PONK - January blind sniff... odour descriptions here (spoiler alert past post 1)

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
PONK is organised regular blind smelling practice for perfumers with a monthly mystery box.

January is the first box and this is the thread to post your smelling observations and not in the first thread where it was introduced.
Those of you who do not wish to have a box can still join in but slightly afterwards when the reveals are done.
This is open house to learn and share information on BN.

The aim is NOT to guess the mystery ingredients....
but to use your nose to contemplate it fully without that pressure to recognise the material.

For this who have ordered one then look out for these landing on your mat soon (I hope)

2rrnhq1.jpg


As this is the first box, there may well be some timing differences as we don't yet know how long the postage time will take between one country and the next. This will get refined as we go along. They are going to Australia, Canada, USA and the UK.

When you get yours, please do not spoil the fun for those without their boxes by saying what you think it is (yet) but by all means do post your thoughts and observations here.

I shall post a form with some indicators to look for and think about very soon.

After this post, then don't read anymore on this thread if yours isn't there yet (unless you want to).

Just adding this here too so you don't have to read further to get it.



Press the nose... for the new evaluation sheet to download.

BTW... Please do NOT test these on your skin but only on smelling strips.

They are at 20% to give you a decent amount to use afterwards in your own perfumes. That strength is too strong for some of their recommended use in perfumes by EU and IFRA recommendations. These are concentrated chemicals at the end of the day and need respecting as such. Please only use smelling strips until you know what they are and how much to use.




IMPORTANT I've decided to banish vial no 4 from the game. It is highly restricted. I've done some more reading so I think we'll not include it. I shall PM you all as to why.
 
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Azurial

Basenotes Member
Sep 2, 2015
Mumsy! You wonderful woman!

I can't express how exciting it was to receive the PONK parcel! It is obvious that care and attention has gone into the packaging and production of the boxes, the quality of the little vials and booklet are lovely. I'm amazed at how nice you managed to make everything!

I have had a good sniff of vial number 1 so far and have made a fair few notes. I hope to start on number 2 today. I am going to hold fire on sharing my results for a short while.

A quick question though:
Is the mystery vial composed of only 1,2,3 and 4 or is the mystery vial, say, a natural which contains aspects of 1,2,3 and 4 plus other things?

Feel free to private message the answer to me, so as not to spoil other people's fun, if you wish. It is just, that, as i'm very new to this whole thing, I would like to have a bit of a handle on what I'm sniffing - i.e, synthetic, single note or more complex naturals.
On that, I would note that 1 hasn't changed much after being left for a day on the smelling strip (which are incredibly adorable, by the way!), so I would assume it is more likely a single note!

Thank you for all of your effort. What a fun little game!
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
Just begin slowly with No 1 and see where you get to. I know of course you will sniff the others too but that's half the fun.

I'm not sure whether to steer you hard or not. Let's see....

Use the smelling strips and evaluate the substance over time.... you are learning the material and not trying to identify it... yet....



Press the nose... for the new evaluation sheet to download.

I have just finished it. If you think there should be any more to say, or ask, on the sheet then say so. This site will morph with us.

You can do them one at a time, 1 - 4 first, and then do them 1 - 4 side by side too to compare notes. I find putting a tumbler over the top of the smelling strip helps to keep the smell in one place.

2epsg46.jpg


You can't spoil anything for anyone....

There is a warning about spoilers for those who haven't yet got theirs yet and they will come and post when they have.

This thread is for posting anything..... any thoughts, observations and ideas.

The aim is to use your nose and say what you think. There is no expectation to be an expert here. One mans nose is as good as the next mans. If you smell it like that... then you do, and it is... for you.
 
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White Petal

New member
Dec 7, 2015
It's arrived!! I'm so excited & am super impressed by the packaging created by Mumsy. Wow! I couldn't help having just a little sniff of bottle 1 straight away, but will begin the proper process soon. We haven't even started & I am already smiling from ear to ear with anticipation. Thank you Mumsy for your work in creating the samples & doing it so thoughtfully You're awesome!
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
Just press that nose and the form is all yours to download as many times as you like. Do tell me if it needs any alterations to be more useful to you.

