Perfume Summer School: Grasse Institute of Perfumery

Posted on November 14th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog. 68 comments

There are often myths that surround the study of perfumery. Some people I have shared my interest with have commented, “Don’t you need a chemistry degree to do that?” and in some instances they are correct. To study at the prestigious ISIPCA perfume school in Versailles a degree in chemistry is a prerequisite. Otherwise generally speaking, perfumers are not chemists. Students of perfumery usually begin studying inside a school of one of the world’s large perfume manufacturers. Successful students are not only required to be accomplished composers; they must also memorize hundreds of raw materials and their characteristics. This style of learning is often tailored to the working environments of large manufacturers such as Givaudan, IFF or Firmenich and students graduate taking up positions within the parent company.

The challenge I faced was to find a learning path that was sufficiently in-depth and designed for perfume enthusiasts instead of industry professionals. Some years ago I enrolled in a distance-learning course with Perfumers World, an organization based in Bangkok. Their system of shipping students raw materials and the coursework is completed online suited my need at the time. This was my introduction to modern perfumery, giving me a basic understanding of raw materials and how to build simple reconstitutions of popular flowers such as rose, jasmine and lily of the valley. After this I knew the next step was some form of face-to-face training.

Earlier this year my online wanderings lead me to an organization in Grasse that offer a 2-week summer school in English. This seemed perfect. Not only would I be learning about perfume with a qualified tutor, I would also be doing it in the historic heart of the perfume industry. The Grasse Institute of Perfumery (GIP) is a division of ASFO-Grasse and has been running since 2002. Annually the school has a small intake of students who live and study in Grasse for a year. While the students are on summer break, the GIP run a series of short courses including programs for English speakers.

I enrolled in their September program with some trepidation, as there was not a lot of information about the course available online and email correspondence with the school had been irregular. Part of the reason I am writing this blog entry is to share my positive experience, which could help those interested in GIP’s English summer school. Our tutor for the two weeks was Laurence Fauvel, a perfumer who graduated from Givaudan’s school of perfumery. GIP facilitators are all working perfumers and many of them come from or have experience with companies such as Givaudan, Mane and Takasago. Not only do you learn standard industry practices, you also get a sense of what the life of a perfumer is like for those that chose to study via more traditional methods. For me, an unexpected pleasure was meeting a group of perfume lovers like myself from all over the world. My student group came from as far abroad as, Alaska, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Russia, France and Switzerland. I even met another Australian, a candle maker from Melbourne.

My morning walk to school from the old town

Grasse Institute of Perfumery

In our introduction Laurence gave us a lesson in the history of perfume as well as a history of Grasse. Each lesson was peppered with Laurence’s own work experiences that she used to illustrate a point in the curriculum and at other times she entertained us with amusing stories that only an insider of this secretive industry could tell. Our first week was dedicated to natural raw materials. Laurence said that for a perfumer, it is important to first understand naturals and then one can move on to synthetics. It was like a scent meditation. As each raw material was presented, we focused on its characteristics and recorded our impressions in notebooks. Laurence shared with us her own impressions and how the material works in formulation. For example vetiver can bring saltiness to a formula when overdosed and cedarwood adds a dryness that you do not find in sandalwood, which is creamier. By the end of week one we had evaluated over 40 raw materials of natural origin. We also analyzed the difference in odour resulting from various extraction methods. The subtle differences between rose absolute and rose oil was something I had not considered; the absolute is a richer long lasting odour that can still be perceived in the base note of a perfume whereas oil extracted by steam distillation has a sharper odour that is more volatile, proving useful in the top and heart notes. Each morning and sometimes in the afternoon Laurence gave us a blind test of 10 raw materials that we had to identify. For me, it was interesting to see how the same raw material could ‘shift’ from one day to another. This is often the case with naturals because they are complex blends of aromas and this can be a reason why perfumers prefer to work with synthetics. Laurence made a comparison between blackcurrant bud absolute and the synthetic Cassis Base 345B by Firmenich. The synthetic is linear whereas the natural is complex and moving.

