Clients Creating Custom Scents (aka Perfumery)
By Jessica Johnson
Initially, the Perfumer’s Apprentice was a place where the public could come and learn about perfumery and chemistry through workshops and classes. From its humble beginnings as a shop in a loft, the Perfumer’s Apprentice has grown into an informative and dependable online source for premium aromatic ingredients. While the Perfumer’s Apprentice clearly caters to experienced perfumers they are dedicated to teaching the rest of us the art as well by offering perfumery classes.
Owner Linda Andrews was inspired to create her shop when her daughter, after reading an article about a celebrity having a fragrance designed exclusively for her, wanted to do the same thing. Andrews did some research and realized there was no such opportunity for individuals to work with the fragrance ingredients themselves, and voilà, a business was born.
According to Fragrance Department Manager Travis McIntosh, “This is where people from all skill levels learn to create their own custom scents with the help of our staff.”
What began in 2004 as a small retail space on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz has grown into a wholesale distributor for fragrance ingredients and flavor, shipping goods to professionals and enthusiasts around the world. With the recent reintroduction of classes, The Perfumer’s Apprentice is also a center for fragrance education and experimentation in the heart of Scotts Valley.
Travis McIntosh was the shop’s first customer back in 2004, and within a month he became their first employee. “I have worked for the company ever since – with a short break for school for two years,” McIntosh said.
In 2006, the Perfumer’s Apprentice began selling their products online and that line of business became so popular that Andrews decided to close the storefront and simply sell educational kits and fragrance ingredients.
“In 2008 we began selling flavor concentrates and business really began to take off,” recalled Travis. Once they relocated to their much larger Scotts Valley location, they decided to utilize their surplus space and share their roots with a new generation of customers. “So we decided to start teaching classes again,” he said.
The art of perfumery dates back to ancient times, originating in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Beginning with the distillation of fragrant flowers and oils and other aromatics, perfumes grew in popularity between the 16th and 17th centuries, as the wealthy used them to conceal unpleasant body odors due to infrequent bathing.
Thankfully, times have changed, and although most people bathe more often, the art of perfumery remains big business – and can be fun as well. The best way to start out, according to McIntosh, is to experiment with fragrance oils as they are very easy for beginners to use. Fragrance oils are blends synthetic and natural materials that are diluted in a “carrier” so that they are easier to work with.
McIntosh points out that many people prefer creating perfumes out of natural essential oils and absolutes. Advanced students then move to the world of professional aromachemicals – components that appear in the most valued classic perfumes, as well as popular modern fragrances. There are various ways to study these components. One way is to learn how they act in a sample formula, see what they bring to the whole.
Their second line of business, the Flavor Apprentice, was added in 2009, and creates “truly unique, mouth-watering flavors for culinary professionals and enthusiasts,” said McIntosh. With over 250 available flavors, customers can experiment and improve their recipes and make them more savory, sweet, and complex. “We are always looking towards the future, constantly improving and expanding our flavors and fragrance ingredients with the mission to continue to offer premium products to our customers,” McIntosh said.
Our goal is to enable perfumers and “flavorists” of all levels to learn about and experience truly professional components. Their Introductory Perfume Creation Course is a simplified approach to the theory and basics to the art of perfume creation offered at their Scotts Valley location. “We create a serene and imaginative environment and serve coffee or tea, and pastry while one of our talented instructors walks you through the steps of creating your own fragrance with your own hands,” explained McIntosh.
Learn more about the Perfumer’s Apprentice, the Food Apprentice, and their classes as well as a wealth of information about perfumery and fragrance on their website: https://shop.perfumersapprentice.com or call 831-316-7137. The Perfumer’s Apprentice is located at 170 Technology Circle in Scotts Valley M-F 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.