musings on making scents


These musings on making scents are often such a look inward.  Making perfumes is so personal and intimate and I was thinking about how learning the art — any art — changes me, changes us.

I chose this quote because I’m going through a phase of personal growth in composing the perfume for my final project while following a brief.  The growth of letting go of the ego and following the rules.

About 18 months ago I made my very first perfume.  I call it a success because every single person I’ve had smell it loves it out of all the other six that I did together as a variation on the theme of Vetiver. I followed no brief or guidelines other than my imagination. But, having to build based on an olfactive blueprint for the project is creating conflict and it’s changing how I perceive things. It’s making me grow as a perfumer. It is the stuff of mastery and it’s freaking hard.

My ego months ago led me to believe that I could accomplish the project successfully from brief to perfume, without following the rules or at least being able to seriously bend them to my will. Wrong.

It is my belief that if what we choose to do (anything, be it great or small), to create, doesn’t change us in some small way then we are not benefited by it.  It’s like perfume creating, if adding a drop of Myrrh doesn’t nudge the perfume in the intended direction, then what the hell is it doing in there?

To know that I am a different Maxine than I was 18 months ago before starting my training is vital for me, it’s what feeds me.  If from the beginning learning perfumery didn’t threaten to knead my Soul into gentle compliance I would have embarked on a different creative journey.

If there is to be any finished perfume at the end of this training there will be no rule bending, no short-cutting on the way home, the road is long and learning the profile of each material we have in our lab is tough. Period. There will be no changing the brief to fit the level of my (at present) miniscule knowledge and skill in composing. I must stretch, pull, reach, mould, cajole and loving pry open doors of understanding and perception within myself that age and character had begun to seal shut were it not for the calling of art.

This is an invitation to consider your art, muse upon making scents, contemplate and meditate on how it’s changing you or how you’ve allowed yourself to be moulded by it.