Our Vice President’s brother Oli just so happens to be a perfumer so we were very lucky to be tapping into those familial connections for this month’s meeting.
Oli (@olimarlowperfumes) is a self-taught perfumer and as a day job he works at Jovoy Mayfair (@jovoymayfair) where he can guide you in a new perfume purchase, and also creates bespoke perfumes with clients from his in-house laboratory!
More information can be found on his website https://olimarlowperfumes.tumblr.com.
For the meeting he described his experiences becoming a perfumer, and then we smelled lots of perfume ingredients and mixed accords and final perfumes.
A perfume is made up of 3 notes – the top note – which is what you smell first after the alcohol has evaporated, these are usually citrusy scents, the heart of the perfume – lavender, floral, balsams or resins, and finally the base, which are heavy resins or musks, which is the lasting fragrance that you smell on the skin. This is the first thing that a perfumer starts with, with the idea to build a perfume.
We learnt about different styles to perfumes: Italian perfumes tend to be citrusy and fresh; French perfumes tend to be heavy and musky, with patchouli. Middle eastern tend to be heavy with lots of rose and floral aspects. Perfume in middle eastern culture is engrained into their culture they give perfume as gifts and burn incense to scent the home.
We smelt timbersilk and molecule one which are new modern perfumes, which are designed to smell different on your skin, compared to another person. We smelt some natural ingredients – ambergris (whale vomit anyone?!) which is used to be “vintage” in a perfume – it enhances each and every smell on your skin. We smelt some different Oudhs, which comes from the Aquileia tree which has become infected and produced resin to protect itself. These are very valuable ingredients!