Materials Courses – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

The IAO presents a four-module series of courses that takes place over each year, starting with Module 1 in the autumn and ending with Module 4 in the summer. Each individual session explores the most crucial materials of perfumery in an analytical setting led by trained perfumer Ashley Eden Kessler.


10weeksIn each session, held at the IAO’s spacious studio in Chinatown, Ashley will lead the class in smelling and discussing 6 crucial perfume materials – both naturals and synthetics. Over ten weeks, we will systematically go through the materials organ category by category, going into the function, aesthetics and technicalities of each material and its fragrance family.

Participants will leave with a fluency in the most important molecules of modern perfumery, as well as take-home vials of each material covered in that week’s class, for a total of 6 vials per session (and 60 vials for the whole course).

For beginners, this class presents an indispensable first step in practicing perfumery and growing your familiarity with the materials of perfumery. For more experienced perfumers, the class presents an opportunity to enrich your process and technical abilities. Join us!

IMPORTANT INFORMATION BEFORE SIGNING UP: Please review our refunds and cancellations policy, before signing up for the class. We cannot refund missed classes for people who have signed up for the full course. Each student receives a vial of each of the six materials covered in that week’s session to take home. Any extra materials covered (above six per class) will be available for purchase at $5.00 a vial. We have a six student minimum and a ten student maximum for this class. Sign up early, and tell your friends.


Jan 9 – Week 1: Fruity Synthetic
Jan 16 – Week 2: Fruity Aldehyde + Violet Synthetic
Jan 23 – Week 3: Rosy Natural
Jan 30 – Week 4: Rosy Synthetic
Feb 6 – Week 5: Rosy Synthetic and Oranger Synthetic
Feb 13 – Week 6: Oranger Natural and Jasmine Natural
Feb 20 – Week 7: Jasmine Synthetic
Feb 27 – Week 8: Marine Synthetic and Green Aquatic
Mar 6 – Week 9: Floral Natural
Mar 13 – Week 10: Ambery Synthetic and Animalic Natural
Mar 20 – Week 11: Ambery/Sweet Natural
> Sign up here


Starts in April, 2018. More information coming soon.


Starts in July, 2018. More information coming soon.


Starts in September, 2018. More information coming soon.



_AEK3_Web250x300A Los Angeles native, Ashley came to perfumery after forays into other creative disciplines. Sculpture, Architecture, Theater, Film and Design were the initial steps on her search for a mode of expression that would support both a dreamer and a pragmatist, a creative mind fascinated equally by science and by art. Perfumery, the science of the ineffable, is where the road finally took her.

Her first introduction to scent was by way of a gift on her 16th birthday: a bespoke fragrance formulated by renowned perfumer Sarah Horowitz.

The study of architecture and design led to travel and work in film art departments, but ultimately it was to Sarah Horowitz Parfums she returned. From apprentice to Junior Perfumer at SHP, she was smitten with the field. Dropping everything else, she immersed herself in study and practice. Her education in niche perfumery continued at LA’s Lucky Scent. Seeking a more formal education in the field, she moved to France to study at the prestigious Grasse Institute of Perfumery. There, she distinguished herself with her final brief- winning one of GIP’s coveted awards. After her studies, she returned to the U.S., having accepted a position as a Perfumer’s Assistant at Drom Fragrances International, one of the world’s top fine fragrance studios. After two years in that position, she was offered the chance to move back to Los Angeles as consultant for Sarah Horowitz’ new business initiative, Original Scent.

In her role as Perfumer in Residence at the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Ashley oversaw the development of the IAO perfumery studio while applying her formal education to the organization’s scent projects and consulting on the formation of the IAO’s educational strategies and courses.

in 2015, Ashley Eden Kessler launched Studio Sentir, a bespoke fragrance and consulting company, which she runs to this day.