Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Iso E Super

Iso E Super has intrigued me from a long time. I have been reading a lot about it everywhere, suddenly, at least in my world. In the recent past, I had the opportunity to try the famous, cult perfume Escentric Molecules: Molecule 01, the magical substance that changes from skin to skin, the perfume which unashamedly demonstrates a pheromonal effect and what not! It is made using the single component, Iso E Super. I ordered half an ounce of pure Iso E Super from The Perfumer's Apprentice $6 for 15ml. I have been playing with it since past two days and here are my thoughts.

What is it? Iso E Super is an aromachemical, a molecule that is used in fragrances. It is a trademark of International Flavors and Fragrances with a fascinating chemical name. If you want to doze off reading the chemistry and the safety part of it, you can do it here.

The Smell: Iso E super is one of those scents that has a 'your-skin-but-better' aroma. Like most aroma chemicals, it has a very little smell by itself (due to the large molecular size). But when diluted and used in perfumes, it morphs. It adds a certain character and affects the overall smell in subtle ways. Iso E Super is like an 'invisible elf' in perfumes that works all the magic. 




IFF description:
"Smooth, woody, amber with unique aspects giving a ''velvet'' like sensation. Used to impart fullness and subtle strength to fragrances. Superb floralizer found in the majority of newer fine fragrances"

Concentrations: Smelling directly from the bottle, it has a very faint smell. It should not be tested directly on the skin undiluted. I know, but I did. I diluted Iso E Super with Dipropyleneglycol (DPG, the carrier) in a 20% concentration (safe to use according to IFRA) It is interesting to compare undiluted Iso E Super with a concentration of 20%. The 20% Iso E Super has no odour at all compared to the undiluted. I could smell the undiluted one quicker on my skin. But 20% is more multi dimentional and develops much better.

Iso E Super takes ages to come through and show up on the skin. 20% Iso E Super takes full 10 minutes to even hit my nose. It keeps morphing and getting better with time. Once it develops, it really feels like an aura surrounding me. It smells exactly like the IFF description. It is very pleasant, woody, floral smell. It is soft, dense and pillowy with amber undertones and a tinge of synthetic smell. Weightless, invisible and charming.

It does stay close to the skin with an occasional waft in the air that keeps you wondering. Staying power is superb around 6 to 8 hours on me, even at 20% concentration.


                                                 Escentric Molecules: Molecule 01
This perfume has Iso E Super as the only component, the only note. Geza Schon, the nose behind the perfume has written this fantastic article. It is a nice read on how the perfume was inspired by simplicity. It also has a table at the end with the mention of top 10 fragrances which use Iso E Super graded according to the concentration. Please look there, as I am too lazy to make a table!


When I first smelt Molecule 01, I was confused. I sprayed on my skin and I smelt nothing. This was at Mecca Cosmetica where I had been testing a lot of perfumes. The Carnal Flower was turning overwhelmingly floral on me. I thought that was the reason. I sprayed some on the back of my husband's hand and nothing! After about 20 mins, a faint woody aroma was definitely there, but I wasn't paying attention. I did not have the pure Iso E Super at that time, so couldn't really know what to make of it.
Escentric Molecules: Molecule 01
retails at a hefty price tag of $210 for 100ml! Pure Iso E Super that I bought cost me $6 for half an ounce! 


Molecule 01 is an alcohol based EDT, which means that the concentration of Iso E super is in the concentration of 5 to 15%. I can imagine that my 20% in DPG will be a little more stronger and better. The price at which Molecule 01 sells is ridiculous. I surely will not be paying $210 for 100ml when I can get Iso E Super for $6 for half an ounce!

Iso E Super is supposed to have pheromonal/aphrodisiac qualities. I cannot really comment on those effects because, well, nothing happened! But I don't think that human evolution is that primitive for the concept of pheromones to work anyway... I don't know, but creationists would disagree with me for sure!


Iso E Super is a fantastic aromachemical. I think it is well worthy of the cult status. This, for me, only opens the door to explore so many more!

75 comments:

  1. Iso E Super has piqued my interest now! Very informative. Thank you :)

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  2. Welcome Angie :) You should try Iso E Super and tell me your thoughts!