Week 1: Study of naturals

The daily blind test. Are you tonka bean or are you coumarin?

As part of our study of naturals we visited a jasmine farmer who was picking for Robertet, a local manufacturer that specialize in the production of high-end naturals. Their jasmine absolute can easily cost upwards of 2000 euro a kilo. Although the farmer grew jasmine, Robertet was encouraging him to expand his small crop of single stem tuberoses. Even with this encouragement the farmer had concerns because a harvestable field of tuberoses takes 5 years to grow and if the current trend for tuberose perfumes dies off so does his 5-year investment. Horticulture in Grasse is becoming increasingly challenging. The farmer said his son has no interest in continuing the family business and his jasmine is increasingly more expensive to harvest. In better times the farm could yield 600-700 tons of jasmine a year. Now the demand is much less and Grasse farmers cannot compete with countries such as India and Egypt who can produce at much lower costs and still satisfy the demand with lower quality product. Many of the small plantations are slowly disappearing. Chanel guaranteed the security of its jasmine and rose stocks by buying fields in the surrounding village of Pegomas but without such support, Grasse’s jasmine and rose fields are at risk of extinction.

Jasmine fields in Grasse

Heaven is putting your nose in this basket


The farmer picked some stems for us. It’s my favourite flower

By the end of the week we began evaluating some classic perfumes from the past fifty years such as Feminite du Bois, Eau Sauvage, Terre d’Hermes, Chanel No. 5 and many others. This gave us an opportunity to begin seeing the raw materials we had smelt in isolation, working in a perfume. This lead to our first formulation lesson. To further develop our evaluation skills Laurence gave us a list of ingredients for a formula she had written. The first was eau de cologne. Smelling each material separately we had to estimate the amount in the formula, considering how diffusive the material was and how much of its character would be present in the formula. This was an interesting task because often the material that has the largest dosage in a formula is not always the material that speaks the loudest. Laurence corrected our estimates and we measured out the formula on the laboratory measuring scales. Later we could adapt and experiment with the formula. Our brief was to stay within the boundaries of an eau de cologne, but bring something new to the theme. I adapted the neroli oil content by adding orange flower absolute and in the base I decided to add the modern dry amber/wood molecule Karanal. I liked my attempt at modernizing this classic genre but Laurence felt I had stretched the cologne concept too far and my creation was more of an eau de toilette. My attempt at a fougere was less successful although one of the accords in my fougere made from Javanol, Iso E Super, Ambroxan and Hedione was interesting enough for me to keep in my notepad for future reference. Using these heavier molecules Laurence advised me to wait a day for maceration to occur before I evaluate my creation.

Week 2: study of synthetics

Messy perfume students!

By the second week we had more formulations to work with and our vocabulary of odours stretched to synthetic molecules. My chypre aimed to be something between Mistouko and Miss Dior and I realized the importance of methyl ionone in the chypre accord. Methyl ionone is a woody violet note that I did not immediately identify in the chypre theme but without it you do not achieve the same vibrant effect seen in the classic chypres of the 1950s and before. Another formula we worked on was a modern aquatic theme similar to CK One. This lead to a discussion on counter-typing and Laurence explained that in large companies part of the job of a perfumer is to counter-type. Gas chromatography can identify around 80% of a perfume’s components. The perfumer’s nose is needed to identify the remaining 20%. Counter-typing isn’t about copying perfumes. Large companies use counter-typing as a way to understand top selling perfumes and should a new client request a detergent or perfume that smells like a current best seller, the creative department know the DNA of that top seller and they can quickly adapt it to their client’s needs. Sadly in today’s fast paced industry this happens all too often and the demand for a quick turnaround of design briefs is valued above creativity.

