Learning the art of fragrance at Givaudan

“No elegance is possible without perfume. It is the unseen, unforgettable ultimate accessory” Coco Chanel

As part of the LUX Fragrance Experience I visited the incredible Givaudan, which is the world’s largest flavour and fragrance company and home to the world’s most famous fragrances including: Dior J’Adore, Prada Infusion, Armani Code, Paco Rabanne 1 Million, Yves Saint Laurent Opium, Calvin Klein Obsession and Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male. Givaudan exists to bring memorable flavours and fragrances to be enjoyed throughout the day. As a business it maintains a leadership position with approximately 25% of our fragrance industry’s global market share.

Fragrance 101: How to smell 

Take note, smelling is not as easy as I thought. Notes in perfumery are descriptors of scents that can be sensed upon the application of a perfume. Notes are separated into three classes; top/head notes, middle/heart notes, and base notes; which denote groups of scents which can be sensed with respect to the time after the application of a perfume. These notes are created carefully with knowledge of the evaporation process and intended use of the perfume.

Using LUX Magical Spell as example, the Magical Spell body was is described as a floral and fruity fragrance, but to break it down by it’s notes. This is what you would get: (Top Notes: Peach Kumquat Peel Red Currant, Heart Notes: Black Orchid Peony Jasmine Tuberose, and Base Notes: Musk Amber Woods Vanilla Patchouli). 

Smelling notes

Distinguishing notes!

A day in the Givaudan Perfumery School

Arrived at Givaudan, so excited to be here

Taking notes from Dave

The Givaudan school of perfumery receives over 2,000 applications every year, of which only 2 applicants are chosen. Once they’re in, the probation period is a further four years (yes, four!). So this is the kind of industry you go in with all your heart and soul, because not only does it require passion, it needs patience. The mission of the Givaudan Perfumery School is to train young perfumers to carry on the heritage of perfumery as a craft and develop an deep knowledge of how to work with all fragrance ingredients, both natural and synthetic.

Somehow, I managed to sidestep the rigorous application process for a day and enrol in an afternoon of perfumery schooling to create my own perfume. It’s a lot harder than it looks, particularly as everyone interprets smell differently. It’s an entirely personal process.

I was tasked to replicate the fragrance for the LUX Magical Spell, this seemed pretty easy as I had already learnt to much about its composition as a fragrance. However, it was challenging and needed a lot of concentration. Naturally, I don’t think I did too badly in the end at all! 🙂


Now that I’ve made it, how do I wear it?

What may seem like a daft question is in fact one I think we all ought to ask ourselves. What is the proper way to wear perfume?

My practices and rituals for putting on perfume come from emulating what my mother does and television. As simplistic as it may sound, so many of us (including myself here) don’t really know the right way to wear perfume. So where better to ask this question than at the home of perfumery? Dominique Bession, LUX’s Global Fragrance Manager was able to give me an insight into some handy hints for wearing perfume.

  1. Apply perfume where you want to be kissed
  2. Apply an unscented lotion before your fragrance. Oily complexions retain fragrances longer, so if you have dry skin, use a moisturiser first to help lock in the scent.
  3. You don’t need to dab the fragrance on your wrists after spraying. If you rub your wrists together, you’ll force the top notes to disappear faster than intended and as a result make your fragrance not last as long.
  4. For a lighter scent, spray the fragrance in the air and slowly walk into the mist. The spray will distribute evenly across your body and leave you with a hint of fragrance for occasions when you don’t want to smell as strong.
  5. Spray your perfume right after taking a shower and before getting dressed. The moisture on your skin will help lock in the scent. This will also prevent the fragrance from staining delicate clothes or jewellery.