When I began blending perfumes, I added ingredients, drop by drop, into small vials. The results were getting skewed because the test strips were absorbing too much. If I were starting out with only a few drops, the absorption of a single drop was enough to shift the balance. I now blend larger amounts, usually by weight, in test tubes.
Until now, I’ve blended by beginning with an ingredient central to the perfume. I’d then add a second ingredient until the two come into balance or, ideally, form an accord. I continue adding compounds, bringing them into balance with the ingredients already there.
However, the ingredients and the accords formed at the beginning become diluted as new liquids are added; those substances added early are likely to be obscured. The ratios change and the relationship of the ingredients shifts.
Now, in a test tube, I combine two ingredients, balance them, and, hopefully, get them to form an accord. I choose a third candidate but, instead of adding it to the first mixture, I take a second test tube and combine it with still another, fourth, ingredient to form a new balance or accord. I continue in this way, making balanced sets of ingredients in fresh test tubes until I run out of ideas.
I may end up with two test tubes or twenty, each containing two ingredients, balanced together. I combine the test tubes, two at a time, and bring them each into balance to form a new mixture of four ingredients. I continue with these sets, combining and balancing a third time to create a balance of eight ingredients and so on, eventually ending with a blend of them all.
There’s no foolproof method, but at least now all the ingredients should be present and perceptible. The ingredients are coordinated, increasing my chance of discovering a new fragrance.