Saturday, 5 October 2013

Make Your Own Perfume - The Magnificent Perfume Making Experiment! Part 3

If you’ve read and been intrigued by parts 1 and 2 of the Odiferess ‘Magnificent Perfume Making Experiment’ you’ll be aware of the brand Plush Folly, who I’ve used for my synthetic ingredients purchases. Sally Hornsey, founder of the company, is a certified perfume geek - a worshiper at the fountain of niche perfumery and a creative lab fun maker. She also heads up Plush Folly’s training school where amateurs and craft business owners study fragrance and it’s application to perfumery and toiletries. At the launch of my experiments I asked her a few questions about her experiences:


Odiferess: Thinking about your own experience of making perfume, what were the main notes of your greatest potion and what sort of mood did it project?

Sally: To launch my book, we created a perfume as a panel, partly as a learning tool for the Plush Folly staff to allow us to talk perfume and learn from each other.  The final result was fabulous and we called it Es Belle.  The main notes were fresh - cucumber, grapefruit, lime and green fig. - and we then tinkered around with the formula and did a little experiment by adding Iso-e Super - the results were spectacular.  We asked testers to wear the unadulterated version for a week and give us feedback on the responses of their family, friends, colleagues and anyone who cared to comment.  We then asked them to wear the formula with added Iso-e Super for a week and note the comments they received, as before. The feedback was overwhelming in that the Iso e Super version drew far more attention and received more positive comments, definitely carrying with it an undiscernable feel-good mood with the addition of Iso-e Super's "va-va voom" factor!

Odiferess: Tell us about your animalic synthetics, are they truly skanky? What should we expect if we've never smelt isolated civet or castoreum notes before?

Sally: Yes, skanky is a great word to sum up the aromas of the animalic scents!  They certainly linger - all the staff at Plush Folly wear nitrile gloves when decanting these notes and dread getting any on their clothing since the smells linger in the air like a bad fart. Conversely, Ambergris is rich, sweet and delicious, whereas the Civet and Castoreum are shockers!

Civet Cat, bringing the urine to feline.

Odiferess: Popular essential oils can smell a little 'tie-dye shop' when blended together, can you recommend any synthetics that bring them out of the hippie vibe and add finesse?

Sally: Vanilla Bourbon gives a burnt creme-brulee smell that works well with everything! We love it. If you want something slightly more subtle then Tonka Bean moves you from the tie-dye shop to the Starbucks cafe!  Our Salty Sea Dog adds a fresh ozonic, Whitby Bay, post-hangover Sunday morning walk freshness.  

Sally Hornsey


The experiment continues to enthral me and I’ve had some success with the addition of the notes of Ylang, Bergamot and Grapefruit to my first concoction which have enabled me to progress towards that elusive ‘sparkly’ sensation. I'll be posting details of my ongoing recipe later this week. 


  1. Oh what fun, and how interesting to get more of an inside track into perfume making from speaking to Sally. Love the idea of Tonka Bean giving your formulation an upgrade to Starbuck's! What style of vanilla-esque ingredient would nudge it into the realms of tea at the Ritz, I wonder?

    And her Salty Sea Dog ingredient sounds the biz. Ex-Mr Bonkers used to call himself that when he hadn't shaved for a couple of days - you know, as if it was a look he was consciously going for and not because he couldn't be arsed. So if you whack any of that in your composition, it might take me to a funny place. ;-0

    Meanwhile, keep on chasing your 'sparkly' sensation. A bit of petillant petitgrain, perchance?

    1. Petitgrain is a cracking idea. I have a nice new bottle of it already. I think I'm almost there, some final playing to be undertaking this week. The salty sea dog stuff is a bit odd, think it would work better in a candle but then I've never been a fan of marine in perfumery. That Tonka needs a blast though, sounds brilliant! Yves Rocher used to do a shower cream that smelt exactly like a coffee house (discontinued this year along with the beautiful £9 Cedre Bleue Cologne), it's kind of the inspiration for the other scent I'm playing with. Not many perfumer's citing cut price French toiletries as their muse!