Category Archives: natural perfumery course

Making perfume: 100% natural pefume products

Saturday - 6 April 2019

In my professional making perfume course, I instruct students in the art of perfumery from the first drop to the final product. There are many bonus modules for fragrant products, including potpourri, body butter, scented body powder, enfleurage, and many more that allow you to be a multi-faceted perfumer.

The new website is under construction, so excuse the tired face of the current site at, but get excited by the modern one to come! Here’s a sample of some of the luscious photos illustrating the new site:



See you in class!

Natural Perfume Discounts on Tuition, oils, and perfumemaking kits

Saturday - 18 November 2017


How Autumn got Trashed by Hurricane Irma

This was going to be most heartfelt newsletter I’ve ever sent because I want to share the events of September and October and explain why I’ve been so quiet. Yes, I kept posting on Facebook, but behind the scenes, there is a lot of recovery and catch-up going on in the day-to-day businesses I run. I decided to blog later about the events instead, and just concentrate here on the love and passion for perfumes, and their creation. And I also decided to offer discounts, and pledge 10% of the sales to hurricane relief efforts. Use the links to discounted sale items at the end of this post.
I’ll let you know when I have it together enough to write about September and October, it’s just too fresh right now. So a remedy? Share the project that stirs as much passion in me as creating perfumes – teaching others how to make beautiful, professional perfumes!
My perfume organ with diluted essences, a working model I introduced to natural perfumery in my Basic natural perfume course.

10th Anniversary of the Natural Perfumery Institute Blew Right By!

Something very important to me that fell by the wayside due to Irma was the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Natural Perfumery Institute, an educational place for learning the ancient and modern aspects of natural perfume. It was the first online course in natural perfumery, and I share many years experience with the students in the form of a textbook, a real textbook, the first of its kind for perfumery. I had no time to announce, or celebrate, this milestone, the 10th anniversary. Thinking about the need for such a course, and then developing it, was a goal I accomplished.
If you are considering studying perfumery, I am offering an early holiday discount on tuition, the perfume making kits, and select aromatics from my botanicals line. Do you, or someone you love, desire to learn perfumery? This course is dynamic and covers the breadth and depth of the art of perfumery.
To learn more about the discounts visit:
This page for the $100 to $300 discount on the course tuition and kits.
This page for discounts on Boronia, Sandalwood, and Vanilla.
These are the only pages coded with the discounts. There will be wonderful discounts on my perfumes next week for Black Friday, so be sure to open your newsletter to see what I’m offering. The tuition and aromatics discount will be available until Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017.
From Miami, our best wishes
Anya, Brian, Gracie, Andrea, and Dailyn

natural perfumery institute textbook cover

Natural Perfumery Institute cover. Textbook written by Anya McCoy.

Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin now under $20

Thursday - 2 November 2017

In 2003, a member of the Natural Perfumery group I host on Yahoo got in touch with the folks at Allured Publishing (Now Allured Business Media) and asked them if they could make the Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin (PFMNO) book available aside from the three-volume set written by Steffen Arctander. The other two volumes held little interest to natural perfumers, since they were on the subject of synthetics.

Hardback version of Steffen Arctander's Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

Hardback version of Steffen Arctander’s Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

It was very difficult to find the PFMNO on eBay or other places for less than a small fortune, often around $700. I had snagged a book for $117 on UK eBay from a retired perfume chemist, but that was a rare score. Allured responded positively, and began selling the volume for about $350, if I recall correctly. That was great, and many snapped it up. I developed a relationship with Allured, and they gave 20-30% off with a coupon code I could publicize. What a great resource for us natural perfumers.

In the past few years, Allured has offered fewer books that before, and they are I suppose going through a business model re-do. The main publication I look forward to every month is Perfumery and Flavorist magazine, it’s relevant and educational.

So what is the PFMNO book about? Most regard it as the best reference for plant and animal essences used in perfume and flavors. I turn to it often, to clarify a point, dig deeper into research, or sometimes just for fun, to muse about these delightful fragrances we have for our art.

Imagine my surprise when I visited Abe Books, a supplier of used books I love for their great prices, and found that they’re now printing PFMNO on demand through Create Space, the branch of Amazon that prints on-demand books. This is where I get my textbook printed (unabashed plug: my perfume course is professional and comprehensive, and comes with a 350-page textbook).

Natural Perfumery Institute cover. Textbook written by Anya McCoy.

Just visit this page on Abe Books and order PFMNO and you won’t be sorry you did. In fact, you should rejoice in this new age of fabulous opportunity to own such a classic book.

