The recent photo on PerfumeShrine of Isabelle Doyen’s organ at Annick Goutal made all who saw it sigh with appreciation; it’s an elegant and organized way to keep a large array of ingredients within easy reach. Here’s a photo of Mandy Aftel’s organ that she had custom built for her, crafted of beautiful wood to fit in a window of her Berkeley studio.
Now to the much more modest system… I’ve been using a three-shelf cart for all my little bottles of ingredients that I use for formulating, but yesterday I moved everything to a new larger cart and am still getting it all organized.
I keep the large main containers of each ingredient in a big cabinet wall system behind doors, but I pour small amounts of many things into small bottles to keep in my organ for blending. I dilute most of those items in alcohol because when you make small test batches even a drop of many things is too much, so you pre-dilute to make workable concentrations for small formulating batches. A few things are ok at full strength, but I keep small bottles of those as well so that my big containers of main stock stay pristine while I work with the little bottles day to day. When I make a big batch of something for sale, I can go to the big containers.
Most indie perfumers use some sort of system like this, but each person finds his/her method. At the big fragrance companies some perfumers work out formulas on computer and then hand it to a lab tech to go mix and bring back later for the perfumer to test sniff, so they have entirely different systems than small indie perfumers who do all their own lab work as part of the formulating process.
Anyway, I’m going to be a bit lost while I get used to the new system. I’m trying to keep it organized by note family (floral, wood, musk, green, aldehyde etc), but may need some subcategories. The bottles had gotten out of hand in my old cart so I’m trying to get off to a good start with this one. This one has a nice work surface on top instead of an open shelf (the whole thing is enclosed), so I really like having another work surface.
Happy St Patrick’s Day! Many people are choosing green scents today to celebrate, and my choices if I had a chance to wear something later would be Chanel 19, or a precious drop of my sample of Gobin Daude’s Sous le Buis (have not sniffed this in a long time), or Patricia de Nicolai Temps d’Une Fete, or a second sampling of Annick Goutal’s Un Matin d’Orage to get a better feeling for it.