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    1. Hi Su, just discovered your diaries and how fascinating...I could spend all night reading.
      Could I ask you a question about Iso...I have brought some from one company and another sample from the perfumers apprentice they smell different,one smells strong the other from the perfumers apprentice hardly smells...can they differ do you think like this.
      Thankyou..back to my reading now.
      Blessings
      Ann

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    2. Thank you for stopping by and thanks so much for reading, Ann!
      Interesting observation. Having only tired Iso E Super from Perfumer's Apprentice, I can't compare with other companies. But I can tell you that the chemical composition should be the same for Iso E Super from all sources. The smell changes a lot with the concentration of Iso E Super. Generally as with other aroma molecules, you can hardly smell Iso E Super when undiluted. It hits the mark at a particular concentration to smell its best. I think playing around with it by diluting in various concentrations will do the trick! Have fun :)

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  3. Hi,
    could you give me please the address where to buy
    the essence "iso e super" in small quantity?
    Thanks
    smark

    smark63@hotmail.com

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  4. Hi, try The Perfumer's Apprentice
    http://shop.perfumersapprentice.com/p-6120-iso-e-super.aspx

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  5. I love the way molecule 01 smells on me but don't know if I want to spend $135, so I am going to try diluting iso e super with DPG and see if it has the same effect. Can u please tell me the portions u tried and do u mix artisan alcohol with it as well?

    thank you

    veniaminova2@aol.com

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  6. Hi Marianna,

    It smells unique, doesn't it? I think it is a wise move to try Iso e super. For a 20% solution, I mix 2ml of Iso E super in 8 ml of DPG (to make upto 10 mls = 2mls of Iso E Super in total of 10 mls)
    20% is the recommended safe dilution. However, I like to make it in 25% (2.5mls of Iso E Super in 7.5mls of DPG) 0r 30% (3mls in 7 mls of DPG). At these concentrations, it smells slightly better on my skin.

    I haven't worked with Alcohol but I am guessing that the principle is the same. Good luck with your dilutions :)

    BTW, you are lucky get Molecule 01 at $135, we have to pay so much more in Australia!

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  7. Thank you Su, and thanks to you I am going to try mixing it, if not then I will be purchasing the perfume because I am in love with it. It super unique and sexy.

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  8. You are welcome, Marianna! I hope Iso E Super works out for you :)

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  9. Su,
    I am so happy that I came across your website! Recently I saw an article about Escentric Molecules: Molecules 01 and decide to purchase it. Believe it or not, I REALLY did not want to love it because of the hefty price tag attached to it! Well...at first when I sprayed some on I was thinking, "What a waste of money! I can barely even smell it." But throughout the day, randomly a beautiful smell would hit me...completely out of nowhere. Before long, I was hooked! I am getting very low on the bottle I purchased. So...last night I purchased the ingredients that you so generously shared above. Thank you!!! But I do have a question for two that I am hoping you will answer. :) Would you say that your recipe is a very close match in scent to the Molecules: Molecule 01 perfume? I have never attempted to make a perfume, but I believe that your measurements of the ingredients needed should be easy to follow. Another question I have is if one can put Iso E Super in unscented lotions? Thank you SO MUCH for being so kind and sharing your experiences with perfume with others. Beth Ann

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  10. Hi there! Molecule 01 is addictive isn't it?! I love it too :) I am very glad that I was able to inspire you to buy Iso E Super :) I hope you go ahead with making your own. Good luck!

    As for your questions,
    1. Iso E Supe is the only 'active' ingredient in Molecule 01. Molecule 01 is an EDT formulation in alcohol which means that the concentration is about 10% to the maximum of 15%. When you dilute it at 20%, it will be a tad stronger than Molecule 01.

    2. Use in unscented lotions, I think can be done. Never done it myself but you could mix in the 20% or less concentration perhaps? I heard from someone who used Iso E Super in more concentration who got some kind of reaction. So it may be best to go from diluting lesser amounts to the concentration that would suit you.

