No one benefitted more from the Spice Route than the early perfumers.
Prior to the abundance of materials becoming available from the spice trade, perfumers in Europe were using the materials available to them, mostly herbs and some locally growing flowers, to create the fragrances of the day. The explorations of Africa, India, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the West Indies garnered fragrant spices, resins and balsams that created an olfactory palette that would create an industry.
I've always wanted to know more about the Spice Route and the Incense Road so took the opportunity when asked to teach a perfume blending class based on the fragrant discoveries of those ancient explorers. I've read that the search for far away treasure goes back as far as 3000BC. Some of these materials, such as sandalwood and frankincense, have been in continuous use since then.
After a bit of looking into it I discerned that most of the oils in my perfumer's organ were discovered along those ancient routes. My oils represent the whole world, not only from western countries but places far and wide, all with their own fragrant tale to tell. I dug a little deeper when it came to purchasing oils for the class. Resins, spices and exotic flowers I've never imagined are all on their way to my studio.
In this workshop we’ll delve into the discoveries of the early explorers and learn about resinous frankincense, rich vanilla bean, piquant saffron and voluptuous sandalwood. You’ll gain a basic understanding of the sense of smell, the history of perfume and learn how to blend these precious oils into your own bespoke perfume. The process harkens back to a time several centuries past when these materials became available (long before synthetic scent molecules were invented in laboratories). Each participant will leave with two bottles of perfume.
Saturday, May 16th, 1-4pm
543 Union Street (at Nevins)
These are just some of the fragrant oils we'll be using in class:
|Black pepper from Madagascar.|
|Mace, the delicate membrane surrounding nutmeg.|
|Ground spices from a market in Sri Lanka|
|Frankincense bark exuding tears.|
|Bundles of cinnamon bark|
|Saffron, the fragrant stamens from a certain crocus.|