Inside the Mind of a Perfumer

Essensorie’s founder and perfumer, Nicole Thomas, is often asked how she creates each botanical fragrance. She explains that it truly is a sensory fusion of art and science. There’s a lot of ‘feeling’ going on at the time of blending but also much knowledge and experience underlying the journey. The process of creating a natural perfume is almost a sacred experience as she explains that without the inspiration and passion, there would be no magic. So how does she do it?

The process begins with inspiration from usually one special, precious absolute. She may be traveling, visiting a new garden or just catch the scent of a plant in the street. “I think my nose is like a bloodhound” she jests. “I was raised on a plant nursery and have always been a gardener and so I guess I innately speak the language of nature”. “I just take a deep sniff inwards and allow the nuances to affect me”. “There can be a sensation of agony and ecstasy, as with many artists, that sometimes inspiration comes for a creation and sometimes it doesn’t”. “These things can’t be rushed and experience has taught me that I must be patient and have faith that it will come.”

Once the hero absolute is chosen, Nicole begins to research its characteristics and fragrance profile. Where it sits within the note hierarchy, which fragrance family does it belong to and what emotions will it evoke are all important considerations. A concept of the style of fragrance that she wants to produce will also be formulating at this time. What sort of aromatic journey will it take its wearer on? She often likes to create a mood board and assign the new fragrance a colour and a few images that visually represent the aromatic profile.

After spending weeks conceiving, researching and note-taking, she feels ready to begin creating the formulation. She will formulate a basic outline of the essences in each note with their proportions. Her formula usually begins will the creation of a base accord - the note that anchors the perfume. It could be woody, earthy, grassy, smokey or resinous. She will then conceive the heart or middle accord - the note that gives the perfume body and can often be a floral or green note. Then comes the formulation of a top note that may include spices, citruses or herbs. All notes are then combined and adjusted many times to create balance and allow the hero absolute to be featured and complemented. “The aim is to achieve balance and beauty all at once.” This process may take months.

The formula will then sit for several weeks and is documented through its aromatic maturity. It will change considerably from first formulation as the essences meld together. "We do a lot of testing and tweaking before the final fragrance is ready to be bottled." Nicole traveled to France to source her perfume bottles from the world’s best perfume packaging suppliers. “My perfumes are formulated from the most precious botanical ingredients on earth, so naturally, my packaging also just had to be the best quality to do justice to its contents”.

She explains that working with natural essences is so different to working with synthetic ingredients. “Artificial perfume ingredients are so strong and have very little complexity or subtlety”. “To me they have no soul - and that is precisely what I think my customers want to feel”. “Half the time we don’t know what is in them and what effects they may be having on our health”, Nicole explains. “I just love providing a natural alternative that celebrates the majesty of an essence that has evolved over millennia by nature and actually smells more exquisite than anything a chemist could concoct in a lab using dubious chemicals”.

Nicole notes that the greatest pleasure in creating a fragrance comes from her customers adoring to wear them.

Essensorie’s new range of 100% Precious Natural Fragrances are now available in-store and online.

Precious Natural Fragrance