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  1. #1

    Question Home study courses for perfumery?

    Hello, I am new here.

    I have been looking in to finding a home-study course on perfumery. I thought I would start out with natural perfumery and then see if I wanted to delve into aromachemicals later on (or not).

    I have been online a lot and there aren't that many choices for self-paced home study. I've looked at Mandy Aftel's courses and Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Courses. Both look interesting. The advantage that Aftelier has is that the page where you put your info is encrypted/secure. The AG info page is not encrypted/secure.

    Any recommendations about these or other home study courses that have workbooks?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Many, most, if not all of us here Perfumer Hobbyists, and also Hobbyist turned Professional, are self taught. There's just a couple of formally trained perfumers here and then also in the Artisanal world. 'Couple' may be an exaggeration of course, but the vast majority are self trained, like myself.

    Starting with all Naturals *can* give you an easy access to Perfumery, because you have existing knowledge of these naturals because of knowing some cooking things, or smelling these oils by way of their plants in Nature directly.

    The thing about using all naturals only, is that you aren't going to easily, or sometimes ever, get a fresh flower odor profile from naturals only. The vast majority of the time, you need to use a synthetic item or several items to construct that odor profile. You *CAN* buy a natural isolate where the molecule is the same as a synthetic molecule, But be warned it will cost 10X to +$ up and +$ up more to buy the isolated molecule, versus the synthetically made molecule. To me, and most people on this DIY forum, a Molecule is a molecule, is a molecule. And since a molecule is a molecule, why pay the exhorbitant amounts to subscribe to a religion/philosphy?

    So my best advice is to learn what you can in the natural groups/curriculum/mindset, and then use that knowledge to move beyond this self imposed limitation to become a full perfumer with a full palette of materials to work with.

    But, after you move beyond that Natural curriculum, I'm not so aware of any study at home curriculum available. You're on your own to learn through groups and your own drive to build your library and your knowledge. There certainly ARE tools availble, but not a curriculum that I am aware of, apart from workshops and classes that can be taken in person at the lab/office/or home of different Perfumers around the world, that are availble for anyone to be a part of.

    Best to you on your journey...

    PK
    Last edited by pkiler; 16th April 2014 at 05:55 AM.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

  3. #3

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    I'm aware of a curriculum, but would not recommend it from the little I know, so I won't name it, so as not to trash them.

    The best bet is to learn from everywhere and anywhere you can. Just make sure you continue to know more today than yesterday, so to speak. Then you'll get there.

    My opinion is different from many here in that I would personally recommend starting with naturals. I think it gives you the better mindset and deeper understanding -- or that it can if you have some knack for it. I think familiarity with natural smells is the basis for perfuming.

    Then, however, I would recommend learning about the perfume chemistry approach as well. But I think a background in naturals leads to a deeper understanding of all of it. Just my opinion. The caveat here is that you won't make pretty smelling perfumes easily with just naturals. You have to accept those limitations. But you can learn fundamental base accords especially and some heart notes. And naturals have a ton of charm and beauty on their own.

    I think learning with synthetics is maybe too easy (again, just my opinion), in terms of immediate "success", but that this can make you lazy to learn countless more difficult naturals, or make you deemphasize your use of naturals, which you have to struggle with for a while to have success with. Using naturals is like playing the flute --- easy to get bad notes at first. You can't make a complete contemporary perfume with just naturals, admittedly. Or it's hard to. (I did it once with success.) But you really learn a lot, just making those blends. And then you don't have to care that they don't smell like store-bought perfumes. Later you will demand more achievement out of yourself or at least, that's what I experienced. I just think that initial passion is well spent understanding nature's role in scent. It's a huge universe of insight.

    That doesn't mean learning both isn't also good. But it's too easy to get some galaxolide, iso-e, and hedione and make something pretty. Because the rewards are instant, that can be a bit hindering to growth. It doesn't have to be, of course. Naturals force you to struggle right away, even though they are satisfying as well in another way, because nature made them have their own beauty.