Our field trip in the second week was a visit to Expressions Parfumees, a company that specializes in creating fragrance for artistic perfumery as well as technical perfumery (paints and gasoline). The company employs a team of 11 perfumers in Grasse who work on a variety of projects. Laurence said that for larger companies perfumers would specialize in working with different bases. One perfumer will specialize in alcoholic bases, another detergents and another gels or lotions. In smaller companies perfumers need to be multi-specialists because a perfume formula for bath oil will be different from an eau de toilette even if to the customer’s nose, they smell the same. At Expressions Parfumees the marketing team is responsible for providing the perfumers with reports on trends and competitor analysis. In perfume they saw an increase in fleur d’oranger notes and a continued rise in the popularity of chypre styled perfumes. This trend of heavier woody perfumes could be attributed to modern laundry detergents, shower gels, deodorants, hair care and cosmetics, which today are all heavily fragranced. By the time a person comes to apply a perfume, they need something strong enough to mask the presence of all these other odours.

Expressions Parfumees laboratory

Laboratory quality testing

Like most perfume manufacturers, Expressions Parfumees keep a library of all its creations. If a brief cannot be answered with an existing idea from the library, the creative team may adapt an existing formula that is close to what the client has requested. Otherwise the perfumers need to build a new idea from the ground up, which increases development time. In large companies perfumers can work on as many as 10 briefs per month. Or the whole team may work together on an important brief such as a new perfume for YSL or another high profile client. A fact I found interesting was that the client does not pay any service fee for creation. The sale of the compound is where the perfume manufacturers make their investment back. Unless a perfume is made in-house as is the case with brands like Chanel, Guerlain and now Dior, the brand never sees, nor do they own the rights to the formula. This remains the property of the compound manufacturer. At Expressions Parfumees the smallest quantity of compound they sell is 5kg and orders can head into a tonnage for multi-national clients. A perfumer’s performance is measured by how many briefs they win and how many kilos of the winning compound are sold per annum. After visiting the quality-testing department we also visited the warehouse where formulas are blended for large orders. Expressions Parfumees use state of the art computerized robots that can mix hundreds of kilos of formula with perfect precision. The only materials that are mixed by hand are precious oils and absolutes.

Expressions Parfumee library of creations

After this field trip our group had come to the last day of study. We finalized the formulas we had been working on and had an evaluation in the school garden where we introduced our perfumes and offered feedback for perfumes made by others in the group. For me, two weeks was the perfect length for the course. Any longer and my mind and nose would have become saturated with information and any less, I would have left wanting more. If you are considering attending a perfume course, what GIP offer is well worth considering. You do not need to go with any prior training; you just need a passion for perfume. And for those that have a basic understanding, I found our tutor was very open to conversing on the side if there was any topic I wanted to understand in more depth. I would recommend this course not only for those interested in perfume making but also for those that want a richer appreciation of their favourite perfume or their perfume collection.

Final evaluation

Future perfumers?

Grasse Institute of Perfumery, in Grasse, France

68 responses to “Perfume Summer School: Grasse Institute of Perfumery”

  1. Munch says:

    I am from India .. I am desperate to take summer classes.. Can u mail me all details and how to apply this summer

  2. tanya says:

    is there a perfumery school which offers affordable short courses for internationals?

    thank you

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Tayna,

      I’d do some research as affordable will depend on your location and bank account. Aside from GIP, ISIPCA just outside Paris offer a similar 2 week summer school, which is a similar price. Look up their website if you are interested. Good luck!

  3. […] summer course. Jessica September Buchanan provides a wonderful window into her time at the GIP. Clayton Ilolahia shares his experience with the GIP 2-week […]

  4. jimi bajulaiye says:

    Hi Clayton and am from West Africa Nigeria and am interested to be a perfumer, I appreciate your blog and it helps solve a lot of my questions but am from Africa Nigeria I would like to know the possibility of how I can be a student cos I know I will require a student visa for this course and it will be the 2weeks course then I go for the 9 month program I would also like to know if it will also be possible for me to work and still be a student. I would be much obliged if you can help me out with the necessary details to apply also am am a fresher in this I do not know about perfumery please do get back to me thanks once again.

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Jimi,

      Sorry, I don’t know the answer to your questions. I would ask these questions to the school and search online for France’s student visa conditions to see if you are able to work when in France. I would imagine if you cannot speak French, finding work will be a challenge if the visa allows you to work.

      Good luck,

  5. extari says:


    I’m thinking of doing the Fragrance Summer School this year. It is really expensive for me, do you think attending just the first week could be enough?

