10 Books on The Art of Science

Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time revealed to me how fascinating and beautiful physics can be. Whether he was talking about black holes and explaining that if the universe had a beginning then it was likely to have an end, page after page Hawking was inspiring me to see the world in a new way and to follow him in asking big questions. How does time flow? How did our universe come together? What is matter? What is the spirit? I had by then received a thorough science oriented education, but I had no idea that science could be discussed in such a creative and beguiling manner.

Hawking (January 8, 1942-March 14, 2018) had many achievements in the fields of theoretical physics and cosmology. One was his famous Hawking radiation discovery. Black holes were long predicted to swallow everything that crossed the surface that surrounded them, event horizons, but Hawking showed that they emit radiation and even glow because of the energy they radiate. It was a revolutionary discovery, because in the process of explaining it Hawking connected two seemingly incompatible domains, that of quantum mechanics and relativity.

Even more important, however, was Hawking’s drive to make scientific subjects, even complex ones like theoretical physics, part of popular culture. He found it a loss that with the increasingly technical nature of science and the overspecialization of academia as a whole, few people, other than specialists could understand it. In his books like A Brief History of Time, The Grand Design or The Universe in a Nutshell he set out to show the general public why science can enchant with its ability to answer complex questions or ponder the mysteries of life.

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Summer Cologne for Winter

I’ve noticed over the past few years that my most worn winter perfumes have been the most summery ones in my collection. Or at least, the ones that feel crisp, bright, and effervescent. Enveloping ambers, dark musks, or plush leathers edge in, but they are not as prominent. While Belgian winters have been getting warmer, the main reason is that radiant, uplifting fragrance fit my mood better during cold days than anything rich and heavy. For instance, Hermès Eau de Citron Noir gives me an instant boost with its combination of citrus, spice, and woods.

Another favorite category is white florals, from dewy Frédéric Malle Lys Méditerranée to opulent Guerlain Cruel Gardénia. This genre of fragrance behaves so differently during cold weather that it’s fascinating to wear and compare one’s impressions. The blossoms open up slower, the dew lingers, the freshness persists. Sometimes I don’t even get to the final drydown before the day is over and the winter dusk falls.

What about you? What are you wearing today?

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Spices, Citrus, Woods, Rose, Orange Blossom, Iris : New Classes

Update: The interest in the new classes has been overwhelming, and all six seminars are now fully booked. I appreciate your enthusiasm and support. If you are interested in the Bois de Jasmin classes, please subscribe to our newsletter to be notified of new dates and topics. Of course, if you are interested in a particular class or topic, please send me a note.

New Bois de Jasmin online classes are now available for enrollment in 2022. I am continuing the popular Spices, Citrus, and Dark Woods series. I will also add three new classes focusing on florals: Rose, Orange Blossom, and Iris.

About Bois de Jasmin classes: These classes are for students of all levels of interest in perfumery. The classes teach you how to smell like a professional perfumer, take apart complex scents, and sharpen your sense of smell. Together we will study the fundamental classes of perfume materials and discover how they are used in perfumes. The lectures are designed to improve your enjoyment and appreciation of scents.

Class structure: 1h 15min. Small-group, interactive classes.

Having completed several classes, I listened to your suggestions and made a few changes. Originally, the classes were 1 hour and I set aside 15 minutes for questions. Many felt that 1 hour was not enough and wanted more guided exercises, so the lecture + exercise portion will be 1 hour and 15 minutes. We have time in between exercises for questions, and I’m always available to answer your questions afterwards.

Another change is that I suggest to bring perfumes to each class. I will give you a couple of suggested fragrances, but you can always use any suitable perfume from your own collection. We will still continue using readily available spices and fragrant materials for our smelling exercises, such as spices, coffee, or citrus fruit. You do not need to buy essential oil kits for these classes. You’ll receive the full instructions before the start of the class and after finishing the class you will also receive a list of fragrances to try based on the lecture theme.

