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05-07-11 | Posted by


Perfumer John Stephen

OK BITB fans, we’re going to be very British and discuss the weather, but I promise there’s a purpose.

If you are anything like me, the mere whiff of coconut reminds you of suntan lotion, sandy beaches, scorching sunshine and good times. It’s just such a shame that British summertime seems to get shorter every year and this year it’s started super-early – we’ve had record sunshine and temperatures in April. At BITB London we are already donning our sandals and getting our polished toes out.

This summer, I want to create my own fragrance that encapsulates everything I love about my favourite season so that as the cold, dark nights of winter start drawing-in, a spritz of scent will prevent the miserable onset of SAD.

Having done a spot of research, it seems that there are no official courses on offer for perfumers in the making. The best thing to do is find a fragrance house or perfumer with some serious credentials to know that you will get the best possible tuition. At BITB, we have found one of the most established and long-running fragrance houses in the UK, members of the British Fragrance Association, The Cotswold Perfumery.

The perfumery is set in picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water, a favourite getaway for stressed-out city folk. Who needs a better reason to get away from the streets of London than to spend the day with charming John Stephen, owner and head perfumer. Of course, John himself is a member of the British Society of Perfumers and having taken over his family’s business which was founded over 45 years ago, fragrance is in his blood…maybe literally?!

The perfumery offers weekend courses with level one taking place on a Saturday and level two on a Sunday so you can achieve both in one weekend as part of a small group of just six students max.

– Level One (£125) gives you an understanding of perfume classification and a knowledge of fragrances to help you choose what sort of perfume you’d like to create and how to structure it, build it from the raw materials and blend it using expert equipment.

– Level Two (£250) promises to take your skills to another level and it’s suitable for both keen amateurs and those who may even have more of a commercial interest in fragrance production. As part of this course, you’ll leave with an understanding of the complicated legislation that governs the industry.

Sounds good to me. I’m booked and will let you know how I get on. To check availability and book online, log on to www.cotswold-perfumery.co.uk/index7.html.

They get booked up quickly as does the perfumery’s holiday apartments, which you can also book. They really have thought of everything!

Bourton-on-the-Water here we come…

Love from London

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