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perfumery 101 con’t

It’s Tuesday evening, (it was another gorgeous hot sunny day today) and I’m at home listening to the soundtrack to the movie City of God……cooking dinner on my little plug-in two burner (wild prawns, pasta, broccoflower, pasta, biologique tomato sauce..) lamenting my absolute lack of counter space, and thinking about the formula I’m working on at school.  I spent 5 hours today in the lab, studying and reworking it.  I did three trials with the same formula, varying quantities but doing my best to avoid adding any new materials so that I didn’t end up ‘making soup’.  (or grisaille– which is a non-descript odour).  I am trying hard to discipline myself by choosing my materials and writing the formula at my desk, based on the concept, and then sticking to it once I head to the lab to fill the formula.  While I’m following the recipe I smell each raw material (on a blotter) before adding it to the mix, and then the juice itself after each addition to see how the perfume is effected. It is extremely difficult to create a good (ie well balanced and interesting)  perfume!  It can take a master perfumer years to accomplish. Now that we have a formal brief, a mock contract of sorts, all of us are really discovering what we don’t know.  This is fantastic!  Now we can succinctly drill the teachers for answers.   The art of perfumery is a highly complicated and abstract thing to learn and, I think also, to teach.  I really understand why becoming a true Nez classically requires 10 years apprenticeship.  It’s only the very beginning…

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