Olfactory deconstruction so fine that I could smell the odours in my mind. Very scented heaven!
I read Jennifer Peace Rhind’s book on olfaction and natural perfumery, and became almost dizzy with delight.
I did not need to be told from the author’s profile at the end of the book, that she has been deeply involved in a journey with aromatics, and with the essential oils and absolutes as aromatics in particular, for many many years. Her absolute knowledge from experience, as much as from her own studies and reading of other texts on the subject, is absolutely obvious.
And, as important to me as depth knowledge and creative thinking on a subject are – Rhind is also a clear and inspiring writer.
Though this book is particularly geared towards those who may be interested in, or are already, making natural perfumes and perfumery products, it will also be of deep interest to those who are involved in the therapeutic side of working with the essential oils. Despite my own relationship over many years with those oils therapeutically, I was absolutely delighted to find that Rhind was teaching me new information here.
Even for those who primarily are working therapeutically, aesthetic blending may well be part of the mix, particularly when working with clients whose prime reason for treatment is dis-ease presenting in psyche, or with causes from psyche, or those with chronic conditions, where the feel-good hedonic aspect of those oils will absolutely need to be considered.
Rhind explains very clearly the complex physiology and psychology of olfaction, how and why odour has its effects. However, the main thrust of her book is like spending time with a wonderful, creative educator who teaches practitioners of artistic disciplines – the book de-constructs the creation of perfumes, and, best of all, presents the aspiring (or experienced!) perfumer with a really in-depth programme for developing and refining their olfactory sensitivities, both in systematic, left brain ways, with wonderfully structured exercises, and with right brain, creative, playful, olfaction-as-meditation exercises.
What I am particularly enthused with in her writing is the absolute sense of generosity and empowerment which shines out. She is not laying down rigid formulaic monkey-see, monkey-do, she does that wonderful thing of giving the reader a brilliant tool box, the understanding of what the tools can and cannot do, and then says, metaphorically – go make, explore, learn from your own experience.
There is an excellent amount of safety information, specific information about chemistry in each of the oils and absolutes mentioned, to keep perfumers aware of cautions which may be needed, skin sensitivity issues and the like.
I particularly appreciated the information on the aromatic profiles of individual chemical constituents, in isolation. Many of us with familiarity with the oils and absolutes may not have encountered that wide a palette of each component as a stand-alone, so, I am looking forward, from descriptions of the odour notes of the isolate, and my own knowledge of essential oil chemistry, to tease apart the full odour of a particular botanical
Her book is meticulously and brilliantly referenced, with academic thoroughness, and gives those who want to find out more left brain stuff the detailed information to find it
I was absolutely delighted to get offered this as an ARC from the publishers, Singing Dragon, via NetGalley. And just a word on Singing Dragon – they have a great and growing reputation as publishers of books in the complementary medicine field which are thorough, serious, innovative, sensible texts. To be honest, the fact that Rhind’s book is published by Singing Dragon let me know in advance this was going to be a good ‘un