Beginner perfumer needing guidance

Aug 11, 2021
Hello all! In need of some supportand guidance greatly! Im kind of having a fit of perfumery depression. I have ton of materials and everything I need to start but diluting, calculations, and just everything about it is so daunting and has been extremely overwhelming😥😫 I dont feel I have enough knowledge do achieve what id like to accomplish, which is one day being able to make beautiful fragrance that I can sell and maybe make a career out of. I took a class at perfumers apprentice but that pretty much just opened the door. I made a couple fragrances there and have the jist of creating but nothing even close to what I feel I need to know. Is there any advice or recommendation on where and how I can pursue this further and learn what I need to learn so I dont get so discouraged? Online courses preferred since traveling to learn would be tough given my situation. I feel im fully capable of creating exceptional fragrance just need more guidance/direction. Thank you🙏🙏
Ive been looking at similar posts about this and the conclusion is just play around and learn from your mistakes which is hard for me because I like to understand what im doing. Again any advice or direction on any online courses would be awesome!!
 

knowledgeableman

New member
Sep 13, 2021
Take your time and enjoy the journey and surround yourself with positive people.
Avoid negative people and seek to learn from as many different folks as you can because every perfumer has their own creative process.
Take your time to study individual materials and try to remain as curious as you possibly can for as long as you can.
 

Hazel_

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 8, 2021
Try not to panic and not be in a hurry. Crafting perfume is a deep chasm of an undertaking and adding pressure won't make it easier or faster. :)

For classes, I highly recommend the online courses offered by The Institute of Art & Olfaction in Los Angeles. They do cost money, but they're taught by seasoned perfumers and go to fund the institute, which is a non-profit for the betterment of the entire industry. The classes are offered via Zoom and they range really widely from absolute beginner stuff (I believe even some courses on dilutions and perfumer's math) and more esoteric, history type courses. I've taken a few and enjoyed them, and I think they were worth the time.

(The only trouble with the IAO online classes in my opinion is that they're meant to be taken in real time, and they're often offered during working hours, so if you have traditional, full time employment it can be challenging to attend. And while they're available via recording, only for three days after the class. It's just kind of a hurdle.)

One thing I did in the beginning a lot that I also recommend is to find demo formulas — like those released to market new aromachemicals by Firmenich — and make those, and then play with them to see what happens. Change one thing, or the quantity of one thing, and smell. You know how fine art students are often made to copy masterworks? Like that a little bit (these formulas aren't masterworks, they're not meant to be, but you get the idea). Plus sometimes you'll play with something so long it will become something new, and that's always fun!
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
One thing I did in the beginning a lot that I also recommend is to find demo formulas — like those released to market new aromachemicals by Firmenich — and make those, and then play with them to see what happens. Change one thing, or the quantity of one thing, and smell. You know how fine art students are often made to copy masterworks? Like that a little bit (these formulas aren't masterworks, they're not meant to be, but you get the idea). Plus sometimes you'll play with something so long it will become something new, and that's always fun!

Hard endorse! In addition to the Firmenich formulas they release & are available on PDF marketing copy for new materials (like their oud bases & muguet materials), their numbered formulas of which many dozens are on Good Scents are very instructive. Also, there are a good amount of formulas posted on here, such as Paul Kiler's basic skeleton fougère & chypre formulas & Big L's 8-liners that are fantastic to work with, manipulate, and learn to understand how they work.
 

Jolieo

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2018
However you decide to approach this endeavor , I would suggest breaks when overwhelmed-
I have read several studies that show that learning is done to saturation and then a break is needed in order to be able to process more
I have experienced the truth of this many times over but it it is of more relevance I believe in perfumery because it is a new language, and a completely new way of approaching a sense that we have been using our whole lives- so maybe not useful to have high expectations immediately- again in the study- usually as new information comes to light, it takes more to integrate the new material, and more break time absorbing-because there is more and more to integrate it into- so we tend to learn in big steps at first, then progress flatlines while all info is integrated, then various measures of advancement depending upon how complicated the material is. ( and perfumery is about as complicated as you will let it be) eureka moments usually come( the studies show) after integrating, sometimes with new teachings- bit it is a choppy ride, with backpedaling involved.
I just keep at it-I was anosmic to a good deal of aroma chemicals- so I had to teach myself to smell-so if you have a good sense of smell, consider yourself ahead of the game-
I also had to make stuff that excited me- which meant working with materials I liked- that went a long way to keeping me in the game
 

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