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Scent chemists

Fragrance chemists are working to find new fragrance molecules and they are synthesizing new interesting fragrance compounds. Fragrance chemists usually work for large raw material companies that produce new fragrance nuances for the perfume palette. The main emphasis on fragrance chemicals is in chemistry. Their work is not usually related to creating perfumes.


When fragrance chemists invent new fragrance compounds, the perfume industry and perfumers get to try them virtually as soon as they hit the market.
It is common practice for only the world's leading companies to have access to

new fragrance compounds in the first place. They usually have a monopoly

until the substances reach the free

market for raw materials.

The work of the perfumer is very artistic.

It has to master both chemistry and the creative and intuitive side. A good scent memory is the most important tool. It allows landscapes, situations and individual scents to be created in liquid form.
Creating a great scent is like a kind of “clairvoyance” where the perfumer

senses the finished scent in his mind before starting his design work.
Sometimes the vision is so clear and strong that the scent comes in pretty quickly. Sometimes it can take weeks, months, or even years to create a scent before  the final, crowning finishing touch of creation can be found. The work must be very patient, systematic. “Creative Madness” is  advantage in order to develop  a new and unique world of fragrances. Psychology, related to the perception of smells and the images they create, is also an important part of the work.
In his work, the perfumer uses both synthetic and natural essential oils, concretes, tinctures and floral absolutes.
The perfumer must also know the  EU legislation on chemicals and natural raw materials.
There is currently only one perfumer in Finland. He's Max Perttula.

There are only a few hundred of them in the world working with traditional methods.

Officially, the title of perfumer can only

be used by a person who  has been actively working on fragrance creation

for at least seven years. The condition is that he is able to replicate using only its external memory for the most well-known commercial fragrances. He also needs to know the structures of different types of fragrances and how to create them.

Max Perttula has worked as a perfumer for more than 16 years. He is able to meet the reproduction condition and produce new unique fragrance sets.


These are professional titles in the perfume industry, which has no direct translated equivalent.
In practice, these individuals work in companies, creating a fragrance idea. They envision the concept, after which the idea is submitted to the perfumer for implementation. In practice, this job description is very similar to the ADs of advertising agencies who come up with an advertising campaign. Creatives or Fragrance designers may not be able to create fragrances at all, they focus on their fragrance idea and its presentation. They may recognize only a handful of fragrance compounds that they can tell their wishes to the perfumer.



This professional title focuses in

particular on the extensive knowledge of ready-made commercial fragrance ranges.

It is usually a person with a very strong and long career behind in the fragrance business. He knows brands and their features like his own pockets.
Fragrance experts usually identify ready-made commercial fragrances based on their scents. They may have knowledge, especially of natural raw materials, e.g. musk that doesn’t go deep into chemistry, or the creative side itself.
Fragrance specialists usually work in department stores, chemicals and import companies.

They also evaluate the quality of the fragrances to be purchased and the potential for commercial success. The fragrance expert can also advise the customer on the choice of fragrance and tell you which category the fragrance belongs to.



Perfumer Max Perttula is responsible for the creation of Max Joacim Cosmetics fragrances.

Max tells a little about his creation methods.
Creating perfumes is an art form of its own. Where the visual artist uses colors, the musician uses sounds, the perfumer uses so-called scent notes.
It all starts with a vision that I am slowly maturing into a concrete form.

I try to smell the composition of the fragrance in my mind before I start creating the product. I go through all the components in my mind,  which would give rise to a possible odor. Once the image is strong enough, I select all the raw materials I need from the lab. Then I can start the process of creating the scent.