Strange Magic Perfume

Wednesday - 3 May 2017

Strange Magic Perfume

Strange Magic is inspired by the color magic of the flowers I grow. I have spent many years gathering the rare tropical flowers that provide fragrance and beauty in my organic garden in Miami, transforming them into strongly-scented tinctures. Some have been used in perfumes in the past, but this is a new approach, born of an observation that stunned me. Some flowers, when tinctured, or distilled, create a colored tincture that defies the color of the original flower. Some white flowers turn crimson or amber in a tincture, ylang ylang turns green, then so dark its opaque. Some white flowers turn blue, well, the colors are just surprising!

I believe this is the first perfume made almost entirely of tinctures, with some color magic essential oils and absolutes in the blend.

Strange Magic will be launched later this month, and I will post a guide to the flowers and their transformative color magic when the scent is extracted. The other magical aspect is that the scent is very, very close to the scent of the living flower, since no heat was used in extracting the scent. Magical!

Mother’s Day – 

Treat Her with Natural Goodness

My mother, Ann, around age 46
I was a toddler when I first raided my mother’s perfumes. I was besotted with the heady perfumes of the 50s and 60s, and would play with them for hours. In her later years, my mother came to live with me in Miami, and she loved the natural perfumes I make. Moon Dance was her favorite, and I do admit it is closest to the vintage perfumes of her era.
Sale on all perfumes and soaps for Mother’s Day
Use the discount code earthalways at checkout for 20% off all perfumes and luxury natural soaps through Sunday, May 7th so that your lovely gifts can be shipped in time to reach your mom by her special day. Live in the USA? Free shipping! Please visit Anya’s Garden Perfumes to choose your Mother’s Day fragrant delight.

 Rare Discount – on Perfumery Course

Have you been wanting to learn perfumery? I started teaching in 2007, sixteen years after I launched my first perfumery line, bringing experience in techniques, processes, and business and legislative matters. The textbook for the Basic Course is written at the university level, and the education you’ll receive is broad in scope and precise in detail regarding the art.
I don’t offer discounts often, so take advantage of 20% off the course. Read more here, and I hope to see you “up your game” and enroll in this course, a labor of love for me. Click here to read more. Discount code is earthalways and ends Monday, May 8th. Discount does not apply to kits.

June 1st is the 11th Anniversary of the

Natural Perfumers Guild!

From our website:
The Natural Perfumers Guild was established in 2006 and is the only international trade organization dedicated to promoting the beauty and benefits of 100% natural fragrances and giving a voice to the artisan natural perfumer.
Our mission is to gather, strengthen and empower our existing member community, increase public awareness through education about pure and natural perfumes, and establish standards of excellence in perfumery by protecting the traditional art of perfumery through ethical standards.
The Guild also addresses legislative issues that affect natural perfumery. Our Code defines the elements that make us a self-regulating organization. Our standards for our Professional Perfumers are the highest in the world regarding the use of natural ingredients. Please see the Definition of Natural Perfumery link in the menu and feel free to contact the Guild if you have any questions about natural perfume.

Join us as we enter our 12th year, and enjoy the benefits of the community, while supporting the advancement of natural perfumery.

In the coming year, we will be working on a definition of perfume permaculture, looking at ways to promote sustainability in the art. Climate change has accelerated the rise in issues concerning raw materials, and demands by consumers are two main areas to address. The Guild encourages artisan distillers, micro perfumery businesses, and a paradigm of respect and responsibility towards natural materials.
You can read of our previous projects, white papers, and benefits – such as downloadable vintage perfumery books – here.
Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.

A Modern Perfume Organ

Sunday - 2 April 2017

I started collection essential oils and absolutes in 1966. At the time, I didn’t know my bottles of aromatics were supposed to be arranged on a tiered shelf called a perfume organ. Because I was a botanist, I categorized them by the part of the plant they were extracted from: florals, woods, leaves, etc., and kept them in plastic boxes for storage.

Later, I had a beautiful old wooden printer’s tray, which, when attached to a wall, provided a lovely display for the small bottles, but was impractical for working, and, of course, didn’t hold the larger bottles.

In 1990 or so, I stored my perfume organ in a beautiful Thai display case.

Anya McCoy with Thai display cabinet holding perfume organ oils

Anya McCoy with Thai display cabinet holding perfume organ oils

I finally located a man in Kentucky who made the wooden tiered racks for essential oils you’d see displayed in stores. I carefully measured what I perceived I’d need, and sent him the information. He constructed a lovely, modern-looking perfume organ out of pine, sweet and pale yellow and perfect for my needs – at the time.