Write down anything here... The amalgamation of ALL thoughts is what will be so valuable later to everyone. A story will emerge attesting to its profile from all the recorded facets written by each of us.

Just for the record and future PONK box timing, yours took ten days to get to you. Is that about right from your experience of parcels from the UK? I think the USA ones may be held up by the unusually deep snowy weather.

I shall try and send them in synchro next time so they all arrive at about the same time.
 
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ColHP

Super Member
Aug 14, 2014
I just got mine today as well! (USA)
I'm excited and will download the evaluation sheet to get started.
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
Fabulous. I think the snowy weather must have held the USA ones up a bit because Australia won the postal race.

All look at your emails about ignoring vial four for now. We'll talk on that later when relevant.
 
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ColHP

Super Member
Aug 14, 2014
Thanks, I am ignoring the Vile Vial 4.

Here are my first thoughts on Vial #1 (someone should start off the learning)

It's floral
A little oily - might be the solvent as this is my first impression
A little Green - like grass or stems
A little dry/ Wet leaves - I was struggling to describe this aspect. But it does seem a bit like pulling up some leaves off the ground that are dry on top but wet underneath. Not a sharp aspect, but more like the rounded filling out in the background. Kind of how you feel damp leaves more than smell them when the top is dry on a sunny day.

Pleasant at low levels but I think would be annoying when too strong.

A little weak, I'd say 2.5 out of 5, if 3 is average.

Projection I'd say is a little soft.

Color, I get Pink.

Developments, oiliness is mostly gone by 10 mins.
Starts to smooth out and lose some of the wet aspect after 30 mins.
I'll keep it going and see...
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
The solvent is IPM so yes, a bit oily.

You could try some half again in proper ethanol and that would brighten it up to smell at 10%.

Colour is a nice idea... I will add it to the evaluation sheet.
 
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Chris Bartlett

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 17, 2011
Thanks, I am ignoring the Vile Vial 4.

Here are my first thoughts on Vial #1 (someone should start off the learning)

It's floral
A little oily - might be the solvent as this is my first impression
A little Green - like grass or stems
A little dry/ Wet leaves - I was struggling to describe this aspect. But it does seem a bit like pulling up some leaves off the ground that are dry on top but wet underneath. Not a sharp aspect, but more like the rounded filling out in the background. Kind of how you feel damp leaves more than smell them when the top is dry on a sunny day.

Pleasant at low levels but I think would be annoying when too strong.

A little weak, I'd say 2.5 out of 5, if 3 is average.

Projection I'd say is a little soft.

Color, I get Pink.

Developments, oiliness is mostly gone by 10 mins.
Starts to smooth out and lose some of the wet aspect after 30 mins.
I'll keep it going and see...

Excellent start! As I know what this material is I’m not going to give my impressions for fear of giving things away too soon, but as a nudge towards better understanding can I ask a couple of questions.

1) You say it’s floral right off the bat: can you narrow it down at all? What sort of flower does it remind you of? More than one perhaps?
2) The description of the green aspect is really great and evokes what you’re smelling very well: the same approach to the floral aspect would be fascinating.
3) Can you give an impression of whether you think you’re smelling an individual aroma chemical, a blend, a single natural or a mixture of naturals?

The colour impression I agree is a great idea: I’m going to think about that aspect more in my own evaluations now: thanks!
 

Chris Bartlett

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 17, 2011
The solvent is IPM so yes, a bit oily.

You could try some half again in proper ethanol and that would brighten it up to smell at 10%.

Colour is a nice idea... I will add it to the evaluation sheet.