"The work is very meticulous. There is weighing, measuring, dosing and, above all, smelling. The chemistry of all the raw materials must be known and combined in the right proportions in order to achieve the desired harmony of aroma.
My most important tool is my trained fragrance memory, the development of which is an ongoing process.
Using my fragrance memory, I am able to select just the right ingredients and combine them into a harmonious blend. Thanks to my good scent memory, I am also able to monitor the quality of essential oils and extract natural raw materials into their constituents. "

“The work also includes strict compliance with EU directives and sending ready-made fragrance recipes for safety assessment.
The finished fragrance normally consists of 15-70 different fragrance raw materials, so the work also involves a lot of processing and recording of raw material data. "


The birth of a new fragrance is a long and patient process that can take years. A perfumer is required to have a passionate attitude towards his work and, above all, an aesthetic perspective, sensitivity and artistic courage, as well as creative madness to try something new.
In addition, strong intuition is needed  future fragrance trends, ahead of others working on fragrances. "Indeed, in many interviews, I have said that the work of a perfumer touches on the abilities of the clairvoyant. After all, the vision of a fragrance is created as a concrete scent in the mind before it exists in physical form."

The finished product must meet the expectations of demanding customers in terms of fragrance longevity and uniformity.
The product development of Max Joacim perfumes has taken into account the Finns' preference for soft scents. That’s why I don’t use too much heavy aldehydes in the scents, as well as musk compounds that are generally thought to be “pungent” or too strong.
Transparency, sophistication and freshness are my line in product development.
The process of creating a single fragrance can take up to five years and sometimes  a couple of days. Everything depends on how strong your mindpicture of the fragrance is at the start of the creation process.

Sometimes I feel the precence of  "invisible muses" when I work, when this happens, "I just know" what to do to achieve the desired scent.

When this happens a commercial fragrance can be born in one day!


Modern perfume creation is very different from what it was sometime in the 1950s-60s, when simple floral scents were popular.
"I personally remember vividly the violet and lily of the valley perfumes of the 1970s. In the 1980s, many of the men's fragrances marketed by Finnish companies were stale and pungent. They smelled more like insecticide,  than a fragrance for men. 
Today, the range of raw materials is much larger than in the 1980s. That is why the scents today are very high quality and original.
Modern, trendy perfumes smell of landscapes and different situations. They can be used to create powerful mindpictures and for example nostalgic memories. Imaginative scents are the everyday life of the 21st century.



"My main source of inspiration in my work is the experiences of our own nature.

In addition, fashion, art, slavic music, erotica and inspiring personalities are often the sources of my creativity.

In the summer, I love to hike in the woods and paddle in the lake, often analyzing all the scents around me and separating them in my head into their chemical components.
As I travel around the city, I focus more on the scents that people use.
If a woman or a man walks in front of me, whose scent pleases me, in a couple of minutes I might get a mindpicture of the chemical structureof the scent. The image will remain in my memory, and when the opportunity arises, I can begin to build the vision into a concrete scent with my own unique scent facet. "

One of the most important qualities of a perfumer is a passion for his work. In addition, the ability to create new unique fragrances is required, without the pressure of international trends.

"Personally, I am not very actively following the trends of the international perfume industry,  because I think the industry has largely lost its artistry and respect for traditional working methods.
I am not one of those who imitate the creations of others, with the goal of just making money fast. When this is done, the result is that most international fragrances have a similar scent world. 

Of course, the ability to replicate “great scents” is an absolute prerequisite in the perfumer profession.
A good nose quickly recognizes the structure of Chanel 5, for example, and can replicate it quite effortlessly and create douzens of different scent facettes around the scent building block. For myself, this skill grew better as a result of years of doing so.
Today, I can replicate most commercial fragrances if I want. 

As I began my career in perfumery, every successful cloning exercise was a great pleasure because I noticed at the time that a rare skill was developing for me.

As the skill developed over time, my sense of smell began to sensitize even more. That’s when I started paying more attention to the smells in the environment, for example. A new world opened up to my work when I created the first perfumes based on the summer landscapes of Viitasaari. After graduating from 44500-Lake and 44500-Surrounded, I realized that putting the summer scents of Finnish nature I chose into the form of fine perfumes,  will be the main area of expertise for the Max Joacim brand. That sets my scents apart from other perfume companies. Finnish nature is like a huge fragrance laboratory. Especially the rural summer forests, meadows, lakes and gardens enchant with their nostalgic and beautiful scents. "



Max Joacim's fragrances are almost invariably based on the scents of Finnish nature, which give a strong positive impression. Raw material choices are crucial in terms of quality.

