Aromatic blending basics: 3 first steps you need to know


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Aromatic or perfumery blending is often done for the fun of experimenting with various aromas and oils that yield those aromas. Traditional perfumers do years of study to master the art of perfumery, analyzing each and every aroma in its top, middle and base notes. Aromatic blending involves use of synthesized chemicals along with natural ingredients. In general, perfumers use aromas from chemicals that are extracted from natural plant parts and ones that are prepared in chemical ways using essential oils, absolutes, grain alcohol, carrier oils, herbs, water and CO2s. Edward Sagarin explains in detail about perfumery using aromatic blends in his book, ‘The Science and Art of Perfumery’

Aromatic blending of essential oils: Blending essential oils for aromatic purposes involves a lot of nuances. When a blend is created for aromatic purposes, therapeutic benefits can also occur. However, one has to focus on the aromatic end result of the blend than its therapeutic benefits. Below are the first steps with regard to blending basics:

1. Essential oils categories: Essential oils can be classified into broad categories based on their aromas. Called as aroma families, oils of the same family blend well together, while those of different families require good carrier oils to blend. Below are the basic aroma categories:


Floral oils: Lavender, Neroli and Jasmine oils produce a floral aroma.
Woodsy oils: Pine and Cedar oils produce a woody aroma that is strong and powerful.
Minty oils: Fresh, minty aromas are yielded by Peppermint and Spearmint oils.
Camphorous oils: Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Cajuput oils yield Camphorous aromas that are medicinal too.
Spicy oils: Nutmey, Clove and Cinnamon yield aromas that are spicy and lively.
Oriental oils: Ginger and Patchouli yield oriental aromas of a unique kind.
Citrus oils: Orange, Lemon and Lime yield Citrus aromas that refresh the spirit.
Earthy oils: Oakmoss, Vetiver and Patchouli yield earthy aromas.
Herbaceous oils: Marjoram, Rosemary and Basil  yield herbaceous aromas that are medicinal too.

2. Oils that blend well: Before you start, you need to know the basics about essential oils. Not all oils blend together. However, you can vouch by the above categories. Oils of the same category generally blend well, while those of different categories too sometimes go well. Floral oils blend well with spicy, citrus and woodsy oils. Spicy and oriental oils go well with florals and citrus oils. Minty oils blend well with citrus, woodsy and earthy oils. The best part about Woodsy oils is, they blend well with almost all oils.

3. Harmonizing aromas: Oils are concentrated substances that evaporate quickly. They yield different kinds of scent during their evaporation and this variation in scents are called Notes. Essential oils that evaporate quickly (within 1 to 2 hours) are called top notes. Oils that evaporate with 2 to 4 hours are called middle notes, while those that take longer time to evaporate (the thicker oils) are called base notes. You need to take into account these evaporation notes while creating aromatic blends.

When you start off, work with oils in small amount – say, 5 or 10 drops. Also, work with essential oils, absolutes and CO2s before working with blends. You can use carrier oils, grain alcohol or other base oils after your work with pure essential oils is done.