Victoria: 2541 posts

White Winter Opulence : Floral Perfumes

With the holidays behind us and still too many winter days ahead, it’s important to find ways to add a splash of color to the grey, cold mornings. I reach for my brightest dresses and scarves and add swirls of saffron and paprika to my food, evoking sunshine and warmth. Or I rely on white floral perfumes to create a vivid ambiance.

White flowers may call to mind bridal veils, but there is nothing prim and pastel about the scent of tropical blossoms like tiaré, frangipani, ylang ylang, tuberose or jasmine. They have a voluptuous aroma reminiscent of warm skin, coconut milk and petals sticky with nectar. The synesthetes among perfumers swear that white flowers smell purple and pink, rich and saturated, and it’s true that wearing a white floral perfume makes me feel as if the day is brighter.

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Layla’s Musk : Dark, Rich Fragrances

“Bring, bring that musk-scented wine! That wine is the key to joy, and it must be mine… that wine is the key that will open wide the door to the treasure of rapture’s rich and varied store…” The medieval Persian reader scanning these lines by the 12th century poet Nezami would have understood instantly the subtle nuances of the word “musk.” Since natural musk was black, the reader would have envisioned a dark potion. Also, musk was considered the most sumptuous and alluring of scents, and musk-scented wine would surely be the libation to intoxicate one to the point of ecstasy. Most importantly, however, musk evoked seduction and passion, and in Nezami’s masterpiece about star-crossed lovers, Layla and Majnun, musk is the scented leitmotif. The nights are musk scented and so is the beloved’s hair. Even the dreams about her carry a musk-tinged sillage.

Several centuries later, we also understand the association of musk and seduction, but since natural musks have been replaced by synthetic versions, the darkness of musks has paled. Natural musk, such as the one referred to by Nezami, consisted of the dried secretions from a sac in the abdomen of the musk deer. Obtaining several grams of musk took the life of a dozen animals, and when the creature became endangered to the point of extinction, the use of natural musk became prohibited. Today’s musks are more likely to be the so-called white synthetic musks, which smell soft, cuddly and evoke laundry, rather than lovemaking.

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New Perfume Classes on Jasmine, Tuberose, Incense and Deconstructing Classics

These winter days are cold and grey, and I would like to light them up with scents. So I propose a new perfume winter training schedule. Rose, Orange Blossom and Iris will return with additional sessions, and then there will be a brand-new series of seminars devoted to opulence–Jasmine, Tuberose, and Incense. We will talk about white florals and what makes this family so evocative. We will discover what warmth and richness means in perfumery and how to attain such effects with specific notes. We will examine different nuances of our favorite notes and learn how to identify them in our perfumes. Finally, we will do various professional-level exercises to sharpen our sense of smell.

Another favorite topic that I will come in seminars next month will be the iconic fragrances. Working with the formulas, based on my perfumery work, we will study Guerlain Mitsouko and Chanel No 5. We will unravel their facets and learn how these fragrances were put together. You will discover insider facts about these fragrances and will be able to compare their different versions.

The class size is small to ensure that everyone gets attention and a chance to interact. The class is run as a lecture interspersed with guided smelling exercises. My style of teaching is personal and interactive. You will have a chance to ask question throughout the class and there will also be an allotted time at the end for your questions on any fragrance-related topics.

These classes are for students of all levels of interest in perfumery.

We will use readily available materials like spices and citrus fruit for these classes (no need to buy essential oil kits; if you already have essential oils, you can use them too.)

Perfume Fundamentals: Rose, Orange Blossom, Iris

Orange Blossom January 27th, Saturday 1:00pm-2:30pm EST/7:00pm-8:30pm CET   SOLD OUT Subscribe for New Updates

Rose January 31st, Wednesday 1:00pm-2:30pm EST/7:00pm-8:30pm CET  SOLD OUT Subscribe for New Updates

Iris February 3rd, Saturday 1:00pm-2:30pm EST/7:00pm-8:30pm CET SOLD OUT Subscribe for New Updates 

Perfume Fundamentals: Jasmine, Tuberose, Incense

Location: Online, Zoom

Date & Time: 1h 30min

Jasmine February 10th, Saturday 1:00pm-2:30pm EST/7:00pm-8:30pm CET  SOLD OUT Subscribe for New Updates

Tuberose February 11th, Sunday 1:00pm-2:30pm EST/7:00pm-8:30pm CET SOLD OUT Subscribe for New Updates

Incense February 18th, Sunday 1:00pm-2:30pm EST/7:00pm-8:30pm CET SOLD OUT Subscribe for New Updates 

Deconstructing Classics: Mitsouko and Chanel No 5

Location: Online, Zoom

Date & Time: 1h 30min

Guerlain Mitsouko February 24th, Saturday 1:00pm-2:30pm EST/7:00pm-8:30pm CET SOLD OUT Subscribe for New Updates

Chanel No 5 March 2nd, Saturday 1:00pm-2:30pm EST/7:00pm-8:30pm CET   SOLD OUT Subscribe for New Updates

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Olfactory Training May Reduce The Risk of Dementia

I’ve always heard while working in the perfume industry that the incidence of brain-degenerative diseases among perfumers is fairly low. Given the amount of effort our brain expends during smelling, it seemed reasonable that this activity helps to stave off the processes that ultimately lead to dementia. However, a number of recent clinical studies reveal that this is not merely anecdotal evidence and that there is a link between improving our sense of smell with training and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

In their article Bolstering our sense of smell may reduce the risk of dementia, The Guardian shares these findings. First, it’s important to note that a deterioration in one’s sense of smell is an early sign of Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions. While the decline happens gradually, when it sets in and becomes obvious, it’s too late to address it. Which is why monitoring your ability to smell should be part of your constant health routine, the way we address our vision and hearing.

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Scents That Evoke Winter Pleasures

A few years ago, I wrote an article about winter fragrances for the Financial Times. I enjoyed working on that piece and I still like rereading it, but the kind of winter wonderland fantasy that I described in it is no longer part of my reality. The last time I strolled through a snowfall was when I was visiting Bulgaria four years ago. There was a fleeting appearance of snow in late November in Brussels. These days it feels like spring, rather than winter. My daffodils are sprouting. The buds on the trees are full and green. Winter is only a distant memory.

Does it mean that winter scents are anachronistic? In fact, I crave such aromas more than ever. In that spirit, I’m sharing my article and my ideas on recreating winter splendor.

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