A good way to get to know each oil is to test its characteristics.
Set aside some time when you are relaxed and will not be interrupted. Clear your mind to concentrate on the scent. Mark the perfume blotter with the name of the oil you are testing.
Aroma-smell the oil directly from the bottle. Try to discern the notes. What is the intensity of the scent and the characteristics? (After doing the perfume blotter test, think about the difference in the scent of the oil when it is in the bottle and when it is on the blotter.)
Color-Put a drop of oil on a perfume blotter. What is the color? Note the next day if there is a stain on the perfume blotter. Some oils leave a residue due to the solid components.
Feel-Slide a drop of oil between two fingers. How does it feel? “oily”, slick, smooth, thick, or sticky? You will find that essential oils do not have the characteristically “oily” feel. If they do, they may have been diluted with a carrier oil.
Perfume blotter test-Put 1-3 drops of oil on the narrow end of a perfume blotter. As you slowly bring the blotter towards your nose, inhale deeply. Study the aroma. What images come to mind? Colors? Memories?
Inhale immediately, after a few minutes, after 30 minutes, several hours, the next morning and throughout the day. How long does the scent last?
Does the oil run up the blotter? Generally denser oils will remain where the drop was placed while lighter oils run up the blotter.
When describing the oil, use words that you would use to describe wine-warm, cool, sharp, tart, acidic, mellow, sunny or weak as well as words to describe plants: herbaceous, camphoraceous, floral, spicy, minty, nutty, or citrus.
As you are inhaling, think of colors, shapes, taste, character, and emotions. Do you associate the scent with a gender? How do you feel after inhaling the aroma?
Each oil is a top, middle or base note (although some may be in more than one category). Where do you think each fits? As well, each note contains the three notes. Try to smell each note as the oil evaporates.
- Top notes-hit you first and evaporate most easily. These are generally light and disappear within 30 minutes. This is the most difficult to reproduce artificially.
- Body or middle notes-The next note you will be aware of is the middle note. It remains longer on the blotter. This note is normally less characteristic of the oil. It is generally easier to reproduce artificially. This note can last 30 minutes to four hours.
- Base or dryout note-This longest lasting note and the last to appear. It may take one to two hours to appear. And some, such as patchouli, may take even longer. The base note can last up to 36 hours. This is the note that provides the fixative quality of an oil.