Thursday, August 5, 2010

Teaching Natural Perfumery

I've been asked many times if I teach classes on natural perfumery here in Australia....and I've finally decided to give in and do just that...
It seems there is a growing number of people out there yearning to learn how to play with all of these delightful natural ingredients...and realistically, there is a vast amount of stuff to learn about useing them safely and truly creatively if you want to make perfumes. And books can only take you so far.
There are a number of people running natural perfumery classes overseas, esp. in the States, but here in Oz, it's still a very new art.
So I'm now making lists and collecting ideas on what and how to do this....

Obviously Safety in working with natural perfumery materials would be one of the first and most important things I would want to impart, but beyond that there are so many different topics and different approaches I can think of...
I've read course descriptions from other perfumers, and they sound really in depth. Covering everything from perfume history, to details about every essential oil in exsistence, creating vertical accords and so much more....

I don't think it would be useful to teach another course along the same lines...some of these are already run by correspondence and easily accesible via the internet...(Anya McKoy has a very detailed one, and so do Mandy Aftel and Lyn Ayre)
And it would like re-designing the wheel sorta....

I would however like to share a bit more my own personal style and creative approach to making perfumes....
What I do think would be useful to teach is the actual hands on how to's of  perfume making. Introducing the individual components in small groups, and showing how combining them in different ways can create so many different effects...
In fact I think it may be the best to run a series....based around creating to certain themes maybe....each a day where you can smell and play with the ingredients that are used to create specific notes and genres in a perfume.....where you can also take home your own creation at the end of the day.

Themes could be:

-Flower perfumes, Scents for Blokes, Gourmand Scents....

And then of course there's the whole chapter of combining Aromatherapy and Perfume.....
Now that's really big chapter. 

My question to all of you now is :

What would you like to learn in a perfume workshop?

(And If you've taken part in other classes overseas, maybe you'd like to share what you thought worked well? What else would you have liked to learn?)


  1. Hi Ambrosia,
    Great post. I think you would be a wonderful teacher! You're so supportive and patient. If I could throw my two cents in, the focus on teaching students how to actually create perfume is right on. When I first started, I found it very difficult to find hands on information regarding how to literally make perfume. How much alcohol, how much botanicals, how long to age? These were the things I wondered . . . I remember being completely befuddled when I opened my first bottle of mimosa absolute and found a rock hard mass. I remember thinking, "Essence & Alchemy never said anything about working with ingredients that are rocks." How do I add 7 drops of this? Why didn't anyone tell me some botanicals are solids?

  2. Hi Ambrosia, I found you through the Natural Perfumery group and I'm very excited to hear that you are considering teaching a workshop! I've been finding my own haphazard way through natural perfumery for the last few months now, but I would love some structure with a experienced teacher like yourself. Please keep us posted about your planning process :).

    Wonderful to meet you,

  3. Go for it Ambrosia!

    I've come to Natural Perfumery via the Aromatherapy route. I'm interested in creating lovely perfumes with authentic healing properties. Relaxation and Optimism are easy effects to achieve from lots of natural fragrances (think ROSE & LAVENDER), but when my Mandarin Spring™'simple' EO based perfume stopped a friend's chronic migraine instantly (!)...figured I was on to something.

  4. Hi Ambrosia
    I am keen to do a full course on perfume making as i would like hands on for the experience and even though correspondence would be good i believe touching ,seeing and smelling are the best methods for learning also advice on the spot is priceless

  5. Hi Ambrosia
    I am very keen on learning about perfume making and would like to do a course if available