    This is the first time I've tried to articulate this, and realize I could have done better...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    BTW, nice post, PK.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmellThis View Post
    Using naturals is like playing the flute
    The flute is one of the most pure tone producing instruments. In that regard it's more like a single aromachemical.
    String instruments with a lot of overtones are more like the natural counterpart, but still different because
    the secondary aroma components don't integrate so harmoniously. I have made a couple of natural fragrances
    that I'm pleased with (except for the longevity and projection) and learning was self directed but a lot is owed to
    the excellent information provided by forum members current and past. The search function is a great learning tool
    and if there are no past threads you can always start one.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Thanks for the helpful and thoughtful replies! I checked my settings and saw that I had "Private Messaging" turned off. I fixed that. If someone wanted to PM me with info, that would be great, too.

    PK - great post. I'm aware that there are many resources online for perfume study and education. Sadly, I have some attention-deficit issues and learn best with a little structure. Of course, I have been doing a lot of reading and scent strip smelling. I have a nice set of essential oils from Perfumer's Apprentice to study. I bought samples of vintage perfumes to smell the golden oldies.

    DrSmellThis - Please feel free to PM me with info about any curriculum that you might not recommend. No one can afford to throw money away or waste time.

    I wanted to start with naturals because they are more familiar and (mostly) pronounceable. I have no prejudice about using natural components versus synthetic. I also make jewelry as a hobby. I mix genuine gemstones and crystals with Swarovski glass and Japanese seed beads. The object of the game is to create beauty. The materials are just the tools.

    Odeon - This forum is a great source of info. I've also joined the Yahoo Perfume-Making group.

    MV
    Last edited by MissVanilla; 16th April 2014 at 04:48 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by Odeon View Post
    The flute is one of the most pure tone producing instruments. In that regard it's more like a single aromachemical.
    String instruments with a lot of overtones are more like the natural counterpart, but still different because
    the secondary aroma components don't integrate so harmoniously.
    I just chose that metaphor as it is the classic example of an instrument where the initial sound is not harmonious while you are learning. I could have said trumpet.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmellThis View Post
    I just chose that metaphor as it is the classic example of an instrument where the initial sound is not harmonious while you are learning. I could have said trumpet.
    I was not disagreeing with your metaphor, it reminded me of one for a different aspect.
    Another one I like is to think of accords as chords because they are built from
    single notes. But not entirely accurate because natural materials are not really single notes.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Miss Vanilla, as a moderator for the Yahoo Perfumemaking group, please avail yourself of the many files available for reading study, and formulation...
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

  10. #10

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by Odeon View Post
    I was not disagreeing with your metaphor, it reminded me of one for a different aspect.
    Another one I like is to think of accords as chords because they are built from
    single notes. But not entirely accurate because natural materials are not really single notes.
    No they are also built of chords; however many aroma chemicals may be thought of as single notes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    No they are also built of chords; however many aroma chemicals may be thought of as single notes.
    The "single note exploration" forum could be confusing with naturals as single notes
    and some of their constituents as single notes. Terminology, so important.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Terminology is very important, as is defining what you mean. So; A Natural extract (i.e. an Essential Oil or an Absolute) is a mixture of chemicals that smell that have been produced by (usually) a plant. A chemical (natural or synthetic) is a single material, although there may be several isomers present. The Natural tends to smell more complex, and will change over time (after dipping); the chemical usually stays the same over time, and is more simple. These definitions are pertinent to this discussion, of course. In another context one can regard individual Essential Oils as single "notes", but as you yourself (Odeon) noted, natural materials are not really single notes.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Taking into consideration the fact that many synthetic compositions are formulated so as to imitate some naturally occurring scent or combination of scents, with the exception of "modern" perfumes of scents that do not occur in biological nature ...wouldn't this be a good reason for first starting off with becoming familiar with the natural side of perfumery?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    I don't think that there are many synthetic chemicals which can duplicate natural oils. You can try to make a synthetic Essential Oil using nature identical ingredients but that will almost have the same complexity as the real one. When I started learning about Perfumery, I started with single chemicals, some that were nature identical and some that were not. I tried to describe them in ways that meant something to me; not necessarily the "official" descriptor, but something that I could remember. I found doing this with single chemicals so much easier than with complex mixtures (i.e. Essential Oils). If you disagree then that is your prerogative ; learn in your own way. I cannot speak for you, only myself.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Very informative post, David. There is nothing for me to disagree with, as obviously, the method you describe worked for you, and that it worked for you is the most important thing.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    DrSmell,

    Re: "This is the first time I've tried to articulate this, and realize I could have done better... "

