Ask An Expert: How Do I Become A Perfumer? Part 1

Senior perfumer Serge Oldenbourg shares insight into how to begin a career as a perfumer.
Senior perfumer Serge Oldenbourg shares insight into how to begin a career as a perfumer.
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In our Ask An Expert series, senior perfumer Serge Oldenbourg has been fielding questions from fragrance professionals from around the world. The latest question comes from an aspiring perfumer looking to make their way into the field. Oldenbourg plans to answer this question in four parts. 

How to become a perfumer?

Part 1. How to become a perfumer? 

I've been asked this question many times throughout my career. In my opinion, becoming a rocket scientist is easier than becoming a creative perfumer.

The pathway is not easy to find, there are very few schools and even fewer opportunities available to the perfume lovers. Not to mention the slim number of professional opportunities.

So before looking for “schooling” in perfumery creation, I would strongly suggest training your nose; sounds obvious but it is not a real part of the Western education system therefore you must force yourself to smell everything, not only what you like! Every object, every surrounding, every atmosphere in the subway or in the classroom. Try each time to describe to yourself the feelings these odors evocate to yourself and memorize them as emotionally as possible.

I use the word “yourself” many times because your experience with odors are personal and only you can provide the description. Warning—being a perfumer is not as easy as it looks!

Stay Tuned For...

Part 2: Where perfumers are educated?

Part 3: What knowledge do you need to make yours?

Part 4: What happens when you feel ready to start creating?

Have a question for our experts? Send an email to Jenna Troyli ([email protected]).

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