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  1. #1

    Default Edmond Roudnitska on learning perfumery

    In a recent thread I challenged basenotes member xii on his assertions about learning perfumery and we carried the discussion into PM. It was an enjoyable argument and in it xii raised the name Edmond Roudnitska who was one of the greatest perfumers whose life spanned the 20th century and created classics for Dior (such as Diorella, Diorama, etc) and Rochas (femme). He also founded a perfume academy and wrote prolifically on teaching and learning perfumery. Fortunately, a number of the English translations of Roudnitska's writings are preserved in pdf on Anya McCoy's home site (many thanks to Anya for hosting these).

    The one I've linked below is on teaching beginning perfumery and is rather enlightening. I'd also tip the hat to our own David Ruskin who urges to learn perfumery in pretty much the exact same manner as Roudnitska teaches. Now when reading to learn, as opposed to reading for entertainment, one must try to put aside your biases and keep your mind open rather than passing judgement. I say this not to be pedantic but because my experience tells me that many people cannot or will not do this and so they don't benefit from the teaching. Nonetheless read at your leisure and enjoy. Several other Roudnitska articles can be found on the Anya's Garden website:

  2. #2

    Default Re: Edmond Roudnitska on learning perfumery

    I remember reading that Dragoco Report article, and following the instructions. I would say that it is probably the second stage of learning. It is necessary to learn how to smell, and to start developing your own odour descriptions. Then start with individual ingredients, then follow Roudnitska's suggestions. What is most difficult to accept, I think, is that it all takes time.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Junkie Max Magnus's Avatar
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    Aug 2016

    Default Re: Edmond Roudnitska on learning perfumery

    wow, excellent article, thank you for sharing!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Washington, DC

    Default Re: Edmond Roudnitska on learning perfumery

    Excellent read, especially for somebody who's never done anything. Interesting how he talks about making the most of the first time one smells something. Also interesting, and useful for in store smelling, that he suggests to smell a strip no more than half inch from the nose, and for 3-4 series of a couple of seconds each.


  5. #5
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    xii's Avatar
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    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Edmond Roudnitska on learning perfumery

    Roudnitska was probably the last perfumer having a mission to make perfumery organised and learnable. He studied aromas in the very same manner Darwin studied beetles. For decades.
    The really interesting articles are about a need of language and theory of perfume making. Why, Darwinism has survived but, sadly, Roudnitska's ideas are no longer popular.
    Ellena claims to continue his work and it the sense of creating perfume he certainly does. But he doesn't really contribute to the theory of perfume making.

    And, although Roudnitska frequently emphasises perseverance in any creative process (I couldn't agree more), he advocates a great need of making the learning process as quick as possible. That's the very reason of imparting intellect in the process. Rather than tedious descriptive alchemy he proposes minimalistic and organised approach. He frequently quotes other great thinkers sharing the idea of aesthetics through simplicity. Pity he didn't live a few years longer to see the that science of olfaction, in a way, caught up with the idea.

    Modern art of perfumery making is deliberately obscured so that whatever cheap crap can be sold at great price. For one supporting example. You can hardly (and I suppose not at all) find any new fragrance without captive molecules younger than 5 years in it.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Edmond Roudnitska on learning perfumery

    I hadn't read the 1984 P&F article. Thank you I.D.Adam, very kind of you to post that.

  7. #7
    Basenotes Junkie Dmitriy's Avatar
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    Dec 2014

    Default Re: Edmond Roudnitska on learning perfumery

    I.D.Adam, thank you very much! This is really a very interesting and useful information. How lucky people who were able to learn from him.. This is a unique master!!

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