Many of us have experienced the disappointment of blending a perfume or bath blend that smelled delightful, but then the lovely scent disappeared a few minutes after application. The best way we know to ensure that your blend will have staying power is to blend the essential oils the way a musical chord is composed: with high, middle, and low notes that complement each other.

The depth (or “weight”) of a specific essential oil’s aroma is based on the oil’s volatility (how fast it disappears relative to other oils.) A quick way to experiment with this is to take some blotting paper (or coffee filters, soft paper towels, very absorbent paper, etc.) and drop two or three drops of different essential oils on each blotter. Try a range of oils: one or two citrus oils, a “wood” oil such as cedarwood, rosewood, or other “deep” notes like Patchouli or Vetiver; and something in the middle, perhaps lavender or geranium. Put the blotters away for a few hours and then come back to smell them. The citrus oils are likely to have almost disappeared, while the deeper base notes should be unchanged. Check again after 24 hours, 48 hours, etc. to compare. Write down your thoughts!

The simplest explanation of the terms “top,” “middle,” and “base” notes is how tenaciously the scent lingers. Blending a small amount of a middle note will make a top note last longer. Rounding the blend off with just a single drop or so of a base note anchors it still more. Normally speaking, the lower notes will dominate a blend, if used in equal amounts. For a rough starting note, try blending three drops of your chosen top note, two drops of a middle note, and a single drop of a base note. Take notes!!! You may think you’ll remember, but most of us have had the disappointment of not writing down the proportions of our favorite blend!

If you like the 3-2-1 blend you just created (with a total of six drops of essential oils) put a 30-20-10 drop duplication of it away for a few day or a week. taking that time will let the scents meld together. Sometimes they change in ways you like. Sometimes, one note has become too strong and you may then want to add a few drops of the others or make a note to add less of that oil the next time.

To see some sample top, middle, and base notes for your own experimentation with scent blending, click here. Or, to learn about chypre, click here.

Always blend the essential oils and absolutes without diluting to create the blend that pleases you. Dilution comes later, when your blend is completed. Then, if you need to mix your blend in bulk, you can mix by the teaspoon, tablespoon, or by the milliliter.

For an oil-based perfume, you will want either Jojoba Oil or Fractionated Coconut Oil, both known for long life so that rancidity will not be a problem. If you prefer an alcohol-based blend, seek out Everclear, a high octane pure alcohol that will dissolve your aromatic materials; or a special perfumers alcohol, or the highest proof vodka available. For a solid perfume, select unscented beeswax to thicken the oil base. Melt together one part Beeswax Beads and three to four parts Jojoba or Fractionated Coconut Oil until the beeswax is totally melted, let cool slightly until the mixture just starts to thicken, then blend in your prepared essential oil blend, pour into small containers, and Voilà!…perfume glacé.

Please see our Natural Perfume Blends, Portable Perfumes, and Infused Oils on our Natural Perfumery page. See also our single note Essential Oil Sampler Collections: woods, spices, roses, jasmines, conifers…a lovely range of samplers to round out the perfumery palette.