Ever since I attended a Proustian Scents workshop by London’s PAN studios at last year’s UnBox festival (this year’s is currently on in Delhi), I’ve been fascinated with perfume and how scent is linked with memory. Though the scent I created that day resembled lemon barley water more than anything I could ever possibly wear, with just one whiff of the old-fashioned drink, I’m transported back to that picnic lunch at the festival where I first spritzed it!

While I was living in Cannes earlier this year, my dear friend Binit and I decided to visit the town of Grasse, only a short ride away and the world’s perfume capital. This time to make perfume we might actually consider wearing.

We reserved our place in the class at Galimard online and spent the morning exploring Grasse. Our first stop was the incredibly fascinating Musée International de la Parfumerie, a must visit if you are in Grasse. We also toured the perfume factory at Fragonard and bought beautifully packaged liqueurs in the small bylanes.

Back at Galimard, we were led to a perfume organ where we would spend the next two hrs. The workshop began with blind smelling a few perfume samples to gauge what sort of smells we like and would want our perfume to resemble - fruity, floral, fresh, spicy.

The perfume organ was filled with rows of ingredients marked with masculine or feminine top, middle or base notes. Taking whiffs of the various ingredients, we chose our favourites and added them drop by drop to a long glass beaker, making frequent notes of the measurements. We frequently tested our concoction using paper strips and realised that each addition however miniscule changed the fragrance.

At the end of the class, our formula was recorded in case we wanted to reorder it and we were able to customise our bottle if we wanted. Though the personal perfume class is obviously directed at tourists, it is still a fun and interesting way to be introduced to the process of perfume making and take home a memorable souvenir from a very unique place.

A two hour workshop costs €45 and includes one 100ml eau de parfum. One accompanying person may join for €10.

For more details, see here.


Photo: The perfume organ at Fragonard. Image for reference only.