Behind every great perfume there is a great professional who mixes exquisite notes to create the perfect scent. This is the perfumer. We talked to our recent graduate Juncal Tomas, Eurofragance’s Junior Perfumer, and the Senior Perfumer and Perfumery School Director, Henry Van Den Heuvel, to learn a bit more about the perfumers training.
In Eurofragance we like to promote talent. That’s why when we discover that someone has “such special talent and passion”, we invest in their formation and training. The progress of this demanding and complex journey of becoming a perfumer goes from studying 850 raw materials, origin smell and chemical composition and belonging families, to learn how to combine them to get a specific accord. But what is more important, we always believe it has to be tailored to the trainee, as not everyone is identical, and it is very important they all overcome their challenges regarding a new fragrance creation.
To be a perfumer you need a special, educated and very sensitive nose that few people possess. “Being a perfumer is a lot of hard work” states Henry, it takes a lot of persistence and sensitivity to become a perfumer. Eurofragance’s training lasts between one and a half to two years. However, as Juncal explained to us, it isn’t a simple process where you have to memorize and past an exam, it is more complex than that. “My training was a constant feeling of uncertainty; it was a process of discovering my own knowledge… they were just guiding me to find the main profile of the raw material trying not to give me a lot of information” says Juncal. Despite this ambiguous situation, where you have to find out by yourself those characteristics that define a raw material, and sometimes you feel a bit off-track; becoming a Junior Perfumer is a process where you grow and learn every day, and after a while you realize how much you have learnt.
The smell is a very abstract element, every perfumer has a different perception of a fragrance, normally based on personal experiences. With this, we are able to realize that in perfumery not everything is black or white, perfumery is an art, it is difficult to find the depth and contrast of it. However, there will always be certain descriptions that qualify a raw material that trainees must recognize, as well as the duration of that scent. After the training is completed, trainees should be able to understand what is the soul of the perfume, defined by the raw materials.
Despite that perfumers training is an exigent process, it definitely pays off. Learning to be a good perfumer is a process that takes your entire life. After graduating from the school, trainees become Junior Perfumers, and guided by a Senior Perfumer, they continue their formation. Our type of training encourages trainees to engage, and despite of its difficulty “there are rewarding efforts like to smell a composition, discover a natural chord, etc”. Being a perfumer is definitely a vocation, it requires dedication and a continuous learning, but what is the most important thing, being a perfumer is being creative and passionate.