'You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.' — Nietzsche

Botanical Perfumery

How does botanical perfume differ from aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is essentially medicine. It is formulated according to the therapeutic value of each essential oil. Botanical perfumery uses many of the same essences. The difference is that perfume is intended to be beautiful and evocative rather than healing. Health benefits are merely a perk. —Alexandra Balahoutis

My day job over the past year has been working for an essential oil store, creating potions which heal everything from allergies to toenail fungus. The first time I ever entered the shop I opened the testers to smell them. I was a little confused as to why they all smelled so ‘medicinal’, not realizing that the oils were blended for their healing properties rather then for their fragrance. Through my time with the company I learned how a lot about the medicinal properties of the different essential oils which is really interesting. But I find that I am still drawn more to the fragrant qualities of plant extracts. I view them as an art, their scents evoking beauty and emotions.

Today I mixed together my first ‘perfume-like concoction’ (I dare not actually call it a perfume) using essential oils and crazy strong alcohol that I bought in Alberta. The end result wasn’t very good but the fact that I created a scent which actually stuck to my skin and has distinguished notes makes me intrigued. So intrigued in fact, that I feel that I might find myself slipping down some kind of olfactory rabbit hole.

In my search for others who think like me, I have discovered the world of indie natural/botanical perfumers. I had no idea such a thing really existed until fairly recently and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Creating essences with pure natural botanical extracts sounds like heaven to me.

I need to find a scent mentor, there is so much to learn.


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