I’m not about to start experimenting with making perfume anytime soon but I ran across a book on this very subject recently which I thought was very interesting. Karen Gilbert’s “Perfume : the art and craft of fragrance” is a starter book about how to make your own perfume but it also includes some very factual and concise information about the psychology of smell, perfume history, and its classification. It made me perk up and realize that Ms. Gilbert knows what she’s talking about and the more I read, the more I was interested.
“Perfume : the art and craft of fragrance” is very easy to read with its pretty pastel colours and soft-focused photography but don’t get fooled, you’ll get some really hard data here as well. For instance, here is some text regarding rose notes.
“The maximum amount of rose allowed in a leave-on skincare product is around 0.025%. Low Methyl-eugenol rose is available, but cost and minimal-order quantities are high, meaning it is out of the reach of many fragrance producers. Laboratoire Monique Rémy produce a molecular distillation of rose for this very reason, which enables large quantities to be used in the fragrance Portrait of a Lady (Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle).”
As for making perfumes, I get asked that question quite a lot after my perfume lectures. People ask me if I’m a nose, which I am not, and some ask me if I have ever considered making my own perfume. To be honest, I don’t think I have the patience, and I’m much more into the history and classification of perfume anyway, but I think this book could be a nice holiday gift for someone who wants to learn about perfume and perhaps discover a new hobby. The text is extremely well written and the book is a good overview – from perfume sprays and solids to bath and body products to home fragrances. In fact, there is so much here, I think for a lot of readers this just might be the only book on making perfume they will ever need. If you’re running around for a last-minute gift, this is a good bet.