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A perfumer is an expert on creating perfume compositions, sometimes referred to affectionately as a nose (French: nez) due to their fine sense of smell and skill in producing olfactory compositions. The perfumer is effectively an artistwho is trained in depth on the concepts of fragrance aesthetics and who is capable of conveying abstract concepts and moods with compositions. At the most rudimentary level, a perfumer must have a keen knowledge of a large variety of fragrance ingredients and their smells, and be able to distinguish each one alone or in combination with others. They must also know how each reveals itself over time. The job of the perfumer is very similar to that of flavourists, who compose smells and flavourants for commercial food products.
Most past perfumers did not undergo professional training in the art, and many learned their craft as apprentices under another perfumer in their employment as technicians (in charge of blending formulas) or chemists. These people were usually given temporary jobs in the industry. A direct entrance into the profession is rare, and those who do typically enter it through family contacts. Such apprenticeships last around three years.
Until recently, professional schools open to the public did not exist. In 1970 ISIPCA became the first school in perfumery. Candidates must pass a demanding entrance examination, and must have taken university-level courses in organic chemistry.
Since 1998 PerfumersWorld's schoolhas offered formal and informal training through university courses at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi Biotechnology faculty, at Chulalongkorn University Pharmacy faculty and through on-line courses and private workshops in the United States, UK, Dubai, Hong Kong, Germany, New Zealand, and Thailand.
More recently, in 2002, another school was born, the Grasse Institute of Perfumery (G.I.P). Similarly here, candidates must have a foundation in chemistry or pharmacy to be accepted as students.
Givaudan, International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) and Symrise operate their own perfumery schools, but students must be employees and recommended by their managers. The University of Plymouth (UK) offers a BA (Bachelor of Arts) course in Business & Perfumery.
Most perfumers are employed by large fragrance corporations including Mane, Robertet, Firmenich, IFF, Givaudan, Takasago, and Symrise. Some work exclusively for a perfume house or in their own companies, but these are not as common.
The perfumer typically begins a project with a brief by their employer or a customer, typically a fashion house or other large corporation. This will contain the specifications for the desired perfume, and will describe in often poetic or abstract terms what it should smell like or what feelings it should evoke, along with a maximum price per litre of the perfume oil concentrate. This allowance, along with the intended application of the perfume, will determine what aromatic ingredients will be used in the composition.
The perfumer will then go through the process of blending multiple mixtures and will attempt to capture the desired feelings specified in the brief. After presenting the perfume mixtures to the customers, the perfumer may "win" the brief with their approval. They proceed to work with the customer, often with the direction provided by a panel or artistic director, which guides and edits the modifications on the composition of the perfume. This process typically spans several months to several years, going through many iterations, and may involve cultural and public surveys to tailor a perfume to a particular market. The composition will then be either used to enhance another product as a functional fragrance (shampoos, make-up, detergents, car interiors, etc.) or marketed directly to the public as a fine fragrance.
Alternatively, the perfumer may simply be inspired to create a perfume and produce something that later becomes marketable or wins a brief. This is more common in smaller or independent perfume houses.
Grasse is the sole subprefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region on the French Riviera. In 2017, the commune had a population of 50,396.
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents, usually in liquid form, used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living-spaces an agreeable scent.
Jean Patou was a French fashion designer and founder of the Jean Patou brand.
Guerlain is a French perfume, cosmetics and skincare house, which is among the oldest in the world. Many traditional Guerlain fragrances are characterized by a common olfactory accord known as the "Guerlinade" (fr). The house was founded in Paris in 1828 by the perfumer Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain. It was run by the Guerlain family until 1994, when it was bought by the French multinational company LVMH. Its flagship store is 68, Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris.
Givaudan is a Swiss multinational manufacturer of flavours, fragrances and active cosmetic ingredients. As of 2008, it is the world's largest company in the flavour and fragrance industries.
International Flavors & Fragrances is an American corporation that produces flavors, fragrances, and cosmetic actives, which it markets globally. It is headquartered in New York City and has creative, sales, and manufacturing facilities in 44 different countries. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index.