What many perfume organs still look like, but this was only temporary. You can see the beginning of my dilutions on the bottom row. This photo is about 10 years old

What many artisans’ perfume organs still look like, but this was only temporary. You can see the beginning of my dilutions on the bottom row. This photo is about 10 years old

All my bottles, except the ones that needed refrigeration were on the organ, interspersed with the dilutions I used in everyday blending. The dilutions sat right next to the undiluted aromatics, and that was okay for a while.

The Modern Perfume Organ in Practice

Ah, visual serenity, aesthetic beauty, and so much more refined! This perfume organ should be the desired type for artisan perfumers. Modern, cost-effective, and so easy to use!

Ah, visual serenity, aesthetic beauty, and so much more refined! This perfume organ should be the desired type for artisan perfumers. Modern, cost-effective, and so easy to use!

Top notes are on the top level, middle notes, of which there are hundreds, are on middle levels, and base notes along the bottom. Why dilute your essences? It saves a lot of money, first of all. Imagine using undiluted pricey oils, like rose otto, for all of your mods. Secondly, now you get the scent of the rose “opened up” by the alcohol in the dilution, too. Two great bonuses!

Don’t ever struggle with trying to use labdanum or tobacco absolutes by the drop again! The diluted essences are very fluid.

Now only dilutions are on the perfume organ. Most are 10%, some higher, some lower. The undiluted raw materials are kept in a refrigerator, with their specific gravity noted on a blending database. You may be able to blend a perfume modification with a diluted essence, but you need the specific gravity to be able to blend any quantity. This is taught in my Intermediate Level Perfumery course. Enroll now in the Basic course, which will prepare you to further your studies at the Intermediate Level.


Making Perfume Tip About Using Abbreviations for Descriptors

Tuesday - 13 October 2015
Learn how to dilute aromatics, use a scale, and work with professional evaluation forms to record your impressions.

Learn how to dilute aromatics, use a scale, and work with professional evaluation forms to record your impressions.

Making Perfume: Perfume Shorthand Key to Comprehensive Descriptors for Organoleptic Evaluation

Perfumers need a jolt, or a boost to the thinking process, to help them come up with a descriptive word for various aspects of a fragrance. When making modifications (aka mods) to choose the perfect perfume, it helps to have both the Aromatic Lexicon that I supply my students with, and the next step, a shorthand way to jot down those descriptive terms. The following shorthand key included in the textbook for The Natural Perfumery Institute, (NPI) is valuable for this, and I’m sharing it here to pay it forward to those who need some help with their word searching. I hope you find it useful.

If you’re considering studying perfumery, join us at the NPI, and you’ll find the textbook and supporting materials will give you an outstanding perfumery education.

You can right-click the image and save it as a .jpg, or copy and paste the individual entries, below. Saving the individual entries will give you the chance to create a document of your own, and add the descriptors your develop in your studies. I provide my students with an editable Word.doc to do this, and they really come up with some creative terms! Use the document as a jumping-off point to allow you to add to when new terms arise during your observations. Feel free to share this with your perfumer friends, and most of all, have fun!

A quick and easy way to keep notes while evaluating perfume modifications. Courtesy Anya McCoy Natural Perfumery Institute

A quick and easy way to keep notes while evaluating perfume modifications. Courtesy Anya McCoy Natural Perfumery Institute

