Class notes from Introduction to Natural Perfumery at the Jenny Lemons studio.
Jenny Lemons' boutique is a truly unique space owned and run by Jennie Lennick, a multitalented designer, and maker. I've long been a big fan of Jennie, so I was really excited when she invited me to teach my three-hour Introduction to Natural Perfumery class at her beautiful and intimate studio in the Mission.
Ten students joined me on a Thursday evening to learn about the art and science of perfume craft. The workshop began with a lecture covering laboratory basics and materials safety, chemistry, sustainable sourcing, and of course, fragrance blending and formulation.
During the second half of the class, my eager students dove into sniffing the over 35 essential oils and natural isolates I had brought for their olfactory enjoyment and exploration. In addition to the usual ingredients like lavender and vetiver, I also provided a few rare essential oils sourced from my trip to the Peruvian Amazon, including Moena Alcanfor (which is featured Carta’s debut fragrance, Moena 12|69) and a delicious palo santo – the most unique and heavenly one I’ve ever smelled.
I had the pleasure of working closely with each one of my students to formulate and blend a custom fragrance to their taste. I was amazed at their creativity and impressed with the level of sophistication in their final formulations. The trick, they quickly learned, was to keep it simple and follow thier nose.
Interestingly, yuzu and ginger were once again popular choices across the board. This is turning into a theme in all of my classes! However, I'm always surprised to smell how differently every student approaches these materials. No one ever does them the same way.
The class was three hours long but time just flew by! Each student left with her own bottled perfume and my guidebook that covers everything one would need to know to continue perfume craft at home. Several students emailed me the next day to tell me how much they adored their perfumes, which made me so happy to hear.
I’ll be teaching another perfume workshop at Jenny Lemons in the next few months – stay tuned!