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Fragrance Blending and Perfumery 101, Day 1

The world of fragrance blending often seems like a mystical world we can’t reach and we find ourselves too intimidated to even try entering. I’m going to bring you on a week-long adventure and I hope to inspire you to try something new. Step through the wardrobe with me and let’s go on adventure in a new world! (Just remember we have to pass the lamp post to be in Narnia.)

A perfume organ in Grasse. Photo credit to Taco Ekkel, https://www.flickr.com/photos/33118864@N00/2771616756

A perfume organ in Grasse. Photo credit to Taco Ekkel, https://www.flickr.com/photos/33118864@N00/2771616756

The picture to the right is of a perfume organ in Grasse*. What is a perfume organ? It is a place where a perfumer sits and blends scents together. An experienced perfumer can blend 16, 30 or even 60 scents together to make a fragrance or perfume. Knowing that little tidbit, a perfume organ looks very intimidating, right? Absolutely! So … How do we stop being intimidated by a perfume organ and fragrance blending? We start small and begin building our fragrance blending experiences.

*This picture was taken by Taco Ekkel and is available under the Creative Commons License.

When I begin fragrance blending, I do three things.

  1. I intentionally limit the number of scents that I work with. I will limit a blend to no more than 4 components.
  2. I often have a picture that is inspiration for me. I love using pictures that don’t have people and are of gardens, foods or landscapes.
  3. I use a note book to write down my ideas and blend experiments.
Pie photo inspiration.

Pie photo inspiration.

Today, let’s start with a fun and simple blend. My inspiration today is the holiday of Thanksgiving and specifically the day before when we make pies. The staples of my childhood are pumpkin, pecan and apple pies. When all of these pies are baked the day before, the comforting aroma of spices, fruit and sugar wafts through the house.

I knew I wanted to use Pumpkin Pie for the spice note but when I added Enchanted Apple, it wasn’t the right scent. The Enchanted Apple had a little too much of a tart scent. So I went back to my master list of fragrances I have on hand and looked at all of the fruity scents. After narrowing the list down (by removing tropical scents) I had a manageable list to work with. What was on my list?

I sniffed each fragrance and decided that while Fruit Slices, Hibiscus Passion, Juicy Pear, Kalahari Melon, Napa Valley Vineyard, Red Clover Tea, and Wink are all fabulous fragrances, they weren’t what I wanted for my “apple” scent. Next, I paired each of my remaining fragrances (Lilikoi, Polynesian Red, and Red Grape & Blueberry) with Pumpkin Pie in a 1:1 ratio on a Sachet Card.

The clear winner was easily discernible once the blends settled. Polynesian Red and Pumpkin Pie made a fantastic scent combination all on their own! At this point the blend was starting to be really good, but the Pumpkin Pie was overwhelming. So I made a new test on a new Sachet Card with 3 parts of Polynesian Red and 2 parts of Pumpkin Pie. This test was amazing! The entire warehouse thought the blend was so great, they begged me to make a room spray for the bathroom right away (I did and they love it!)

While I thought the first test was really good, my blend was still missing the sugary/caramel/nutty note that pecan pie brings. I decided to add 1 part of Frosted Cupcakes to the blend. Voila! This was the component my blend was missing to smell just like the house on Pie Day.


Holiday Pie Blend 1
3 parts Polynesian Red Fragrance
2 parts Pumpkin Pie Fragrance
Holiday Pie Blend 2
3 parts Polynesian Red Fragrance
2 parts Pumpkin Pie Fragrance
1 part Frosted Cupcakes Fragrance

Holiday Pie Blend 1 Recipe: (Make 28 grams, 1 oz or your desired quantity)

Recipe in Grams
16.8 grams Polynesian Red Fragrance
11.2 grams Pumpkin Pie Fragrance
Recipe in Ounces
0.6 ounce Polynesian Red Fragrance
0.4 ounce Pumpkin Pie Fragrance
Recipe in Percentages
60% Polynesian Red Fragrance
40% Pumpkin Pie Fragrance

Holiday Pie Blend 2 Recipe: (Make 28 grams, 1 oz or your desired quantity)

Recipe in Grams
14 grams Polynesian Red Fragrance
9.2 grams Pumpkin Pie Fragrance
4.8 grams Frosted Cupcakes Fragrance
Recipe in Ounces
0.50 ounces Polynesian Red Fragrance
0.33 ounces Pumpkin Pie Fragrance
0.17 ounces Frosted Cupcakes Fragrance
Recipe in Percentages
50% Polynesian Red Fragrance
33% Pumpkin Pie Fragrance
17% part Frosted Cupcakes Fragrance

Both of these blends have been made into room sprays using the Spray Clear Emulsifier. Here are the recipes!

Holiday Pie Blend 1 or 2
Spray Clear Emulsifier
Mixing Container
1 oz Bottles
Spray Heads


Recipe in Grams
3.4 g Holiday Pie Blend 1 or 2
6.8 g Spray Clear Emulsifier
340.0 g Water
Recipe in Ounces
0.12 oz Holiday Pie Blend 1 or 2
0.24 oz Spray Clear Emulsifier
12 oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
1% Holiday Pie Blend 1 or 2
2% Spray Clear Emulsifier
97% Water

Weigh the fragrance oil and Spray Clear Emulsifier into a container. Mix well and allow to sit for 5-15 minutes. Add room temperature water. (Hot water is more likely to create a cloudy spray.) Mix well. The product will be cloudy for a minute or two but it will clear out momentarily. If it does not clear out quickly, allow the mixture to sit for several days. The cloudy material will either sink to the bottom or rise to the surface. Decant the clear material and put into your spray bottle. Label and spritz!

We will be sending over 100 Holiday Pie Room Spray scented samples to our shipping department. Tell us what you think. What products would you use it in? Would this be a good addition to your product line? Would your customers/family/friends like it?

If you are ready to begin blending, here are the things I recommend you have. Dust off (or write) your master lists and feel free to e-mail your list to help@thesage.com or post it as a comment. Let’s come up with some fun and fabulous blends with the fragrances and essential oils you already have on hand. We have four more days of spectacular tips, hints, ideas and inspiration! Ask your questions now!

See you tomorrow for more fragrance blending!


EDIT: Whoops! I forgot to provide photo credit for the perfume organ! This picture was taken by Taco Ekkel and is available under the Creative Commons License.

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