    Do let me know how where your adventures take you :)

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  11. Su,
    Thank you so much for your quick response. I cannot wait until my package arrives! Do you think that the end product changes in scent according to using DPG or alcohol? You know...the makers of the Molecule perfumes are really jacking up the prices when Iso E Super can be purchased at such a low price!

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  12. My pleasure Beth Ann :) Absolutely, Iso E Super is not really that expensive!

    I don't know how it changes with DPG and alcohol. I have not worked with alcohol.

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  13. hello su, i was looking into the molecule 01 and was wondering...the way you made it, could you keep adding 2.5ml iso e super and 7.5ml dpg until you get like a good amount in a bottle that way you wouldn't have to keep making it? i really want to try your way first, because i'm really curious how it smells...thanks

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  14. Hi earl,

    I make mine in small quantities. So I go up to 10 ml at a time. If you want more, you can keep the same 25% i.e 1: 4 ratio

    Instead of 2.5 ml in 7.5 ml, you can double it or quadruple it

    5 ml Iso E Super in 15 ml diluent
    10 ml Iso E Super in 30 ml Diluent

    Hope I make sense :) However, if you are making it for the first time, I think it is better to make it in small quantities and figure out what works :)
    Good Luck!

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  15. ok i will try that...2.5ml iso in 7.5 dpg and see it that smells right...if not then i will try the 3 ml iso in 7ml dpg...i will let you know how everything works out...thanks again

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  16. hey i just placed an order at perfumer's apprentice....which smells more like the molecules 01 2.5ml iso in 7.5ml dpg or 3ml in 7ml? thanks

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  17. That is great Earl, hope you get it soon!
    I would say 2.5 ml Iso in 7.5 ml DPG smells more like Molecule 01 on my skin. Play around and tell me what you think :)

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  18. hey su, i mixed 2.5 in 7.5, but it smells a little like a hamster cage...you think if i add a little more dpg it would sort of neutralize the smell...thanks

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  19. Really? Strange! Try decreasing the concentration by adding about 3 mls more of DPG, that would make it 20%
    I really hope it turns out well for you!

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  20. Earl, did you try on the skin? Sometimes these things smell different in the bottle and on the skin!

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  21. hey, i did put it on my wrists, and thats how it smelled...when i get a chance i will add 3ml of dpg and let you know..thanks

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  22. Hey Earl, just checking how you went. I hope it worked for you after diluting.

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  23. So all that is mixed for a Molecule 01 imitation is the ISO E Super and DPG? No other ingredients? And what else could be added to make it smell even better?

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  24. Hey there, Molecule 01 is based on just one aromachemical which is Iso E Super in alcohol in EDT form (about 15 -20%) As far as I know (and smell) Molecule 01 is very close to Iso E Super. I substitute alcohol with DPG.

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  25. worked out ok...still get a cedary smell but i like it...i wear it daily, not really a night time smell but its good...thanks again...sorry for not getting back to you sooner

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  26. Hey Earl, glad to know! I was worried that you still got the hamster smell :)

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  27. Have you tried mixing ISO E SUPER with
    any other scent to create a unique...
    woody fragrance????

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  28. Aldo, I have been playing with Iso E Super and Vetiver, it smells nice and masculine. Somewhat like Encre Noir but less complex.
    I have also tired mixing with Tobacco. It smells very soft and kind of sexy :)

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  29. The TOBACCO mix sounds great !
    and perhaps AMBER would work really well.

    I love tobacco, amber and leather scents..
    but right now I want to use ISO E Super
    with a floral..

    A Bois de Violet scent!

    What do you think???

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  30. Ooh, something like Bois de Violette sounds awesome! I don't have any violet note with me but if I get hold of some, will surely try! I think Iso E super goes well with delicate florals like lily or heliotrope or toned down neroli perhaps?

    I am huge fan of resins, not sure how Iso E super will blend. Something to try :)

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  31. Have ordered a few essential ingredients from
    Perfumers' Apprentice

    I'll let you know...
    how my experiment ends up.

    Smiles!

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  32. Hey, how long should you let the mixture sit before applying to skin? Can you immediately apply to skin once mixed? Thanks!
    -Chris

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  33. Hi Chris, it does require to be mixed well but once thoroughly mixed, I use it almost immediately!

