The art behind creating a unique fragrance

A while ago I asked my perfumer Phil if he would pen a few lines on creating fragrances. He sent me this. I'm glad Phil is my perfume guy...

Creating skincare fragrances

Firstly I believe a fragrance is a picture painted in smells, it has notes and tones like music and art. 

A fragrance must have life and feeling that is sparked by the emotional part of the brain and causes deep-seated memories to come to the surface in a moment.
To be able to reach this plain of motivation, moods and revitalization we need to choose the correct ingredients.

We need to know the type of fragrance application to structure scents and create feelings. Like painting, each stroke of the brush causes a sensation but at the same time is part of a larger creation. Or like music where each note helps build the perfect melody.




 So what’s our communicator? What’s the silent language?

It is essential oils, aromatic chemicals, absolutes and resinoids with some very carefully secreted extracts used in minute proportions.

Essential oils, absolutes, resinoids and waters are from natural plant vegetation, trees, grasses, mosses and importantly flowers, leaves and twigs. These are extracted by steam distillation or specific extraction.

Examples of distillation are eucalyptus, pine and lavender.
Examples of extraction are flowers like rose and jasmine.
Examples of extraction after maceration are the citrus fruits where the oil is extracted from the skins. These products give beautiful full and rich mood enhancing vitality to the fragrances.




Aromatic chemicals can be components of the natural oils or they can be manufactured by chemical means and by using by-products from the crude oil industry. For example linalool and linalyl acetate are naturally extracted from lavender whilst some citrus oils are manufactured from by-products of the pine industry.

The modern trend globally is to go natural, using products that are grown like our foods rather than having huge chemical plants polluting our atmosphere.

Having worked in both the chemical fragrance world and the ‘natural’ one I can tell you the most exciting work is in the natural arena, brands like Triumph & Disaster are creating fantastic new fragrances from amazing combinations of natural ingredients, like peeling an orange each new combination opens up a world of surprises and new ideas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed creating them.


Phil, the fragrance guy


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