How to Use the Odor Effects Diagram: Back to Black Iris

While I admit to deep skepticism about this whole odor effects thing (see last week’s post), as I continue experimenting, it seems to pan out.

I want to make Black Iris work in the same way as Coty’s Chypre. I don’t mean to make it smell the same way, but I want it to be both sultry and exalting. Black Iris now includes floral aspects (narcotic) and woody/spicy notes (stimulating), creating tension as these two are directly opposed on the Odor Effects Diagram, but it contains nothing erogenic.

To create the sultry effect, shown on the line between narcotic and erogenic, I added costausol, a substitute for costus root. Costus root alone smells like wet dogs and, while it doesn’t appeal to me, I appreciate how it provides a useful animalic note. It also has a peculiar root-like aspect that goes well with iris. Unfortunately, it’s banned in the E.U. so costausol—a costus-like synthetic—it is. 

The costausol energized the perfume and gave it depth. I added a trace of coriander (stimulating) which stretched some of the iris character into the top notes. Iso-eugenol, which smells like cloves, also came to mind. I added a trace.

I added ambergris, which gives vibrancy and finesse and adds another erogenic note. Thinking of an aldehyde to add sparkle, I referred to Poucher’s second edition of Perfumes Cosmetics & Soaps (my latest acquisition) in which he says that aldehyde C-10—listed in the book as erogenous—is the best for iris compounds. 

Jellinek lists few exalting substances, just several aldehydes, two aroma chemicals, and three naturals. Given the paucity of such ingredients, the best approach is to build up the erogenic and spicy elements to create the exalting effect. 

More about those mysterious exalting substances in a post to come...