Scaling up: From drops to liters
When creating a fragrance, I work with dropper bottles and small mixing cups which have screw-on caps. My initial sketch for a fragrance may involve from 50 down to 10 or fewer drops total. Dropper bottles are a handy, but not precise, tool for developing a new fragrance.
Mixing pots with screw-on caps, in use ... lots of them!
Here's the formula, in drops, of a fragrance I developed.
Pictured above is my formula measured in drops, the way I originally developed it.
And here are some of the dropper bottles I've used to develop this formula.
Pictured above are some of the dropper bottles I used to develop my formula.
If I was going to produce several kilos of oil—juice—for this fragrance, I would not do it based on my satisfaction with a very small trial batch of the fragrance measuring only a handful of drops. Nor would I be writing my formula out in drops. At this point I want to convert my formula to weights and percentages. To do this I must weigh out each ingredient and then, after totaling the weights, calculate the percentage, by weight, of each material.
Weighing out the formula requires the use of a good scale (called a balance) and mine (Acculab VIC-123) is reasonably good, showing weights down to 1/1000th of a gram. A professional perfume creation company would, no doubt, have equipment that was considerably more sensitive and accurate.
Before weighing each ingredient in my formula, I'll bump up the number of drops for each ingredient so that small variations in drop size will be canceled out. Rather than mix a formula with just 30 or even 50 drips, I'll bump the drops total up to 100. Even then if there are some materials I have used in small quantities, say 1/2 or 1/4 drop, I'll bump the total quantity up higher so that no ingredient will get less than two drops in the enlarged batch. In the example shown, my new total was 150 drops.
NOTE: Professional perfumers will almost always use some ingredients in amounts so small that my equipment would have no way of dispensing them properly or measuring their weights. For the independent, "part time" perfumer, ultra small touches must generally be ignored, although there are some tricks that can be used to include faint touches of these materials, albeit with imprecise measurement.
Here now is my setup for weighing out my formula. Notice that I have my notebook handy, ready for me to mark down the weight of each material.
Here's my setup for weighing out each aroma material I've used in my formula.
NOTE: If you've never used an electronic balance it's a good idea to test with some junk material, to get the hang of it. They can do some tricks on you if you're not alert.
Now let's get down to business.
First we zero out the scale to make sure our weighing will be accurate. Then we place a mixing pot—one large enough to hold all the drops we will be mixing—onto the balance, weigh it, and record this weight. This is known as the tare weight, the weight of the container itself.
The electronic balance is now set to zero, ready to begin measuring our project.
At this point you can proceed in several ways. The point is, as you add each ingredient to the mix, you must capture the weight of that ingredient. As for me, after weighing the container, I zero out the scale again with the container on the scale. Now I begin adding drops.
As I add, drop by drop, the drops for each material, I record the new weight after I've finished adding each new material. When I'm finished I have the total weight of the full formula plus, after some subtractions, the weight of each individual material in the formula.
Here's the bottle again, on the electronic balance (scale) now holding the 150 drops of my formula.
Now, since I have the total weight and the weight of each material, I can calculate the percentage—by weight—of each material in the formula. This allows me to scale up production for any size batch. Once I determine the batch size I want, I know what weight each ingredient will contribute to that batch.
Before going into production I will repeat the weighting procedure a second time, as a check against my weight calculations. If my weights the second time vary too much from my weights the first time, through human error in adding drops or by the size of the drops themselves, I'll weigh out a third batch.
The spreadsheet above shows the final results. The first column is the original number of drops. The second column is the cumulative weight of the formula as each material is added, the third column is the actual weight of the material, and the fourth column is the percentage, by weight, that material contributes to the formula. You can do the math by hand but in this case I chose to do it on a spreadsheet.
Also—essential—I'll test each finished batch with a test blotter to make sure that I've really mixed the fragrance I intended to mix. At this point if it doesn't smell right I can go back and make adjustments. After this, my measurements and percentages ARE the formula.
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While much is written about perfume – the beautiful fragrances... the beautiful bottles – little is available on the "mechanics" of perfume production – the steps that take place on the "factory floor" where a beautiful vision is turned into a finished product, a "ready to sell" perfume. Now you can experience all of these steps, hands on, by making just one quart of your own perfume. If you follow each chapter and do what you are instructed to do, you will end up with from 8 to 64 bottles of your own perfume, depending on the capacity of the bottles you select. Along this "insiders journey," each step is profusely illustrated with professional color photographs and you'll learn — • Exactly what alcohol you'll need and where to get it • Why you'll want (just a little!) water in your perfume • What type bottles you'll need and why you cannot use others • Why you will use a spray and not a cap • How to fill and seal your bottles • How to label your bottles with the correct information so they will be legal for sale • How to select a name for your perfume that will allow you to acquire powerful trademark rights free. If you are a developer of scents you are encouraged to use one of your own for this project. If you are not a scent creator yourself you'll learn how to get a fragrance oil that is exactly right for this project. Online sources are given for all required supplies and materials. Nothing can hold you back from starting your project immediately!
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A really great name, a special name that is just right for a particular perfume or perfume marketer (or entrepreneur with money to invest!) can be worth a ton of money. But few individuals with great ideas ever manage to cash in on those brilliant ideas. Instead they wait while others "discover" their idea, acquire legal rights to it and make all the money while they are left out in the cold without a penny having been earned for what was once THEIR idea.
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When you name a perfume you create a valuable asset – the name itself. To sell your perfume you want the most effective name possible. But a good name can have value beyond the edge it gives your sales. In naming your fragrance you are creating a trademark and a trademark can have value independent of the product. The value of that trademark can vary. Much depends on how well, in naming your perfume, you follow the trademark "rules." How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume first helps you develop a name that will be effective in selling your perfume. It then prods you to make use of certain techniques that can turn a good name into a great trademark, strong and valuable. If you have questions about how to protect a name, How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume will answer many such as:
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