Report on May 2017 Perfumery Course
Group dynamics are important in my perfumery classes. A month before the course starts, students get to know each other over a WhatsApp group. The WhatsApp group is dedicated to connecting students through preparatory course goals and to encourage experimentation with preparatory course materials. Through this online networking, students become acquainted with one another, learning from each other’s experiences prior to meeting in Italy and developing the right mindset for composing perfumes together.
Nationalities are always varied in these seminars, but each of the participants is strongly motivated and has high expectations having spent a substantial sum of money for the course, travel and accommodation. This strong focus on the common goal of learning how to compose perfume unites all the students in spirit, whatever their nationality or social origin, and this spirit is the very soul of the group dynamics that will develop and bloom during these six days.
Is it the group itself or is it my teaching method that improves? Or is it a kind of alchemy between time, persons, and place? I do not know what made this group so successful, but for the first time I experienced the feeling of the teacher proud of his students, already by the fourth day.
The two following days only confirmed what I had understood, as they all went on composing many perfumes on their own. The students had acquired the mental attitude and assimilated the method and philosophy. They did not need me anymore to compose perfumes. They had become Ninja perfumers in spirit.
Jeffrey, who joined the course this year for a second time, sold some of his perfumes whilst still in Italy attending the course. His first customer was the owner of a posh restaurant where they all went together for dinner, and a fellow student bought two more. We also had a real-life exercise in developing a concept perfume with a real customer presented by Guy. The customer is the owner of an artisan jewelry shop in NYC. We are now waiting to hear if she liked the ten perfume proposals of the students and which one she will decide to produce for retail. Real customers for real perfumes. What a better way to learn how to become a perfumer?
New ideas have also come forth from the alchemy of this group. As they embarked immediately on selling their course perfumes back home, (the students composed 10 to 17 perfumes each), I understood that I could help them very much in their initial phases of business if I would produce extra bottles containing their formulas. In this way, they can use the perfumes of the course for show and take orders. I reproduce their formula and ship their fragrance to them on behalf of their customers in one of my beautiful bottles. Formulas of good selling perfumes are the capital of any perfumer and when they leave Italy, each one of the participants already has some small capital to start his new life as a perfumer.
Another new idea that I was pleased to fulfill on the last day was to introduce an artisan who makes small home distilling machines which allow you to produce up to 50 ml. of essential oil in your own kitchen. The participants met with the craftsman for over an hour, seeing the machines up close and disclosing their contact details for future orders/inquiries. Perfumers can travel with these handy machines and distill in foreign countries where wonderful, indigenous plants grow. They can give demonstrations of natural perfumery in schools and fairs. They can organize educational events or join other people’s events with demonstrations of distillation.
Educating people about essential oils and making them understand what real perfumes are will always create the ideal climate in which my students can sell essential oils and their own fragrances.
A perfumer that makes his perfumes from the distillation of the essences to the final sealing of his fragrance in a beautiful bottle has a whole other dimension than the industrial, celebrity-driven perfumers.
Altogether I have never been so enthusiastic about a course as the one of this year, and I saw that the enthusiasm of the students of this course has a taste and color that I did not see in other groups.
My Ninja perfumers are let loose in the world and they are eager to start their new mission. Indeed, they have already started.
We were all very lucky to live this experience together.
AbdesSalaam’s perfumery course is a breath of fresh air in a globe ever-increasing with toxicity. All the elements of perfumery that were taught and reflected upon throughout the duration of the course made all who participated feel like lucky apprentices guided by a wise mentor.
We smelled and touched rare scents and lavishly used very expensive materials to concoct our perfumes, learning how to discern the difference between high quality natural scents and sub-par retail ones. By the end of the course, I imagine everyone was repelled by the reek of airport duty-free shops on their way home.
We had all developed our noses and translated that knowledge into harmonious action. Every participant made a minimum of 10 perfumes, with some students (a.k.a. perfume ninjas) making 14-17! The fourth day of the course was really a turning point, and all of us started to ‘get it’…
Get what? That “making perfumes is easy,” as Salaam said at the beginning of the course.
Now we were experiencing first-hand what he meant. The time flew so pleasantly, all of us were stupefied to realize we had become real perfumers within one week, not just dabbling amateurs! We were whipping up our scent harmonies with confidence. The whole room was a positive cauldron of scent and satisfaction.
Not only did we make A LOT of perfume, we also learned about olfactory psychology, aromatherapy, perfume therapy, scent origins, sourcing materials, and the business of making and selling perfumes in today’s technological and international climate.
Salaam has a way of making the most spiritual, deep ideas coalesce with a very down-to-earth, practical approach.
Prior to starting the course, I was a novice at making perfumes. I had researched other courses and decided to go for Salaam’s for several reasons: it was an all-naturals course, a reasonable price, 6 days long, in the Italian countryside, including a day of learning how to distill raw plant material. How rare it is to find a teacher so generous with his time and materials, who gives his students room to explore so they can develop individually, and who truly seeks to share his knowledge for the betterment of others, not to dictate orders or put on airs.
When it comes to blending the actual composition of a perfume, we explored how to use ingredients targeted for specific health purposes or to evoke certain moods or feelings. We conjured up ideas/themes for perfumes, such as “Italian Holiday” and “Crescendo” and learned how to compose formulas in our heads before implementing them.
We learned the technical details involved with proportions and how to manually control our perfume droppers with accuracy. We learned how to bottle and crimp perfume tops so the bottles wouldn’t leak. We learned everything we needed to know to become self-sufficient ninja perfumers.
At the end of the course, I walked out of the classroom armed with 11 gorgeous bottles of perfume that smell so exceptional I almost don’t want to sell them but keep them all for myself! I do not boast, as I must admit, it was easy. But it was only easy because Salaam made it easy.
Attending Salaam’s course, you will experience all the positive emotions of being able to forget about life’s stresses. You will feel satisfied with a sense of accomplishment. You will feel like a child with the wizardry of an intellectual. You will get your hands dirty in a sensuous way. You will completely lose track of time. You will synthesize nature with humanity and humanity with nature. You will experience life itself.
DIY Scent Studio
I just returned to the US from Italy where I spent 6 days in a carnival of the senses. I attended the La Via Del Profumo natural perfumery course held at Germano Reale, in Rimini.
Some years ago, I developed an interest in Perfumery and have taken classes from other Natural Perfumers but none can be compared to this.
The course is set up like a retreat where you are totally immersed in all things Perfume. The morning air smelled of the Jasmine in the hotel courtyard which led to the perfumery cottage where classes were held. Meals were provided with locally sourced herbs and spices.; the smell and taste was delicious!
AbdesSalaam Attar taught the course using a holistic approach focusing on aromatherapy, the psychology of smell and the impact on the psyche. The class was limited to 10 students from all parts of the world. The networking and group dynamics were invaluable and will stay with me forever.
We learned lessons from each other in perfume making, conversation and dining. The reason I mentioned this perfume course is like no other is that it is comprehensive -Salaam covered all aspects of perfumery including quality of materials, taking a perfume briefing and bringing it to fruition, how to be a NINJA perfumer and the distillation process with a live demonstration.
Aside from smelling materials we also touched rare real ambergris, musk and castoreum. The best part is that Salam built our confidence by allowing us to practice by doing.
We all made at least 10 perfumes during the week. I am back in the US now but still dreaming of Rimini – networking with new friends – and working on my natural line of perfumes!!
Thanks again – I will return!