An accord is basically when you combine two or more aroma materials together to create a completely brand new odour impression that is harmonious and balanced. It’s a concept similar to that found in music – whereby a chord is described as three or more musical notes played simultaneously to create harmony and balance to a song. Without chords, a song would sound unpleasant, discordant and lacking in melody. Just as chords are to a song, accords can act as the backbone to perfume compositions. However, not all perfumers choose to use accords to construct their perfumes.
An accord can also be likened to painting, where an artist might combine two or more colours – for example red and green – in just the right amounts, to create a brand new colour – brown. An accord in a perfume composition should be blended properly so that each aroma material that is used loses its individual identity and combined they create a new stand-alone scent. This is much easier said than done and takes lots of time and practice.
An example of an accord in modern perfumery can be found in the popular perfume Angel (1992 by Thierry Mugler).
Angel combined the aroma materials helional (which has a sweet, ozonic fragrance) with musk, ethyl maltol (sugar, caramel-like), patchouli (woody, earthy) and some other notes to create a brand new accord.
For a very simple, basic accord try blending ho leaf essential oil – which has a sweet, woody, floral aroma – with vanilla and you should get an aroma that smells somewhat like chocolate.