Chypre is the name of a family of perfumes that are characterised by an accord composed of citrus top notes, a middle centered on cistus labdanum, and a mossy-animalic set of basenotes derived from oakmoss. Chypre perfumes fall into numerous classes according to their modifier notes, which include but are not limited to leather, florals, fruits, and amber.
The word perfume is used today to describe scented mixtures and is derived from the Latin word, "per fumus," meaning through smoke. The word Perfumery refers to the art of making perfumes. Perfume was further refined by the Romans, the Persians and the Arabs. Although perfume and perfumery also existed in East Asia, much of its fragrances were incense based. The basic ingredients and methods of making perfumes are described by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.
Jean Carles (1892–1966) was a French perfumer who worked in Roure in the early 20th century. He was the founder of the Roure Perfumery School and served as its first director in 1946.
Jean-Claude Ellena is a French perfumer and writer.
Eau de toilette literally translated as toilet water is a lightly scented cologne used as a skin freshener. It is also referred to as "aromatic waters" and has a high alcohol content. It is usually applied directly to the skin after bathing or shaving. It was originally composed of alcohol and various volatile oils. Traditionally these products were named after a principal ingredient; some being geranium water, lavender water, lilac water, violet water, spirit of myrcia and 'eau de Bretfeld'. Because of this, eau de toilette was sometimes referred to as "toilet water".
Joy is a perfume created for Parisian couturier Jean Patou by perfumer Henri Alméras in 1929. It is considered to be one of the greatest fragrances created and is a landmark example of the floral genre in perfumery. It is no longer produced.
Synthetic musks are a class of synthetic aroma compounds to emulate the scent of deer musk and other animal musks. Synthetic musks have a clean, smooth and sweet scent lacking the fecal notes of animal musks. They are used as flavorings and fixatives in cosmetics, detergents, perfumes and foods, supplying the base note of many perfume formulas. Most musk fragrance used in perfumery today is synthetic.
A captive odorant, or short captive, is an odorant or aroma chemical retained by the originating manufacturer for exclusive use in their own perfumes to protect them from imitation.
Christophe Laudamiel is a French perfumer. He is founder and master perfumer of DreamAir creative studios in New York City, where he currently resides. In 2019 he was named chief perfumer to BélAir Lab in Tokyo: a perfume composition and technology studio newly managed by Roto Pharmaceuticals. He is a founder and president of the non-profit Academy of Perfumery and Aromatics.
Francis Kurkdjian is a French perfumer and businessman of Armenian descent. He is famous for creating the men's fragrance Le Male for Jean Paul Gaultier in 1995, which has become one of the world's best-selling perfumes. He has since created an additional 40 fragrances for major companies worldwide, including Elie Saab Le Parfum for Elie Saab; My Burberry for Burberry; L'extase for Nina Ricci; and Narciso Rodriguez for Her for Narciso Rodriguez.
The Osmothèque is the world's largest scent archive, a leading international research institution tracing the history of perfumery, based in Versailles with conference centers in New York City and Paris. Founded in 1990 by Jean Kerléo and other senior perfumers including Jean-Claude Ellena and Guy Robert, the Osmothèque is internationally responsible for the authentication, registration, preservation, documentation and reproduction of thousands of perfumes gathered from the past two millennia, archived at the Osmothèque repository and consultable by the public.
A fragrance wheel, also known as aroma wheel, fragrance circle, perfume wheel or smell wheel, is a circular diagram showing the inferred relationships among olfactory groups based upon similarities and differences in their odor. The groups bordering one another are implied to share common olfactory characteristics. Fragrance wheel is frequently used as a classification tool in oenology and perfumery.
Stephen V. Dowthwaite is an English perfumer, perfumery educator, programmer and writer. He is the founder of PerfumersWorld, a resource for professional perfumers. He is known for developing The ABC's of Perfumery, a comprehensive system of odour classification and perfume creation, and a training course in The Art and Technology of Perfumery.
Un Jardin sur le Nil is a 2005 perfume created by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès. An unisex eau de toilette, the scent was inspired by the green mangoes Ellena smelled walking through in grove on a visit to the Nile.
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