French Rose de Mai Base

Once upon a time, Rose de Mai was the main rose absolute used in fine French fragrances. These days the price is prohibitive and the absolute is mainly available to big houses like Dior and Chanel. But all is not lost! You can make your own Rose de Mai.

This is very much a wardia-type base (it is, in fact, based in part on a GCMS analysis of rose wardia by Firmenich). However, because I like to work with restricted chemicals I have been a little more relaxed around the formula than Firmenich needs to be due to IFRA. The restricted ingredients in this base can be easily substituted if you don’t want to use them but they are in very small doses so I can’t really see why there would be a problem anyway.

This base is expensive but well worth it I think. It can be used at mega-doses or micro-doses. Wardia was created before a number of truly astonishing rose chemicals were discovered. I have incorporated those chemicals into this base while remaining true to vintage perfumery by including a large dose of natural Rose de Mai absolute.

Rose Imperiale

If the cost or availability of rose de mai is prohibitive for you, just leave it out of this formula and increase the triethyl citrate by another 10. Do try to use TEC if you can as it is a lovely diluent for rose products.

Quantity Ingredient Comments
335 Phenyl Ethyl Alcohol Natural
120 Citronellol Laevo
100 Rose de Mai Absolute
82 Geraniol ex Palma Rosa
35 Hydroxycitronellal Cyclosia base is best
25 Geranium Bourbon
20 Methyl Phenyl Acetate
20 Ho Wood oil
15 Eugenol
10 Orris Butter 100%
10 Geranyl Propionate
6 Rose Imperiale Microbase Formula below
5 Aldehyde C-11 Undecylenic 100%
2 Vetiver Bourbon
1.5 Citral Natural
1 Phenyl Ethyl Isobutyrate
1 Geranyl Formate
1.5 Dimethyl Sulfide 0.01% This refines with resting
210 Triethyl Citrate IPM, DPG, DEP can substitute

Rose Imperiale Microbase

In order to add ingredients at really small doses, I mix up a micro-base which lets me scale up to work with larger quantities. I then include a small amount of that microbase in to the finished rose base. This really adds much of the magic so you don’t want to omit this. There are some unusual ingredients but they are all available from Vigon or PerfumerSupplyHouse.

NOTE: this does not smell particularly nice on its own but don’t be afraid – it all comes together in the end.

Quantity Ingredient Comments
5 Neofolione
5 Cinnamic Alcohol
5 Syringa Aldehyde
5 Geranyl Butyrate
5 Alpha Terpineol
5 Civettone
4 Heliotropin
3 Phenyl Ethyl Tiglate
3 Citronella Oil
3 Citronellyl Butyrate
2 Rose Oxide Laevo
2 Benzyl Isoeugenol
2 Polvolide
1 Undecavertol
1 Styrallyl Alcohol
2 Phenyl Acetaldehyde 50%
1 Ethyl Acetate
3 Prenyl Acetate 10%
2 Iso Amyl Acetate 10%
1 Phenyl Ethyl Phenyl Acetate 10%