Perfumery requires a certain amount of optimism to keep working on a formula for months in the belief that something good will eventually come of it, lol. I’ve been working on the gardenia musk with just a small amount of musk, waiting until I’m happy with the base and the floral accords before adding any other musk to the one I already have in it. At this stage I have a gentle, pretty floral accord composed of realistic gardenia accompanied by jasmine, tuberose, orange blossom, and ylang. The current base is sandalwood, beeswax absolute, ambrette seed, ambergris, tonka, and musk. I’ve been trying to bring enough interest into the base to make it work for those who can’t smell the musks, but I’ll need some testers to see if I’ve accomplished that or not.
I just added a touch of a second musk that adds volume yet smoothness to the final drydown stage. The first musk is beautiful with the floral notes during the first few hours, and the second musk complements the soft woodsy base notes after the first few hours. I’m still testing and want to try adjusting the strength of the florals relative to the base to maximize the staying power of the florals but without passing the point at which the opening becomes too harsh. I like the basenotes now with the touch of sweetness from the tonka and beeswax balanced by the dry parts of the woods and ambrette, and with the musk adding smoothness and a bit of radiance. It’s a soft, quiet scent, but that’s what I was aiming for with this one. When I’m done twiddling I should try some in a spray sample. I’ll need to see if others like it, but it’s not quite ready for testers yet. I should put it down for a couple days and work on Jour Ensoleille, and then test Gardenia Musk again with a fresh nose (I began the Jour Ensoleille reformulation a few days ago and it’s off to a good start).
It is so nice to see the word “optimism” in your post title. Things sound like they are progressing well…meanwhile, it’s always a pleasure to read about your process. Continued good wishes!
Thanks ScentScelf! I was just thinking today about how I usually feel optimistic at the end of each blending session even though the scent I’m working on may take quite a bit longer — working with beautiful ingredients brings optimism to the process. Sending good wishes your way too!
The gardenia sounds lovely–I think it’s another one that I’m gong to have to try. I also love your descriptions–they’re so poetic and sensual. I love reading recipes; reading your fragrance descriptions reminds me of that experience.
Hi Ann! My Mom loves reading recipes too and loves to cook. She has quite a collection of cookbooks and part of the fun is reading them to decide what to try, and you’re right, that really is like reading perfume descriptions to decide what to sample!
I’m excited about the gardenia accord because it smells quite realistic to me, though some of the notes that add the realism are earthy and green notes that distinguish gardenia from jasmine and they don’t last as long. Gardenia scents often transition more to jasmine or tuberose with time as the more volatile gardenia topnotes fade. I pushed this one in the jasmine direction.
The “Other” Ann here-
Going towards Jasmin is good! (So says the jasmin lover….) The whole combination sounds lovely. Is the vetiver still in the mix? I recall sometime in May or June that you were playing with the idea of the project turning out 2 separate gardenia scents. Are you still considering that possibility?
On a side note about tuberoses – I finally tried my Carnal Flower and Tuberose and Gardenia samples yesterday – wore them for about an hour or so prior to bed. The EL packs a real wallop (I think it must utilize that head space technology to full tilt). Yes, it’s beautiful and very realistic, but over the top. Next to the Carnal Flower, it smells a little “cheap”… Carnal Flower, on the other hand, resembles a fresher, more flowery version of AG’s Gardenia Passion. Wearing one on each arm this morning and finding them to be near kissing cousins. GP is drier than CF, and both are edp. Thanks for telling me about it so I can try it out. I think it’s beautiful! Though I think I can be satisfied with my GP, which is a better value.
Hi AnnYM! I’ve taken the vetiver in/out several times and right now it is out but I keep trying it as I adjust things so it could go back in before I’m done. I’m just trying the gardenia musk this morning after reducing an orange blossom component last night and think I need to reduce tonka a tad.
I’m also comparing two different beeswax absolutes I have; one has more pollen scent to it but is much stronger, and both have subtle warm honey notes and pretty hay notes. Not sure yet if either is right for gardenia but I think one will be great in Jour Ensoleille.
Glad you got to try those tuberoses! FM Carnal Flower is my favorite so far. I like the EL Tuberose Gardenia too but it is very strong and I need to dose just a drop, and even then it does seem more synthetic than CF. The EL is still a smell I really like though. The AG GP is nice too, more tuberose than gardenia but quite pretty for tuberose fans. I love jasmine, tuberose, and orange blossom, so any good combo of those can make me happy. The CF is pricey but it’s strong so a small decant lasts a long time.
White florals can be hard because some of the most beautiful ingredients are shorter lasting and some of the longest lasting are a bit harsher to the nose, so you have to work at a good balance when you formulate. The goal, of course, is to maximize both beauty and longevity…
Forgot to answer about the two versions. I’m waiting to see how much musk ends up in this one and whether I should do one with less musk and in a slightly different direction, but I’m happy with the way this one is going now so I’m not sure yet. I always worry these days about musk scents because I know that musk bases can limit the audience to those who can smell them. So far this one has just a low percentage of musk and may still work for non-musk folks too, but we’ll see.