Just on the solvent: it’s certainly going to influence how you perceive the material not only because it may contribute an odour of its own but also because it’s a fixative (and with so much present is likely to have over-fixed the material) so the idea of taking it down to 10% (from 20%) with ethanol is an excellent one and should result in a much stronger impression especially of top-notes.
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
The solvent is something I shall rethink for the next boxes. I hadn't used IPM before and didn't really like it very much. I really struggled with whether to dilute or send neat because of the solvent issue V immediate use. I think it does have a very slight odour, but not one that would badly influence these ingredients. it certainly mutes them initially but they open up after a while, especially when under glass.

Another member pointed out that not everyone would be set up to dilute and that the box would be more exciting if one was able to tear it open and smell straight away.

We have more time on the next box. We may dilute within the USA and then send. Or have both. We'll see.
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Institution
May 28, 2009
Why can't you send ingredients undiluted? Unless absolutely necessary, of course. You could try using DPG, it has less of an effect.
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
Why can't you send ingredients undiluted? Unless absolutely necessary, of course. You could try using DPG, it has less of an effect.

I can easily send them undiluted and to'd and fro'd about doing so. The main aim was this is an experience box for note learning and some perfumers who are new to learning do not have all the right equipment or may not be set up for it. I think the first box will lay the precedent of what people prefer. I had a long discussion with one of the recipients early on and we decided that receiving a box you could tear open and use right away was a more satisfactory thing. I may do two vials next time. One for smelling and one for using. These boxes are not going to be the same format each time or the same sort of story.

This one has a tale to tell. There is a clue.
 

David Ruskin

Basenotes Institution
May 28, 2009
When I started out learning to be a Perfumer, I learned to smell all of the ingredients undiluted. I never found it a problem. Obviously there are some things which are just too damn strong, and have to be diluted, but they are a rarity.

I am looking forward to hearing more descriptions from people who have received the first set. I shall put off posting what I think until then.
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
I shall certainly bear that in mind.

The post is being a big tease on this because it has made it all the way to Australia, one in the USA but not to Ireland. It is probably the snow in the USA holding the show up. I may be sending back ups at this rate. The first batch aimed abroad were sent on Saturday the 16th and the UK ones followed on the Monday the 18th so twelve and ten days ago now..... I think we will need to call the January box, PONK Module 1 instead from now on.
 

ColHP

Super Member
Aug 14, 2014
Thanks Chris.
I actually recognize this material as well.
I believe it to be a single material and not a natural blend. Probably a synthetic aroma chemical but probably could be a natural isolate (sounds expensive).
There is a specific flower that comes to mind, but I don't want to ruin the fun for others who may not have identified the material.

I think I can say, I get the impression of very dry petals from this floral. Certainly as it developed more I thought it went even drier to a dry petal.
From my character wheel, I'd call it a soft floral.
I can really smell that texture of the petal. Similar to how you might smell a blanket to be soft, kind of velvety quality to the character of the floral.
Certainly not sharp or harsh, smoother but textured. Like thin colored paper.

I think it took the consistency / color line on the evaluation sheet to mean color impression of the character. So nothing original idea but I'm glad everyone seems to like the thought process.
I still say it smells pink even though I know this flower can theoretically be several colors.

I'm excited to check out #2 when I have the chance.
 

ColHP

Super Member
Aug 14, 2014
My wife did say she thought it smelled like a specific flower, and then she got a citrus aspect, almost lemony.
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
This thread is for discussion of all kinds and this IS a game. I don't think guessing something is like a named material is spoiling in the slightest.... How else are you to describe that thought?

...however the point is....

.... to really try and smell the vials without the necessity to recognise the materials but to isolate and learn the aroma profile of vials 1-4 first. Then the next stage (or at the same time) is to see if your nose can locate them in the mystery vial and possibly by how much. I thought that trying to guess the material would put too much pressure in the way of just enjoying them as they are and for what they are. Your nose is to do the work here and NOT your mind. Trust your noses. It doesn't matter what it is yet. Let your nose explore with total freedom.

... And I'm delighted they are finally getting through. I am sending another to Ireland today. I think that one must be lost. It should have taken two days at most.
 