    Thank you in advance

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi, I think if you go all the way to attend one week, you will wish you had enrolled to attend both weeks. I don’t know if the curriculum has changed but when I attended 3 years ago, the first week was focused on naturals and the second week more about synthetics and making accords. If you are already an aromatherapist etc, maybe the second week would be more interesting for you….


  6. Christopher says:

    Clayton, thank you for sharing your experience, I too am interested in attending the summer school course in grass next year. I wanted to ask you, what do you think a good budget to plan for would be? Including cost of living expenses, toiletries, food, ect. Thank you so much, looking forward to hearing back from you!

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Christopher,

      It would depend on the way you like to travel. Grasse doesn’t have a lot of highly expensive things to tempt you with in regards to restaurants and nightlife. After you factor in the cost of accommodation you choose, the cost of food is pretty standard. There is a Monoprix in the old town, so you can do your supermarket shopping there and spend what you normally would at home. Breakfast can be as simple as a 1 Euro croissant and espresso. Lunch was provided by the GIP. I’d budget for a couple of team dinners with your classmates. I was within walking distance from the school so there was no cost for transport. If you would like to go home with some raw materials you can budget a couple hundred Euro for the GIP kits that are optional and take some spending money if you think you want to bring some souvenirs home from Grasse. I hope that helps – Clayton

    • Angel says:

      Hi Clayton, I just checked the accommodation cost and sounds it is pretty expensive to me normally 80-100 euro per nite. do you think the school will offer good deal for accommodation to students? btw, any suggestion to find a nice cheaper place?

      Thanks a lot!

      • What Men Should Smell Like says:

        Hi there,

        The school does not involve itself in student accommodation. I would check to see what you can find within your budget.


  7. jdbiii says:

    Hi Clayton,
    I love your blog. I too attended the courses at GIP this past summer (2014) and found them to be excellent. I stayed just up the hill at the Villa Coste D’Or and highly recommend it. As you said, Mme. Fauvel was very attuned to our specific questions and concerns as well as the curriculum. She has a great sense of humor. I have been elaborating on many of the ideas I developed in Grasse and trying variations on the themes which we studied. Chypre is definitely my favorite. A great experience.

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Thanks for the comment and for reading my blog. It’s always nice to hear from other alumni from the GIP course….the chypre was my favourite too. Thanks for sharing a bit about your experience and recommendation for accommodation. Next time I am in Grasse I will check out the Villa Coste D’Or!

  8. Michael says:

    Thanks for this post!
    I am actually interested in becoming a perfumer but don’t really have much idea of how I would go about doing that. I am interested in doing the nine month program at GIP after I get my Chemistry degree from UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. Do you know what the application process is like for the 9 month GIP course for perfumers, when I would apply, and if doing the 2 week seminar will be a good intro for me to take part in before applying? Any information would be really helpful. Also I am a Freshman at Berkeley, so tons of time to do different things in preparation for applying. Also if you know of any other perfumer schools, please share with me! Thank you so much and this blog is awesome, it actually gives a lot of insight into how you’re experience was!

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Michael. I think doing the two week course is a good introduction to the faculty who select the students for the year course. I would look at the GIP website or contact them to get up to date information about their selection process and timing. For alternatives, if you have a chemistry degree, look into ISIPCA in Versailles, or I would also look at interning or taking a junior role in a company like IFF, Givaudan or Firmenich, who can offer you their own training program. If you are truly passionate about becoming a perfumer you will find a way to do it. All the best!

  9. Sanja says:

    Hi Clayton, I will be doing this course in September (thanks for pointing me to it!) and I wanted to know if you had a suggestion for lodging? Did you stay in Old Town? It seems like ASFO is a 30 min or so from the centre. I know, such a non-perfume related question but I thought you may be able to point me in the right direction. Thank you! :)

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Sanja,

      I’m excited for you. I would love to do the course again just for the experience. As you say, the old town is about a 30 minute walk from the school. The hotels in the old town are very basic (I’d also be mindful walking around some of the side streets at night), so it depends on what you are looking for. Some of the people on my course stayed in other areas of Grasse and Cabris. They used sites like airbnb to find their accommodation around the hillsides away from the town. You can find some nicer, more picturesque places this way but they can be some way from the school and public transport and taxis in Grasse are slightly limiting. Good luck with your planning!