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  34. Thanks for the reply Su! I'm excited to test this out.
    -Chris

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  35. Hey, Su! I know that you do not mix the Iso E Super with alcohol. But, do you know if the alcohol is rubbing alcohol that you can get at a drugstore. Or is it a special alcohol made for perfumes? And one more question: Do you buy the largest size of the Iso E Super when ordering? Will it "go bad" quickly or remain the same for a while? THANK YOU very much for being so nice and sharing your thoughts with us.

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  36. Hey Beth Ann,

    I think what you should look for is called "Perfumer's Alcohol" or a good substitute would be Grain Alcohol. Perfumer's Alcohol is available in many online stores. If it is for your own use/experiments, you can use Grain Alcohol. The problem with other kinds of alcohol is the smell I think, which will effect the way the end product would smell.

    As for how much Iso E Super I buy, I had bought 15 ml which I quickly ran out. My next order, I'll be buying more. Iso E Super is quite stable so if stored well, it should be good. It is a clear liquid. If it starts changing colour, become turbid or smells funny, I'll be chucking it right away.

    Just checked if there is an expiry date on my bottle for you.... there is none!

    Hope that helps! x

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  37. Thanks you for your info on the alcohol. I, too, bought the 15 ml of the Iso E Super and am about out. Thinking of buying the biggest size. And will also buy more jojobo oil. LOVE mixing those together. Also, LOVE mixing the Iso E Super with an unscented body lotion. Yummy!

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  38. Hi there,

    I bought some Cosmetisch haarwater (INCI: Alcohol, Panthenol, Parfum, Aqua) that has no smell, as the website (http://www.hekserij.nl/lexicon/solvents.htm) says.
    do you think that i have to use dpg or alcohol to achieve the same fragrance? or can i just stick to this "Cosmetisch haarwater"? what's the difference?
    thanks!

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  39. HI AlltheSame

    Cosmetisch haarwater seems to be a solvent (denatured alcohol) I think you can use it in place of DPG or perfumer's alcohol. I haven't smelt Cosmetic haarwater but it looks like it has a slight bergamot odour, which wouldn't interfere or alter the smell if you are mixing with anything like Iso E Super. You can definitely try it in place of DPG, maybe in small quantities at first.

    Hope it works out well for you :)

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  40. But how long did you have left it rest?
    Does anything happen if I use it before letting it rest?
    Does it have to be still?

    Thanks!

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  41. AlltheSame, I pretty much use it after about an hour or so. I have noticed that the smell gets a little better if left overnight. I think, once it is mixed with the diluent the smell develops. It should be mixed well at first though, like gently shaking or rolling the bottle. If you hold it to light, it should look homogenous, well mixed that is. Once mixed, it can be left in a cool dark place, away from heat and direct sunlight. It should do the trick!
    Hope that helps!

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  42. I have home made Molecule 01 and the real thing, and I think the real think projects a bit better, and smells a bit better too. The home made one is close though.

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  43. Hi Su, just came across your post-i've got to admit, Iso E Super has been fascinating me too after finding out it was a major player in Encre Noire. Encre Noire is a funny one-when i wear it, it amplifies other peoples fragrances to my nose, and also other smells-like cooking-i can smell stuff a mile off! Walking through London yesterday with a bit of Encre Noire & a little squirt of Gucci Pour Homme ll- it was an olfactory sensation!! I was getting looks from everyone. Anyway, Iso E Super-just got a bottle through the post, and just tested it neat on my skin... definitely woody! I'm going to mix it with EN to make it Super EN! He he

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  44. Anonymous, that is interesting :) Maybe a shot in the dark but commercial perfumes do add fixatives. I'll try adding some glucam 20 as fixative, it is supposed to increase longevity and maybe add more projection.

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  45. Anonymous, thanks for sharing your experience :) Yes, I love Encre Noir and loving your idea of amping it with Iso E Super! I bet it smells powerful and magnetic :) I have to try it myself!

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  46. Hello, wondering what DPG is and where to get it? Also, I'm assuming the Iso E Super on the Perfumer's Apprentice website is undiluted, if so, is it possible to just add a few drops to a bottle of jojoba oil?

