Mini Perfume Making Course with Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials

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Post by Madeleine
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Hi APJ,
Last Saturday, I was given a terrific opportunity to embrace some scented creativity by the one and only Miss Portia. She couldn’t attend a perfume making course with aromatherapist and creator of the Aromatique Essentials perfume line, Julie Nelson, due to work commitments and nominated me to go in her place.
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The session was at Julie’s house in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, about two hours’ drive west from Sydney. I was graciously offered a lift by the wonderful Catherine du Peloux Menagé, a perfume consultant and the organiser of the Sydney Perfume Lovers meetup group. Catherine and I had met many years ago at the launch of the Frederic Malle range in Sydney and I was one of her first perfume consulting ‘guinea pigs’. We have recently become reacquainted and it was wonderful to share and swap perfume stories on the trip.
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Mini Perfume Making Course with

Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials

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During the morning session, Julie described her love for natural perfumery and the reasons why she took up aromatherapy and the natural way. If you have been reading the blog, you’ll know that the main catalyst behind Julie’s vocation was her daughter, who was born premature and then diagnosed with a rare lung condition. Julie’s story of all the struggles and love particularly resonated with me as I was also three months premature back in 1974 and also given not much chance. Listening to her, I felt very thankful to be happy and healthy some 39 years later. Catherine, Julie and I were joined by a quartet of lovely bright young things: the bubbly Dimi and Monique, the inquisitive Sophy, and Teal, a lovely lass who had decided to embrace aromatherapy after coming to a crossroads in her life.
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Julies Class #4Photo: Homemade meringues with edible rose petals for morning tea
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After lunch, we got on to the creative part of the session: making our own scents. As someone who has loved contemporary perfumes for a long time, I was intrigued about exploring essential oils and having the chance to create my own scent rather than writing about others. Julie brought out her vast collection, a virtual menagerie of smells for the enthusiast. I was especially keen to try the musty herbaceous oakmoss and of course, the tuberose, which didn’t disappoint with the sharp mentholated opening segueing into buttery creamy goodness.
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Julies Class #3Photo: Some of the oils we were working with
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Before I start on the creative process, I should point out that while natural perfume making is about combining essential oils, it changes depending on what base or carrier you use. Julie had said earlier that she used oils such as jojoba or a mix of almond, sunflower and macadamia for perfumes to be dabbed on the skin. For spray versions, as the ones we were creating, a variety of bases could be used from vodka to spring water, floral waters or a hydrosol, which is the first 30 per cent of a floral water gleaned from the distillation process, such as rose or orange blossom.
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Julies Class #2Photo: The lovely Julie explaining her process
Before we started mixing, Julie asked us five questions to work out what kind of blend would suit us: What was our favourite colour? What was our favourite food? What were our favourite types of smells? What were our favourite leisure activities? What feeling did we want to have wearing the perfume we had created?
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My answers were: red; cheese and anything that satiated the umami taste; white florals, aldehydes and aromatic greens; reading walking and anything perfume related; confidence.
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Julie advocated a blend of petitgrain, jasmine, ylang ylang, oakmoss and patchouli for me and a number of other oils for the other ladies in the group. We then got to work. My resulting perfume was rather lovely, a very soft and pretty white floral with a slight aromatic tinge from the petitgrain and oakmoss and anchored by a dry chocolately patchouli.
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Julie Class #1Photo: Monique and Dimi at work
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We had terrific fun blending and sniffing and perfecting, all capped off with a beautiful glass of champagne with raspberries. All in all, a fabulous day out and some wonderful insights into an area of perfumery I hadn’t explored before.
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Have you tried natural perfumes or do you use essential oils? Have you tried any of Julie’s line?
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With much love till next time,
M x