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Ceremonial Perfumery Co-distillations of Aromatic Plants By Ildiko Berecz


As an intuitive, I have a deep sense of recognising familiar occurrences, environments, and people and even recalling and reconnecting them to specific information. As for familiar fragrances, meaning smell triggers and smell memory, it feels like my abilities are just slightly beyond average. What does average mean, you might ask? Am I judging myself?

As an aromatherapist and botanical perfumer, my nose is rather sophisticated to deal with hundreds of different aromatic raw materials, multiplied by hundreds of blending variations, to say the least. As an artisan distiller of aromatic plants, years of practice allowed me sophistication in organoleptic evaluation, extending and cross-referencing olfactory, visual and flavour characteristics and energetics. It also allowed witnessing the most subtle changes during the alchemical process of turning matter into ether. Yet, I still feel handicapped when it comes to that truly remarkable capacity of having a precise timeline scent memory and the corresponding gift of verbal expression, a clear sentience for the perception of fragrance changes in the dimension of time.

Am I asking too much? Jennifer Peace Rhind – a biologist, aromatherapist and complementary healthcare educator – has some soothing guidance in one of her lovely books, Listening To Scent, to position yourself where you are on your olfactory journeys.

Recording experiences is a must, be it botany, herbalism, aromatherapy or perfumery, as it is at least beneficial in many other areas to document your progress. Depending on your circumstances, the focus of your work, the structure of organising your data, the filters and methods of recording, and the scope, depts, quantity and quality evaluations may vary greatly. At the end of the day, the scale of refining your subject may be defined by your capacity, put aside capabilities and affinities.

I was dedicating the past ten years to documenting what I do while I was doing in the transformative settings of aromatic Crete, and it has been a sheer inspiration both ways, as the roles of the doer and the observer were constantly separate yet being one. This made it possible to write and share these aromatic stories with you, my dear reader, so you take inspiration from them, whatever part is missing in your current puzzlemaking. Reviving various techniques of the past is a duty of today's healers and teachers of all kinds who are courageous enough to take the challenge of empowering themselves – and hence our communities – with the tradition and knowledge of plant alchemy to preserve, proceed and bravely bring to the level of our age and generations to come.

To learn more about Ildiko Berecz and her work, visit her website at

Read the full Article in the Perfume Special 2023 edition (10.3) E. available in the shop. 

Read the full Article in the Perfume Special 2023 edition (10.3) E. available in the shop.

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