Most people know vodka as a clear, odorless and tasteless alcoholic beverage that is enjoyed in martinis at a cocktail party or during happy hour after work. Although vodka’s popularity comes from its ability to blend well with other ingredients to make tasty mixed drinks, it has enjoyed tremendous success as a perfume diluent as well. Vodka is the result of fermented grain or potatoes that have been combined with water and distilled multiple times. This distillation process purifies the alcohol and creates a neutral substance or fixative that stabilizes a perfume’s scent and prevents the essential oils from spoiling. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the most common fixative used in perfumes is vodka.

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Most perfume recipes call for 1/4 cup of 100-proof vodka, which has a ratio of 50 percent water and 50 percent alcohol. Smirnoff and Absolut brands are examples. A basic perfume recipe using vodka recommends 1 tsp. of essential oil to 1/4 cup of vodka.

Use a glass or plastic dropper to measure enough essential oil to fill a plastic teaspoon. Make note of the number of drops used.

Empty the contents of the teaspoon along with the vodka in a glass bottle. Seal the bottle and shake lightly to combine the ingredients.

Check for scent intensity by holding the perfume at arm’s length while smelling it. If the scent is not strong enough, add more oil one drop at a time. Do not add additional vodka.

Test your perfume for allergic and dry skin reactions by placing a few drops on pulse points. Ethyl alcohol found in vodka and other perfume diluents can dry out skin.

Use vodka instead of perfumer’s alcohol when making citrus perfume blends, because it has almost no aroma and tends to enhance the scent of the essential oil blends.

Adjust perfume recipes requiring distilled or spring water when using 100-proof vodka to keep the water/alcohol ratio at 50/50.

Add fewer drops of essential oil and more water to make colognes, toilet water or body splashes, as they are not as concentrated as perfume. The amount of vodka used, however, should remain the same.