The striking fragrance from the ylang ylang makes me feel good. “This flower smells of vacation, holiday and the sun,” smiles perfumer Nora Gasparini. I am at her L’Atelier perfume workshop in Bali, smelling exotic flowers. The champaka, vetiver, and a benzoin… “Jasmine is considered the king, while rose is the queen. Champaka, available in Southeast Asia (the ones available in India are more fragrant) has creamy, green notes and it is used to make some of the perfumes for men,” Gasparini explains.
Inspired by the island
Gasparini, who is from Martinique, a French island, fell in love with Bali when she moved here 10 years ago. She now runs the L’Atelier perfume studio. “I studied perfumery in Paris. Bali is my inspiration. I go to farmers all over Indonesia to discover new raw materials and try and use them in perfumes.” Gasparini says as she enjoys sharing her experiences and listening to the stories of others, she is also an Airbnb host.
The next 30 minutes are spent smelling essential oils, spices, and flowers. Gasparini hands me a white perfume testing strip dabbed in patchouli oil. It is uplifting. “Patchouli grows in Malaysia, and the plant has more than 200 aromatic molecules (normal plants have just about 10 or 15!). About 30% of all perfumes use patchouli,” she says.
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