Friday, 12 March 2010

Vert 14

I should have been doing other things last night, but I'm afraid I pushed them all aside and set up my mini-lab on my window sill. It's typical of me not to rest until I think I've cracked a problem. Mind you, after three hours of tinkering, I'm not sure I managed to create even a hairline fracture.

To recap: the current challenge is to produce a green scent and the previous effort - Vert 12 - suffered from a cloying coconut overdose of gamma-Nonalactone.

Yesterday's rendition dispended with g-N and brought in a few other materials, such as vetivert oil and javanol. I also told myself not to use my two synthetic musks: exaltolide and ethylene brassylate. More on that later.

By the end of the evening, I produced something that started off with a warming, peppery blanket of lemon and bergamot, softened by some mandarin. It then skipped fairly quickly into the realms of the green, with violet leaf acting as the star of the show (albeit, thankfully, in a less strident performance than in the earlier Vert 10). I thought that maybe I could also detect a hint of the rose, perhaps there was a touch of the lavender absolute coming through, but within a few moments, the whole thing had rushed to the base, which, in this case, isn't terribly interesting because I haven't got very many green-y base notes.

Then I remembered that Chandler Burr's highly readable The Perfect Scent contains a complete formula for a fragrance. Needless to say, the frag's name isn't revealed, but Burr implies it's extremely well know and very highly regarded. I looked up the formula and was intrigued to discover that it features approximately 30% of ethylene brassylate, one of the very substances I'd decided not to use. Throwing caution to the wind, I quickly worked out how much ethyl-brass to add in order to bring it up to about 26% in Vert 14, and, several drops later, I ended up with a juice that is intriguing, to say the least. I think I can now just about begin to understand the effects of a 'musk fixative': the fragrance is now much slower, which does, I think, automatically make it better. I've still got the problem of an uninspiring base, but at least I've now moved closer in the direction of something that bears repeated sniffs.

Arrggh! So much to learn, so little time, so little money, so many other things that should be done!

Last night ended with me sniffing Vert 14 on my left wrist and my new sample of Montale's Black Oud on my right wrist, thinking that I may as well give up before I've even started, because I'll never be able to match the alchemy of M Montale.

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