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Learn Perfume Creation
Beyond what the internet can teach

While the internet is a great source of information -- a vast international library -- there are limits to the information you can find. You quickly discover this if your interest is making perfume.

Perfume making instructions found on the internet oversimplify. You are not, with a few essential oils, going to replicate a best selling perfume. The people who write these simplified perfume making instructions likely have never seen a formula for a commercial best seller.

So if you want to learn to make perfume on the level of the best modern perfumes and perfumers, you must go beyond the internet.

Focus on the right starting point

There are two ways to learn how to make perfume but only one works. You could study on your own by obtaining and reading every book you can find on perfume creation, but few professional perfumery books have ever been written. The worthwhile books that do exist are expensive, outdated, and not suitable for beginners. And they call for the use of use aroma materials that are now banned, obsolete, or too expensive for student training.

If you want to learn to make perfume the way it is being made for the leading fashion houses and celebrities, you need professional training -- with an established perfumery school -- and with access to modern raw materials and equipment. But few professional schools exist other than those run by large fragrance companies for their own employees.

If you could gain admission to one of these schools, they would provide both your training and all the materials you would need. But there are probably less than a half dozen of these schools worldwide and very few students are accepted. Those that are accepted generally have strong backgrounds in organic chemistry, and the training involves a full-time, multi-year commitment. Most of those who enter these programs are young and, some would add, "rich and beautiful." For the rest of us, there is Steve Dowthwaite.

Perfumery training for everyone
(The industry hates it!)

In Bangkok, Thailand, lives a British expatriate perfumer, Stephen V. Dowthwaite. With his wife and daughter, Dowthwaite has developed an international perfumery training center. His modestly priced classes are open to anyone. Dowthwaite's stated goal is to "train one million new perfumers" and, thanks to his widely praised teaching methods (praised even by the major F&F industry publication), he is well on his way to achieving this goal.

Some within the industry hate what he is going. Perfume, they believe, will lost its mystique (and profit!) if the public understands too much. Indeed, a fashion school in New York City nixed a Dowthwaite presentation for fear of incurring industry wrath.

The perfumery training offered by Dowthwaite's "PerfumersWorld" includes face-to-face classes of 30 to 50 students who are introduced to the basics of perfumery in a 5-day immersion course. After completing this 5-day course, students may go on for advanced training.

The courses in Bangkok draw students from many countries as well as from Thailand itself. Some enroll because of what friends have told them. Others are sent by their companies. English is the common language and there are no prerequisites. All that is needed is taught in the courses themselves. But while the fee for the 5-day courses is modest, it does require a full week's stay in Bangkok with no time out for sightseeing.

People who have completed these 5-day courses have the highest praise for them but not everyone can afford a week in Bangkok. Thus Dowthwaite has developed a home study version of the 5-day course and, like the Bangkok classes, this "Foundation Course" is very, very effective and very modestly priced.

You can afford the home study Foundation Course

The PerfumersWorld Foundation Course consists of ten blocks of supervised lessons and the K26 materials kit. The K26 kit includes aroma materials and other supplies needed both for the exercises given in the course and for the student's own creative projects. Students progress at their own pace and while some might take a year or more to complete the course, others finish in three months or less.

Like the face-to-face sessions in Bangkok, the home study Foundation Course starts you off with simple formulas to teach you how, in perfumery, one plus one can add up to ... almost anything. But the smell of the "anything" is just as predictable as the sum "two" in "one plus one" in arithmetic.

So the first emphasis of the Foundation Course is on technology, the principles behind the use of the of materials perfumers work with. Combinations of aroma materials yield predictable results, results that are known and understood by perfumers. But there is always the possibility of discovering new smells by combining aroma materials in new ways.

Grounding in basic fragrance technology and familiarity with aroma materials gives a student the tools he or she needs to become creative. Successful perfumes are not achieved by random mixing but by an intelligent selection of aroma materials that get the job done.

While Foundation Course students, like all perfumery students, learn by making their personal "matches" of great fragrances that already exist, these exercises are designed to provide creative inspiration, the "I think I can do it better" feeling that leads to the birth of new fragrances of their own.

Suitable for young people too

PerfumersWorld has, in Bangkok, given the course at an elite international secondary school. Originally an experiment to see how younger people would respond to the PerfumersWorld training methods, the course proved a huge success.

While the home study Foundation Course was created for adults and, like all perfumery training, requires safety provisions to be observed, the course is highly suitable for motivated, disciplined, young people but does require some adult supervision. As the industry's perfumery schools know, younger people are often the most motivated and creative. Dowthwaite's own daughter was creating perfume at the age of eleven.

Home study course includes
The Perfumer's Workbook

The home study Foundation Course includes a copy of The Perfumer's Workbook, a sophisticated computer program used for developing and fine tuning new perfumes. The Perfumer's Workbook can be purchased separately as an instant download, accompanied by a coupon toward the purchase of the complete Foundation Course but much of The Perfumer's Workbook becomes meaningful only when studying the Foundation Course (or having taken a 5-day course in Bangkok.)

Get going!

The K26 materials kit that is part of the Foundation Course gives you everything you need to begin developing your own fragrances. Additional supplies, when needed, are available from PerfumersWorld. PerfumersWorld is also a source for hundreds of aroma chemicals, specialty bases, essential oils and absolutes. They will fill orders for quantities as little as 10 grams. This gives you the opportunity to sample many important aroma ingredients for very little money. (Many sources require the minimum purchase of a kilo of any given material, which would make student training impossibly expensive.)

The study of perfumery requires a commitment. The PerfumersWorld Foundation Course is no exception. But if learning the fundamentals of one of the great arts is of interest to you ... if learning to create perfumes of your own, as the professionals do, using professional materials, is of interest to you ... if you want the thrill of being able to display (and even sell!) amazing scents you have created yourself, the PerfumersWorld Foundation Course can give you the power to do it! You can be working your first lessons in a matter of a few days!

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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.