For those who don't know me, I am obsessed with scents and perfumes...so what better way to celebrate the end of my study abroad than with a perfumery class? My second to last day in London, I took an apprentice class at Emmanuelle's Experimental Perfume Club. After training at ISIPCA in Versailles, one of the world’s leading perfume schools, and working as an independent perfumer for global fragrance brands in Paris, Barcelona and New York, Emmanuelle started her own business now located in the heart of London. Wth her immense knowledge, she REALLY helps guide each person on creating a unique scent that speaks to the individual, and as I write this, I am wearing the sample I made and sniffing my wrist every 5 minutes -- I just love it so much!
Drinking tea and snacking on madeleines while Em introduced herself and the structure of this class.
Before creating our perfume, Em had us blind smell three different perfumes, and asked us to describe the scents. When smelling scents, it is better to smell blindly so that we are not influenced by the power of the brand name. Surprisingly when smelling Channel No. 5 blind, most of the group (including me), disliked it thinking it smelled too old-fashioned, yet it is one of the biggest sellers because of it's marketing!
INTRODUCTION TO OLFACTORY NOTES
Next we learned about the three layers in a fragrance: top, heart, and base notes. When combined, these three will help the nose get used to the fragrance without getting overwhelmed at the first sniff. The top notes stay on for the first 5-10 minutes, the heart notes can be smelled throughout the day, and the base notes lingers the longest even after a couple of days.
The first half of this 3 hour class was the smelling of 25 different scents (natural, molecules, and blends) sourced from fragrance manufactures. An example of a natural scent would be from fruit extracts, whereas a synthetic scent would be an aqueous scent manufactured to smell fresh and marine-like (because in reality, water smells like nothing). Going through the top, heart, and base notes, we would each describe the scent and take notes, as well as rank the top 8-12 scents that we would want to use in our fragrance. Taken from some of my notes, coumarin's olfactory note is "edible," and it smells like an almond pastry to me. Hedoine's olfactory note is "floral," and smells fresh like green tea. Finally, contrary to popular belief, "musk" smells very clean, delicate, and airy (some people can't even smell it!), and is used as a base note if other base notes smell too strong.
With all these scents, Em gave us a tip to smell our skin to refresh our nose if it was getting overwhelmed and/or confused!
CREATING THE PERFUME
The second half was developing your scent story, and creating the actual perfume using the formula given to us. Since I wanted my perfume to be fresh, energetic, but also warm (primarily used during spring and summer), I included notes of black currant + orange for the top notes, apple + marine/calone + hedoine + orange blossom for the heart notes, and dry wood + coumarin + musk for the base notes.
Shelf of Raw Materials.
It took a couple of tries for me to create a scent that I liked, but I eventually did it with Em's help! After the class was over, we got to take home our 10ml complimentary bottle, and had the opportunity to order a 50ml bottle if we liked (which I did). Although Em only ships within the UK, Luckily my friend Kelli is going there this summer so she can bring it back to the states.
With this post only explaining some basics, for anyone interested in perfumery or just wanting a unique experience while in London, I would highly recommend taking EM's Apprentice Masterclass. It was one of the highlights of my time in London, and I will definitely be coming back for the Expert Masterclass next time I'm in the city to open my nose to new scents...and probably create a new favorite!