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Olfactory Art and Perfumery

as a hobby

Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across a thousand miles and all the years we have
lived.

The World I Live In, Helen Keller

Olfactory art and perfumery is a hobby that involves exploring and creating scents using natural or synthetic ingredients. It can be a fun and rewarding way to express your creativity, enhance your sensory awareness, improve your mood and well-being, and discover new scents and sensations. To get started, you will need some basic tools and materials, such as essential oils, alcohol or carrier oil, glass bottles, pipettes, and blotter strips. You will also need to educate yourself on the basics of olfaction, the history and culture of perfume and olfactory art, and the classification and characteristics of different scents and fragrance families. You can find many resources online, such as books, videos, courses, blogs, and podcasts, to help you learn and practice Olfactory Art and Perfumery. You can also join online or local communities of other hobbyists and share your creations and feedback. Olfactory Art and Perfumery is a fascinating and rewarding hobby that can enrich your life and stimulate your mind. Have fun exploring the world of scents!

Helpful content to start olfactory art and perfumery as a hobby

We aim to provide accurate information, but errors might be found. Always exercise judgment and discretion.

Videos

Short visual inspiration.

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YouTube | Anicka Yi – The Art of Smell
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YouTube | What is Olfactory Art? Introduction
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YouTube | Inhaling history and smelling the future | Caro Verbeek | TEDxGroningen
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YouTube | The path to master perfumer: he risked everything to follow his dream of becoming a ‘nez’

Podcasts

Play an episode while exploring the page.

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Spotify | The Art of Perfume Making: A Beginner's Guide
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Spotify | 5 Beginner Perfumery Project Ideas
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Spotify | On The Scent
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Spotify | The Olfactory
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Spotify | Perfume on the Radio
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Spotify | Perfume Room
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Spotify | Fume Chat
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Spotify | Olfactory Odyssey

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.

A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman

Terms

Basic lingo for orientation.

  • Olfactory art: An art form that uses scents as a medium. Olfactory art can include perfume as well as other applications of scent. Olfactory art has been a recognized genre since at least 1980.
  • Perfume: A liquid mixture of fragrant substances that is applied to the skin or clothing to create a pleasant smell. Perfume can be considered a form of olfactory art, but not all perfumes are artistic. Perfume is also a product of the design and cosmetic industries.
  • Notes: The individual scents that make up a perfume or an olfactory artwork. Notes are classified into three categories: topmiddle, and base. Top notes are the most volatile and fade quickly, middle notes are the main body of the scent, and base notes are the most lasting and provide depth and stability.
  • Fragrance extraction: The separation process of aromatic compounds from raw materials, using methods such as distillation, solvent extraction, expression, sieving, or enfleurage. The results of the extracts are either essential oils, absolutes, concretes, or butters, depending on the amount of waxes in the extracted product. Fragrance extraction can be done at home or in a laboratory.
  • Essential oils: Volatile and aromatic liquids that are obtained from plants, such as flowers, leaves, roots, bark, etc. Essential oils are the main ingredients of perfumes and aromatherapy products.
  • Absolutes: Highly concentrated and viscous liquids that are obtained from plants, such as flowers, leaves, roots, bark, etc.  Absolutes are more complex and closer to the natural scent of the plant than essential oils, but they are also more expensive and difficult to work with. Absolutes are often used in fine perfumery and olfactory art.
  • Concretes: Semi-solid and waxy substances that are obtained from plants, such as flowers, leaves, roots, bark, etc.  Concretes are the intermediate products of making absolutes.
  • Butters: Solid and creamy substances that are obtained from plants, such as seeds, nuts, fruits, etc.  Butters are mainly used for skin care and cosmetic purposes, but can also be used to make solid perfumes or olfactory artworks.
  • Synthetic molecules: Compounds that have been artificially created or modified by chemical reactions.
  • Nez: Nez is a French word that translates to nose in English. In the context of perfumery, it refers to a perfumer’s olfactory sense and their ability to distinguish and identify different scents. NEZ is also the name of an independent group that operates in the field of olfactory culture around the world.

How to start olfactory art and perfumery as a hobby

First moves for getting acquainted and breaking the ice.

Books

Get read(y).

Olfactory art has been a recognized genre since at least 1980, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted an exhibition called “An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture” that included works that used scents as a medium.

How-tos

Step-by-step tutorials.

Articles

Further reading.

Websites

Go-tos for information.

[…] the sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that had left the conscious mind.

To Everything There Is a Season, Thalassa Cruso

Movies

Nothing like a film for inspiration.

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YouTube | Nose (2020) – Official Trailer

FAQS

Get a clue.

Is olfactory art and perfumery a hobby?

Yes, olfactory art and perfumery can be a hobby for anyone who is interested in exploring the world of smells and creating their own fragrances. Olfactory art is a form of artistic expression that uses scents as a medium, while perfumery is the art and science of making perfumes.

What are the benefits of olfactory Art and perfumery as a hobby?

Olfactory art and perfumery can enhance your creativity, sensory awareness, memory, mood, and well-being. You can also express yourself, share your creations with others, and discover new scents and sensations.

Apps

Smart assistance.

Products

Essentials to have.

Courses

Get smart.

Near You

Get together.

Perfume making is a blend of art and science, requiring a deep understanding of aromatic compounds, blending techniques, and the ability to evoke emotions through scent. Perfumers combine their artistic skills with scientific knowledge to craft unique and captivating fragrances.

Newsletters

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Tips

Additional advice for beginners.

  • Subscribe to Nez – The Olfactory Cultural Movement newsletter.