Help Troubleshooting a Woody-Orris Formula

jfisch

New member
Dec 31, 2022
Hello Basenotes friends, I'd love to get some advice on a formula I've been wrestling with -- I'm a beginner, so everything is a bit of a wrestle at this stage!

For this sketch, my brief to myself was to evoke a sunny Saturday visit to an antique store: I envisioned a warm, dusty woods-driven base to evoke old furniture, a heart of orris/violet, and an ozonic "fresh air" mid-top note. In attempting this formula, I ran into three fairly consistent problems even as I experimented with different ingredients:
  1. The heavier wood notes (I started with a cedarwood EO/cedryl acetate/norlimbanol accord, with a touch of pyralone and safraleine) overtook the orris heart and made it smell not-in-a-good-way dirty.
  2. The orris/violet heart accord was either too weak or too powdery when I pushed its volume (I'm primarily using Isoraldeine 95, Alpha Irone, and a bit of Ebanol).
  3. The formula smelled considerably different on the skin than on a scent strip, particularly with regard to the presentation of the heavier base materials.
Here's where I've landed as far as my current working formula (100 parts):

Base. I'm currently trying a softer woods approach with Kephalis and Amyris, plus a few slight dark accents. The Ebanol/Bacdanol is also meant to push woody dryness into the orris middle and harmonize with the ionones.
Iso E Super -- 10
Amyris Wood EO -- 7
Ethylene Brassylate -- 5
Helvetolide -- 5
Kephalis -- 5
Ebanol -- 5
Bacdanol -- 4
Coumarin -- 2
Juniper EO -- 1
Veramoss -- 1
Civette 10% -- 1
Amber Xtreme -- 1

Heart. I've tried Isoraldeine + Methyl Ionone Beta + Irone Alpha + Citronellol to get my orris/violet effect, with a few floral accents and a bit of hedione to tie it together.
Hedione -- 10
Isoraldeine 95 -- 10
Methyl Ionone Beta Coeur -- 10
Irone Alpha -- 3
Benzyl Salicylate -- 2
Citronellol -- 1
Neofolione 1% -- 1
Lilytol -- 1
Heliotropex -- 1

Heart-Top. A mix of aquatics/ozonics tilted towards freshness (vs. marine facets), with a bit of Linalool to blend and soften.
Linalool -- 4
Helional -- 3
Calone -- 2
Floralozone -- 2
Scentenal -- 1
Undecavertol -- 1
Ald C-12 MNA 1% -- 1

I'd love to know if I'm missing something obvious here; maybe a structural problem with the proportions of my core materials, or maybe an overcrowding issue where materials are blocking each other. Any and all perspective is welcome and helpful, thanks!
 

jfrater

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jun 2, 2005
May try a bit of orris givco for volume and irival for the top. Also Isoraldeine 95 is the most floral - a lesser isomeric mix (Isoraldeine 70 or even switching to methyl ionone alpha extra entirely) might help add a touch more woody/orris body.

You also seem to have an intense juxtaposition of fresh air or aquatic materials against a background of rich earthy notes - is that contrast what you were wanting? If not I'd consider reducing or removing some of those notes and re-add slowly, in smaller quantities to make sure they really are what you want. I mean things like calone, floralozone, etc.

I think your base note woods accord looks really nice and rich by the way. Very "luxe".
 

jfisch

New member
Dec 31, 2022
May try a bit of orris givco for volume and irival for the top. Also Isoraldeine 95 is the most floral - a lesser isomeric mix (Isoraldeine 70 or even switching to methyl ionone alpha extra entirely) might help add a touch more woody/orris body.

You also seem to have an intense juxtaposition of fresh air or aquatic materials against a background of rich earthy notes - is that contrast what you were wanting? If not I'd consider reducing or removing some of those notes and re-add slowly, in smaller quantities to make sure they really are what you want. I mean things like calone, floralozone, etc.

I think your base note woods accord looks really nice and rich by the way. Very "luxe".
Appreciate the guidance! I'm definitely open to subbing out Isoraldeine for some woodier isomers. And I'll try dialing down the aquatics, maybe just to a little bit of the helional and scentenal.
 

jsweet

Basenotes Member
Sep 16, 2021
If you can get your hands on some Boisiris, try swapping the IES for it. This could complement the iris better. Because Orris Givco is modeled on orris absolute, it leans more heavily on the woodier aspects of iris. Both Isoraldeine 95 and the methyl ionone beta coeur are far into the powdery-floral side of things so you may omit those in favor of other iris materials.
 

jfisch

New member
Dec 31, 2022
Since you’re new, troubleshooting would be cutting this formula in half.
Agreed. So far my troubleshooting method has been to take the formula back to its 8-10 core materials, make tweaks, and build back up from there.

At its core, I’ve set this up as:
An equally proportioned Iso E Super / Musk / Hedione skeleton.
An Amyris / Ebanol woods combo on the bottom.
An Isoraldeine / Irone Alpha / Citronellol combo at the heart.
A bit of Helional and linalool to top it off.