    Have to say I really know that feeling.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    I'm kind of surprised that there isn't more info or reviews on the various perfumery education sites. I have searched the threads, but the info is limited, dated or doesn't pertain to what I am seeking

    Is there some kind of taboo about naming names here? I don't want to step on any toes right out of the gate.
    "This, what is it in itself, and by itself, according to its proper constitution? What is the substance of it? What is the matter, or proper use? What is the form, or efficient cause? What is it for in this world, and how long will it abide? Thus must thou examine all things that present themselves unto thee." Marcus Aurelius

  18. #18
    Basenotes Plus

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    13,283

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    There is some info. in these threads :-
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/332...aining-Courses
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/256...mers-education

    There are also short 'hands on' courses run by various people in the U.S. and elsewhere from time to time.
    Such as
    http://artandolfaction.com

    Plus, Paul's post #9 is helpful.
    Last edited by lpp; 19th April 2014 at 07:53 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Thanks, llp!
    "This, what is it in itself, and by itself, according to its proper constitution? What is the substance of it? What is the matter, or proper use? What is the form, or efficient cause? What is it for in this world, and how long will it abide? Thus must thou examine all things that present themselves unto thee." Marcus Aurelius

  20. #20
    Basenotes Plus

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    13,283

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    You're welcome, MissVanilla

  21. #21

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmellThis View Post
    I'm aware of a curriculum, but would not recommend it from the little I know, so I won't name it, so as not to trash them.

    The best bet is to learn from everywhere and anywhere you can. Just make sure you continue to know more today than yesterday, so to speak. Then you'll get there.

    My opinion is different from many here in that I would personally recommend starting with naturals. I think it gives you the better mindset and deeper understanding -- or that it can if you have some knack for it. I think familiarity with natural smells is the basis for perfuming.

    Then, however, I would recommend learning about the perfume chemistry approach as well. But I think a background in naturals leads to a deeper understanding of all of it. Just my opinion. The caveat here is that you won't make pretty smelling perfumes easily with just naturals. You have to accept those limitations. But you can learn fundamental base accords especially and some heart notes. And naturals have a ton of charm and beauty on their own.

    I think learning with synthetics is maybe too easy (again, just my opinion), in terms of immediate "success", but that this can make you lazy to learn countless more difficult naturals, or make you deemphasize your use of naturals, which you have to struggle with for a while to have success with. Using naturals is like playing the flute --- easy to get bad notes at first. You can't make a complete contemporary perfume with just naturals, admittedly. Or it's hard to. (I did it once with success.) But you really learn a lot, just making those blends. And then you don't have to care that they don't smell like store-bought perfumes. Later you will demand more achievement out of yourself or at least, that's what I experienced. I just think that initial passion is well spent understanding nature's role in scent. It's a huge universe of insight.

    That doesn't mean learning both isn't also good. But it's too easy to get some galaxolide, iso-e, and hedione and make something pretty. Because the rewards are instant, that can be a bit hindering to growth. It doesn't have to be, of course. Naturals force you to struggle right away, even though they are satisfying as well in another way, because nature made them have their own beauty.

    This is the first time I've tried to articulate this, and realize I could have done better...
    I am of the same opinion buddy and you did just fine articulating. Starting with naturals is a good thing. It is a tough road though given the differences from batch to batch and producer to producer when it comes to blending something decent. Molecules are a must. Took me a little while and lots of dumpage to get on board with the chems. I still use naturals all the time, I just use the chems to make them better or to accentuate the aspects I like of the natural.
    Zanshin

  22. #22

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    mstrocovie, My comment regarding the comment made by DrSmell was an inside joke...it was not to suggest that I in any way felt that his description of his feelings in his post lacked clarity, or was articulated poorly.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by islearom View Post
    mstrocovie, My comment regarding the comment made by DrSmell was an inside joke...it was not to suggest that I in any way felt that his description of his feelings in his post lacked clarity, or was articulated poorly.
    Oh...ok...sorry. Did not know this. My response had nothing at all to do with anything you said though. Wasnt coming to anyones defense, just concurring with the Doc. Unfortunately, Ive yet to find or invent a keyboard that offers inflections or sarcasm....lol. Sorry if my comment implied that you felt a certain way. It was not my intention at all.
    Zanshin

  24. #24

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Likewise, my apologies if I read into things in a manner that was in error on my part.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Its all good brother....Happy Easter.
    Zanshin

