Okay, so that was a truly terrible tabloid-y title, and the opening sentence of this post doesn't exactly redeem me. And I am sorry too for the fact that this is yet another "decanting rant", but as you know I am heavily involved in the swapping scene - and in making up vials as part of my evangelical crusade to convert friends and relatives - so decanting is a subject never far from my mind. And in fairness, one about which there doesn't seem to be a great deal of coverage in the blogosphere, or not that I have noticed.
But to my first gripe...the other day I was splitting a new bottle of Michel Comte's Shared Water with a perfumista in California. The name "Shared Water" was really rather apt, now I think of it. Anyway, I consider myself to be well versed in the techniques of spraying, and familiar with the idiosyncrasies of different bottle shapes and nozzle types - or so I thought... It quickly dawned on me, however, that this particular bottle only wanted to spray at a minimum of a 45 degree angle, and in fact the closer to the perpendicular the better.
Well, even though I dropped physics at the age of 12, I could tell right off the bat that spraying upwards was not going to be the optimum way to fill a 15ml glass atomiser. The act of filling - although the dictionary definition of the verb is less specific - is, in my experience, an inherently downwards motion. The compilers of the online dictionary I just consulted may indeed have had problems of their own decanting from certain perfume bottles, because they are deliberately coy about the recommended way of "filling":
"To put into (a container, for example) as much as can be held: fill a glass with milk."
So, once I had encountered a problem with the classic mode of downwards spraying, I too had to resort to merely "putting" - by any viable method I could devise. In the event I resorted to a big plastic funnel like Jodrell Bank telescope and the closest angle to the horizontal I could get away with (which was not very close at all), hoping against hope that the funnel would catch and direct all the errant perfume down into the atomiser.
Sadly, a fair bit of spray ricocheted off the funnel and back in the direction of my face and the atmosphere in general, so I probably lost about 5ml by using this clunky - and counter-intuitive - process. But the bottle stubbornly refused to spray at any other angle.
In the end, though, I did manage to "put" the perfume in the receptacle and share Shared Water with the person in the US, but by golly it didn't go quietly!
And having since done a bit of research, I think I may have identified the correct tool for the job:
"The AccuMist system from Sono-Tek offers the highest degree of accuracy, precision and fine-line control in ultrasonic deposition."
The Sono-tek website helpfully goes on to explain the mechanism in a little more detail:
"The ultrasonically produced spray at the tip of the stem is immediately entrained in the low pressure air stream. An adjustable focusing mechanism on the air shroud allows complete control of spray width. The spray envelope is bow-shaped. The width of the bow is controlled by moving the focus-adjust mechanism in and out."
I don't know about you, but I am sold already and poised to place my order...
Another faff-filled fumie feat I struggle with is upending splash bottles and simply pouring their contents down a funnel into an atomiser. I use the term "simply" advisedly, because in my experience the perfume comes out with a rush and instead of it all going down the hole in the funnel, it overflows, not unlike - at the risk of lowering the tone - a blocked toilet! Now what is that all about? You would think gravity would be our ally here, but obviously not. I don't know the reason why perfumes behave badly in this instance, but I have a hunch that it may be to do with their viscosity or density, or some such tricky technical parameter.
Finally, a while ago I blew off a little steam describing the problems I was having snapping on the plastic tops to 2.5ml glass atomisers. Well, I stuck with them and kept practising my technique, and am pleased to report that I can successfully assemble these on the first attempt 4 out of 5 times now. So that is quite pleasing, and once in place the closure is pretty tight, just as the supplier said.
The secret with these is composure, self-belief and a high degree of mental focus. It is exactly like chopping a plank of wood in half with a karate blow, or locating your core muscles in Pilates.