Perhaps the Isoraldeine / Irone Alpha structure is where I’m running into problems with the basic version.
 

rococo

Basenotes Member
Jan 1, 2010
I'm a bit surprised you can smell anything other than Amber Xtreme and Calone in this :)

Is it possible the Ebanol and Bacdanol could be turning up the powderyness of Isoraldeine? Isoraldeine is way powdery to me and I'm smelling it next to these sandalwood materials on strips right now; the combination strikes me as even more "inside of mom's purse" than Isoraldeine alone.

I like dihydro ionone beta as a woodier ionone that could maybe help with blending.

actually I'm smelling helional next isoraldeine and DIB now and I really like it.. I think you're on to something good with the basics. Having floralozone, calone, and undercavertol all jostling around up there is going to be overwhelming or muddy. IMO stick to helional and expand your top note exploration to bits of other fresh materials - citruses, peppers, in small enough amounts that they might not announce their origin but lend some zest.

A little Norlimbanol could bring a nice top-down effect once you are happy with everything else.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
I'm a bit surprised you can smell anything other than Amber Xtreme and Calone in this :)

Is it possible the Ebanol and Bacdanol could be turning up the powderyness of Isoraldeine? Isoraldeine is way powdery to me and I'm smelling it next to these sandalwood materials on strips right now; the combination strikes me as even more "inside of mom's purse" than Isoraldeine alone.

I like dihydro ionone beta as a woodier ionone that could maybe help with blending.

actually I'm smelling helional next isoraldeine and DIB now and I really like it.. I think you're on to something good with the basics. Having floralozone, calone, and undercavertol all jostling around up there is going to be overwhelming or muddy. IMO stick to helional and expand your top note exploration to bits of other fresh materials - citruses, peppers, in small enough amounts that they might not announce their origin but lend some zest.

A little Norlimbanol could bring a nice top-down effect once you are happy with everything else.
I agree with all of this. To highlight one thing that sticks out to my eye, that amount of calone could easily be overwhelming the entire composition. I also agree on trying to sub in some boisiris for IES.
 

rococo

Basenotes Member
Jan 1, 2010
I keep Calone at a 1% dilution for my trials. I have sitting in front of me a batch of something (a very different formula from yours to be fair) with .012% Calone in the fragrance compound and it's still almost too much.
 

jfisch

New member
Dec 31, 2022
I agree with all of this. To highlight one thing that sticks out to my eye, that amount of calone could easily be overwhelming the entire composition. I also agree on trying to sub in some boisiris for IES.
Yes. I can see now that I've committed a calone-related offense here 😅
 

rococo

Basenotes Member
Jan 1, 2010
One more thing I thought of is that some patchouli in the base could help support woodiness while cutting powderiness. So I would try replacing some of the sandalwood materials with that.
 

Scntwtk

Basenotes Member
Mar 6, 2008
I agree with most of what is said above. When something is not working in a formula or something "clashes". it's a good idea to to go back a few steps and simplify as much as you can.
Try to see exactly what is the core of what you want to express.
what are the key aspects of the fragrance?
What is structural, what is there only for embelishment?
Rebuild the core of the fragrance as "Tight" as you can with only the key elements and rebuild adding one material at a time (or a small group of material that you know work as a "unit")
It's much more easy to add little modifications, embelishments and special effects when the core of the fragrance is solid. Plus you will know with more confidence what modifications are benificial or detrimental.

If I may add. a touch of heliotropin could be very nice in this context ;)

Cheers!
 

Godmu

Super Member
Jun 20, 2013
I would for shure cut down some of your materials (like calone, undecavertol and the amber xtreme - maybe dilute to 10%), ditch the scentenal, half the amount of Isoraldeine 95 (and substitute with some koavone), and also add some vertenex and neroridol to tie things together

I also miss something sunny ("a sunny Saturday")
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
I would for shure cut down some of your materials (like calone, undecavertol and the amber xtreme - maybe dilute to 10%), ditch the scentenal, half the amount of Isoraldeine 95 (and substitute with some koavone), and also add some vertenex and neroridol to tie things together

I also miss something sunny ("a sunny Saturday")
Sunny solar could be some amyl/isoamyl salicylate, which obvs goes gorgeous with wood, amber, and moss.
 

Quay Limey

Basenotes Junkie
Nov 1, 2020
Orivone/Lixetone sprang to mind when you mentioned an antique shop, though aside from the woody drydown I'm not sure it would go with the rest of the formula.
 

Quay Limey

Basenotes Junkie
Nov 1, 2020
Also, another option for an orris base is Harry Sherwood's offering. I dug out a sample he sent me some time ago and it is a fine recreation. I don't have the Givco to compare but Yuri G does and claims Harry's is superior if looking for something close to orris butter.
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
Also, another option for an orris base is Harry Sherwood's offering. I dug out a sample he sent me some time ago and it is a fine recreation. I don't have the Givco to compare but Yuri G does and claims Harry's is superior if looking for something close to orris butter.
Harry's does Orris Butter very well.
 

Latest News

Whatever your taste in perfume, we've got you covered...

catalogue your collection, keep track of your perfume wish-list, log your daily fragrance wears, review your latest finds, seek out long-lost scented loves, keep track of the latest perfume news, find your new favourite fragrance, and discuss perfume with like-minded people from all over the world...

Top