Smell - Think - Write

Putting Words to Scent

Putting language to scent, writing about & describing scent materials is incredibly important. These questions below are meant to inspire the self-taught perfumer. To encourage the self-taught perfumer to be more exact with their thoughts and craft a unique, personal relationship with their materials. 


What is the texture of this scent material? Thick and round, or think and sharp?

● Fatty oil round, bright and sharp

● waxy or sharp waxy, fatty transparent

● Thin or sharp thin powerful

● soapy clean, bright bubbly champagne

● Texture middle, not sharp and not waxy

● Dry woody texture

● Sandy, dusty texture


How transparent is this material?

● transparent fatty transparent gummy sweet transparent woody warm

● Transparent oily sweet, semi-transparent woody


How is the brightness? 

Is this material bright or dark?

● Bright and sharp like lemon or mint

● Bright and sharp, sweet

● Bright and diffusive - powerful like aldehydes

● Bright and spicy or bright and herbal

● Bright and woody

● Or Dark and deep and resinous like oud or vetiver

● Dark and sweet

● Dark and bitter

● Dark and sulphur/animal (cumin)

● Dark and smokey

● Dark and woody


How hot or cold is this material?

● Cool like mint cool herbs (lavender or rosemary)

● cool aquatic cool ozone

● cool citrus floral (ylang) cool green grass, plant materials

● Cool bitter tea cool powdery green

● Cool earthy cool rooty

● Hot and spicy warm spicy woody

● Spicy floral (carnation) spicy edible sweet


Is this material Wet or Dry?

● water fishy or seaweed

● ozone wet earth + rooty

● wet earth smells like rain


Does this material smell powdery in its texture?

● powdery tiny molecules powdery, woody-spicy

● powdery large molecules, granular (little pieces of sand?)

● powdery and floral powdery and sweet

● powdery and woody


Is this material sweet?

● Slightly sweet Extremely sweet

● Sweet citrus, sweet fruity

● Sweet smoky sweet, buttery

● Sweet candy sweet jammy and berries

● Sweet powdery dry sweet resinous

● Sweet spicy resin thick sweet deep honey balsamic

DRY (As in opposite to sweet) 

Is this material dry and not sweet at all? 

● Slightly dry, Or extremely dry 

● Dry woody tart citrus 

● Dry cedar

● Dry, not waxy and milky at all 

● Dry powdery or sandy in texture

● Dry tart green

● Sweet spicy resin thick sweet deep honey balsamic


Is this material waxy, powdery or oily at all? 

● Waxy oily  

● Waxy buttery  

● Waxy, fatty animalic leather 

● Waxy milky 

● Waxy smooth woody 

● Waxy plant like, green waxy 

● Waxy sweet, plastic like 

● Waxy, citrus smoky 


Is this material floral?

● Floral fruity 

● Floral rose 

● Floral jasmine 

● Floral lychee, appricot or peach 

● Floral milky fruity 

● Floral spicy warm  

● Floral balsamic  

● Floral vanilla 

● Floral powdery 


Is this material fruity?

● fruity citrus fruity apple green

● Fruity apple red fruity pear

● Fruity lychee rose, fruity waxy rose

● fruity sharp nail polish Fruity floral (like jasmine)

● fruity green aquatic melon, fruity waxy melon

● fruity tropical fruity dry leather fruits and tobacco

● Fruity cassis - dark berries, bitter fruity leathery (like osmanthus)


Is this material sour?

● Sour citrus? Sour bitter pithy? (like grapefruit)

● Sour lemon or lime? Sour watery, delicious mouth watering

● Sour citric? Scratchy and unpleasant like lemon grass or bug repellent?


Is this material citrus-like?

● Bright, lemon-like citrus, bitter, stemmy woody

● Green conifer and limes bitter/sweet citrus peppery

● Sweet orange or blood orange candy-like citrus lavender

● Citrus and flowers citrus aquatic transparent

● Citrus and sweet citrus transparent

● Citrus bitter, tart citrus waxy green

● Citrus green grass citrus green soft


Is this material cool?

● Green pepper green cut grass

● Citrus pithy grapefruit citrus bright citrus sweet

● Cool minty herb cool green aquatic cold ozone


● Pine fresh green pine cedary pine sweet

● Light bright herbal light herbal chemical herbal grapes

Herbal salty herbal floral (like lavender) herbal lemon


Is this material green?

● Green-like cut grass, sharp soft round green, soft waxy

● Green sharp cut bell peppers conifer pine tree green

● Green stems green powdery violets

● Green tart rhubarb green sweet

● Green transparent waxy soft green aquatics florals

● green fruity tropical pear green salty spicy-like cardamom

● Green bitter citrus green fresh aquatic

● Green dry tart green sweet resin


Is this material conifer forest or pine-like?

● Evergreen resinous thin pine, bright and sharp

● Bright pine, thick pine, round and sweet

● Sweet pine, green pine, and cedar wood clear, bright wood

● Lemon and pine sharp boozy, peppery

● Limes and pine and aquatics, dark waters forest floor

● Peppers and pine earthy piney

● Piney medicinal (like myrrh)


Is this material musky?

● like poop ouddy, animal woody

● like urine sweet urine or honey

● Like wet animal hair like dirty bird cages

● Fishy blue cheese

● Human sweat like farm animals, horses and goats


Is this material woody?

● A bright, clean fresh wood a bright terpenic wood - piney

● woody musky animalic woody, buttery, like sandalwood

● Woody butter smoky (guaiac wood) woody leather

● Woody rooty clean woody rooty smoky (Java vetiver)


Is this material honey-like?

● Honey medicine bitter honey balsamic dark honey figs

● Honey tobacco honey suede/leather honey dark woody

● Medicinal myrrh bright dusty medicinal


Is this material earthy?

● Earthy spicy, earthy musky animal

● Earthy woody, earthy spicy animal

● Earthy leather, earthy and sweet

● Earthy suede earthy and bitter

● Searthy smokey, earthy sweet bbq

● Earthy green earthy chocolate

● Earthy wet earthy damp forest

● Earthy aquatic/fishy earthy mushroom

● Mushroom earthy cool earthy spicy sweet complex