Making Scents: Experimental Perfumery With Saskia Wilson-Brown - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Making Scents: Experimental Perfumery With Saskia Wilson-Brown

$205 per person Online Experience
3 sessions
Up to 23 people
See Dates
$205 per person
$205 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this 3-part seminar, learn the basics of perfumery, explore properties of fragrances, and create a small accord as a group.

Course Description

Led by Saskia Wilson-Brown, the founder and director of The Institute for Art and Olfaction, this course will cover the basics of independent perfumery—from the foundations of the craft to the industry at large. Starting with the basics of lab safety for a healthy practice, Saskia will provide a facts-based introduction to the art and science of working with scent, exploring fragrance families, materials of natural and synthetic origin, regulation and compliance, blending exercises for beginners, and much more. As a group, we’ll create our first small perfume accords and wrap up with a glimpse into the independent perfume space.

Syllabus at a Glance

There are three total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for two hours on three consecutive Mondays beginning May 24.

Session 1 (Monday, 5/24, 7–9 PM ET): Lab Basics: Safety, tools, and fragrance families

Session 2 (Monday, 5/31, 7–9 PM ET): Materials and Strategies 

Session 3 (Monday, 6/7, 7–9 PM ET): Industry: Mainstream vs. artisan practices

Between Sessions

Between sessions two and three, participants will be assigned four short accords so they can compare small formulas in the final session.

Course Materials

As part of this class, The IAO and Atlas Obscura have teamed up with Perfumers Apprentice to offer a materials kit containing 18 aromatic materials and some basic labware for this class. The cost of this kit is $82 plus shipping and handling. Order your kit here. We recommend ordering your kit as soon as you have purchased a spot on the course to ensure that you are able to receive it in time for class, though please note it is not strictly necessary to have received the kit by the first session.

Please note that these are professional grade perfume materials and although we have selected all our materials with safety in mind (and none of the materials are allergens), there is nevertheless a slight possibility that you may experience a sensitivity to one or two of them. We request you do not work with your materials kit until our first class, in which we will cover health and safety when working with perfume. If you consider yourself highly sensitive to fragrance, we recommend you not take this class.

Pricing Options

If you are unable to pay the ticket price for this course, a limited number of no-pay spots are available to increase accessibility for students, regardless of economic situation. Please note that this option is first-come, first-served, and reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course. To learn more about our approach to pricing, including no-pay options, please visit our FAQ page.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Our online courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. Courses can take one of two forms: Seminars are intimate, interactive classes—capped at nine to 25 students—exploring topics and crafts through discussion, workshops, assignments, and in-class activities. We also offer lecture series that can be attended live, or viewed via a recording that will be shared within 72 hours after each session airs. Class recordings for lecture series will be available with a temporary password for up to two weeks following the final session of the course.

To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit

For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to the class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access your course via Zoom on each scheduled date and time.


About Your Instructor
Saskia Wilson-Brown
Saskia Wilson-Brown

After receiving an MA in fine art from Central Saint Martins, Saskia Wilson-Brown co-directed the Silver Lake Film Festival and ran international filmmaker outreach at Al Gore’s Current TV while producing initiatives around new models in the arts. In 2012, her interest in multivalent practices led her to create The Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO), a non-profit devoted to access and experimentation in the field of perfumery. Through the IAO, she has launched projects with institutions such as Pulitzer Foundation, Getty Institute, Hammer Museum, Wallace Collection, New Mexico Highlands University, and many more. In 2013, she launched the Art and Olfaction Awards, an international awards mechanism for independent perfumers, and in 2018 she launched Open Sourcing Smell Culture, an initiative devoted to open source principles in perfumery. She recently served as a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London, and is currently producing a new radio show called Perfume on the Radio, finishing a documentary about ownership and historic reconstruction in the field of perfumery while pursuing a PhD about the historic and contemporary relationship between perfume, access and power. 

What Else You Should Know

This is an interactive, small-group, seminar-style course that meets over Zoom. Students may be invited to participate in discussions, workshop their projects, and receive feedback from the course instructor.

In most cases, instructors will use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Classroom, instructors will be using this platform to post resources, discussion questions, and assignments, when applicable.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses, as well as transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or access needs.

Group Size

There are 23 spots available on this experience.

Dates and Availability
You'll be redirected to our external ticketing provider after selecting your experience date.
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