Into the big bottle: final production of the first batch of a new perfume

32 oz bottle

32-ounce bottle filled above the shoulder with my new perfume. This is dangerous as hot weather can cause the fragrance to expand and blow the cap off the bottle. Surrounding the big bottle are the 1-ounce bottles used when weighing out the formula from drops into grams.

I have been writing about a new perfume I'm developing. You can read some of my previous messages here, here, and here. Finally I have bottled a batch of the finished fragrance (on 06/03/2020). The finished fragrance is a mixture of oil, alcohol, and water. I produced just over 1 liter, which is just over 32 ounces.

My plan is to present the finished fragrance in 1-ounce bottles. If there were no such things as spillage and waste I would be able to fill 32 bottles. But there will be waste. I'll be lucky to fill 28 bottles with what I've got. Of course I'll try to be as careful as possible and maybe I'll get one, or even two more filled, but I'm not counting on it.

The big bottle shown above is really just the opening event. The fragrance in the 32 ounce bottle simply confirms the scent I wanted to achieve and its quality. To produce it I worked from a formula in percentages and, with that same formula, I can produce or have produced for me, any quantity of this fragrance I need.

As mentioned in my previous article, the mixture going into the big bottle is 7-1/2 percent oil (the scent itself) and 92-1/2 percent alcohol and the alcohol is 90 percent pure ethanol and 10 percent water (de-ionized water as I use for all my fragrances.)

My starting point for this small, "laboratory scale," production run was measuring the amount of oil I had on hand. This came to 80 ml (milliliters). From here the math told me that if my 80 ml of oil were to be 7-1/2 percent of the total mixture, alcohol and water (92-1/2 percent) would come to 986 ml. Ten percent of 986 ml (98.6 ml) would be water and the remaining 887.4 ml would be "100 proof" alcohol.

Can you see the problem I now face?

My mixture, as planned, will be 80 ml oil, 98.6 ml water, and 887.4 ml alcohol. If a larger batch was being made and the work was being done at a professional fragrance house, these numbers would present no problem. But I'm working with simple equipment. Granted I've spent a few hundred dollars for my lab equipment, but it's not going to allow me to make such precise measurements.

To be practical, I've rounded up the amount of water to 99 ml. On a 150 ml beaker this will bring me just under the 100 ml mark. For the alcohol I'll round down from 887.4 ml to 887 ml. Now my production mix list is 80 ml oil, 99 ml water, and 887 ml alcohol for a total of 1066 ml or 1.066 liters.

150 ml beaker

150 ml beaker next to 1-ounce bottle.

To make measurement of the alcohol more precise, I used a 4-cup measuring cup to measure out the first 800 ml of alcohol. The cup had an 800 ml mark so that was easy to get right. For the remaining 87 ml of alcohol I again used my 150 ml beaker (shown here.) There's a 80 ml mark (without the number) and I just went a bit over it. In this case I believe this would give me acceptable accuracy.

A warning note. When you are producing your fragrance in small quantities such as I've done here, look at your measurements before you start mixing. Make sure that you have a large enough container to hold everything you're putting into the mix. In my example, I almost went over the limit by putting more than 32 ounces into a 32 ounce bottle. Fortunately bottles have a bit of extra space above the shoulder to allow for expansion. BUT, when you start to fill this space, you risk blowing the cap off on a hot day when the fragrance expands. In this case I'm keeping the fragrance close to room temperature for the next 30 days while the elements blend and I plan to start filling my 1-ounce perfume bottles before the hottest days of summer arrive.

For supplies used in the development of this fragrance, visit the Vendors section of this website.

Now available: "Creating your own perfume from dropper bottles: Methods, mechanics, and mathematics"

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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.