Travel: 92 posts

Searching for scents and sensory traditions around the world.

Perfume Class 2020 : Flowers and Herbs

The Bois de Jasmin perfume seminar 2020 “Ukrainian Scent and Taste Adventure” is going to be special. Why Ukraine? Given the country’s incredible biodiversity and rich soil, Ukraine is one of the largest producers of aromatics, such as lavender, coriander, fennel, dill seed, sage, hyssop, mint, artemisia, caraway, pine, and beeswax. During my perfumery training, I came to understand that knowing where the ingredients come from is both thrilling and important. So, I want to share with you the professional techniques I’ve acquired during my studies. I would like to sharpen your sense of smell and bring you to the source of aromatic essences. Ukraine has an old and established tradition of folk medicine, and we will have the chance to learn about plants from a botanist and herbal specialist on site. Finally, I want you to discover different cultural traditions, foods and sights. Ukraine is the perfect destination for that.

Since we will be visiting Ukraine from June 2-9, 2002, we’ll experience summer at its most gorgeous. Hence, the theme of our perfume seminar will be Flowers and Herbs. Please note that unlike my other seminars, this one covers 8 days. My partner for this seminar is Nataliya Cummings of Experience Ukraine, who has been running tours for the past decade. She will take good care of us.

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Ukrainian Scent and Taste Adventure : June 2-9, 2020

Please join us on an exciting adventure in the spellbindingly beautiful region of Transcarpathia. Located in western Ukraine, Transcarpathia is famous for its mountains, wild flowers, artisanal crafts and food, and it will be the next venue for the Bois de Jasmin perfumery course.

Over 8 days, you will learn the basics of perfumery and perfume creation and how to hone your sense of smell, but you will also be immersed in Ukrainian flavors and scents.

We will travel from the capital city of Kiev all the way west to the historical city of Lviv, and along our journey we will cook, eat, smell, have fun and discover Ukraine’s many treasures, from UNESCO heritage sites to smoked pears!

And the best part is that you will be visiting Ukraine in June, the best season to experience its aromas, colors and tastes. You’ll understand Nikolai Gogol’s raptures over this season—“how luxuriously warm the hours when mid-day glitters in stillness and sultry heat…”–and why Ukraine for me is the place of eternal summer.

I’m partnering with Nataliya Cummings of the Experience Ukraine tour company. Nataliya, who is based in the UK, has been organizing highly sought after tours around the country for over a decade, and I’m thrilled about our joint project. We will show you the best of what Ukraine has to offer, while allowing you to combine your discoveries with perfumery workshops.

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Illyria : Postcard from Albania

I was walking up the hill, leaving behind me the ancient town of Apollonia with its graceful ruins of temples and arcades, when I saw this vista. A golden field, a tree, blue skies. The setting sun colored the burned grasses dark gold, and if I turned around, I could see a ribbon of the sea glittering on the horizon. But I stared straight ahead. Centuries compress into seconds when one sees visions like this. This could have been Illyria.

Illyria is what this land in the west of the Balkan Peninsula was called in antiquity. Today, its largest part is in Albania. The town of Apollonia was famous for its university, and it was here that in 44 BC Gaius Octavius Thurinus learned of the assassination of his great-uncle Julius Caesar. Being named Caesar’s heir, he rushed to Rome to claim the throne and become emperor Augustus. He never finished his university studies, but it didn’t prevent him from being one of the most brilliant of Roman statesmen.

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Laurent Gerbaud: The Chocolate Treasure of Brussels

Brussels is a city renowned for its chocolate, but even so, the creations of Laurent Gerbaud stand out. Their flavors are exquisite, their quality is impeccable and the presentation is beautiful. The boutique on Rue Ravenstein, located close to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts–another one of the city’s treasures–is a place I return often to taste chocolates or linger over a glass of wine.

In my recent FT Magazine article, Laurent Gerbaud, I talk about this enigmatic confectioner and his craft. The range of flavors is seasonal–fig and apricot in the summer and yuzu in the winter. One of my favorite discoveries has been milk chocolate with salt and green cumin, a combination that seems unexpected and tastes addictive.

The boutique itself is a destination–charming and serene.

When I’m finally ready to step back into the real world, I leave with a couple of chocolate bars or perhaps a Mondrian set, a box divided into squares and rectangles reminiscent of the Dutch painter’s compositions. Gerbaud’s is edible art at its best. The flavors range from delicate to intense, but the experience is invariably of pure delight. To continue reading, please click here.

 

Scent Diary : Bulgarian Roses

Bulgarian roses smell of honey, cinnamon, cloves, lemon peel, green leaves and a hint of raspberry. It’s the rose damascena variety, but the unique terroir of the Rose Valley gives it a particular fragrance. Imagine what a whole field of roses smells like!

Please jot down any interesting observations in this thread. You can write about your favorite books, interesting scents you’ve encountered. For those who would like to use the Scent Diary to sharpen their sense of smell, I will give a short explanation. As I wrote in How to Improve Your Sense of Smell, the best way to do so is to smell and to pay attention to what you’re smelling. It doesn’t matter what you smell. The most important thing is to notice scents around you. It’s even better if you write it down. So please share your scents and perfumes with us.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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