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Melody Of Scent: Blending Essential Oil By Aromatic Note
Author: Liz Fulcher
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Creating your own essential oil blends can be exciting and incredibly satisfying. As you work with aromatics, you’ll soon learn there are many perspectives from which to blend essential oils, depending on your intended outcome. 

For example, when blending from a therapeutic perspective, you would research the curative properties of essential oils then choose those that will give you the healing effects you need. When blending from an energetic perspective, you would select the essential oils that have the subtle or vibrational characteristics that correspond to the chakras you’re working with or that will restore emotional balance.   

However, when you blend essential oils for the sheer pleasure of the aroma, it can get a little more complex, as you are combining science and art. Blending just for fragrance is a useful skill to develop and it can be a lot of fun! 

Scent Descriptions
Let’s look at some of the categories used to describe scent. Some essential oils may fall into more than one category. 

Citrus: Smells like citrus fruit. Uplifting, fresh, vibrant.
Examples: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine

Earthy: Smells of earth or wet dirt.
Examples: Vetiver, Patchouli

Floral: Sweet, heady, fresh, rich. Fragrance of a flower. 
Examples: Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Rose, Ylang Ylang 

Herbaceous: Pungent, slightly woody.
Examples: Lavender, Basil, Clary Sage, Geranium, Marjoram, Peppermint, Rosemary

Woodsy: Smells like trees or the woods. 
Examples: Cedarwood, Fir Needle, Pine

Camphoraceous: Clean, fresh, medicinal.
Examples: Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Tea Tree

Resinous: Buttery, soft, deep. 
Examples: Elemi, Frankincense, Myrrh, Vanilla

Exotic: Warm, sweet and pungent. 
Examples: Clove, Ginger, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang

Blending by Scent Type
Essential oils in the same scent category tend to blend well together, but there are other categories that are lovely when combined as well. Choosing the category that an essential oil falls into is subjective, and so is combining categories. Ultimately, your preferences and how the oil blend smells to you are what count when creating an aromatic blend. That said, here are a couple of guidelines for beginners to follow when blending by scent type.
1. Essential oils from the same category combine well together.
2. Essential oils can be mixed and matched with other complementary scent categories, as you’ll see in the list below. 

Suggested Category Combinations: 
Citrus: Blends with floral, exotic, woodsy, minty.
Earthy: Blends with woodsy and minty.
Floral: Blends well with other florals, woodsy, spicy, citrus.
Herbaceous: Blends with spicy, floral, woodsy, citrus.
Woodsy: Blends well with all categories.
Camphoraceous: Blends well with citrus, woodsy, herbaceous, earthy.
Resinous: Blends well with citrus and floral.
Exotic: Blends well with floral and citrus.


Aromatic Notes
Have you ever noticed that a fragrance smells differently from morning to afternoon? There’s a scientific reason for this called ‘volatility’ (rate of evaporation) of essential oils. Those oils with tiny molecules evaporate quickly, while those with heavy molecules evaporate slowly. As the oils in a blend evaporate, the scent will change to reflect the aroma of the oils that haven’t yet evaporated.  

Aromatherapists categorize this rate of evaporation from the most volatile to the least, and call them “aromatic notes”. Volatility will have an impact on both the shelf life of the oil as well as its fragrance. Essential oils that evaporate quickly are “top notes”, those that evaporate very slowly are “base notes” and those in-between are “middle notes.” A fragrance can have one note or many, but more notes in the scent create a richer experience. 

Descriptions of the Aromatic Notes 
Top Notes: Top notes are light and fresh and add a joyful brightness to your blend. They clear your mind and are uplifting, making them great to help with lethargy, lack of focus or fatigue. 
Shelf Life: 1-3 years 
Examples: Lemon, Lime, Orange

Middle Note: This note is harder to detect because it falls between the top and base notes. Often called the ‘heart note’, it can be a lovely link between the extremes of the top and base notes, giving your blend softness as it rounds off any sharp edges.  
Shelf Life: 3-5 years
Examples: Lavender, Geranium, and Tea Tree 

Base Note: Base note essential oils have big, heavy molecules and rise slowly to your nose, unlike top notes which fly into your face and penetrate quickly. This aromatic note adds a deep, grounding quality to your blend. They also function as “fixatives” which help reduce the evaporation of top notes and help soaps maintain their fragrance. They often have an earthy aroma and help calm nerves and relieve stress and anxiety. 
Shelf Life: 6-8 years or longer
Examples: Cedarwood, Frankincense, Patchouli

Blending by Aromatic Note
There are no hard and fast rules for blending by aromatic note. I once made a gorgeous blend called Sacred Space with the three base notes of Cedarwood, Spikenard and Frankincense. However, if you’re aiming for a more balanced blend, for every one drop of base note, add two drops of middle note(s) and three drops of top note(s) to ensure that your blend is well rounded. 

Finally, remember that regardless of the perspective from which you are blending—therapeutic, energetic or aromatic—stay mindful of all essential oil safety precautions. 

Now grab your essential oils and get blending!



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