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After we got a feel for what we were about to start experimenting with, the perfume oils came out and testing strips got passed around. I learned a lot of things from this. One thing I learned was that I never want a perfume made out of mushroom oil because I'm not too keen on smelling like a mixture of soy sauce and dirty toilet funk. Another thing I learned is that I love bergamot, which makes sense, because I am a big fan of Earl Grey tea. Also, patchouli oil does indeed make me think of hippies and the hemp necklaces—maybe they were chokers, maybe they had clay beads with suns on them, I'm not confirming or denying—that I wore in high school for a very brief period that was unfortunately captured on my driver license photo. All of which is to say, I love patchouli.
The class culminated with everyone applying their new knowledge of perfume in order to concoct their own blends and then, ultimately, applying it to themselves. Right on their own bodies. We each got to create two perfumes, and I was a little nervous—perhaps because I was flashing back to the slimy rose potions of my childhood—but I wound up loving my two perfumes and have been wearing them every day. One, which I feel is more "daytime," had base notes of sandalwood and Peru balsam with heart notes of damask rose and honey and head notes of ginger and black pepper. I sort of wanted to drink it. But didn't! Because we added the oils to Everclear, which is 109 proof vodka, and I didn't want to get drunk at my first perfume blending class. The second perfume, which is more "nighttime," had a patchouli and vetiver base, with jasmine and violet leaf as heart notes and bergamot and bitter orange to finish it off. I love it too. And I've been forcing everyone who comes in contact with me to smell my wrists, which, might be an invasion of their personal space, but no one has complained yet, because my wrists smell so good. SO GOOD.
Another fun thing about the class was that everyone who I told about it uniformly said "I want to do that." Which was nice because it gave me an idea. Presents! Not gifts of my perfume blends (those are for me and I don't want anyone else to smell like me) but gifts of classes. Experience gifts are awesome and the thought of taking this class with a friend, so that you could simultaneously swoon over the ylang-ylang and gag over the mushroom essence, is a smart one. Plus, it would be good to do this class with someone else so that at least one person on this earth doesn't think you're a total freak because you compulsively smell your own wrists several times a day. Every day.
To take a class at 3rd Ward—perfume blending or one of their many other available choices—go to 3rdward.com/classes
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen