Normally I am the one asking the questions during interviews and for a change I am on the receiving end. My first post for 2015 is a link to a podcast I am featured in. Christine Daley from US-based Perfumer Supply House has published an interview with me as part of her podcast series of talks with different people in the world of perfume. Below is a little bit of background on our conversation and what you can expect to hear in this podcast.
The reason I started writing a perfume blog was to learn more about perfumery as I had an interest in becoming a perfumer. I don’t really see myself as a perfumer at this stage. Maybe I am a scent designer? There is a lot of weight that comes with the title of perfumer. Usually these professionals have followed a more traditional path, learning their craft under the tutelage of a master perfumer or completing studies with a recognised and respected perfume school such as ISIPCA in Versailles. Although I have completed some basic training, a majority of my learning has come from my own experimentation with raw materials, trying to copy existing perfumes to discover how they are composed, researching and reading as much as possible, and blogging. Writing a blog post about a perfume is a good way for me to dissect a fragrance in my mind and I learn from the olfactory relationships that exist between its composite parts. Interviewing perfumers for my blog is another way of learning about a perfumer’s creative process. When I interviewed perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour in 2013, it was encouraging to hear he was given advice early on in his career to bypass perfume school, and instead, look for an apprenticeship with a perfume company. I also think of the great perfumers of the early 20th century who mastered their craft before the establishment of multi-national perfume companies and modern perfume schools. Most of them were self-taught. Although the self-taught path is a long one, it is possible. But without access to raw materials, it would be impossible. The essential oil industry has a strong retail presence and individuals can easily buy small quantities of oils and extracts. When I became interested in perfume creation, aroma chemical suppliers only traded in large quantities. Their distribution methods catered to the needs of large companies producing perfumes. Now that the number of independent perfumers and individuals making perfume as a hobby has increased, the number of online retailers selling aroma chemicals has increased and sourcing stock in small quantities is no longer the needle in a haystack task it once was. One of my favourite resources for raw material is Perfumer Supply House, an online store based in the US. The business owner is Christine Daley, a flavourist with more than 30 years of industry experience. What I like about Christine’s online store is the variety of raw material she has selected. Not only does she carry specialty products from leading producers such as IFF, Givaudan and Firmenich, she also carries some very exotic raw materials from smaller producers such as Bedoukian, Nactis Synarome and Robertet. Last year Christine began recording a series of podcasts for her website, interviewing various people in the perfume industry. For her most recent podcast she asked if I would like to be interviewed. I suggested it might be interesting to evaluate some of my favourite raw materials from her store and we created a list of 10, ranging from floral, to woody, to animalic. To accompany the podcast, Perfumer Supply House is selling a sample pack of these 10 raw materials so listeners can evaluate them along with us. If you are a budding perfumer I’d love to read your own thoughts on the 10 raw materials we selected, which are:
- Hedione High Cis
- Phenyl Ethyl Pivalate
- Nerol Oxide
- Methyl Tuberate
- Indolarome crystals
Best wishes for 2015 and I hope to share some of the perfumes I have created in the very near future!