NIRO Perfume Studio

Become a Perfumer | The First Step [Free Download]

You are aspiring to become a perfumer. You have read a couple of perfumery blogs and some books. These books have given some formulas, and by now you feel that the art of perfume making is as simple as blending few good-smelling oils together to create a perfume & you are ready to become a perfumer.

You buy some known and relatable material, follow the recipe and smell the result……It smells somewhat like the book describes! Now you experiment some more, trying to create from your inspiration, just like a master perfumer, but you get lost…

How can you create something which you have in mind when all you have done until now is to follow recipes?

You need to learn the alphabets before you learn to write words. If you want to write without learning the alphabets, you would be drawing and not writing, since you are only copying shapes!

This is what you may be experiencing as you have copied a formula without learning about the components.

Foundation of learning perfumery is knowing your materials.

If we take perfumery as a language, ABC of this language is its material. And perfume is a story created by using these alphabets. We have a whole module about how to write a story using these materials in our online course!

At this point, you might think, “Ok, very well. But why do I need to maintain my own journal?”

The smell is a very abstract element. Odour description of the material may seem complex because odour vocabulary is something very personal. And you cannot expect yourself to remember descriptions, nuances, and technical data of 1000s of materials when you start. It will be overwhelming.

You need to personalize the experience, you need to create your own relationship with the material for them to start talking to you…..and for this to happen you need to follow a structured learning process.

“To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first” – Shakespeare.

This material learning journal is designed to give you that structure in your learning process!

I have been following this format for 9 years now & this has worked as my guide. When I heard complex chemical names that I do not relate to, I wanted to have all the information about it and my experience with that material to be compiled in a format.

It gives me comfort that all my knowledge is indexed and structured for me to refer to when my memory fails me. I will explain in detail each segment in this journal and their importance.

#Section 1 – Name

In perfumery, a material has many different names (especially synthetics). A trade name is by which it is generally known as within the industry. And then there is the chemical (generic) name. It will be useful if you know these names as different people or books may refer to the same material by different names.

#Section 2 – Visual study and Understanding the background

Perfumery materials occur in many different physical states. We have some materials which come in the crystal or powder form (like menthol, coumarin, etc.), some in the thick resin state & some in the liquid state. We need to learn some simple techniques to bring all the materials in the liquid state for use in a perfume making exercise.

Lavender from different regions smells different. Different parts of the bitter orange tree give different material with a different smell. So, knowing the natural source and extraction process helps us understand the material better.

#Section 3 – Note, Odour life & Relative odour impact

This is the section where we start getting into the technical aspects of material for formulation. We all have heard about the Top, Middle & Base notes. Categorizing the materials using notes and odor life, helps us at the formulation stage for picking the right material in terms of how long-lasting your creation will be. You will learn about these technical terms & how they determine the life of your perfume will be in our online course.

#Section 4 – Fragrance Notes

If you want to become a perfumer or try your hands at the art, you will have to learn how to actively smell. You start actively and consciously smelling, you will realize that a fragrance has many different facets. In this section, I encourage you to smell actively and write down

  • Primary Notes
  • Secondary Notes
  • Background Notes

#Section 5 – Odour change over time

For me personally, the most fascinating aspect of perfume is to observe how it flows like a story. Most of the fragrance materials give out different facets more prominently over a period of time. For example, In the first whiff Orange blossom smells very citrusy and fresh with light bitterness and slowly over a period of time turns into more of a Jasmine, Indole kind of narcotic smell. I encourage you to study the changes in material over a period of time and keep making your notes in this section.

#Section 6 – Remarks, IFRA recommendations & Applications

It is a good practice to understand & follow IFRA recommendations. I encourage you to write down any limit or condition IFRA has prescribes for the material you are studying. Also, make note of the performance of this material in different applications. Some fragrance material performs quite well in some product bases. Have a categorization through the application will give you quick access to the information when you are formulating for a product.

If there is any technical aspect here which you did not understand, please register for the online courseI explain how to study a fragrance material like a perfumer, in detail. 

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