June Perfumery Course, first day

10 students from 6 different countries came to Italy to follow my course on how to compose perfumes with be best materials of perfumery, the natural ingredients. Several of them have attempted to make perfumes with these ingredients in the past but without satisfactory result. They will understand here what went wrong with their endeavour.


Learning archery to learn perfumery. Parables are the most potent explanations. Making perfumes needs a new mental attitude.
Making perfumes is easy, but you need a method otherwise you will end up with a mish-mash, an incoherent mix of smells unappealing and without character.

Inasmuch as you can learn love only by loving, you will learn to throw arrows only by throwing them and to make perfumes by making them. This is why such an important part of the seminar is dedicated to workshop sessions.

We shall make perfumes everyday, starting from the first day.


Learning how to smell. The beginning for making perfumes.

Everybody smells, but the lack of olfactory education does not allow us to understand what our nose says to us.
Starting to use our nose in the right way is the first step of perfumery. It means in great part establishing connections between our nose and our brain, so that our intellect will be able to understand what the nose says.


Making your first perfume. Finding a clear idea and executing it. “Urban Patchouli”, a balsamic patchouli to wear in the tram.
The idea that will guide us in the composing the fragrance was chosen from a series of proposals made by the students themselves.

It was a beautiful day, we were all drunk of felicity, swimming in a sea of aromas.

The course lasted 7 hours and I had to send the students away for lunch and also for dinner, they would not stand up from their place, wanting to work more and more, to hear more and more.

Hunger for knowledge, overwhealming enthusiasm, tirelessness, what more could a teacher desire from his students?

The transmission of knowledge has 2 essentials: a person with the ability to teach and a person with the ability to learn. For both of them humility is the key.

From humility comes respect and only from respect can come love. You can know only whom you love. Love is a bridge between you and everything.


New essences from Australia

New essential oils are just arriving to me from Australia, Eco Sandalwood and Fire Tree.

Australian Sandalwood is precious to me as a substitute to Mysore Sandalwood. Not only a minor quantity is enough to have the top and heart note of Sandalwood in a fragrance, but it costs also a lot less than the Mysore.
It does not have the clean and very special drydown of the Mysore, but this is not very important because the delicate smell of the Mysore sandalwood dry down would be lost in most of the fragrances a perfumer can make, except if he were to use synthetic Santalol in heavy dose.
Australian Sandalwood is farmed, just like the Mysore, it’s availability is anyway limited but one may always buy a few hundred kilos if need be, while this would be very difficult with the Mysore. This is definitly an advantage for a natural perfumer who wants to be ready for big opportunities.
Australian Sandalwood contains more Farnesol than the Mysore, and this molecule can be allergenic, but this problem could appear only if it is used pure on his own.
The Eco Sandalwood does not come from cultivations but is obtained from dead branches of wild trees that are collected by the bushmen.
This Sandalwood essence has a more powerful and longer lasting fragrance, with a Sandalwood note even clearer than the conventional one.
The essence of Sandalwood, like those of many aromatic trees, becomes better with age. Apparently, the essence trapped in the old dead branches has done just that. We can consider then the Australian Eco Sandalwood as the vintage Australian Sandalwood

The Fire tree (Xanthorrhoea preissil) is an aromatic wood so loaded with essential oil that the bushmen use it as matches to light their fires. I have seen the same being done in Afghanistan, where fires are lighted with the oily perfumed Himalayan cedar wood. It burns with a black smoke as if it was soaked in gasoil.

The Fire tree has been defined by Luca Turin as “the most interesting smell of the last years”. It has a very sweet and strong fruity head smell, like apricot and myrtle. This notes goes on unchanged in the heart of the fragrance and it settles down after a day in a delicate and persistent woody fruity bottom smell.
It is indeed an interesting odor and it encounters a nearly universal positive appreciation. I am curious to present it to present it to the students at the next course, just to see how unprejudiced persons work with it.


By: Andrew
Hello AbdesSalaam Attar,
I found your blog a few weeks ago now and have been reading your articles, they are very informative! I was wondering if I could ask of your help? I am a 21 year old university student studying music in Australia. I have always been interested in cologne and perfume, and about 8 months ago I started going out with my current girlfriend Jennifer, whom I have had feelings for for years. She loves cologne, and as a gesture of my affection for her, I have started trying to make her her own unique scent. I have been researching for about 2 months now, and buying some essential oils here and there. I am starting to develop something that is..well…its ok, but I want to create something trully amazing…and something that will suit her. I understand you run a business from this so please dont think I am trying to obtain your knowledge for free or anything, more just if you can offer any words of advice at all? With no real knowledge of perfumery at all other than titbits of information on each essential oil that I can glean from the internet, it really is rather difficult. To make matters worse, Im keeping it a suprise, so I cant really ask her what oils she likes, other than trying to accidentally have them on me and see if she reacts positively to them (Im still amazed she believed the smell of clary sage was from me cooking eariler that day when I tried to judge if she would like it!)
This email is a bit disjointed sorry, Im actually in a bit of a rush to go into uni, I thought I shoudl send this now though or I will keep procrastinating and never get around to it. Thankyou for any advice you can offer at all 🙂

Andrew Galloway

By: AbdesSalaam Attar

Ciao Andrew,
you can get some recipes of traditional colognes from the book of Dussauce: