10 things you (probably) never knew about perfumery, according to Roja Dove

Earlier this week, a few of the team attended an inspiring perfume session with Roja Dove. Arguably, what Roja doesn’t know about fragrance isn’t really worth knowing – he is a fountain of fragrant knowledge. He spent 20 years at Guerlain, opened Roja

Dove Haute Parfumerie in Harrods and launched his own signature fragrance range, Roja Parfums.

Here are 10 fascinating things we learned after spending a day with Roja himself, courtesy of The Fragrance Foundation’s training programme.

1. If you lose your sense of smell, apparently it will cause more long-term psychological damage than going blind.

2. Kissing is the most intense form of smelling in the animal kingdom, according to Roja.

3. In Japan, they use perfume to treat depression.

4. We are born with no knowledge of odour. Our sense of smell is linked directly to the emotional part of our brain and therefore, our individual sense of smell is based purely on impressions and experiences.

5. Heat dulls smell, yet humidity intensifies it – think of London after rain.

6. When jasmine and tuberose are used in perfumery, they are best picked before the sunlight hits them.

7. If Quelques Fleurs wasn’t created in 1912, none of the other great florals might exist: its structure created a blueprint for other iconic flower fragrances.

8. Fragrances contain an average of 10-15% natural ingredients – the rest is synthetic and created in a lab. This scientific innovation has changed the face of perfumery.

9. Enfleurage is said to be the oldest method of extraction in the world – it’s the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of extraction, according to Roja. There are roughly only five people alive today that know how to undertake this artisan process (most ‘enfleurage’ is actually now solvent extraction). It’s a dying process.

10. Tuberose is worth its weight in gold – which is why most tuberose used today is synthetic.

Written by Alice Jones

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