Perfumery course: 4 posts

One Week Perfumery Course with the Jean Carles Method

Continuing the Professional Perfumery series, in which I explain how perfumers are trained, how they create fragrances and how you can use their techniques to improve your sense of smell, I will talk about the Jean Carles method. This method is used to learn perfumery raw materials. When I was studying at IFF Perfume Academy, we didn’t use this method, but I applied it to my own practice, and I found it helped me to memorize smells better. It also helped me to learn the nuances of materials, since it’s based on comparing and contrasting them.

Once I finished recording the latest episode, I decided to create a one-week study plan for those who are serious about learning perfumery. I followed the Jean Carles method, but I modified it to the home environment. It means that I reduced the number of materials studied each day. I also selected materials that can be easily obtained as essential oils or can be used in their natural state. It’s appropriate for complete beginners.

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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.

Learning Scents (or Words) : A Few Tips

Recently I was making a new series of videos on learning languages, and as I was jotting down notes on learning words, I realized that for my studies I use the same memorizing techniques that I had used to learn ingredients in perfumery school. I wonder if my language learning didn’t accelerate during my training. After all, memorizing something intangible like a scent is even harder than memorizing a new word. Either way, I would like to share my tips on retaining smells in your memory, and you can see how you can apply these techniques to memorizing anything else.

If you wish to have a set of oils or spices ready, I recommend starting with no more 3. It might seem like very little, but if you learn to memorize those three scents and learn to pick them out in a blend, you can expand your exercises to a much greater number. Polish your technique with a few scents at a time.

For instance, my recommended smells for learning would be the following three: lemon (you can use the real fruit by scratching the peel), clove (you can use spices that you have at that time), and vanilla (you can use extract). You’re likely to have them already, and they’re used a lot in perfumery. Just because they’re familiar, however, don’t assume that you know all of their facets.

I emphasize the parallels with language studies to help you find your own connections. I’m sure all of you have pursuits that require memorization, so you can rely on the same techniques for learning aromas. Your techniques might differ from mine, but it doesn’t matter as long as they are effective.

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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.

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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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