How To Understand Perfumery: 5 Tips

How To Understand Perfumery: 5 Tips
How To Understand Perfumery: 5 Tips
Video: How To Understand Perfumery: 5 Tips
Video: 5 Tips How to Know if Fragrance is LONG LASTING or Not 2023, February

We will understand what an olfactory pyramid and olfactory memory are, how chypre scents differ from amber ones, as well as how to properly get acquainted with perfumes and recognize all levels of their aroma.


What is a scent pyramid?

The aroma pyramid, or the olfactory pyramid, is the gradual unfolding of the aroma. As a rule, there are three notes in any of them: base, middle (aka “heart note”) and top. The top notes are the smell that we smell for the first 5-10 minutes (citrus, bergamot, lemongrass and other light scents). The middle notes show through after the top notes wear off and last longer - up to several hours. Here you can already feel different bouquets: fruit, floral, spicy. The base notes are the most persistent and last, they reach their peak sounding in about two hours and are felt for at least 6-8 hours. The aroma pyramid, with all its seemingly clear hierarchy, is a rather arbitrary thing, since the sensation of certain notes is a rather subjective process.

What types of fragrances are there?

Fragrances are divided into types, of which there are quite a few. Here are the main ones. So, for example, chypre are sage, patchouli, oak moss. Ambergris contain aromas of lavender plants and oils, aldehydes are present, for example, in Chanel 5 and Chanel 22 perfumes - these are fragrances that are synthesized from chemical compounds of aldehydes. By the way, they also include marine (ozone) ones. Oriental (oriental) - aromas of wood, vanilla, resin, leather - with notes of birch bark and juniper, fougere - geranium, oak moss and lavender.

How to train your sense of smell?

Of course, people are born with a nose like Peter Greenaway, the character of Suskind's novel “The Perfumer,” but not all of them. Therefore, the main thing is constant training. For example, try to get to know 3-4 flavors a day. The main difficulty is the lack of names. We call the spicy oriental scent heavy, and the citrus scent light. Perfumers have a kind of vocabulary of their own. Let's say citrus scents can be described as fresh, juicy, sour, sunny, and not just light. Plus another thing in physiology - the receptors for the perception of smells are located in the upper part of the nasal cavity and on the side of the flow of inhaled air. Already from these receptors, impulses are transmitted to the brain. First, the pathway leads to the limbic system and only then passes into the cerebral cortex. Accordingly, the level of smell perception depends on the speed of the impulses and the individual reaction. Memorizing a large number of aromas is called olfactory memory. There is one important point - if you smoke, it will be difficult, because cigarettes dull the sensations of taste and smell.

How to get to know and smell the right way?

In perfume shops, it usually smells of all the perfumes at once, so it is difficult to catch the entire palette. Plus you certainly don't spend a few hours there to get to know all the parts of the pyramid. If you have time, you can put your favorite scent on the blotter and go outside. Or take the sample you like with you. Coffee beans, according to perfumers, are a myth. To clear the receptors, it is much more effective to simply take a sip of water.

Are there special schools where they teach to understand aromas?

Yes there is. And schools, and workshops, and master classes for making perfume. True, there is one difficulty - perfumery schools in Russia do not have accreditation and, accordingly, you will not receive a state diploma in them. There is a perfumery school, which has been operating since 2013, in St. Petersburg (distance learning is possible, but you still have to come to the session). You can enter there on the basis of an interview and testing.A high school graduate can be both a critic and a perfume author. There is a laboratory at the school. It costs, depending on the form of study (full-time, part-time) from 125,000 to 210,000 rubles.

The “Perfumer” school has been operating in Moscow since 2015. This is the author's idea of ​​perfumer Anna Agurina. The course is intended for those wishing to independently learn how to make perfumes and understand fragrances. The training includes 4 modules: each of them takes place in person and lasts 5 days for 7 hours. The last, 4th, level takes place in France, in Grasse, and most of it is practice. The cost of training is 1,200 euros per module. Upon graduation, a certificate from the Grasse Institute of Perfumery is issued.

If you want to learn the basics or more information, then you can read the blog of perfumer Anna Zworykina, in which she talks about olfactory skills, natural perfumery and various ingredients.

Workshops are held at the Sweet Sixties perfume museum. They are led by Galina Anni, a perfumer, columnist and founder of a perfume club. There you can listen to training courses on the history of fragrances and perfumery stylistics, as well as take part in perfume making workshops. Schedules and recordings are posted on the Sweet Sixties Facebook group.

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