becoming a nez II

Today began a whole new segment of the course.  Formulation!  This is what we have all been waiting for;  for here we will begin to learn some of the secrets that are held so close to the chests of the perfumers and others in the industry.  Our teacher is Max Gavarry,  now retired to research and development of new raw materials for perfumery, but previously was a chief perfumer in Paris for years, the vice president of the French branch of IFF (Int’l Flavors & Fragrances) as well as the perfumer who created all the Prada fragrances.  He is a true artist and an extremely gifted Nez.  Recently a Japanese film crew came to the school and interviewed Max (as well as some of us as part of a conceptual setting) as a portion of a film about people gifted with extraordinary sensory abilities.  Max was the chosen subject because he can smell and identify upwards of some 2000 raw materials. 

We were thrown in to the experience by being asked to write out a formula for a rose accord. An accord is a combination of materials to create a single themed outcome.  I chose to create a rose that was fruity and juicy with dry smoky aspect.  I used mostly naturals combined with synthetics that can be found in nature, such as geraniol and citronellol.  Then he had us go to the perfumers stations (organs) and mix the formula.  Needless to say there was much scurrying about, creative juices flowing and many rather horrible smelling outcomes!  Creating an formula from an intellectual only perspective is not enough. I think this was his point, but also to see how original each of us could be and to see how much we know the raw materials.  He encouraged us to try new ideas and I think my ideas of mixing rosy notes with myrrh, black currant bud, violet leaf and clove qualified in his eyes.

 Now, saturated, happy, and tired- off to sweet smelling dreams.

 ps. The Mini is fantastic-  I drove it to Cannes on Saturday and saw a wonderful flea market full of all kinds of goodies.  Driving here is similar to at home, except for the round-a-bouts, which make me nervous,  and the milieu of scooters and motorcycles that can and do pass freely on the left side.  All the French cars are covered in dents and scrapes- either they are all bad drivers or they just don’t give a fig for their cars.  The streets are very narrow as well with many obstacles, so this does not help!

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Jessica Buchanan

Canadian independent perfumer, designer, and entrepreneur.

2 thoughts on “becoming a nez II”

  1. It’s like driving in Italy or New York. Never turn your head to see where you’re going. Doing so gets you taken advantage of by your “fellow” drivers. Learn to keep a set expression on your face, barely move your head, but stay constantly active with your eyes behind your shades. (Where shades as often as possible.) That way, the other drivers, who’ll see you’re going fast, as you tend to do, will assume you don’t see them, so they’ll (usually) get out of your way. This also works when merging, like in a round-a-bout. You should avoid, however, driving on a sidewalk for more than a few seconds, but partially parking on one is okay. Braking is always an option, when everything else fails. Having a car with dents and scratches only shows the other drivers that you mean business and won’t be intimidated.
    Pactice these simple tasks, plus good hand work, and you’ll be a pro in no time. Remember: she who hesitates is bound to take at least two additional, unwanted trips around the round-a-bout.

  2. Actually, these are quite small roads with pretty modest drivers. The main concern, like I said, are the scooters. There are many old classic Citreons on the road, as well as Mini’s, so people understand the old car phenomenon. All the fast cars are in Monaco. The dents that cover everyones’ cars, I like to think are due to the Provencal attitude of Joie de vive and to hell with materialism! That said, to keep with the fluidity of life here, hesitation is not an option.

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