  26. #26

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by MissVanilla View Post
    I'm kind of surprised that there isn't more info or reviews on the various perfumery education sites. I have searched the threads, but the info is limited, dated or doesn't pertain to what I am seeking

    Is there some kind of taboo about naming names here? I don't want to step on any toes right out of the gate.
    I am studying a relatively new course at home: Isabelle Gelle's Art of Perfumery, at the Perfume Art School, and I'm really enjoying it; I hope I haven't transgressed any rules here, but I would like to give a little of my experience so far. This is a course entirely based on natural materials. There is much emphasis in the first module on really getting acquainted with materials so that you begin to know them intimately; there's nothing of the 'make a perfume in a weekend' here. You can take two years to finish the course. Support comes from Isabelle, who is my tutor, and she holds Skype sessions once a month, answering any questions; I've found these to be invaluable, learning more in a hour about those things you don't get in books. She clearly has masses of knowledge, and huge passion for the subject.This is a new course, and there are a few hiccups (like typos!)on the Scorm cloud website which hosts the course, but being new also has its advantages ...... course leaders aren't 'tired' running the same old course for years where when you enrol you can feel like a number ... and Isabelle is such an enthusiastic teacher ... that's probably the most inspiring bit of the course for me. Email queries (as many as you like) are answered promptly and at length and where to get materials/distillation equipment/information has been well responded to so far. Some peeps have criticised self taught perfumers (Isabelle Gelle is herself, self taught) and I've come across a few who offer courses that haven't felt substantial. Just talking to Isabelle, however, made me realise just how much she really knows, so there are self taught perfumers and self taught perfumers! Of course, with a home study course you have to put in the work yourself ... for me, I see this course is a guiding framework ... I've found myself going off in all kinds of fascinating tangents and using the course material as a guide. I'd recommend you look into it.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andria View Post
    I am studying a relatively new course at home: Isabelle Gelle's Art of Perfumery, I'd recommend you look into it.
    Excellent Report, Andria!

    PK
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon

  28. #28

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    I started with naturals mostly because I didn't want to be bothered with lab equipment and various solvents from the get go. It just seemed more accessible to do what thousands had done before me, buy the EO's I could afford, some carrier oil, and play around. I've made some nice mixtures that I've enjoyed wearing and yes its very very frustrating from the beginning as nothing ever ends up smelling like you think it should. The big issue with naturals is that they meld and compress and you just don't get that modern structure to perfume that must be achieved with synthetics. So saying that it's been great to discover the relative strengths, longevity and other aspects of naturals, as frustrating as they may be. But then, it was never my intention to produce commercially viable, reproducible fragrances. For me, this is first, last and probably always a hobby, not a career.

    I'm now going to go ahead and get some synthetics for many reasons. Some items just aren't financially viable as naturals for the hobbyist and it makes your hands shake when you've spent a small fortune on a precious natural only to have it end up in a useless batch. So yeah, rose synthetics, jasmine synthetics, the musks and ambers are all things I will delve into now just so I don't go broke in my hobby. It will also be nice to augment my naturals mixes with a bit of synthetic to get a bit more of a perfume character, rather than a room fragrance character to my mixtures.

    I don't think there is a right and wrong way to start. Start where your interest lies and enjoy.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andria View Post
    I am studying a relatively new course at home: Isabelle Gelle's Art of Perfumery, at the Perfume Art School, and I'm really enjoying it; ....
    Thanks for the info, Andria. I'm glad you are enjoying the course.

    I will look in to it.
    "This, what is it in itself, and by itself, according to its proper constitution? What is the substance of it? What is the matter, or proper use? What is the form, or efficient cause? What is it for in this world, and how long will it abide? Thus must thou examine all things that present themselves unto thee." Marcus Aurelius

  30. #30

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by MissVanilla View Post
    Hello, I am new here.

    I have been looking in to finding a home-study course on perfumery. I thought I would start out with natural perfumery and then see if I wanted to delve into aromachemicals later on (or not).

    I have been online a lot and there aren't that many choices for self-paced home study. I've looked at Mandy Aftel's courses and Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Courses. Both look interesting. The advantage that Aftelier has is that the page where you put your info is encrypted/secure. The AG info page is not encrypted/secure.

    Any recommendations about these or other home study courses that have workbooks?

