science and vacation: 4 posts

My Perfumery Course in Grasse and Edmond Roudnitska’s Garden

I’m happy to share that I’m going to teach another perfumery course in Provence this spring. It will take place from April 5-9th in Grasse, while the guests shall be staying near the Cap d’Antibes. Located between Nice and Cannes, it’s ideal for exploring the area that gave rise to modern perfumery as we know it today. Moreover, spring in Provence is the best season: mild, warm and richly scented.

roses5

My course will cover the principles of fragrance construction and perfume history. It requires no prior knowledge of perfumery, and my goal at the end of the long weekend is to leave you with greater knowledge of scents and ways to enjoy them. We will also smell the original versions of classical fragrances and learn about quality and what makes perfume great, rather than merely pleasant. We will also do exercises to sharpen our sense of smell and use professional techniques to help us memorize and describe aromas. It will be a longer and more intensive course than the one I gave in October, with an emphasis on learning the fundamentals of perfumery and the perfumer’s palette.

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The Secret of Scent or Adventures in Provence

If you were to pick the ultimate scent destination, it would have to be Provence. This region in the south of France has been the cradle of the modern perfume industry since the end of the 18th century, but even before that it was known for its aromatics–lavender, mimosa, rosemary, genet, and other perfumed plants. Although today Provence’s days as the center of rose and jasmine cultivation are long gone, it’s still a place for a fragrance lover when the air is perfumed with the salty-green scent of lavender and garrigue, a distinctly Provencal medley of herbs.

provence-herbs

In October, when I arrived in Luberon, the first thing I smelled was the fallen leaves and briny breeze. The mistral, a cold northwesterly wind, denuded the tall plantain trees, but it cleared the sky of clouds and it looked so blue that even the air felt turquoise. I arrived at the hotel Moulin de Vernègues, the venue for The Secret of Scent.

The Secret of Scent is a three-day course by Science & Vacation, a company that specializes in events combining sensory explorations–vacation, in other words–with an educational angle. I was to lecture for three days about the history and art of perfumery, while Luca Turin had a similar task, but with a focus on the science. To be honest, I was a little bit nervous.  While I give perfumery courses on a regular basis, my audience is usually industry folk–marketing, sales people and perfumers. While they’re not necessarily experts on all of the subjects I cover, I at least know the rough outlines of their knowledge. The Secret of Scent was open to everyone, and I wasn’t sure what our participants would be interested to learn.

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Secret of Scent and Vintage Perfumes

I promised to give more details on the Secret of Scent course that will run October 20-24 in Provence. Luca Turin and I will cover the science and art of fragrance during a 3-day event. We’ve decided to keep the number of attendees small to allow us to interact with every participant and give each one as much personal attention as possible. It will be an excellent educational event, and it will also be a lot of fun (food and wine tasting will be included). You need not have a background in either science or perfumery, but at the end of the course, you will have a good understanding of both fields.

vintage-coty-perfume

Among the highlights of the program are the vintage perfumes. Participants will smell the precursors to Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, the original version of Hermès Calèche, Coty Chypre, and many other treasures. Finally, I will share some of my favorite raw materials, the essential ingredients in the perfumer’s palette.

Reservations can be made via Science & Vacation. For all of the logistical details, accommodation and prices, please contact Science & Vacation directly.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

“Secret of Scent” Course with Me and Luca Turin

SOLD OUT

On October 20-24 I  will be giving a glimpse inside the world of perfumery during a 3-day science & art event in France. I will be joined by Luca Turin and together we will explain various aspects of smell, from the chemistry and neuroscience of olfaction to the art and culture of perfume.

perfume-lab2

The event is part of the Science & Vacation program, and it’s designed to give you as rich and multifaceted an experience as possible. You will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the sense of smell, study the perfumer’s palette, smell rare vintage fragrances–and by rare, I mean Coty Chypre, original versions of Guerlain Mitsouko and other Osmothèque worthy treasures, and even learn about the basics of fragrance composition. The course will take place in the Lubéron region famous for its lavender fields, and there will be lots of good food, wine and interesting discussions.

Reservations can be made via Science & Vacation. For all of the logistical details, accommodation and prices, please contact Science & Vacation directly.

Also, on October 6-10th, Science & Vacation will have a food related course presented by Guelia Pevzner. “Over the course of a long weekend in October, we are presenting a series of lectures and discussions on the subject of food and its future. We also plan to indulge in sampling a variety of regional French cuisines.” It’s worth taking a look.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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