A perfume creation is a long and delicate process. It can take a while, months or even years to achieve the desired fragrance. Thanks to our different trustworthy partners and an optimal choice of raw materials, the original inspiration is gradually transformed. It is only a few steps later that the scented juice will finally be ready to join you on your daily life. Discover the different stages of the manufacturing of your perfumes from the olfactory brief to the filling of the precious bottles.
First stage of the perfume creation: the olfactory universe
The olfactory brief: words at the service of inspiration
Before starting a perfume creation and the blend of raw materials, an idea comes out. The inspiration can come from an image, a memory or a person. Sometimes even from a scented atmosphere brought back in our suitcases after a trip. In any case, this creative phase is intimately linked with our current moods and your inspired feedbacks. In the beginning, we therefore have a more or less precise idea, which we need to materialize in a precious fragrance.
We relay the inspiration to our perfumer from Grasse with whom we have been working for more than 30 years. To do so, we write an olfactory brief. This document describes the olfactory universe with which the future perfume must be in line. If we know where we want to take the perfumer, these few lines are certainly abstract for this one who will confront them to his/her own interpretation. Our Carrément Belle team must choose the right words to describe the history of the perfume and the person for whom it is meant to be. But also, the notes and raw materials desired. A crucial step which will be the link between all the people who will take action during the creation of the fragrance. This universe can be illustrated with a story, a photo or even a music: every sense gets into the swing of things!
Where should we start?
Once the brief is given and we have longly discussed with the nose on the direction to take, he begins to think about an idea of blending. He can start from scratch by instinctively composing the future formula. Each perfumer has an olfactory library, made of existing formulas, bases already developed to create certain accords. This library can allow him to have a starting point. He will then add other raw materials to recreate the desired olfactory universe. Finally, the creator can start from an already existing perfume. This is the case for example for ippi patchouli clair, whose original formula is the one of our very first creation ippi patchouli, to which we wanted to add solar and gourmand notes to celebrate its 30 years of existence.
The manufacture of the concentrate
Once the olfactory universe is determined, the second step of the perfume creation begins: the manufacture of the concentrate. This precious juice refers to the composition that is obtained once all preparation steps have been completed: formulation, weighing and maceration. This is a raw element that will still undergo some operations before getting the final product.
The selection of raw materials
Fundamental step in the perfume creation, the selection of raw materials is one of the longest. And for a good reason! There is a multitude of natural raw materials across the world such as the essence of gaiac wood from Paraguay found in alõ, or as the citrus essence of Cuba which gives a citrus and bursting top note to 555. To the natural ingredients, we can add many synthetic materials that will sublimate these ones and bring new scented notes to a creation.
These raw materials are obtained thanks to chemistry for synthesis and different processes for natural materials, which are detailed here. These basic elements come in different forms: some raw materials are liquid while others are used in the form of paste, powder or crystals. All these materials are stored and labeled according to their properties. Liquids such as essential oils are transferred to stainless steel tanks, more or less waxy pastes are kept in a cold room and the powders are conserved at ambient temperature.
The art of blending
Once all the raw materials have been selected, the perfumer must now write a formula, that is to say the list of all the ingredients with the quantity of each. These ingredients are classified by olfactory family, by evaporation time or in order of importance. Then comes the step of weighing each ingredient before assembling and blending all together. Again, this is a process that requires a lot of attention. At first, solids (powders, resins, etc.) must be measured, to be later dissolved in the liquid ingredients. Today this stage is mostly done automatically thanks to smart computer systems.
But the hand of Man is never far away. Indeed, some raw materials require special preparation before they can be added to the weighing. This is the case of some pastes that must be softly heated before incorporation.
Once the mixture is homogeneous, the concentrate is obtained.
To check that this first work corresponds to our expectations, we smell the concentrate diluted in ethanol because we never smell the pure concentrate. Many trials will go back and forth between our workshop and our perfumer’s factory. Do all materials match? Should we add or remove something? Is it harmonious? Does this match with our original inspiration? We then test the first formula on a blotter, on our skin and those of our entourage who always play the game with curiosity.
Depending on the emotions provided, we will then decide with the nose to rework the formula. Little touch by little touch, starting from scratch or more often from the previous test to create a new weighing. In the course of these tests, and by comparing the different formulas, the structure of the perfume is clearly established. When the formula is definitively validated, the perfumer will start the weighing process again for the last time. The final concentrate is ready!
Well… almost ready! The concentrate obtained during weighing is not immediately diluted. In order that every note blends harmoniously with each other, the perfumer proceeds to the stage of maturation. The concentrate is stored in large vats for several weeks. This time, the magic works alone, without the intervention of the Man, so that the chemical interactions are made between the ingredients used. This process usually takes place in a room maintained at 13 °C.
The birth of the perfume
Yes, a fragrance is something you have to work for, and some important steps in the perfume creation remain…
Dilution in alcohol
Thanks to the dilution in alcohol stage, the concentrate gradually turns into a perfume, as you know it. The concentrate is placed in a tank where it is mixed with ethyl alcohol. This ethanol is denatured at 96°, which makes it unfit for human consumption. In terms of quantity, it is the main ingredient of the composition. And it makes sense because it is this substance that will distill the odorant concentrate, essential process to obtain the perfume, which would not work with water.
Ethanol is a neutral liquid that will not distort the smell of the concentrate. And if it is very present in fragrances, it does not mean that our perfumes smell eau de vie or vodka! On the contrary, the alcohol will allow to sublimate the raw materials of the perfume, to bring an impression of freshness during the vaporization and to considerably improve the conservation of your fragrance.
The proportion of the alcohol mixed with the concentrate will vary according to the desired final product. This is where the difference between Eaux de Cologne (EDC), eau de toilette (EDT), eau de parfum (EDP) and (pure) perfume comes into play. And to
see smell more clearly, we explain everything here. The concentrate is therefore diluted in alcohol between 5 and 30%. When alcohol is added, demineralized water can also be added to the composition in order to lower the degree of alcohol and to reduce the phenomenon of evaporation of the perfume during application.
The last steps
The perfumer can then proceed to the perfume maceration, by letting it rest for some time. This step allows the residual waxes contained in the juice to agglomerate. These small aggregates then freeze with the icing. During this stage, the perfume is brought to a temperature below 5°C. And to finish the perfume creation, we will filter this mixture to eliminate the deposit. The juice is now liquid, clear and limpid: ready to be put in a bottle and sprayed!
Filled by hand (down)!
The juice then arrives in our workshop in the South of France for the final stage: its conditioning. The filling of the bottle is often automated, using independent machines. But for us, this is an essential step that allows us an optimal control of the quality of your fragrance. At Carrément Belle, all our perfumes are filled by hand with a simple funnel or a small semi-automatic filling machine in our workshop in Nîmes. Whether it is an eau de parfum, a pure perfume or even samples which are filled manually with a syringe! It is a work of precision done by our expert hands, essential to control the juice one last time before crimping the bottle. Your perfumed orders are then shipped with care. Because every detail matters to our eyes and our nostrils!
Filling the bottle and assembling the packaging by hand relate our love for a work well done, that we share with all our partners to always satisfy you!
You now master everything about the different stages of creating a perfume. Did you think this process was so long?
Discover the fragrances mentioned in the article