givaudan: 3 posts

How Many Hands Touch Your Bottle of Perfume : Perfumers

The first article in this series described the process through which the perfume brief goes before it ends up on the perfumer’s desk (Brief). Then, my perfumery school classmate and former colleague Lauren gave you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a perfume evaluator (Evaluator). Today, I will describe the role of the perfumer.

If you’re new to this series, I recommend starting with Part 1: Brief.

Ever since Frédéric Malle highlighted perfumers by adding their names on the fragrances created for Editions de Parfums, these actors, traditionally consigned to ghost writing scents, have become more prominent. We can find out which nose created our favorite perfume, read about perfumers’ work, and even hear them explain their metier. Names of houses that employ perfumers–International Flavors & Fragrances, Givaudan, Firmenich, Symrise, Mane, Robertet–even show up in the traditional media. Magazines call noses rock stars. Fans queue to meet them at store events. Isn’t then the perfumer the most important person in the process of creating a perfume?

perfume-lab1

Yes and no. With the exception of those who direct their own brands, most perfumers are only one of many groups that influence how a fragrance will smell. Today, it’s hard to speak of a perfumer’s fingerprint on a big brand launch because many fragrances are created as a collaboration among several creators, marketing reps, sales people, and evaluators. In most cases, an individual perfumer may not have a say in the matter and simply has to follow the given direction.

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How Perfume is Made

Givaudan has recently launched a series of videos about their perfumery school and the way fragrances are created. The first video is a fascinating glimpse inside one of the internal perfumery academies that produce creators who design your perfumes  (International Flavors & Fragrances, Firmenich, Symrise and Mane also have their own training programs). Presented by perfumer Jean Guichard, the director of the Givaudan perfumery school, this brief video takes you into the lab and explains how students are taught.

You can also then watch Video 2: The Structure of Perfume and Video 3: Introducing Olfactive Families.

Thanks to Jessica for a link!

A Glimpse Inside Givaudan Perfumery School

Students here are expected to master 500 of these substances “like the letters of the alphabet.” Then come the “chords,” as the combinations of materials are known, and last the “phrases,” families of scents as defined by the school founder Jean Carles — citrus, floral, woody, fern, oriental and “chypre” — a mix of citrus and moss. “But real skill is not about memorising ingredients,” [Jean] Guichard says. “It’s about invention, and that always involves a degree of chance.”

Givaudan’s school: ‘Noses’ hone senses at Paris perfume school

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