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David Ruskin

Basenotes Institution
May 28, 2009
OK, here's my tuppence worth

Box 1

Vial 1. I found this to be harsh citrus and herbal?green. On first dipping there was a sweet creaminess about it that reminded me of Barley Sugar, or another lemony flavoured boiled sweet. Over time, the sweetness lessened and it became much more harsh and aggressive. Throughout the citrus lemon was predominant. I thought I recognised it ,but was not sure. Probably not a single chemical as it changed too much over time. It lasted much longer than I expected. All the samples did, actually, but that could be the effect of the IPM.

Vial 2 This was very familiar to me. I will not mention what I think it is until later. There was a minty rosy quality. I could smell rose/lemon which I took to be Geraniol, together with a minty herbal note. The smell did not change much over time,although the minty note increased. Floral, herbal rose. Again, I think this is a mixture, probably an essential oil.

Vial 3 Very harsh, bitter and metallic. I think this is a chemical as it didn't change over time, just got weaker. Again I think I know what this is. I could see it being used in a variety of floral and/or herbal fragrances, to provide the bitter quality found is such notes as Chrysanthemum or Geranium.

Vial 4 I did smell this before mumsy e-mailed me and told me not to! It is a very long time since I have smelled this and had no idea what it was. I was surprised at its complexity and how much it changed over time. There were soft musky notes, spicy floral, and even, after a day or two, an almost mossy bitterness. I have been reminded why this was such a popular ingredient.

The mystery vial I found this smelling mainly of Vials 1 and 2. I could not detect vial 3 and maybe a hint of 4. I found it to be the strongest of the samples sent. After a day, it was mainly vial 2
 
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mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
Fabulous.... just what is required thank you. Anyone who wishes it to be revealed to them before it is on here can request so by PM. BUT then you've got to keep quiet after that, so maybe not so much fun to know just yet....

... the IPM is lending something of the longevity and possibly some complexity to a small degree. However as it is in all, then it lends probably much the same influence to all.
 
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mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
I think there is no harm now in showing what these look like.

This is the PONK size with the larger vials

2rpa0et.jpg


These show the three sizes, PONKlet, PONK and PONK+

image3-1.jpg image2-1.jpg image1-1.jpg

Close ups here

image4.jpg image3.jpg image2.jpg


This Module 1 has a particular theme and the next boxes may be nothing like this at all.

There are some more PONK boxes if anyone still wants to order one. I will make them available eventually as part of a set.
 
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FollyFlick

Super Member
Oct 29, 2014
Vial 1 I also got boiled sweets - I thought lemon sherbets, and an initial hit of green citrus. I found the floral quite light, and got a bit of a beeswax or polish note.

Vial 2 I didn't much like. Very astringent, medicinal. It seemed to get me at the back of the throat in a rather pokey way. Sweet on the first hit, but then almost an aniseed note.

Vial 3 I found very strong, and also medicinal. It seemed to go between pine and cucumber, which I found odd as they're not smells that I normally connect at all.

Vial 4 (gut tingly) I loved. My first note says 'Yum!'. Rich, slightly Coca Cola, slightly marzipan. Menthol underneath, but very smooth. Very disappointed to have to put this one aside. It was definitely my favourite of the four.
 

ColHP

Super Member
Aug 14, 2014
Hmmmmm i did transfer my vials into larger vials so that I could get a full blotter into them for better sniffing.
What I said about #1 lines up w what others seem to be thinking and saying about #2. I'll have to double check my labels.

I know I just transferred #3 correctly so I'll comment on that before I sort out 1 and 2.

#3 is very green. Green grass like you rubbed some cut grass in your hands for a while then smelled them.
Then I get some citrus, lemon. Maybe more like lemongrass.
I get a light green or yellow color from this.
Seems to be less longevity than some of the others.
 

Chris Bartlett

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 17, 2011
I think there is no harm now in showing what these look like.

