Karen Gilbert: 1 Day Masterclass : Photo Essay

Hi there Perfumistas!!

Last Saturday saw a crew of us doing a One Day Fragrant Masterclass with the amazing Karen Gilbert. To say I learned a lot is a complete understatement, Karen is so knowledgeable, has the most incredibly diverse history within the fragrance industry and has the gift of making everything seem so simple and gives clear and concise instructions. I work best under those conditions and it seemed that everyone was drinking in the knowledge and we had a super fun time.

Karen Gilbert: 1 Day Masterclass : Photo Essay

Topics Covered In The Class:

  • The History of Perfumery
  • The Sense of Smell and What it Means To Us
  • The Beginners Guide to Training your Nose
  • Classifying Fragrances
  • Top, Middle and Base notes and Why They Are Important
  • Creating Accords
  • Practical Blending Techniques
  • Naturals Vs Synthetics

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #3

The first part of the day was meeting us, giving us some theory, history, insider gossip and news, information that has taken me a few days to percolate because it was completely jam packed. We broke for lunch, which was Sydney pub fare and that gave us a moment to really connect with each other and bond.

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #5

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #6

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #7

Then we went back to the classroom and started meeting accords, molecules, notes and learned a very basic how to for fragrance creation. Karen had brought both natural and synthetics for us to learn about, which was a total bonus. We were able to smell 3 different aldehydes, a bunch of fragrant fillers and smoothers and some that could increase diffusion and volume. It was engrossing stuff and we had so many questions. Each question led to 10 others so we were getting knowledge that only the rarest few are privy to. I cannot tell you enough what an excellent experience the day was or how giving and nurturing Karen Gilbert is. To be honest, I don’t know how Karen supplied so much stuff for the ridiculously small amount of $295 for the day. It was overwhelming how much choice we had when it came to creating our personal fragrances.

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #8

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #9

Mine ended up being these accords/notes:
Top: Coriander, lemon, Virginian cedar
Heart: Ylang ylang, orange blossom absolute, listea cubeba (May chang), P.E.A.
Base: Labdanum, galbanum, oakmoss

PEA is a synthetic aromachemical that gives lift and brightness to the naturals. Often used in perfumery apparently to add volume and enable diffusion. I used 4 drops and the difference to heart of the frag was astonishing.

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #11Photo Donated Ainslie Walker

I have been spritzing my fragrance quite a bit and am so happy with the outcome. As I said on Facebook: Perhaps Malle, YSL or Hermes will never be knocking on my door asking for recipes but I think it’s a rather lovely, simple fragrance.

From a one day class I wasn’t expecting to learn so much. I think it will help enormously with my own purchasing in the future and definitely gives me some insights that I will put towards my blogging. I would take the class again in a heartbeat, I know that I will learn even more next time.

Portia xx

25 comments on “Karen Gilbert: 1 Day Masterclass : Photo Essay

  1. Sherry says:

    How fun! Spurred me to do web search to learn more 🙂

  2. darkrose says:

    Oh my, so funny and interesting! I will be looking for similar perfume classes near here, I would totally love to learn more and make my own fragrance 😀

    (BTW I am curious about the name you would choose for your fragrance, Portia.. it sounds quite sultry).


    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey there DarkRose,
      I named it Eau de Fat Tranny.
      If Karen Gilbert ever comes anywhere near you then run to book a place. You can do her online course too.
      Portia x

      • darkrose says:

        Ahaha, that would make an unique name for sure 🙂

        I hope she’ll come here one day, thanks for the suggestion!


  3. Kandice says:

    Sounds like a great time. Wish I’d been there!

  4. Love your enthusiastic review of the day! Was a great day with a lot of warm hearted people in the room. Was a real treat to learn from Karen-she is an inspiration!! X thanks for organizing, Portia!

  5. Tara says:

    Loved reading about Karen’s class and the fragrance you made.

    That pic of you is also fantastic.

    I really should do one of her classes in London sometime. I now feel it’s something I could cope with!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      OMG! Tara, you would have a ball with Karen. Shall I connect you guys? She is brilliant and I know you two will click.
      Portia xx

  6. Donna says:

    Wow! What a fabulous treat! I would love to spend a day such as that. Learning and absorbing and more. That just sounds wonderful. I’d love for the experience. Thanks for sharing.

  7. cookie queen says:

    Sounds brilliant fun. Maybe something for me one day. xxx

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Val, I think you might really enjoy the smelling of fragrant components. Your nose is so good that it wuld lift your appreciation even higher.
      Portia x

  8. It sounds wonderful and I’m really sorry to have missed it but noticed several of the Sydney Perfume Lovers in the pix so will be asking them more about the event and perhaps get a chance to sniff their creations!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      I wish you’d been able to attend Catherine. I think you would have really enjoyed it and some of the insider gossip was fabulously scandalous.
      Portia xx

  9. Tonia says:

    Oh I so wish I could have made it to this. I knew I was going to miss out on something quite amazing. Will add it to my future wishlist like so many other things! Thanks for sharing, I love the pics. X

  10. Nemo says:

    How fun! 🙂 Out of curiousity, does you know what PEA stands for? (Is it phenylethyl alcohol?)

  11. Anna says:

    Malle YSL and Hermes don’t know what they’re missing, fab photo Portia!

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