The Art of Making Perfume

I had the most delightful and educational day on Saturday. I attended a masterclass. “An Introduction to Perfumery” workshop in South Kensington produced and hosted by Karen Gilbert, author and teacher – here is a link to Karen’s website.

Karen is a highly experienced teacher and a most knowledgeable one on the subject of fragrance. She has been in the business of perfume for many years and really knows her stuff.

There were 15 ladies gathered together to learn the art of making perfume. We were all beginners I believe. A pleasant surprise was that at least 50% of the ladies had been given the day as a gift by their partners. How very inspiring! What a thoughtful and lovely gift!

Karen had structured the day beautifully, in the morning we were given an introduction into the history of fragrance, the sense of smell and how it works and what the sense of smell means to us. We were taught the different fragrance classifications. Safety precautions when handling essential oils and absolutes were also explained.

The first part of the day whizzed by; Karen answered all questions in a way which was easy for all of us to follow and understand as well hugely informative. The tempo was perfect.

Before lunch we were taught how fragrance is blended and that simple accords are mixed together using the Jean Carles Method which is a carefully structured way of getting the scent just right. This is a real skill. We were told about Top Notes, Middle Notes and Base Notes and how they differ.

After lunch we broke off into little groups of 3 or 4 together and mixed our own fragrances. This part of the day was also most enjoyable and I felt like a scientist using my pipette and little glass jars to create my own scent. The afternoon sped by incredibly quickly and I have ended up with a very fine fragrance in a glass spray bottle which I love. My perfume is green in colour. We used natural oils which retain their colours unlike the perfumes of today which are synthetic and therefore many are without any colour.

What a fabulous way to spend a day. I would just love to do more of this and I am fully intending to sign myself up for a 2 or 3 day workshop soon and immerse myself into the world of perfume with Karen Gilbert!

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