protecting from the light or heat; “Stability” tells us how the compound will hold up; “IFRA” lists any restrictions on use; and “Applications” describes how the ingredient is used in compositions, such as “used in fougères, in green perfumes,” 

It continues with “Occurrence” telling us where the compound is found in nature and where it is likely to be found in perfumes. I find the small section at the bottom, titled “Experiments,” to be the most exciting as here we see suggestions for experiments we can perform to familiarize ourselves with a substance and see how it interacts with other aroma materials.

I’ve been using the book to help me with Black Iris. The big bummer is the IFRA section, which tells me I can only use oak moss at a .1% in the final fragrance—at most a tenth of what I typically use. Opoponax is also restricted to .6% in a final fragrance. This poses less of a problem, but I still need to watch it.