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aromatherapy 101

Alcohol Dilution Chart

Occasionally you will come across a cologne or toilet water formula that requires a weaker strength alcohol than you have available. Dilute the alcohol with pure distilled water according to the following chart:

To Each Cup of 70% - 140 Proof Alcohol

Add water:
3 tablespoons 65%
4 tablespoons 60%
5 tablespoons 55%
6 tablespoons 50%

To make:
130 proof
120 proof
110 proof
100 proof

To Each Cup of 95% - 190 Proof Alcohol

Add water:
1 tablespoon 90%
2 tablespoons 85%
3 tablespoons 80%
5 tablespoons 75%
7 tablespoons 70%
1/2 cup 65%
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon 60%
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons 55%
3/4 cup 50%

To make:
180 proof
170 proof
160 proof
150 proof
140 proof
130 proof
120 proof
110 proof
100 proof

Standard Dilution Procedure

The perfumer's standard dilution procedure will help you learn the changes that take place when the strength of the scent is varied. It is useful when you begin to create perfumes and colognes, and as another type of olfactory test.

You will need four eyedroppers, four test tubes, a test-tube stand, and a fifth of 90-proof alcohol for each oil you are going to dilute. Usually you will not need to take the procedure to the dilution level of the fourth test tube, but you should understand how to complete the process.

Label the eyedroppers and test tubes in pairs: 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each dropper must handle solution from its matching test tube only. Set them in the stand.

Use dropper #l to place 10 drops of alcohol in test tube #1. Mark the liquid level with an indelible marker. Pour the liquid into test tube #2. Refill and pour from tube #1 (using the marked level) into tube #2 nine more times. Mark this level in test tube #2. You will have 10 times the amount in tube #2 than in #1, or 100 drops. Pour the liquid from tube #2 into test tube #3. Proceed as before until you have poured a total of 10 test tube #2 levels into tube #3. Test tube #3 will contain 1,000 drops. Mark the level. Follow the same procedure into test tube #4 which will then contain 10,000 drops. Go back and fill test tubes #1, #2,and #3 to their marked levels. Tube #l will have 10 drops,tube #2 100 drops, tube #3 1,000 drops, and tube #4 10,000 drops.

Now use eyedropper #l to place one drop of essential oil into tube #1. This makes a one to 10 solution. Again using dropper #l, take one drop of solution from test tube #l and place it in tube #2. This creates a one to 1,000 solution. Using dropper #2, place one drop of solution from tube #2 into tube #3. This will make a one to 1 million solution Finally, use dropper #3 to transfer one drop of solution from tube #3 to tube #4. This makes a one to 1 billion solution. Unless you are working with real musk or civet, the contents of tube #4 probably will not have a detectable odor.

Alternatively, stronger dilutions may be created. A one to 100 solution is obtained by placing one drop of oil directly into test tube #2. One to 1,000 and one to 10,000 dilutions are obtained by placing one drop of oil directly into tubes #3 and #4 respectively. Check the dilutions by putting one drop from each tube onto filter paper.


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