This is the PONK size with the larger vials

2rpa0et.jpg


These show the three sizes, PONKlet, PONK and PONK+

View attachment 46392 View attachment 46393 View attachment 46394

Close ups here

View attachment 46395 View attachment 46396 View attachment 46397


This Module 1 has a particular theme and the next boxes may be nothing like this at all.

There are some more PONK boxes if anyone still wants to order one. I will make them available eventually as part of a set.

The presentation of these is just fantastic. The whole concept has been beautifully realised.

It's a delight to read the thoughtful and insightful descriptions too. I rather wish I knew less about the content so that I could join in.

Speaking of content, I notice some people have chosen to ignore mumsy's advice to ignore vial 4: understandable and David gave a big clue that this is a once popular material, now out of favour. There are good reasons it was popular and good reasons it isn't now. I'm pretty sure there is no evidence of harm from sniffing it, but I really don't recommend getting it on your skin in this concentration and especially this solvent, which aids skin absorption. Proceed at your own risk.
 

Irishgypsy

New member
Jan 9, 2016
Good Evening Everyone :)

Just wanted to say my little "PONKlet" box came in the mail yesterday. I am so very excited. I've done my first whiffs, and starting to make notes, but really scrolled down to the bottom of the page here to post, so I've not read anything that anyone else has posted. I want to give it a few days first. So here's to a "Happy PONKlet" in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia.

Mumsy thank you so much for making an opportunity like this come true X
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
The contents of vial four has an IFRA recommendation of 0.02 in the final fragrance compound. Here is the page with all it's info so that you can make up your own mind about it. It shows you how much of it occurs in nature. As with most things like this, it was used for a long time before it got banished to the hall of shame. Nature didn't take any notice of that anyhow. No accusations here, the facts are yours to do as you will with. I think it is important as a fledgling perfumer to know all things well. I shall never be shy of providing true knowledge where it is possible to do so.

A big clue is that I have put it in this box for a very good reason..... and I promise to tell you as soon as everyone has had a chance to have a good sniff of these and experience them without the commitment of having to guess what any of them are.

Articles and information on vial four:-

http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/data/rw1008291.html#tosafiu

http://www.cropwatch.org/cropwatch3b.htm

As mentioned earlier, you might well like to dilute these again to 10% using ethanol. This will brighten the materials and make them easier to find their nuances within.
 
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mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
Revealing January 2016's PONK nose

17fkmr.jpg


Michelangelos' beautiful David

24eurfs.jpg


(this photo credited to travel across Italy)
 
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FollyFlick

Super Member
Oct 29, 2014
I didn't deliberately ignore mumsy! I wouldn't dream of such a thing. I had already sniffed before the email arrived. Since the email, I once sniffed the smelling strip, but only once. I'm Not a natural rebel.
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
Vial four is an incredibly relevant substance for this perfume story box...

and on that note (ha ha), I shall hereby announce right now and here, a similar warning about all substances I have already sent you and will be sending you in the future.

The perfumery world is filled with all sorts of substances that are supposedly meant to do you enormous harm. If you took any notice then you wouldn't wish to be a perfumer at all nor even wear any perfumes. If you no longer wish me to send you any substances over the IFRA and EU limits then please PM me and I will oblige by dilution as you wish. For all those who are interested in these boxes in the way they are meant, then do carry on and I shall take it as an acceptance herewith that you accept these terms.

There... lawful botty covered. On with the sniffing as you please.....
 
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mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
Those who have sniffed already and want to blend. Then tell me you're ready and I am going to give you a set of percentages to blend these to soon. This first box discussion is a bit bumpy with some people not having got it yet.... I don't think they've made it to Canada yet or some of the USA. It must be weather related. We need those out a good two weeks in front of the UK ones for next time.
 

mumsy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2010
The postage times are being naughty this first time. I sent another replacement box to Ireland and it has got there now in just two days. I think I need to do that to the Canada ones too. They just haven't arrived and I suppose could have been confiscated. I had a look today and they don't consider them lost until 40 days after the estimated time of arrival. That's for a five to seven day service..... and other parcel services are extremely expensive for a tiny parcel. I suppose it is halfway around the world mind you.... Don't we just take things for granted in our spoilt lives? We're so very lucky really.
 