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  47. Hi Anonymous,

    DPG is Di Propylene Glycol. It is a carrier for perfume's active ingredients. It is odourless and blends well with both oils and chemical alike. You can substitute Jojoba (or even sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil). They all work the same way.

    The Iso E Super is undiluted. I think you need to work out the concentration first before just adding it to jojoba oil. If it is weak, you cannot smell it. It requires a certain concentration for it evolve and start developing into a smell. It depends on your skin (trial and error). But it is safe to stay in the 20% concentration range for safety (allergy/skin reaction) purposes.

    Hope that helps! x

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  48. Hello Su, I have just recived my own 15 ml Iso E Super, and I am excited to create my own little perfume! I'm thinking of maybe mixing a lot of Iso E Super (approx 20%) with a tiny bit of jasmine (perhaps 1% - or is that too little?)... Do you think that would work out well? And I also would like to answer you if I can go with a not so strong drugtstore-vodka (37,5 vol.) or does the alcohol have to be stronger than that?

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I love your idea of mixing it with Jasmine, would smell like a beautiful soft woody jasmine. I layer IES with Annick Goutal Songes which smells amazing!
      Jasmine can be quite strong and could potentially overpower the subtlety of Iso E Super, so I think it is best to go easy on jasmine and experiment with as little as possible.
      Vodka should work, but rubbing alcohol is a little better to blend because of the concentration of alcohol, the smell and less additives compared to vodka.

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  49. I love the idea of Iso E Super with vetiver to make an Encre Noir "lite"! Do you use vetiver essential oil? How much in ratio with the iso e?

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    Replies
    1. I am huge fan of Encre Noir and lite version sounds nice! I have not combined it but I think going from 1 to 2 % Vetiver EO along with 20 - 25% Iso E Super should work. Depending on how you like it, you may take it up to 5%. Vetiver EO could be strong and can take over the Iso E Super.

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  50. I am very curious as to how many sprays you do? I sprayed like 8 and people around me cant smell it after a few hours, like I go and meet people like 3 or 4 hours after spraying it and they really cant smell me unless they're really really close to me. My friend made me a 20% concentration.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it takes a long time develop and actually sense its smell. I do apply liberally, about 2 sprays (dabs in oil form) behind each ear, nape of the neck, wrists, crook of the elbow, etc. It stays on clothes longer than on the skin. I can smell my scarfs days after I've used Iso E Super on it. My concentration is about 25%, projection and staying power on my skin at this concentration works the best.

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  51. Even at 20% concentration it should last on my skin for longer than a few short hours right? Considering I am spraying it about 8 times...

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    Replies
    1. Yep, but depends on your skin and what concentration works for you. If you try tweaking it with a little more pure Iso E Super (or ask your friend to make it for you) it may work a little better? No harm in using about 8 sprays at all (If I count my dabs, I go about 8 as well :)) You could also carry a little decant with you to refresh from time to time!

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  52. I have a bottle of Miller Harris perfume (oriental flowers) about 1/3 empty. I love the dry down,silage. But the top notes are too much and longevity is wanting. Added about 8ml of Iso Super to it.. In love, I tell you. I did not expect it to soften the top notes...but it did (dilution, maybe), but what it did do is amplify the dry down into something less flowery and more oriental. This WAS a womanly classic and while it is still womanly, it is now dirty..in a good way.
    The silage is mysterious. After I can no longer appreciate it, it seems to travel ahead of me and behind me in a languid manner. It isn't knocking people over, but I have heard, "OMG, what is that lovely smell?" "Who is that" I say nothing.
    Next experiment...I have gotten my hands on a small amount of aud. Will blend the two, along with everclear, and let you know.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, it is fabulous how well Iso E super can change things and add a special touch! I haven't tried that particular Miller Harris but I can imagine how fabulous the smell is! I may buy a decant of it and try it out myself :)

      Oh, aud would be so good to mix with it! I have a bit of Black Agar but haven't tried it Iso E Super because the one I have got is pretty strong and the subtlety of Iso E Super may be lost. But I am sure it would work at the right dilution! Good luck with it, it has me excited! Please come back and share how you go :)

