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The Perfumer's Workbook®
Tools, Features, Opportunities

Inside The Perfumer's Workbook®

How would you describe the smell of white cotton?

So you have an idea for a perfume. All you need is to have someone make it for you. And all they need from you, for a starting point, is a description of the smell you want. Are you going to tell them you want a perfume that smells like something that has no smell?

Perfume, art, and music are closely related. We use musical analogies to describe perfume. And for the artist within us, we use visual images to describe a desired smells. But a visual image has no smell.

Study your ABC's. Then look at how they can be used to describe these smells.

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The Perfumer's Workbook fragrance creation software was developed by perfumer Stephen V. Dowthwaite, founder of PerfumersWorld and is included as part of the PerfumersWorld Foundation Course or can be purchased separately for instant download.
Also available: The Perfumer's Workbook Professional Edition, starting at $5,000. Installation and on-site training available. Inquire.

You may say certain visual images evoke certain smells. But those visual images may not evoke the same smells for me as they do for you.

Part of the mechanics of getting a perfume made -- the mechanics of the dialog between client and perfumer -- involves finding a common language that will provide clarity in communications.

One of the tools in The Perfumer's Workbook is a library of scent definitions -- words we commonly use to describe a fragrance translated into simple scent formulas easy enough to make yourself. Then you can test to see if the scents indeed are correct for the words you are using.

Because this table of definitions is part of The Perfumer's Workbook which itself is part of the PerfumersWorld perfumery courses, words are defined using the "ABC's of Perfumery."

The "ABC's of Perfumery," developed by Stephen V. Dowthwaite, founder of PerfumersWorld, is a system in which about 95 percent of everything we can smell (or imagine smelling) can be assigned to one of 26 primary odor groups.

These groups are generalizations but they are not abstractions. PerfumersWorld has matched each of these A to Z odor groups with an aroma base which defines that group.

Complex odors (most odors are complex) are represented by one (upper case) letter -- A to Z -- for their primary smell and additional (lower case) letters as required for their secondary smells.

You can read description of these 26 basic smells to get some idea of what they are, but it is difficult or impossible to use them in communications without having experienced each smell itself, right out of the bottle, so to speak.

Bottles of each of these 26 smells are packaged with the PerfumersWorld Foundation Course K26 materials kit. This kit also includes a copy of The Perfumer's Workbook.

Using The Perfumer's Workbook you can discover how words ("dog," "Christmas," "cookies," "cucumber") can be described within the ABC's of Perfumery, those 26 aroma bases that are part of the K26 kit.

The Perfumer's Workbook "definitions" list includes over 450 words and phrases (some suggesting names of famous perfumes) that are "defined" in terms of the ABC's. The screenshots at the left show some examples.

Sharpen your communications!

These definitions are important first because they give you a common language with a perfumer. Now, rather than saying you want your perfume to carry the aroma of "cucumber" you can specify you want 0.58% Fruit ("F"), 58.48% Green ("G"), 17.54% Iris ("I"), 5.85% Muguet ("M"), and 17.54& Earthy ("Y", as in "yeast") -- and, using your materials from the K26 kit, you can mix up your own sample of this formula to confirm that it is indeed your idea of what "cucumber" should small like. And, if it's not, you can adjust the formula -- usually just the quantities of each material -- to achieve the cucumber smell you want.

So now you don't just tell the perfumer "cucumber." You give him or her a formula for the cucumber smell you want.

A great learning tool

The second great importance of this "definitions" table is that it is an excellent learning tool. All 450 plus words and phrases are defined within the boundaries of 26 aroma materials which you can have on your desk. Each definition is given in terms of a simple formula (again, look at the screenshots) and you can make up your own samples of each of these formulas so that you are matching words to smells.

As you go through the list, you're going to find inspiration -- ideas for perfumes you had never thought of before or never thought you could make. But now you can see, smell, and explore the building blocks that will go into them. This is a tremendous stimulator for new perfume ideas -- ideas and perfumes that will be yours!

If perfume is your interest, the PerfumersWorld Foundation Course with the K26 materials kit and The Perfumer's Workbook software will open new worlds for you.

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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.