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Renegade

Basenotes Junkie
Jul 30, 2011
OK, here I am after being very good and avoiding this thread until now. I love the concept of the box and the presentation. I also love that I can go straight to the smelling without having to dilute anything (or even go and find smelling strips!) A self contained little reference box to come back to again and again. Brilliant.

Here are my notes so far (not having read anyone else's yet):

#1
Citrusy, rosy, lemony. Bright, fresh, sparkling. Clean. Sweet. Lemonade. Slightly metallic.

Fruity (raspberry), sherbet. Yellow.

Very pleasant, refreshing, fizzy.

Strength: Medium +
Projection: Medium

Familiar: Very

10 mins: noticing more of a coppery, metallic edge.
1 hour: still fresh citrus rose fruity slightly metallic, but more smooth, rounded.
1 day: still there. 2 days: still very much there!
----------------------------------------

#2
Rosy, geranium, drier than #1. Soapy facet. Fruity (lychee?) facet. Very floral. Not so citrusy. Sweet.

Pink. Fairy washing up liquid?

Pleasant, but slightly unpleasant soapy / washing up liquid associations.

Strength: Medium
Projection: Medium

Familiar: Very

1 hour: sweet floral dry. Weaker than #1.
1 day: still there.
2 days: barely detectable.

----------------------------------------

#3
Initially subtle / mild. Citrus (lemon), pepper, spicy, metallic. Quite weak? Spicy depth.

Sichuan pepper, copper, somewhat plasticy. Luminous, glowing, warm.

Interesting, fairly pleasant but not especially so. More of a nuanceur? Slightly functional / cleaning product association (Cif?).

Strength: Weak +
Projection: Low

Familiar: Yes

10 mins: getting stronger
40 mins: stronger, clearer, brighter, citrusy.
1 day: still there. Metallic.
2 days: undetectable.

----------------------------------------

Leaving out number 4 for now seeing as we know what it is.

----------------------------------------

#5 (? Vial)
Rich, honeyed, complex, deep, citrusy rose. Lemon, fruit, dried fruits, berries. Heavy, metallic. Luscious. Cassis. Tobacco.

Luminous metallic multi-coloured oil slick. Warm, full and satisfying.

Dry spicy undertone. Watery undertones too (green, muguet, melon, ozone). Honey, tobacco.

Woody vetiver undertone, balsamic.

Very pleasant. Rich and vibrant, addictive, invigorating and soothing at once.

Strength: Medium ++, getting stronger after a few minutes
Projection: Medium ++

12 hours: Woodier, balsamic, vetiver, fruity, metallic, rich.
After one day: Still present. Rich, warm, woody, ever so slightly powdery floral.

Familiar: Yes

----------------------------------------

Forgot to add my estimates of the proportions:

Roughly:

#1: 50%
#2: 25%
#3 10%
#4: 2.5%
 
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Renegade

Basenotes Junkie
Jul 30, 2011
Having read through the thread, I'll add that I had the impression vials 1-4 were single molecules (with some added complexity from impurities).

On vial #4, I had been told what it was before smelling but I'll share my thoughts on it now anyway:

Very subtle warm carnation / sweet william. Smooth, mildly spicy. Very subtle tar / leather nuance.

Dusky pastel shades: pink, orange, brown, red. Subtle basil undertone.

Pleasant enough, but really quite dull on its own.

Strength: weak.
Projection: low.

Familiar: yes.

1 day: still there - subtle spicy carnation.
2 days: still there, now noticing subtle sweet vanillin nuance and... for a brief second... reminiscent of Narcissus Poeticus flowers.

I get the impression that I find this material more subtle, or difficult to smell, than others do. I also find methyl iso-eugenol very very subtle.
 

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