AGR Agrestic

ALM Bitter Almond

AMB Ambergris/Amber

ANI Anisic

ANM Animalic

APL Apple

APR Apricot

BAL Balsamic

BER Bergamot

BIT Bitter

BLC Black Currant

BNA Banana

BNT Burnt

BRM Broom

BUT Butter

CAM Camphorous

CAR Carnation

CAS Cassie

CAT Castoreum

CBR Cucumber

CDR Coriander

CED Cedarwood

CEL Celery

CIN Cinnamon

CIS Cistus

CIT Citrus

CIV Civet

CLO Clove

CML Caramel

CMN Cumin

COC Coconut

COE Concrete

COF Coffee

CON Coniferous

COO Cool

CRS Coarse

DEL Delicate

DIF Diffusive


ERT Earthy

ETH Ethereal

FAT Fatty

FCL Fecal

FLO Floral

FNG Fenugreek

FOR Forest

FRE Fresh

FRU Fruity

FUN Fungal

GAL Galbanum

GAR Gardenia

GER Geranium

GIN Ginger

GRA Grapefruit

GRE Greasy

GRN Green

GRS Grassy

HAI Hair

HAR Hard

HEL Heliotrope

HER Herbaceous

HNY Honeysuckle

HON Honey

HSH Harsh

HVY Heavy

IND Indolic

JAS Jasmine

JON Jonquil

LAB Labdanum

LAV Lavender

LEA Leather

LEM Lemon

LFY Leafy

LHT Light

LIM Lime

LIN Linden Blossom

LLY Lily

MAG Magnolia

MAR Marine

MED Medicinal

MEN Mentholic

MET Metallic

MIM Mimosa

MIN Minty

MOS Mossy

MUS Musky

MYR Myrrh

NAR Narcissus

NON Nondescript

NUT Nutmeg

OFL Orange flower

OIL Oily

OPO Opoponax

ORB Orange oil, Bitter

ORR Orris

ORS Orange oil, Sweet

OZN Ozonic

PAT Patchouli

PEA Peach

PEP Peppermint

PER Peru Balsam

PHE Phenolic

PIN Pine

PNP Pineapple

POW Powdery

PPR Pepper

PRN Prune

PUN Pungent

RAS Raspberry

RES Resinous

RIC Rich

ROS Rose

RSM Rosemary

RWD Rosewood

SAG Sage

SAN Sandalwood

SEA Seaweed

SHA Sharp

SMO Smoky

SMT Smooth

SOA Soapy

SOF Soft

SOU Sour

SPI Spicy

SPR Spearmint

STA Stale

STY Styrax

SUL Sulphurous

SWE Sweet


TEA Tea-like

TEN Tender

TER Terpenic

TGN Tangerine

THI Thin

THY Thymolic

TOA Toasted

TOB Tobacco

TOL Tolu balsam

TRP Tropical

TUB Tuberose

URI Urinous

VAN Vanilla

VEG Vegetable

VIO Violet

WAR Warm

WAX Waxy


WIN Wine

WOD Woody

YLA Ylang-ylang

How to Make Perfume – Excerpts from my textbook

Sunday - 9 August 2015

Slow Study

Making perfume takes time, and lots of thinking and introspection.

As I work through adapting my textbook for my new website, I am finding many passages that are very helpful for anyone who wants to make perfume, or is already making perfume, whether you stick to 100% natural ingredients like I do, or if you use aroma chemicals. I’ve decided to excerpt some passages on a regular basis, because I believe they can inspire and help others on this path. My first excerpt deals with the fear and indecision that every perfumer faces. If you don’t face it, I challenge you to challenge yourself, you’re too complacent.

Springtime image from the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, my hometown. I grew up knowing and loving this statue.

Springtime image from the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, my hometown. I grew up knowing and loving this statue. So, it’s springtime, and you’re evaluating the mods for your new perfume.

Excerpt: Conclusion of Module 5 – Some Closing Thoughts

Although I am an experienced, professional perfumer, I sometimes face creating modifications with a bit of trepidation.  For someone like me, a generally positive, self-assured person, that tinge of fear is a good thing.  It keeps me balanced, so that I don’t become overly confident that everything I create is a masterpiece, because if I feel that way, I know I’m fooling myself.

Why do I instruct you to re-visit your vertical accords, although you just performed that exercise in the last Module?  You might think it’s registered in your head, but I guarantee that, with your new concept or brief, you will be humbled when you evaluate your accords again.  Subtle nuances, bits and pieces of it that didn’t seem prominent before, will become obvious now.  Why?  Because you now realize that you have to build upon the structure of that one simple accord, and you have to engage your scent memory and your artistic passions simultaneously in order to meet the final challenge in the next module – building a perfume.

A perfumer cannot become too comfortable, and the perfumer also cannot be afraid.  Mods can humble you more quickly than any other exercise in this course.  An accessory note, which is so beloved, so necessary to give a mod or a perfume panache, can begin screaming out its aggressiveness, overwhelming the blend, or just poking out in the drydown in a negative way.

Autumn -- still thinking! Slow Study

Autumn — still thinking! Slow Study – taking time to make the right decision, apply the right tweaks to the perfume.

My course is online, a resource in distance learning for those who cannot travel to attend a perfumery course. The 350 page textbook is the first American perfumery textbook, and it is written at the university level. For thinkers. And doers.

If you’re a perfumer, or thinking of becoming one, subscribe to this blog so you receive updates on this series, which I hope will inspire and instruct. There is a place to subscribe in the right column. Your email is private, and will be treated as such.

Click here to find out more about the course.



