How To Design Your Own Perfume

Let’s have a look at some of the most important things to consider before you begin to design your own perfume.

If you are going to design your own perfume then the first and perhaps most important thing that you should do is to think carefully about the mood or character of the image that you would like your new fragrance to convey. Any professional fragrance house will have a team of creative directors whose job it is to come up with the vision or perfume brief for each new release- a brief which will guide and inform every aspect of the perfume production process; from the marketing campaign to the choice of the perfume notes which will eventually end up in the bottle.

This perfume is for you. You are going to design your own perfume. This means that you are, in effect, the Artist’s Muse!

Imagine you are standing in front of a panel of creative directors at a famous fragrance house. You are dressed in your finest clothes, functioning at your very best. “Who are you?” they want to know. “What do you stand for?”- “Where do you go?”- “What are your dreams and aspirations?”

Take a piece of paper and a pen, if you have them to hand, and write down your first responses to the previous questions. Don’t overanalyse them too much at this stage. They are going to form the backbone of your perfume; they are its character, its presence, and its selling point. They are the very best aspects of your personality which you are going to project into the world- in perfumed form...This is what fragrance is all about!

Now that you have thought about who you are and what you stand for we now need to attach some perfume notes to your ideas. We need to breathe life into your vision by choosing scents that will conjure up the appropriate impressions and emotions. We need to translate your vision into perfume.

Choosing your signature perfume notes is a very personal thing. It is actually almost impossible to create a perfume that will invoke the same response in everyone that smells it, (perfume is linked very strongly to memory; pine needles and oranges don’t remind everybody of Christmas, for example!) which is a problem experienced by perfumers everywhere. However the common human experience does create a powerful enough overlap to enable a high level of agreement in the effect of many scents. Most of us can instinctively feel that Ginger is warm and invigorating; Lime, zesty and thirst quenching, etc.

Next to the qualities and imagery you have chosen to represent you in the character of your perfume you could now begin to jot down some of the fragrances that you personally associate with these attributes. Again, don’t overanalyse too much as this is YOUR perfume as opposed to a perfume aimed at the masses in the department stores. If you associate Elderflower blossoms with summer and happiness and youthful energy, for instance, then that’s perfect. Don’t choose Sweet pea or caramel just because you feel you ought to- leave that to the commercial fragrances! Remember you are looking to tap into your actual scent impressions rather than any media/societal created imagery you may have collected.

As you design your own perfume do remember that there is a whole world of scents out there! Many people have not yet been formally introduced to beautiful perfume notes that they would love. So whilst fragrances such as Cinnamon, Honey, and Lily of the Valley are old friends to most, don’t forget to consider the merits of more unusual flowers and spices.

A little research can help to widen your palette of perfume choices when you are designing your own perfume, and it’s a lot of fun too! Try visiting a perfume store and jotting down the names of your favourite fragrances, so that when you are at home you can research the notes on the internet.

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You may find that some of your favourite perfumes share certain notes in common, which gives you some useful clues as to which are your favourite perfume notes. You may be surprised. Everyone knows more or less what a Rose smells like, but would they recognise Tuberose, Gardenia, or Peony, for example. Personally I was interested to discover that I am crazy about Mimosa- a flower I have never smelt in real life but which seems to crop up a lot in some of my favourite perfumes!

When you have created a list of possible notes for your new signature perfume you may need to hone this selection a little to produce a perfume that is balanced and makes a clear statement rather than simply being a disjointed mix of scents.

One way to choose a clear direction for your perfume is to consider when you will wear it and what kinds of scents will be best suited to the time or occasion. The general consensus is that a lighter more delicate perfume is most suitable for everyday wear and a deeper, showier, and perhaps exotic fragrance is preferred when you wish to make an impression on a night out. The main reason for this is simply consideration for others- regular prolonged use of a particularly striking perfume in the office may offend the noses of your co-workers, whereas a variety of competing perfumes are for most people a pleasurable and expected side effect of a good party, and quite acceptable.

The season or weather is another variable which is considered to have a bearing on the suitability of certain perfumes. Generally lighter more refreshing perfume notes are considered most appropriate for warmer climates. The reason for this is that hotter, more humid climates hasten the evaporation of perfume so that the general effect is one of a short, sharp blast, with the need to reapply regularly. In the case of a delicately refreshing perfume such as “Green Tea” by Elizabeth Arden this will be a pure pleasure, however with a stronger deeper perfume the effect could be quite overpowering for those around you.

A richer more exotic perfume really comes into its own in a colder climate, as the evaporation is slow and steady and the overall effect is warming and cheering, especially if you choose a fragrance full of dark rich fruits and spices. “Malabah” by Penhaligon’s is a great example of a beautifully warm and comforting perfume.

There is no hard and fast rule as to which notes in a perfume are light and refreshing and which are deeper and headier. This is because much of the character of the final fragrance depends on the interplay of the notes, so as you design your own perfume it is very important to try to imagine how each note will react with each other to get an impression of the whole effect.

Hopefully you will find that you have a sort of intuitive feeling about the suitability of certain notes for different occasions in your own life. Personally in the daytime I prefer lightly romantic flowers such as Cherryblossom, Wild Rose, Mimosa, Sunflower, Lily of The Valley, Lilac, Elderflower, Lavender; mixed with perhaps a soft White Musk or Aquatic Note; and maybe a refreshing rather than sickly gourmet note, such as Peach, White Tea, Almond, Citrus fruits, Peppermint, Vanilla or Coconut...In the evening, anything goes, and I love to experiment with spices, woods, and incense, dark fruits such as Plum and Fig; more intoxicating flowers such as Lotus, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang; tempting caramels and smooth chocolate...Swoon!

Guidelines regarding the types of perfume to wear in different situations and weather are all subjective and you may not agree with them at all. This is YOUR special perfume, you are designing it, and so of course you are allowed to go against the status quo if you wish.

When you hit upon the perfect combination for your personal perfume you will find that it will feel wonderful to wear and will uplift and complement both your style and mood. Wearing a bespoke perfume is the best feeling in the world!

Would you like to design your own perfume? Visit our Perfume Supplies Store to design your own beautiful signature fragrance from our selection of over 75 exciting perfume notes.