    Thanks!
    Hi MissVanilla:

    A student informed me of this thread, and so I hope to clear up any confusion. You do not enroll via my anyasgarden.com site, that is merely for information. A secure database for enrollment is on http://PerfumeClasses.com is encrypted and very secure. We have never had any problems with it.

    My course is at university level, as many students will confirm. I do not have a "handbook" for the course, it is a textbook, the first one every written by an American, which I confirmed with the American Society of Perfumers. There are forms, charts and supporting materials that are interactive and editable by the student, and the only ones of their type for a perfumery course, including Excel.xls files for data recording. I am in constant contact with my students, in both a private Yahoo group, by private email if they wish, and on Facebook on a private group page.

    I have hosted a natural perfumery educational group on Yahoo for years that is now 12 years old, and the greatest repository of information on natural perfumery existing, with over 50,000 messages archived, Files, Links and more. You are free to join us to get immersed in this knowledge. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...Perfumery/info

    Daniel Krasofski, who teaches at the IAO in Los Angeles, wrote a testimonial about my course, after taking many other courses: http://perfumeclasses.com/testimonials.php

    Although my course is focused on naturals, the techniques and methods you'll learn will enable you to transition to using aromachems easily, if you wish.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
    Anya McCoy - http://anyasgarden.com/
    Best of the Best awards - Perfume: MoonDance, StarFlower, Amberess, Light, Royal Lotus and as
    Project Leader: Outlaw Perfume and Mystery of Musk
    Basic Perfumery Course with lifetime access to the website - http://perfumeclasses.com
    America's First Natural Perfume Line 1991
    First Artisan Perfumer Voted in as member of the American Society of Perfumery 2013

  31. #31

    Smile Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Hello Miss Vanilla

    Just reading and forgive me if it has already been mentioned but what about Karen Gilbert here in London, she offers online courses that cover naturals and like others here on this thread Karens background in the world of perfumery is also truly first class. Here is a link to her site http://www.karengilbert.co.uk/course...umery-training

    If it looks promising maybe get in touch and say hi to her and you could take it from there.

    All the best, Adam

  32. #32

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Most perfumers start with natural materials because mostly what makes them interested in the first place are the real smells in nature (flowers, leaves etc). But if you want to start with synthetic materials I would say why not, it will probably be interesting too and may create another new mindset and approach than most perfumers.
    Attention-deficit sometimes can be a valuable asset in perfumery because perfume is a slow process making.
    Last edited by anrat; 25th June 2014 at 11:01 AM.
    www.eyeofthevoyager.com (owner)

  33. #33

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Anya and Adam, thanks for the info and links. I will be checking them out.


    Quote Originally Posted by anrat View Post
    Most perfumers start with natural materials because mostly what makes them interested in the first place are the real smells in nature (flowers, leaves etc). But if you want to start with synthetic materials I would say why not, it will probably be interesting too and may create another new mindset and approach than most perfumers.
    Attention-deficit sometimes can be a valuable asset in perfumery because perfume is a slow process making.
    That's good to hear because it isn't much of an asset in the rest of my life.
    "This, what is it in itself, and by itself, according to its proper constitution? What is the substance of it? What is the matter, or proper use? What is the form, or efficient cause? What is it for in this world, and how long will it abide? Thus must thou examine all things that present themselves unto thee." Marcus Aurelius

  34. #34

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    I also offer online distance learning in perfumery, customized to your level, needs and time. If you're interested, please contact me through irinatudor.nl
    Customized consultancy on perfume formulation, safety, training and marketing & olfactory research
    I also offer individual online personalised advice on perfume making to anyone eager to learn how to smell and design like a pro
    www.irinatudor.nl

    Social platform & research network on all things smelly, daily smelly science twitter feed @SomethingSmelly
    www.somethingsmelly.com


    THE thread for all newbies DIY fragrance

  35. #35

    Default Re: Home study courses for perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by Irina View Post
    I also offer online distance learning in perfumery, customized to your level, needs and time. If you're interested, please contact me through irinatudor.nl
    Irina, thanks for the info.

    Sadly, I find the holidays so depressing. I haven't been working on my perfume or my jewelry.

    This too shall pass.
    "This, what is it in itself, and by itself, according to its proper constitution? What is the substance of it? What is the matter, or proper use? What is the form, or efficient cause? What is it for in this world, and how long will it abide? Thus must thou examine all things that present themselves unto thee." Marcus Aurelius

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