"Only the finest fragrance compounds and natural ingredients produce the enchanting scents that are talked about. They are also sensed in a positive sense. Fine luxury perfumes always include  authentic essential oils, floral absolute and natural resins that  “Blow the spirit” into the fragrance mix. I strongly believe that luxury perfumes are impossible to create without natural ingredients.

Fully synthetic luxury scents are often very chemical-like and “dead” in nature because they lack a soul. To bring the soul to the scent, suitable valuable natural substances must be used, which together round off and soften the perfume. The exception is trendy "water fragrances", the structure of which is mainly based on synthetic fragrance compounds. Authentic natural oils are rarely used for water scents, with the exception of lemon, neroli, grapefruit, bergamot, orange and lime oils, which are quite commonly used. The water scents can be conjured up with a realistic image of the landscape, using fresh, cucumber, watermelon, seawater, ozone and metallic notes. In this case, the scent is not dull and breathless, but full of dynamic, energizing and sophisticated translucent sensitivity.
Creating aquatic scents is a skill of its own that took years to learn. I currently have about 2300 fragrance compounds in use,  from which I develop the most diverse end products. My favorite naturals are ( to mention a few) sambac jasmine, neroli oil, cucumber, raspberry, osmanthus, midsummer rose, birch buds, egyptian jasmine, persian rose, orris concrete, premium jasmine, patchouli and champagne rose. I especially love the versatility of the Osmanthus Absolute and the summery spirit of Sambac jasmine. Today I have about 100 natural precious floral absolutes, essential oils and concretes in my scent palette. I use for example authentic grey amber tincture, tiare absolute, gardenia absolute, honeysuckle, agarwood and boronia absolute in my most valuable compositions. In this year we will launch two new fragrances which scents are 100% natural. Not because natural perfumes are trendy today, I just want to go back "to the roots" of perfumery and experience the nostalgy once again when I worked mostly with floral absolutes and essential oils in the 90´s.


"The entire perfume industry is mainly based on the use of fragrance compounds that are isolated from natural substances or synthesized in laboratories.

Many consumers believe that essential oils and natural ingredients would be more allergy-friendly than synthetic ones. However, that is not the case.
Natural ingredients consist of innumerable fragrance compounds,  which usually contain strong allergens.

Citrus oils in particular tend to oxidize to form highly allergenic compounds, many of which are symptomatic.
However, the use of essential oils in, for example, skin care and hair care products is to be justified,  because they have a wide variety of therapeutic effects on the skin and hair.
In this case, certified essential oils are used, the chemical structure of which is controlled. The addition of suitable antioxidants will prevent the formation of harmful compounds if stored properly. 

In my opinion, it is unnecessary to perfume skin care, make-up and hair care products with synthetic fragrances. Admittedly, it can facilitate the purchasing decision and provide a pleasant user experience. The chemical composition in which case the amount of fragrance compounds varies from crop to crop and may change very radically. "

EU directives are very specific regarding the use of fragrance compounds. It is advisable to use as many synthetic certified compounds as possible in products intended to perfume the body. In addition, isolates isolated from nature raw materials can be used. This is because it allows the exact chemical composition and content of raw materials and their maximum levels to be controlled. As a result, products will be safer as long as it is ensured that the maximum levels for substances classified as allergens are not exceeded.

In addition, the products can be developed to be as allergy-friendly as possible.
Natural substances are also under control. The raw materials used on the skin are controlled e.g. by setting maximum level directives.


In conclusion, the modern perfume industry would not exist without synthetic raw materials. When used wisely according to the directives, combined with the right amounts of high quality natural ingredients, great safe products are created.

Max Perttula




Copyright © Max Joacim Cosmetics Oy Finland

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