Professional Perfumery Training and tips for improving sense of smell

I’ve made a video explaining how professional perfumery training is organized. My explanation is based on my own experience as a perfumer student at IFF. I will also point out a few tips that anyone can use to develop a sharper, more acute sense of smell.

Ever since I’ve posted the video, I’ve received several comments to continue the series, so the next video on the topic of professional training will be on the Jean Carles method of learning raw materials.

I hope that you like the videos, and if you have any specific topics that you would like me to cover, please let me know.

Your Personal Museum of Scents

Last year, I received an email from one of my readers asking me an interesting question–if I could create my personal museum of scents, what would it include? She mentioned a NYT column by Tejal Rao, a restaurant critic in Los Angeles, in which she described smells that were meaningful to her. I immediately thought that Bois de Jasmin in its entirety was indeed my personal smell museum. If I were to limit it to certain themes, then I would mentioned two articles that I have already written, Scent of Kyiv, about the city where I was born, and Where Jasmine Forest Blooms, which describes my grandmother’s garden in Poltava, a place that inspired this page.

Yet, as I reflected further, especially on the last decade of my life, I realized that my personal scent museum at this point encompasses much more than I have previously noted. So, I decided to put down a list of scents that move me, evoke memories or inspire me.

Libraries

“Paradise is a library, not a garden,” Jorge Luis Borges said. Or could it be both? Either way, the scent of books and the scent of libraries is one of the most essential and evocative smells for me.

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Reflections on 2020

I don’t like the phrase “new normal,” especially since there is nothing normal about the situation that 2020 forced us to accept–staying away from others, fearing human touch, human presence, human breath. 2020 was not normal, and my way of coping had its ups and downs.  Not being able to see my family for almost a year was the hardest part. Nevertheless, there were some bright moments this year, and in this post, I wanted to highlight them.

You

One of the best parts of this year was the Bois de Jasmin community. Your comments, enthusiasm, and support have boosted my mood on more occasions than I can mention. Your support ensured that even on the most difficult weeks I looked forward to sitting down and writing, that even on the most difficult days I still discovered something interesting to share with you. I’ve been writing Bois de Jasmin for almost 16 years, and I already knew how generous and kind this community was. 2020 once again proved it.

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Classical Challenge

“I have no luck with classical perfumes,” confessed a friend. “My grandmother wore Jean Patou Joy, my mother loved Chanel No. 5, but when I wear these fragrances, I feel like I’m playing dress up.” She wondered why she completely missed the allure of fragrances widely considered iconic.  It is easy to attribute it to personal tastes and associations, but I decided to embark on a classical challenge.

The French use the phrase “grand parfum” to describe fragrances that not only have symphonic complexity but also a distinguished heritage. Chanel No. 5 is a quintessential example—created in a remarkable collaboration between Coco Chanel and perfumer Ernest Beaux, it revolutionized the ‘20s with its daring blend of aldehydes, manmade materials that smell starchy and metallic, and opulent floral essences. It is voluptuous, rich and heady. Today, on the other hand, we are no longer used to the strong burst of aldehydes, and the curves in perfumes—as on Hollywood actresses—are toned down.

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Recommend Me a Perfume : December 2020

Merry Christmas! I wish all of you happy holidays. May this season be full of light, beauty and happiness for you. May all of us make the most of whatever remains of this year, even if we say goodbye to it with few regrets. Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can use this space to find perfume recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors. Or you can just tell us what perfume you are wearing!

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, a Ukrainian traditional Christmas dish called kutya. I have a recipe for it here as well as a recipe for the spiced fruit compote that accompanies it.

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