Armani Code…Polo Black…Chanel No.19.
What do these scents all have in common besides smell amazing?
Each and every single one was carefully crafted by a perfumer. A ‘perfumer,’ you ask? Yes, believe it or not, this is a real job. Think about it. Somebody has to concoct these enticing aromas that we all love to spray and wear. These experts literally have a “nose” and talent for whipping up the perfect scent combinations that fragrance lovers can’t resist.
Some of the people in this line of work are responsible for some of the world’s major fragrances currently on the market today. Sophia Grojsman helped to create several popular perfumes including Calvin Klein’s Eternity and Elizabeth Taylor’s Diamonds Jacques Polge, another famous perfumer, is responsible for launching Chanel’s Coco Noire, Chance and Allure.
Not everyone, however, is cut out for this unique job. While the job title itself sounds pretty basic, perfumers do more than just sniff perfume all day. With their extraordinary sense of smell, they carefully examine the scents of aromatic additives and chemicals, making sure they all meet the goals of the perfume company. Bottom line—they know their ingredients inside and out.
Most perfumers today are employed by several large fragrance corporations. While there was a time when perfumers required no formal training, today that has changed. To remain competitive in the industry, perfumers across the globe are furthering their knowledge of the perfume industry with classes. In 1970, the Institut Supérieur International du Parfum, de la Cosmétique et de L'aromatique Alimentaire or ISIPCA in France actually became the first school in perfumery.
Offering more than 30 training programmes from beginner to advanced levels, aspiring perfumers can earn a baccalaureate or master degree. Even though ISIPCA is the first school in perfumery, other similar schools have since opened their doors. Getting into these institutions, however, is no easy task. Students must undergo a challenging entrance exam and have already taken college-level courses in chemistry.
For those who are fortunate enough to survive the rigorous course work, the salary earned from this profession can be quite lucrative. According to Salarylist.com, perfumers can earn anywhere from $30,000 to as much as $248,189. On average, they earn $97,882—not too shabby, right?
Landing an apprenticeship is crucial for anyone aspiring to be the next great nose of the 21st century. It will open your doors to many other opportunities in the industry. A great place to start is with the Natural Perfumers Guild. Once you successfully complete the program, survive the course load at perfumery school and build a reputation for yourself—you’ll officially join the ranks of only a select few whose nose is absolutely everything in the fragrance industry and highly regarded.