How do I make stuff that smells nice?
March 6, 2014 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Does there exist a reference similar to The Flavour Bible, but for mixing scents instead of flavours?

I am looking for a reference (book/chart/website) that will give me a basic understanding of how to combine scents for things like homemade candles or soap. For example:

- Specific Scent/Oil A smells nice when combined with Specific Scent/Oil B
- Scent category X smell best when combined with Scent category Y, and here are some examples of each category

What I am not looking for, and what I am mostly finding on Google:

- X essential oil will make your heart chakra vibrate
- Y essential oil will help you conquer your headaches/depression/addiction through aromatherapy

Many thanks, Hivemind :)
posted by torisaur to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I've found this site helpful when I was playing around with making solid perfumes: Aromaweb
posted by brilliantine at 7:02 AM on March 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

What works for me when I do perfumery is that I try and combine at least one item from the major scent famlies, keeping in mind that certain scents are "heavier" than others and will stick around longer in the composition.

Try pairing something citric with something grassy/mossy/aromatic, and ground it with something resinous. So, say - bitter orange/orange blossom with basil/oakmoss/sea salt and make the base something like sandalwood or opoponax/benzoin/etc.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:14 AM on March 6, 2014

The word you want to search on is "accords." "Accords" are like chords in music -- combinations of notes that come together to form something that either smells great or is an ingredient in other mixtures.

The educational kits from the Perfumers Apprentice come with a book that has lots of sample accords in it (and you can get samples of the elements from her too.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:15 AM on March 6, 2014

Mandy Aftel's perfumer's wheel
posted by matildaben at 7:30 AM on March 6, 2014 [5 favorites]

Also, Mandy Aftel's book Essence and Alchemy will start to give you ideas about how to think about scent and how to learn to combine them. It's also an amazing read. What it will not do is tell you how the scents will interact with the ingredients and process of soap and candle making, but it doesn't look like you're specifically asking that.
posted by Blitz at 12:28 PM on March 6, 2014

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