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How To Make Perfume - About Designer Duplications

Aug 18, 2007
Making designer smell-alikes is a great introduction to home perfuming. With just a few ingredients and instructions, it's almost impossible to get wrong. Naturally, it builds confidence when you're holding your own recreation of $90 perfume - a duplication you made for less than $10!

But how is it possible to get such accuracy for so little money? After all, these perfumes are expensive. They must have some kind of 'secret formula," right?

The knock-off market is nothing new. Counterfeiting and duplications are a built-in part of the art and fashion market. It's not always illegal black market stuff, either. Most of us can't afford an original Picasso, but we can certainly afford a nice reprint from an art poster shop! Perfumes are no exception. While it's illegal to pass off duplicates as originals (counterfeiting), people can and do sell knock-offs.

Historically, designer perfume duplications haven't been that great. You may remember Designer Impostors from the 80's and 90's: "If you like Obsession, you'll like Compulsion," etc. Well, Compulsion may have been in the right ballpark - the same general fragrance family - but it wasn't that close.

This is because, just like computers, the technology needed to mature. They were using the equivalent of an old Pentium 35 laptop to make smell-alikes, which didn't produce accurate results.

Now, there are machines where you can analyze a sample of anything, even if it's incredibly delicate and subtle. The air around the sample, which contains the scent, is sucked up and sorted into scent molecules. Using sensitive gas chromatography and other methods, including human judgment, scent scientists can use the profile returned by the machine.

Whether the scent is snow, fresh-squeezed orange juice, new apple blossoms, or the latest creation from House of Creed, it is possible to get quite close to the original. Like all things, there is some variation. If you make a lot of duplications, you'll get a few misses or duds. But most of them - especially the most popular designer perfumes - are so accurate that most people can't tell the difference.

Once a scent is recreated, companies sell them in concentrated form so that you can dilute them for your own use. It's as easy as making Kool Aid!

Can you recreate a designer formula from scratch? Anything is possible with enough time and trial-and-error power, but your time is better spent creating original blends. Designer duplications are just the beginning in hobby perfumery. Why spend your valuable time reinventing the wheel? (Hey, it's a cliche because there's a lot of truth to the phrase.) The truth is, you may not be able to get accurate duplications without technological assistance. At least, it would take you a very long time!

During that time, you could be blending your own scents that you like even better than the latest Calvin Klein or Thierry Mugler creation. And the cost of the machines is about what you'd pay for an electron microscope. Not in the range of most people's household budgets.

Instead, leverage your existing designer duplications and use them to further their perfume making abilities. Mix them together, or add your own special twist. You can get a fragrance made just for you. Isn't that better than a mass-produced scent any day?
About the Author
Katherine Durkes has written 3 ebooks on how to make bath & body, perfume, and home fragrance products. She runs a website, a newsletter, and a Yahoo Group for aspiring craft business owners. Visit http://www.theperfumereport.com for more about how to make perfume.
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