Making Perfume with a Shorthand Key of Descriptors

Monday - 30 March 2015

In 2007, when I launched my perfumery course on the Internet, I put together an expansive, detailed series of forms, charts, and educational materials to assist my students in their studies. There are organoleptic evaluation forms, an aromatic lexicon, several Excel worksheets, and much more. One way to help students quickly and easily jot down scent impressions was a reference sheet I call the Shorthand Key to Comprehensive Descriptors for Organoleptic Evaluations. The Key is designed to allow the perfumer to use three-letter references for scent properties. Some “full terms” the perfumer is familiar with, and some “shorthand” key terms:

NPI shortland key for perfumery terms_optThe inspiration for the Key came from a similar resource in the book An Introduction to Perfumery by Tony Curtis and David. G. Williams. I wrote to the publishers, Micelle Press, and received permission to adapt the Key for my students. The Key is a starting point, to be used with the Aromatic Lexicon, another resource meant to jog the student’s ability to find the words to describe a scent. Once the words are found, they can be written longhand, or, more easily, jotted down with the Key descriptors.

Students are encouraged to add to the Aromatic Lexicon, and also to add to the Shorthand Key, according to their observations. Both forms are provided to the students as Word documents, so they’re easily editable.

For those of you interested in studying perfumery, perhaps already starting to read books and figure out the process, I hope the Key, provided below, can assist you. If you click it on, it should open up full size, and you can save it to your hard drive. If you’re serious about making perfume,  encourage you to enroll in the Natural Perfumery Institute, where helpful forms like this, and a professional textbook can provide a solid foundation in perfumery.

The Shorthand Key from the Natural Perfumery Institute

The Shorthand Key from the Natural Perfumery Institute

Professional Course in Perfume Making 15% off Through February 28, 2015

Thursday - 12 February 2015

As a university professor, I wanted to provide a perfumery textbook for my students at the Natural Perfumery Institute. In 2010, this became a reality, and is the first ever perfumery textbook produced in the USA. The course is comprehensive, professional, and will give the student a firm foundation in perfumery, whether you stay with the all-naturals theme of the book, or use aroma chemicals. The techniques taught in the book apply to all forms of perfumery.

Natural Perfumery Institute cover. Textbook written by Anya McCoy.

Natural Perfumery Institute cover. Textbook written by Anya McCoy.

My background in artisan perfumery is focused and covers several decades of perfume creation, teaching, marketing, and community building. In 2013, I became the first artisan perfumer inducted into the American Society of Perfumery, in recognition of my long career and accomplishments in the field. I want to pass the skills I have amassed over the years on perfume making to you. Creating a textbook that works with unique, professional record forms, charts and ancillary materials was necessary to provide the best education.

I am offering 15% off the fee during February 2015. Pay via PayPal and the refund will be issued immediately. Please visit the course website by clicking here, and choose between the Independent Study or Private Tutorial option. If you have any questions about the options, please contact me. I urge you to take advantage of this offer and move forward in your quest to learn how to make perfume. If you know of someone who is interested in studying perfumery, please forward this to them, or share on social media, so they can obtain this course at a great savings.

Learn how to dilute aromatics, use a scale, and work with professional evaluation forms to record your impressions.

Learn how to dilute aromatics, use a scale, and work with professional evaluation forms to record your impressions.

New Natural Perfumery Course Textbook Cover and a Giveaway

Thursday - 9 October 2014

Natural Perfumery Institute cover. Textbook written by Anya McCoy.

The cover for the perfumery course textbook at the Natural Perfumery Institute was due for a re-design. I love the new look, shown above, and I hope you do, too.  The cover now cheerfully and correctly illustrates some of the raw materials of perfumery, from roses and vanilla to frankincense, and will be bound into a high-quality paperback. There are some final tweaks being worked on for the back cover, and I have to update a few items inside the book before I have a draft published. The new textbook should be available in a month or less.

I left the image of the beachside bottle full of flowers, ferns, shells and a clock on the cover, a holdover from the past textbook covers. I love the way that image shows the diversity of elements we perfumers use, from onland flora, to oceanic offerings, such as seashells and seaweed, all brewing together with an important element – time.

Now I’d love for you to help me, and maybe win a lovely educational prize in return. I have a survey for potential students, or those who would like to weigh in on a subject regarding studies:

1. Would you prefer a definite start date for studies, such as I had originally for students, with modules starting and ending on a specific date?

2. Would you prefer the “opt-in anytime signup” for studies now in place, and study at your own pace?

Leave an answer by Oct 31, 2014, and be in the random drawing for one of two prizes:

1. A free copy of the new textbook and enrollment in the course with the Independent Study option.


2. If you’re currently a student, once your course is completed, you’ll receive a $200 discount off the tuition of the next level of study.

Remember, leave a comment to be in the drawing. You can read more about the Independent Study option at Thank you for your feedback!

Tip: Use the Subscribe link on the right to either subscribe to my blog, or, if you’re entered in this giveaway, subscribe to the comments so you’ll receive notification about the winner.