Tools of the Trade

Ever wondered what it takes, practically speaking, to be a perfumer?

Please, step into my office so I can show you through my (well-used) equipment…(You might need to ignore the little drips and spills!)

  • Disposable pipettes


Vital for every perfumer. Allows me to draw the exact amount of extract I need accurately and hygienically every time. I buy these by the truck-load.(It’s a small truck)

  • Funnels and measuring equipment


Accuracy and hygiene are very important in perfumery and cosmetics creation, so I use washable glass measuring cylinders and funnels to measure out ingredients (unless they need to be weighed) and to filter fragrances. The equipment is washed in warm soapy water and sterilised using ethanol before each use.

  • Seripettor


Seri-whater, you ask? A seripettor is an amazing piece of equipment that I would not be without. It attaches to the top of a glass bottle, and very accurately dispenses our perfumes, allowing us to fill vials and bottles by hand quickly and effectively. Believe it or not, when I first started out in perfumery, I would fill every bottle and vial with a pipette!

  • Buchner flask and ceramic funnel


I say its important, but I don’t actually have these as yet. These pieces of lab equipment allow for quick filtering of the perfumes without risk of flammability. Wikipedia puts it like this:

A Büchner flask can be used with a Büchner funnel for separating solids and liquids. Water is poured into the Büchner funnel and the liquid passes through filter paper and is sucked up by a vacuum attached to the side of the Büchner flask, while the solid stays behind in the Büchner funnel.

The Büchner flask can also be used as a vacuum trap in a vacuum line to ensure that no fluids are carried over from the aspirator or vacuum pump (or other vacuum source) to the evacuated apparatus, or vice versa.

The alternative to these is to filter each formulation by hand with a funnel and filter paper (which is how we do it at the moment).

  • Crimper


Not all perfume companies crimp their bottles; some are screwed on. We have chosen crimp bottles with mean there is no risk of the product being tampered with, and less chance of leakages. Crimpers are not easy to find, and ours came all the way from South Africa.

A crimper like this attaches the metal atomiser to the top of the perfume bottle, and folds the metal under the lip, forming a tight seal.

  • Digital scales


Most ingredients and weighed out as opposed to measured when we make our perfume blends. This allows for greater accuracy and replication of the formula each time, no matter what volume we’re making. This digital scale allows us to weigh anything from 0.1g.

  • Magnetic Stirrer


A little secret weapon. Magnetic stirrers are used in chemistry for the purpose of mixing solids into liquid. A rotating magnetic field on the plate causes a little bar placed inside the bottle of perfume to spin very quickly, stirring the liquid and thus speeding up the process of ageing it. When we need to get a perfume ready quickly and don’t have the time to allow it to complete the ageing process naturally,  the stirrer allows the molecules to shake, rattle and roll to achieve a synergistic blend in less time. Under normal circumstances, our perfumes mature naturally in a dark cupboard for 4-8 weeks.

Well, there you have it! The secrets to having your own little perfume studio!

Are you thinking of becoming a perfumer? Perfumer already? Whats in your lab?

Liz Cook


liz head shot bw