Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Home Studio Classes

It's official.  I've begun teaching small groups in my cozy and intimate home studio.  I've been wanting to teach here for many years and the surprise closing of 3rd Ward last month deemed it time to begin.  I taught a beginner's class a few weeks ago but this past Saturday I taught my Fougere Workshop, the one I've been talking about for months now.

It's no secret that I've been fascinated by fougere's and the delightful and enticing molecule, coumarin, for some time now.  I'm a natural born researcher so when I set out to make my first creation (which turned out to be Sol de la Foret) I had to do my homework first and read up on it.  I began to send for samples of some of the original fougere's, notably Fougere Royale by Houbigant and Jicky by Guerlain, and also from some of the natural perfume world's best perfumers who've made a perfume in this classification.  As I compiled information, both factually and sensorily, I realized that I had the makings of a great workshop devoted specifically to this genre.

After taking in the samples and getting an idea of the generalities of a fougere and the wide breadth of different varieties we explored the materials in a little more depth.  Tonka bean, hay absolute, sweet clover absolute, oak moss, cedar moss, ho wood and cassia as well as a selection of lavender essential oils, absolutes and concretes were introduced.  At this point the students set out to make their own quintessential fougere.  After a little gentle critiquing of their creations we went further and discussed the different classifications more in depth (amber, floral, fresh, leather, oriental and precious wood fougere's).  A few new materials were introduced such as davana, buddahwood, ambrette, choya nak, aglaia and magnolia and then the students set out to create their second perfume.

Tester strips of some of the perfumes we sampled

The class was such a success and the students so enthusiastic that I broached the subject of a salon series meeting semi-regularly to break down the fragrance classifications.  The group was so enamored of the choya nak (a destructive distillation of roasted seashells) that the conversation kept turning to leather notes.   They were excited about the notion of an exploration in leather perfumes so I can see I have my work cut out for me with my next research project.  My head is already spinning with images of 16th Century Parisian glove makers using gorgeous florals to cover up the smell of animal skin.  Smokey cade, birch, myrtle, styrax...  Expect a leather perfume to follow!

If you're interested in being part of the Salon please email me at Space is limited.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lovely Review in Fragrantica

I taught my first workshop in my home studio last weekend and among my students were very special guests Olga Ivanova and Zoran Cerar of Fragrantica.  Their eagerness to participate and infectious enthusiasm were a delight.   I was so honored to have them and thrilled by the beautiful review they gave the class.