Contact Antoinette on 072 134 9872
When perfuming with natural oils we are actually exploring the concept of relationship. The relationships between elements in a blend and our relationship to them. Our aim with aromachology is to create pleasant scents that transform behaviour and balance the whole system. We delve into the deeper meanings and associations we have with aromas and understand the reasons behind our attraction or aversion.
Our scent personalities are shaped by these perceptions. To have a deeper understanding of our intrinsic aromatic personality there is a couple of factors that influence our perception of scent. Our cultural conditioning, memories, environment, health and emotions all play a role in our relationship to smell.
We have a relationship with our cultural history and environment. That is to say that we have been influenced by our heritage to identify certain aromas as pleasant and desirable. The context the aromas were used in has its own meaning and associations for us. Scents used in ceremony, in hospital or by our family, create personal memories of scent, our personal scent library so to speak, which bypasses all objective interpretation.
We also have a constantly evolving relationship between our bodies and the botanical elements we use in our blends. From objective analysis we know that Lavender is supposed to have a sedative and calming effect on us (4), but for some it may not have a pleasant physical effect at all. A scent you used to love in the past may not work so well for you anymore.
There is a relationship between the aromas themselves. Some aromas don’t combine or “dance” well together, as they may blend undesirable qualities and create a note that is jarring or overpowering. Or they might not have the desired therapeutic effect as they are not in synergy with your intention for the blend. The result may turn out just plain blah 😉
The carrier material and the blend of aromas are also relating. As an example, a perfume in a balm will capture the perfume as a static moment in time, whereas a perfume in alcohol or jojoba will develop and change over time. Some carriers we choose might not be ideal for our intentions of use such as a carrier for a massage oil vs. a carrier for a perfume oil. Every carrier also has its own scent profile, which might interfere with the desired result.
Plant Personality Profile
To make things even more interesting, each plant we use in perfume also has its own unique personality. You might see aspects of yourself in a Ylang Ylang personality for instance, which is said to be a seductive, passionate, temperamental, confident and radiant personality, that likes to wear colourful clothes and bright jewellery.(3) You might find are drawn to it because you need more of these qualities in your life.
“Atlas Cedarwood’s personality is someone gliding through life as if they had a royal charter. They may actually appear haughty and just too grand to approached about anything mundane, but this assumption is usually incorrect as they are a tower of strength in almost all situations. Cedarwood personalities instil confidence and security in people less able to cope with life’s stresses and strains.” (1)
“It is seen as warming, harmonising and thought to be life giving. It calms during times of nervous tension. In difficult situations the oil may provide comfort and warmth, and help stabilise energies thrown out of balance.” (2)
There are numerous systems in existence which we may choose from to gain a deeper understanding of our scent personality. One such a system is the “fragrance wheel”. The wheel categorises fragrances as fresh, floral, oriental and woody aromas; each with their own subdivisions. We could include other systems such as chakras, colour therapy, yin/yang, astrology, Ayurveda (vatta, pitta, kapha) and the elements (Fire, Earth, Air, Water, Ether).
Have a look at the families or systems your favourite fragrances or oils belongs to. For instance, see which “colour” fragrance you like. Do you like green perfumes or brown ones? Is it woody or powdery, do you like florals or floral orientals?
Even if you’re a natural perfumer you may have a love for certain synthetic favourites. For an understanding of your likes and dislikes and to find the family as well as a description of the scent profile of your favourite brand name perfumes, Fragrantica is a good place to start. You can do a search for the name of a favourite perfume and read the interpretation by other perfumers and noses. Keep in mind that scent is subjective and what you read on Fragrantica about a perfume’s scent profile might not be the same as what you’re smelling. Your body also has its own unique scent and chemistry that changes from day to day, which will influence a perfume’s behaviour on your body.
To truly create perfumes that enhance our lives is a commitment to understanding ourselves and harmonious relationships. We commit to understand ourselves and our bodies better, while we honour our deeply personal perceptions. We also increase our understanding of and respect for the unique gifts and personalities of botanical ingredients.
It is a pleasure to share my experiences. If you need assistance in determining your unique scent personality and to make fragrances that transform your perception of reality, I’m offering a workshop on the 19th of November and I’m available for private sessions. Please fill in my form or call me on 072 134 9872
1. Worwood V. The Fragrant Mind. Doubleday, Great Brittain, 1995
2. Fischer-Rizzi S. Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Sterling Publishing Company, USA, 1990
3. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy – Salvatore Battaglia ISBN 0 646 42896 9
4. Diego et al. 1998 International Journal of Neuroscience Essential oil of Lavender and Rosemary.
5. International Journal of Neuroscience, 119:263–290, 2009