Location: Online, Zoom

Date & Time: 1h 15min

Spices January 22nd, Saturday 1:00pm-2:15pm EST/7:00pm-8:15pm CET (time zone converter)  SOLD OUT

Citrus January 26th, Wednesday 1:00pm-2:15pm EST/7:00pm-8:15pm CET (time zone converter)  SOLD OUT

Dark Woods January 29th, Saturday 1:00pm-2:15pm EST/7:00pm-8:15pm CET (time zone converter)  SOLD OUT

3 class series: Spices, Citrus, Woods  SOLD OUT

Rose February 5th, Saturday 1:00pm-2:15pm EST/7:00pm-8:15pm CET (time zone converter) SOLD OUT

Orange Blossom February 9th, Wednesday 1:00pm-2:15pm EST/7:00pm-8:15pm CET (time zone converter)   SOLD OUT

Iris February 12th, Saturday 1:00pm-2:15pm EST/7:00pm-8:15pm CET (time zone converter) SOLD OUT

3 class series: Rose, Orange Blossom, Iris  SOLD OUT

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Chanel Gardenia and Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia Perfume Giveaway

Happy New Year! I hope that your year has started off well, and to make it even more so, today we have an amazing giveaway courtesy to Fabienne. The first wonderful part about it is that Fabienne is giving away a bottle of Chanel Gardénia EDP (200ml, 80% full, no box) and Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia EDP (50ml, sprayed a few times only, no box). As you might know, Velvet Gardenia is no longer possible to find, so this is a particularly precious find. As Fabienne says, “these perfumes were gifts. I wore them and tried to like them, but gardenia is not my style. I don’t want to sell them. I want to give them to someone who will enjoy them. I don’t comment often, but I read every post here and I want to give back to Victoria and this nice community.”

The second great part about this giveaway is that although Fabienne is based in the US, she is willing to ship to the US and EU (she can’t ship outside these two zones due to the expense of shipping.) The EU-based winner must accept to wait till late January to receive their prize when Fabienne goes to Europe to visit her family.

Disclaimer: Bois de Jasmin is not responsible for leaks or damage during transit or for lost packages.

Please answer all of the questions below to be entered into the draw. I will create two groups and randomly draw one winner from each.

1. What perfume captures your idea of glamour? What perfume would you like to receive, if you win this giveaway?
2. Are you based in the EU or the US? (No need to specify the country, just the general geographic location to help me organize the draw.)
3. May I contact you via email to notify you of your win and share your email with Fabienne?

The contest is now closed. The winners are Sara A and Marion. Congratulations! I will be in touch with you via email shortly.

I would like to thank our entire Bois de Jasmin community for your generosity and kindness, whether it means giveaways like this, advice or comments.

Perfume for the New Year

If I were to select one scent to represent this year for me, it would be iris. Its dove-grey leitmotif ran through 2021 for me, whether it was the majestic Serge Lutens’s Iris Silver Mist or the baroque iris twist in Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue. I smelled new perfumes for work, but I kept returning to favorites and classics. I would spend days wearing the same fragrance like La Myrrhe or Mitsouko, studying their nuances and the play of notes, the way a jeweler might appraise a precious stone. This made me understand perfumery, classical and modern, so much better than sampling one new thing after another. And it reminded me how important it is to slow down. It’s no wonder that in many languages, from French to Japanese, one “feels” or “hears” fragrances, as well as smells them.

For this reason, I don’t have a list of Best of 2021. Another reason is that 2021 brought too much loss to unravel it month by month and look back. I don’t regret that it is over.

Of course, there have been some wonderful discoveries and encounters. As I mentioned before, meeting many of you face to face has been a delight–and a highlight of the year for me. I knew that I enjoyed teaching, but stepping back into the classroom, even the virtual one, was such an inspiring and exciting experience. “When you share what you know, you receive back tenfold,” my grandmother used to say, and she was one of several teachers in our family. I can’t agree more with this.

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