Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Experiential Intuition

The past few days have been difficult, and not because of the hou -- oops! Forgot that I'm not going to talk about it anymore! I have been having a really hard time sleeping and moving around because I tore the cartilage on a lower rib reaching for, of all things, my little granddaughters 'baby', aka, stuffed pink teddy bear. In order to get baby, I reached over the hard wooden arm of a love seat and under the end table next to the love seat to reach baby and over extended in my haste to stop the screaming (baby! baby! baby!) and *crunch* that's all she wrote. It's six to 12 weeks of tenderness and pain and restless nights and not picking up heavy objects.

2010 Academy of Perfuming Arts Promotional Perfumery Kit

This down time has given me the opportunity to read through notes as I found the box in the garage with all of my old notebooks for perfumery going back to 2005 with all of my grand ideas about how perfumes are created, and I came to realize that nearly all of my work -- all of the good work -- has been the result of intuitively selecting raw materials and intuitively formulating them into perfumes. That word 'intuitively' is a loaded word, though. It means 'without conscious reasoning, or by instinct'. How can a first-time perfumer create something good using only their intuition? They can't.  In order for the work to be intuitive (?), there has to be a good, solid base of experience, which is counter to intuition. What I teach my students is that they have to study the raw materials, inside and out. That's the basis for becoming "intuitive" in natural perfumery. Knowing exactly which patchouli within the working palette will elevate a formulation over another patchouli, and knowing -- or at least having a very, very good idea -- how rose otto 5% dilution will behave in an accord of sandalwood 10% (Mysore) and a weak tincture of Siam benzoin. This is where intuition comes into play -- experiential intuition. This is intuition based on what you already know about the character and behavior of any given raw material within a composition, and it takes years to master.

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