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How to Replicate or Duplicate an Essential oil blend or scent?

by Penny Keay

We are asked very often if we can replicate an essential oil blend or scent. Since we no longer offer this service, I will offer the technique I have used for over 15 years. If you like, you can then replicate blends for yourself.

The first thing you will need to know is what essential oils are in the scent you are trying to replicate.

The reason this is so important to know is, that if there are any scents that are man-made or fragrance oil scents, it will be near impossible to replicate.

Secondly, you need to have at least 2-5 mL of the scent you want to replicate so you have a good working reference point. If you have, less than this, you may not be able to make a good replication but it may still be very close.

Okay, so you know that the blend is only essential oils. Make sure you have the ones on hand that you’ll need.

Next, I make a ‘chart’ to fill in while working on the replication.

It is a simple grid with a list of essential oils on the left hand column. Then I make several other columns next to each essential oil. I usually make 6-7 columns.

I don’t always need that many but you might when you first start out. As your nose gets better at this “blending thing”, you will know more readily, what needs to be added.

You will need to have a supply of disposable pipettes with 1 ml graduation marks on them. Additionally, some plastic bags, a Sharpie Marker or label papers, an empty glass bottle with a tightly fitting cap, preferably 1-ounce size.

You can use a 30 mL Euro-dropper bottle if you want to but you will need to remove the orifice reducer when you are adding essential oils to your replicating blend and then replace the insert each day when you are finished.

You will also need a supply of Scent Testing Strips (ideal) or clean, unscented paper towel cut into 2-inch squares.

And of course you will need each of the essential oils listed in the original blend – at least a 10 ml bottle or larger since you don’t know until you are finished how much you will need of each in the blend.

Use the Sharpie marker to write the name of the single note essential oils, one on each pipette. Also, write on one each of the Zip Lock bags.

Therefore, you will have a baggie and a disposable pipette with corresponding names. This way you can reuse the same pipette over and over until you are finished blending.

Once you are done, simply put the pipette in the zip lock baggie and close it up until the next day. This helps you conserve on the pipettes and keeps them each separate so not to contaminate your ‘stock’ bottles.

Label your ‘empty’ bottle so you know what you are blending – call it something like Replication of “Light Citrus” or whatever you are replicating. Tape it on securely.

To begin: place 1 mL of each essential oil that is in the blend in your empty 1 oz bottle and tighten the cap. You are done for the first day. Write the date at the top of the first column on your chart/card. Now, just walk away and be patient. In 24 to 48 hours return.

When you return you will need to get two test strips out. Write on one strip – “Original” and on the other “Replication”. Set them aside for a few minutes as if you used a Sharpie marker you don’t want to smell the ‘ink’ they use.

Next, on the strip marked ‘Original’ place one small drop of the “original blend”. On the other, place your “New Creation” replication.

Now take a whiff of the “Original” scent - first. Exhale a couple times then take a whiff of your new blend second.

Note: what do you smell differently? As an example say you are replicating a blend that has Mandarin, Tangerine, Orange and Lime essential oils in it.

What is more prevalent in the original blend versus the one you are working on? You say you can smell Orange stronger in the original blend.

Once you know that then add 1 mL of orange essential oil to your new creation. Close the bottles and leave for another day.

Don’t forget to fill in your grid. Put the date on top and in each box you will keep a running total of essential oils that make up your blend.

Therefore, in this case Mandarin 1 ml, Tangerine will be 1 mL, Orange 2 ml and Lime 1 ml. Since you only added the 1 mL of Orange, only that number changed.

Each time after you have, added essential oils to your bottle you need to give the new addition a chance to ‘blend, to meld with all the essential oils.

Again, you come back a few days later and put a small drop of each the “original” and the “replication” on a scent strip, then smell the “original” and then your “replication”. This time when you smell it seems that your creation needs a little more Lime, so add 1 mL of Lime to the bottle.

Now your grids third column will say Mandarin 1ml, Tangerine 1 ml, Orange 2 ml and Lime 2 mls don’t forget to put the date on top.

Come back and repeat this as many times as necessary to get your blend correct. You will be surprised at how fast your nose will be trained and you will be able to replicate more of your favorites.

When you think you have it – let it sit for 1 to 2 weeks, then come back and test it one more time. Usually by now, it will be so close you won’t be able to differentiate between the two- the “original” and the “replication” will smell identical! Yeah! You’ve done it!

Here is an example of a totally made up (pretend) Blend and it’s filled out Blending worksheet.

(Although this blend is ‘make believe” it does sound rather good!)

blending card

I use cardstock and an excel spreadsheet and print the grid on just the one-half of a sheet, this creates a ‘folder’ so I can keep notes inside on separate sheets or I can just write inside the folder too.

Once you have the “Replication” completed, then you can write your creation on a “Recipe Card” and keep it in a “Recipe” card file.

Your recipe card would list each essential oil in the blend with the entry from your final column. In the case of my “Make Believe” replication, I like to list the essential oils in my blends starting with the essential oil that has the largest quantity. That is once I know what my recipe is. Anyway, you would have a recipe that looks as follows:

Citrus blend (replication) - Makes 9 mL

Orange – 4 mL
Mandarin – 2 mL
Lime – 2 mL
Tangerine – 1 mL

So hopefully this wasn’t too confusing.

As you can see it can take quite a while to use your ‘nose’ to replicate another blend of essential oils but it can be done. As many of you know I have done it over 60 times as I have replicated many scents that I enjoyed from any number of essential oil blends.

Also, this was a very simple blend. When you get to replicating blends that have 6-8 essential oils it gets much more difficult. Moreover, it will take much longer to replicate – sometimes up to 6 months or more.

You can learn to replicate blends. Alternatively, if you prefer, we do have a company that will give you the exact ingredients but they will require 10 mL to 30 mL and sometimes more and a hefty charge of $300-500.00 to get you the ‘recipe’.

It sounds much more fun to try to replicate on your own. In addition, as someone I once heard on the TV say – “You can do it!”

If you know who it was send me an e-mail and we'll see if you guessed right! I know who it was that said it. (You have to think back almost 20 years!)

All the products listed in the article are available at our Shopping Site - see link below.

© 2013, 2015, 2017 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.


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