      • Sanja says:

        Thank you! I am so glad you wrote about this – I wouldn’t have taken the plunge without your review, given the limited info from ASFO :)

  10. Lucy Wilson says:

    Thank you for this blog, you have been very generous recounting your experience. I have a retail space in London which is dedicated to men and wish to find a perfumer who specialises in fragrances for men. I would like to have artisan perfume as well as the usual suspects.
    Where would I find someone with “a nose”.
    Thank you in advance for reading this email.

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Lucy,

      Thanks for reading. What a cool project you have ahead of you to design a men’s fragrance. I don’t have any direct contacts in London I could recommend I am afraid. Depending on the size of your business and how big you want to go, you could put together a basic design brief and approach specialists such as Robertet or larger producers such as Givaudan, IFF or Firmenich, all have offices in London. If you are thinking of something small and very artisanal you may have to look a little harder. The financial outlay required to set up a perfume production line is significant, which means a majority of perfumers make their living by being employed by bigger companies who can produce fragrances on a big scale. If for you, being artisanal means staying away from the large producers, you could even float your idea on the message board of the forum in the DIY section, where a number of aspiring perfumers exchange ideas. One of the more advanced members might be able to help you find what you need. Good luck! Clayton

  11. Bingxin says:

    Hello Clayton! The summer course sounds terrific! I’d like to attend too. But GIP does not reply me when I ask them about the course. Do you know anybody in the school that might be able to share with me some information?

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Bingxin,

      As you can see from the many comments, slow communication from the GIP is an unfortunate reality. I hope you receive a reply from them soon. I do not have any recommendations to speed the process up I am afraid.

      Good Luck,

      • Bingxin says:

        Hello Clayton,

        Thanks for your comment! I got in touch with them finally. I think your blog has encouraged lots of people to attend the course 😉


        • What Men Should Smell Like says:

          Hi Bingxin. I’m happy to hear you made contact. If you attend, I hope you have as much fun learning about perfume as I did!

    • Julian says:

      Clayton has an amazing BLOG doesn’t he? Thanks for all the great work Clayton.

      Bingxin, Please have a look here for more information about my experience with GIP.

      Happy to answer any questions.

    • Camille says:

      Hi Bingxin
      I also have interested in GIP perfumery course. Unfortunately they never reply my email. Have you try to call them?

      • Bingxin says:

        Hello Camille,

        I just see the message. Sorry I am late. Yes, I think calling them might be the best way. If you are not in France, calculate the time difference and call them at their work time. You’ll get in touch with them soon!

        Good luck,


  12. Elaine says:

    Hello Clayton,

    I recently just discovered GIP, and after having read your blog I’m so excited to learn that there is a two week summer program. Would you happen to know how to apply as well as how early you should apply?

    Thank you for your reply


    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Elaine,

      Usually you can apply for the summer school by filling out the enrolment form on the site. If you can’t find the 2014 dates on the GIP website I would email them for more information. As it’s the start of winter, they may not have confirmed their 2014 summer course dates yet.

      All the best,

  13. […] The Grasse Institute of Perfumery was founded in 2002. The student perfumer training program is an intensive nine-month course open to only 12 students each year. They also offer some summer school programs and a seven-month program to become a technical assistant. I know of two indie perfumers who studied at GIP: Jessica September Buchanan of 1000 Flowers and Anne McClain of MCMC Fragrances. Jessica wrote an interesting chronicle of her time at the perfumery school. Clayton Ilolahia gives a great description of his experience attending the GIP two-week intensive summer course on his blog What Men Should Smell Like. […]

  14. Roberta says:

    Hi Claiton,
    I ma very interesting in attending course “Preparateur perfumes, aromes and cosmetiques” at ASFO Grasse. Do you know anything about this course or meet anyone attending it while you we’re in Grasse? It would be great if I could get in touch with them to collect some feedback before to take decision.

