Perfume is like cocktails without the hangover, like chocolate without the calories, like an affair without tears, like a vacation from which you never have to come back.Marian Bendeth
Awareness of growing environmental pollution and unhealthy loss of contact with nature forms among a significant number of people a distinct tendency to use quality products of natural origin wherever possible. This applies to perfumes too. Natural perfumes fit well into this mindset and are offered on the world perfume scene as an equal opportunity.
Perfumery is not an exact discipline, there are no firm rules nor definitive solutions. If you decide to learn how to create natural perfume, equip yourself with abundant supplies of patience, perseverance and self-discipline. And get ready for an endless journey. Come to terms with the idea that you will never be a complete (and perfect!) creator. There will always be some room for new experiences, insights and further mastering of the skill. Do not let these claims discourage you! Turn this fragrant experience into a life-long adventure! If you do not start, you will miss the immense pleasure of entering the sphere of quiet self-insight, contemplative work, creative pleasure and fragrant, unhindered joy…
The manual is primarily intended for those who, following their personal scent preferences, want to create a natural perfume for themselves. Once you have adopted the process and defined your style of creation, it is up to you to decide if you want to create perfumes for other people as well. I suggest you first review the manual carefully in order to find out what its contents are and how it is conceptualized. That way you will be able to find the easiest way to navigate through it. You will not be able to master the material in a single reading. Similar to any other thorough learning process, this one is neither short nor straight-lined. Be prepared for a lot of wandering and coming back to topics that will need to be re-studied and integrated into the knowledge acquired in the meantime.
In order to make it easier to cope with the complex and extensive material, I tried to divide it into meaningful units and to accurately mark them. According to your prior knowledge and personal learning plan, assess whether you need to adopt all its parts, and choose the order in which you will learn the ones you want to master.
You can read this chapter as an introduction to the topic, or you can skip it or postpone reading for some later occasion. The topic is infinitely extensive and interesting, and this is just a brief personal and inevitably insufficient insight into the history of the use of natural materials in perfume making.
The short chapter presents a few basic facts that anyone who wants to create perfumes should keep in mind. How we experience scents, why our experiences and scent preferences differ, and how we actually choose perfumes.
Here we will deal with the definition of natural perfume, compare natural perfumes with synthetic ones, and discuss the options available to you in case you want to wear a natural perfume.
And now the work begins! You need to learn which natural materials you can use in the process of creating natural perfumes, then find, choose and procure the ones you will include in your work palette. This is where the ongoing learning how to differentiate the quality of the offered materials begins.
You can also study the tincture making process and decide if you want to include that category of materials in your fragrant palette.
There are also some tips on how to correctly store aromatic materials.
Set aside a lot of time for this chapter. You have to, as functionally as possible, arrange the workspace at your disposal, prepare all the necessary materials and accessories, and adopt the necessary procedures. You also have to learn how to describe scents as accurately as possible, and then study in detail fragrant materials in your palette. Finally, you need to get acquainted with Jean Carles method of studying fragrant materials.
The unhindered progress in the huge work that follows largely depends on the precision with which you will master this chapter. Do not rush! Now you are building your creator’s competence, developing olfactory memory and vocabulary. Rely on the instructions, they are detailed. Take one small step at the time.
The task here is to expand knowledge of notes and learn how to sort the materials by scent groups. It is an opportunity to further deepen your knowledge of every fragrant material you work with. Let your nose guide you and carefully record all your impressions: analyse, compare, check, and if necessary, return to the already completed stages of work. It is important to be as confident as possible in each of your conclusions.
You have studied in tiniest detail all the materials in your palette. To gain the ease of moving around its fragrant terrain, you need the experience of combining materials. Some hands-on work at last! Practice creating accords. Perform this phase of the job thoroughly.
You will spend a lot of time working on this chapter. At the beginning, you need to make a perfume plan and finally start realising the main task – creating an alcohol-based perfume! First, a very structured creation method, suitable for an initial attempt, is presented step by step. The process is followed up until the evaluation of the composed perfume, possible adjustments and the final increasing of amounts.
After the experience with a very detailed method, check the acquired skill with more flexible methods of creation. Compare them, check how they suit you. Assess what their advantages are and whether you see their potential limitations. Do you prefer any of the suggested methods or would you prefer developing your personal style of perfume creation?
Follows the information about another category of perfume ingredients, the bases and instructions for their creation. There is also an information about perfume families – the knowledge needed by every perfume creator.
Data on the categorization of perfume products according to the concentrations is offered, followed by instructions on storing of composed perfumes.
This chapter deals with other forms of perfumes. Alcohol-based perfumes do not have to be the only choice. You can create oil-based or solid perfumes. There are also instructions on how to make infused oils and enfleurage pomades, ingredients that you can use to create these forms of perfumes.
Take care of your safety and learn how to properly handle all the materials you use.
The increased demand for some sources of natural fragrant materials threatens with their extinction. Learn what behaviour you need to adopt to minimize the negative impact on the environment and contribute to the sustainable future of the field.
Perfume creators have to maintain the acquired level of competence and adopt procedures that will keep their “sniff-meter” in good shape. Here are suggested some activities and behaviours that I find useful. You decide for yourself and create your own regime of maintaining olfactory fitness and improving creative skills.
In Glossary the terms mentioned in the text of the manual are explained.
Contains lists of used sources: books, articles, online resources and personal communication.
Here you will find an English-Latin list of materials mentioned in the text of the manual, list of suppliers and the necessary spare forms. The collection of forms in pdf format is also offered on the page Fragrant Signatures
While writing the manual I tried to refrain from know-it-all attitude. My intention was to provide precise, unambiguous instructions in places where I considered it necessary and thought it could facilitate the adoption of routine procedures of this skill. At the same time, with the purpose of leaving as much space as possible for the learning process based on personal experience, I tried to keep the choices opened wherever possible and to restrain from suggesting solutions. I sincerely hope that, at least to some extent, I have succeeded in my aim.
In the manual, many topics important for its theme are only briefly touched upon, because a more detailed inquiry would go beyond its basic purpose: mastering the skill of creating natural perfumes. Important topics are mentioned, and if you decide you want to learn more about them, you will turn to other relevant sources and expand your knowledge.
In the boxes scattered in the text, tips or additional information illustrative for certain topics are offered, and notes detail a specific topic or give instructions with the immediate part of the text.
Some parts of the text are shaded because it seemed important to me to highlight their content.
To make it easier to navigate the extensive text with a huge amount of information, I thought it would be useful to link the topics by parentheses with instructions where else a particular term/topic appears or is further explained. Example: (consult 7.1.3.) refers to the Collection of Successful Accords in paragraph 7.1.3.
Note: For better readability of the text and to avoid unnecessary repetitions, only the name of fragrant material (e. g. lavender, nutmeg, sage, patchouli, etc.) is given for all the essential oils mentioned. With the names of all other fragrant materials, it is always stated which extract it is (e. g. tobacco absolute, elderberry CO2, sweet woodroof’s tincture, benzoin resinoid, jasmine concrete, etc.).
p.s The manual is in a4 format, has 313 pages and weighs 1046 grams. If the need arises, it can be used as a defensive weapon!