Galimard Perfume Creation Class Grasse, France Review and Tips by Deborah Dolen

I could not have had a better Thanksgiving 2015. I was able to take two different perfume construction courses at Galimard at Galimard in Grasse, France. I was there for "one on one" training with a nose. I highly recommend this experience for anyone who can get to Grasse, but know an appointment is very important for classes. I am writing this blog for those that cannot.

I was treated like gold from my transport from Cannes, France, by a driver named Stephen in a Mercedes Limo who was talking much of the trip to Galimard owner Roux Jean-Pierre on his cell and I assume worked for Roux. I guess they were making sure I was there, number one, and going to the right Galimard facility. This post is about my day constructing perfume at Galimard and very basics I learned without spoilers, naturally, of the Galimard actual process. How to separate that, I admit will be interesting. So in the building was only myself and three perfumer chemists as my teachers.

Before I begin I will say I took a lunch break and went over to their competitor Fragonard and not much was going on over there. Not at all. It seemed more of a small commercial museum (how petals are pressed into wax to absorb the scent) and, of course, selling a lot of commercial materials to tourists.

I picked Galimard because it is a much more personal experience, you really do learn how to create and interact with your favorite perfumes notes and Galimard has some of the best perfumes and mens scents on the market. As a bonus at a Galimard class, you get a cute diploma. One class was from 10:00 to 12:00 and the other was from 2:00 to 4:00. Although the classes two hours long I think an hour and a half each was more than enough-at least for myself, as I was familiar with a majority of the compounds (raw materials used to create scent.) So I already knew which ones I would not be after and this saved me some time.

As many aspiring perfumists know there are three levels of a perfume; a base note, a middle note, and a top note. What they may not know is that a perfume developer sits at an "organ" which is like a desk on three sides with three levels of shelves. The bottom shelf is full of scents that are the "base notes." The middle shelf is the shelf for "middle notes" and the top shelf, well, full of "top notes."

To begin I was asked to pick several base notes I liked out of about 100. And yes, I smelled each one (skipping ones I knew I would not like) and it did take about a half an hour to pick those. When those were selected they comprised half the 100 ml formula. That I can say. And the experts reviewed my picks and noted what power each should be to equal 50 ml. I listed my favorites in order of favorite, so higher MLS were devoted to those.

The next job was to select middle notes I found attractive. But this time it was limited to four or five. And the total of the middle notes were expected to be at 30 ML - which left 20 ML out of a 100 ML formula for top notes. So most of a perfume construction, if you have not figured it out yet-is in the 50% of the formula in base notes and they are far more varied.

Top notes was the surprise, I was asked only to pick a few, such as 3 or 4. At that point I think I found five I could not live without-so exception was made. Another surprise in formulation was that certain notes I wanted to be prudent with, such as oppomax, was brought up from 1 ML to 2.5 by my teachers because they explained it would not even be appreciable or noticeable at such a low level. This means any support note you want should be at least at 1% of your formula - no matter which level it is on, base, middle or top note. So any fragrance material you like should be at least 1% of the formula. Flavor chemicals I work with are very different, and often a few drops is enough in 100 ML.

When each of these area's were mixed in a beaker, a test sample is created with paper to see where you are at. Since I had some background I was fairly where I wanted to be. I will also mention the most unusual ingredient I saws in Galimards "organ" and that was "Bamboo." I liked the Bamboo very much as a clean airy scent. I had never worked with Bamboo before.

When the total of 100 MLS was complete and shaken it was poured into a gorgeous bottle of my choice and "crimped." Crimped means that seal is NEVER coming off--and I had to go all the way to Grasse, France to find that out. You know, your favorite scent has a few precious drops left and it will not go up the sprayer? I could not help but as that question as I admit I have smashed bottles risking fine glass fragments to get at those few drops. :) I am a Chanel, Gucci and now Galimard girl.

When you are done creating your fragrance you must give it a name. Because they print a beautiful label and keep your formula on file for you. You can always buy your completed formula for a VERY fair price on the Galimard website.

The next class was so complex I cannot begin to describe it but I learned worlds and it is called "The Organ of Flavours" and has to do with desert scents and "palette" cleaners. This is where I aimed for a very clean cotton scent and used marine notes to get there, such as cucumber and melon. It came out lovely and will be used as a Room Spray. But the inclination of that course is to make desert like scents. I work at Flavor Laboratories, Inc as a senior flavorist and had to avoid what I smell all day long which is desert scents.

In fact from an olfactory perspective I probably could not even smell chocolate notes when I get home or fruit notes I work with all day. So, I had to go the marine and clean route.

I do hope you learned something from my post and I really hope someday you can make it to Grasse, France and attend the Galimard classes yourself. It is up there with life changing experiences and naturally makes you a better buyer of fragrances in the future. As a post note, I am still recovering from the trip having to sit behind super sick people on my 13 hour flight home-[equals I am now sick] so I wont be answer questions for a few weeks. DeborahDolen



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