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  53. For those wondering about rubbing alcohol (91%)..it works, however: It will take about an hour for the alcohol smell to evaporate and the ISO to take center stage. In other words,put it on an hour before you want to bloom. In general, I thing perfumery alcohol, as recommended on this site, or everclear is your best bet. If you can afford sandlewood, that might be good. Although, I have not tried it, and you would be limited in application.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that! Many people wonder about using alcohol. Yes, it takes a while to develop even in DPG, so I can imagine it is the same wit alcohol/perfumer's alcohol/everclear. I love sandalwood and combination with Iso E super is just stunning! I have only mixed with just a few drops of sandalwood. Diluting with sandalwood oil is a fabulous idea though it would take a lot of it to dilute to 20%! I wish I could :)

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  54. i have an unmarked bottle of a fragrance which only has its essence left and i need to know how to backwards engineer it cuz i love it equal to iso e super. any advice on who to talk to on that matter?

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    Replies
    1. Oh that would be a challenge! Do you have a picture of the bottle, maybe it could be identified and the notes could be looked up? You could post the picture on one of the perfume forums (Basenotes.net or Fragrantica.com) and ask what it could be. If it is out of production you can ask for suggestions for perfumes that smell similar. People are helpful there and I am sure it will solve your problem :)

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  55. What is DPG ? I've heard lots of talk about this ISO E Super stuff makes me want to pick up vial or two of this magic juice.

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    Replies
    1. It is short for Di Propylene Glycol. It is used as a solvent in perfumes, like alcohol but has more of a thicker and 'oily' consistency but not really 'oily' on the skin. It is absorbed and doesn't leave a residue. But does not evaporate like alcohol. It is odourless and lightweight which makes it ideal for dilution. Useful stuff for DIY. You can buy it at many online places which sell DIY stuff. Hope that helps.

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  56. Thanks for the info! Got me even more interested and so I just ordered my first diy kit to experiment with ISO e.

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome! Have fun playing with Iso E!

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  57. Hi! This sounds so interesting, I work with perfume for my job and cannot wait to make my own! I was wondering though, what tools (if any) do you use to measure out your quantities?
    Kx

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    Replies
    1. Hello,
      I use 1 ml and 3 ml plastic disposable pipettes. I also have 5 ml capacity bottles and 3 ml capacity plastic containers. I only blend in small amounts, so these suffice me. Good luck with perfume making :)

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  58. HI,
    I've been Reading and figured I'd step in. I may be wrong on this but I've been asking around, trying to find answers in regards to dilutions.

    "Although Iso E Super is extremely popular, the International Fragrance Association has examined its properties for potential allergenic and skin sensitizing negative effects and decided to ration its use. Taking up to 10% of the fragrance formula was recommended for use in a variety of products according to IFF in 2002, but recent developments effectuated in 2010-2011 have lowered that level to 21.4% in the final compound to be further diluted in alcoholic products."

    So, according to this statement and the opinions of numerous people I have asked...your 20% of ISO to 80% alcohol or DPG would be too strong?

    Reagrds,
    Numberz

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    Replies
    1. Hello Numberz,
      When the above post was written, the concentration I mentioned was correct. However, it seems that IFRA has changed the 'safe' levels due to allergens later in 2011. Since I make Iso E Super for personal use only and I know I am not allergic to it, 20% doesn't seem harmful for me. If you are making it for yourself, it is wise to test yourself with a minute amount (in different concentrations) for allergies. If you are making it for others whose allergy status you don't know or making it for selling purposes, it is safe for you and for others if you follow the guidelines strictly.

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    2. Hi - All your Information regarding the Iso is fascinating - I have followed your instructions and have made my perfume - I have bought the 'this company molecule' for some time now and also love the Hermes marveilles, so this is going to save a fortune.
      The only thing strange thing is the fact it is very oily? is this normal? is it really only the 2 ingredients?
      Sorry if i sound dumb but am very new to this?
      I also have very sensitive skin and the ratio has been fine.
      Beverley

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    ReplyDelete