    Thanks for your support,

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Roberta,

      Sorry I don’t have any contacts who have attended this course. Perhaps email the school directly and have them answer any questions you have.

      All the best,

  15. Esra says:

    Dear Mr. Clayton,

    I’m interesting to study parfum to become perfumist.
    I have a doubt and I don’t know if you can help me: Here in Brazil, we have a governenment program which the country pay the studients through the scholarship. But to get this scholarship, the school has to send the letter of recommendation and also accept the international students through the partneship as Campus France, etc.
    Do you know if GIP has this partneship inside the school?
    The brazilian gorvernment program is “ciencias sem fronteiras”.

    Thank you in advance,

    Best Regards,

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:


      I’m not able to help you with this question. Best thing to do would be to email the GIP directly and ask them. I would also look into one of the big production houses such as Givaudan or IFF, which have offices in Brazil. They may have positions or internships available that offer training.

      Best regards,

  16. Valentina says:

    Thanks so much for your post, looks like you had quite an adventure over there! Since you’ve seen the school, you may know if in order to attend the 1 year course, it’s required to have some chemistry degree. I’m a Pharmacy student, still waiting to graduate though…
    Let me know! thanks again!

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Vale,
      At the time I was in Grasse, it was not a prerequisite to have a chemistry degree to apply for the year course. All the best, Clayton

  17. yash says:

    i am intrested in joinning a perfumery school.
    can you tell me about guivadan perfumery school. its eligibility criteria,application and other stuff.
    and any other courses offerd by GIP or other good institute….
    and i am planning to do it after high school…

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Yash. I’m no authority on either of these schools. So you have the correct information I would mail them directly so they can give you the information about the course and the selection criteria. All the best, Clayton

  18. carmenmei says:

    From childhood i love perfume,and i had been in Grasse 3 times during the time i was in Nice, always dream that in the future to become a perfumer, I wanted to get a complete training, rather than summer courses.If have, can you please tell me the details,.But I do not have the professional background of the flavors and fragrances, this will become barriers for my application to study?

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hello. You should follow your dream to be a perfumer. If you want to look for more than just a summer school there are some options, not many, and most of them require serious commitment. As such, the annual intake of students is very small and requires around three years of study. The Grasse Institute of Perfumery offer a one year course, which is very popular so it is quite competitive to get accepted. For other schools which are very well known you have ISIPCA in Versailles (I believe you need a chemistry degree first) or the other famous schools are within the big perfume companies of the world such as Givaudan, IFF and Firmenich etc. For these in-house schools I believe the arrangement is you are an employee of the company, they offer you three years of intensive training and you are then placed into employment somewhere in the company once you finish studying. If you search on youtube, perhaps you have seen it already, the BBC4 documentary called Perfume (if you search ‘BBC4 perfume’ it should come up)? Parts of this documentary take you inside the Givaudan school. I think without experience in perfumes and flavours you can follow your dream but I think any experience or proof of your potential will help you stand out above the hundreds of other applicants that apply to these schools. Good luck! Clayton

  19. Julian says:

    Hello Clayton,

    Thank you so much for the blog about Grasse. I am heading to GIP in June for the 2 week fragrance course. Reading your experience has only confirmed that this should be a really enjoyable experience and an opportunity to learn a lot about the perfume creation. Thank for taking the time to write it down.

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      My pleasure Julian. I just got very nostalgic reading your comment that you will be going there in the not too distant future. I hope you have an amazing trip- maybe you will get to see the roses being harvested if it is not too late? This is one thing I want to return to Grasse and see.

  20. Sue says:

    HI Clayton

    Thank you for your post. I would love to do the summer course this year. It would also be a huge financial outlay for me as I will be traveling on the SA rand. The GIP website is quite sparse with details on the 2 week course. But judging by your post, you would highly recommend it. Just a question – do you feel the course equipped you enough to start something on your own in a related field i.e. small perfume making business or similar? I realise that to become an expert in this field would take years of study. However, I would like to be able to use this experience to start something business related and not just as a self indulgent holiday . Would you say you learned some good basics? Any feedback would be much appreciated.

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Sue,

      I think the course lays some excellent foundations and it sets you up on the right path to begin exploring scent in your own time. I think you would need some additional experience to work towards being capable of finishing your own scent without assistance. I really liked the course I did via internet with a sample kit that was posted to me. I thought this was a good starting point and gave me some basic understanding so I could ask more advanced questions from my tutor in Grasse.

      best regards

  21. Olga says:

    Hi! Thank you for great post! Do you know anything about the 1 year training they offer? I am passionate about perfumery and my dream is to get accepted to 1 year program. I am having hard time communicating with them by email, they have not replied to me so far. Do you know how hard is it to get in the program and, what is most important, do they offer it in English (on the website they mention that exam of English proficiency is needed to be passed however they do not specifically say in which language they offer the 1 year program). Can you, please, share any info you might know about the 1 year program. Also I am very passionate about natural perfumery, and not very fond of synthetics, this ideas are probably not very popular in there? You must have been discussing the subject of natural vs synthetics. It would be interesting to know what gurus in the field say.

    • What Men Should Smell Like says:

      Hi Olga,

      Yes, unfortunately the school can delay in getting back to you. They mean well and are very dedicated to what they do, but for whatever reason, communication via email is not a strength. When I was there I spoke with one of the students who is in the year course. She was from Brazil. She spoke very highly of the course. SHe mentioned that many past students had left the school and taken up positions in perfume companies around the world, so she was confident the qualification was recognised but she also said that the market is becoming increasingly competitive and she still had a fear that she would not find employment after graduation. Talking with her, I got the feeling the course lays some firm foundations in perfumery but further learning with a perfume company is required but I would imagine perfumery is one of those skills you need to continually learn along the way, in the job.

      As for the natural vs synthetic side of things, the year course focuses on naturals for a section, but the course is designed to equip students with skills to work in the commercial perfume industry, so a lot of the time would be dedicated to the study of synthetics. If you class yourself as a natural perfumer, GIP offer a 1 week naturals course but the year course may not offer you what you are looking for.

      I can’t remember if they offer the 1 year course in English or French… I think it may be in English, but I would start learning French if you were to attend. Living in Grasse would give you so many opportunities to meet locals within the perfume industry, French would be a great asset to learn from them.

      Hope that helps!

  22. Fina says:

    Wow! That sounds cool! I wonder if material physics student like me allowed to apply for this short course 😀

  23. Raph says:

    In addition to the cost of the short courses, can u share the url of those online courses in perfumery u attended? Or other good sites? I wish to start up a perfume making business and I need guideline and also need to understand the market.

  24. Jordan River says:

    Eaulolahia n’est ce pas?

  25. hajusuuri says:

    Wow! Fascinating. Are perfume organs still used?

    • Hi Hajusuuri. I think it depends on the perfumer. At Expressions Parfumees the lab was a floor down from the perfumers office. They would write formulas and the lab staff would mix it for them, so they didn’t have raw materials in front of them.

  26. lucasai says:

    Lovely adventure!

  27. Jordan River says:

    Sure your teacher was right but you were making Eau de Ilohahia! Thank you for the vicarious experience. Are the library of creations drawers refrigerated?

    • In the school, all citrus and floral materials are refrigerated as well as some synthetics such as aldehydes. Naturals are stored in light protective amber glass bottles and the synthetics in clear glass. At Expressions Parfumees the library was temperature controlled but not refrigerated. The lab staff remake the formulas once a year so they remain fresh. Eau de Ilolahia….lol, I wonder if that is what men should smell like?

  28. Vasilisa says:

    Thank you very much for this post, sounds like a wonderful experience! I have been browsing through the webpages of the summer school several times, and it is really interesting to hear about the actual experiences of the school! Now its certainly on the top of my dream holiday list :)

    • That’s great to hear. I was unsure of the course because the website doesn’t go into too much detail and for me it was a big investment to travel from Australia to Grasse to attend. But I am glad I did. It has been the highlight of my year.

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