OPEN SESSIONS – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

Come experiment with making perfume at The Institute for Art and Olfaction’s weekly public open sessions. 

Opensess2In our informal weekly open sessions, the IAO provides a space for first timers and professional perfumers alike to learn and to expand their craft through direct action. At open sessions, you can smell new materials, talk about scent with your peers, and – most importantly – create your own perfume formulas with your choice of the materials available in our experimental perfumer’s organ.

We provide a robust selection of natural and synthetic aromatic molecules, perfumer’s alcohol, beakers and droppers, scent strips and bottles, and some light and friendly guidance. In short, you get everything you’d need to start or further develop your experiments with making scents: The rest is up to you!

Our weekly open sessions are a core program of the IAO. We initiated the program in late 2013 in order to fulfill our mission to create public access to materials and learning around perfumery.



Open sessions are set up to be casual, fun, communal, and relaxed. This is not a formal class, and you will mainly be learning from your peers and your own experimentation (although – of course – we are here to help). Open sessions are set up to be flexible for all levels of perfumers: From absolute first timers to seasoned professionals.


OpenSessFor first-timers:
+ Upon arrival, there is a brief materials and safety orientation.
+ Then, we invite you to spend some time smelling what we have in our experimental perfumer’s organ – which contains (literallt) hundreds of natural and synthetic materials, ordered alphabetically.
+ Once you have decided which five scents you’d like to work with, you’ll decant the materials into vials (labeling them carefully), prepare your blending sheet, and get to work.
+ We provide five aromatic materials as part of open session. Any extra materials can be purchased at $5.00 a vial.
+ After making your trials, you’ll select your favorite blend and we’ll show you how to expand your formulation to fill a small spray bottle.
+ You can take the vials home, the spray bottle of your ‘final’ scent, as well as anything you make during your session.

For returning students:
+ Returning students pay only a lab fee that covers the use of labware, but does not cover aromatic materials
+ You can either bring your own aromatic materials from home or purchase them from us.
+ Please remember to bring your vials from your first session.

Again: Please note that this is a knowledge-share environment, not a formal class. What you learn, you will learn by experimentation and your peers.




Our open sessions happen on most wednesdays from 5:00 to 8:o0 pm, although we occasionally miss a week.

Note that whether or not you have attended before, you must reserve your space in advance. Maximum capacity is 12 people, all levels are welcome, but our open sessions are 18 and up (or 14+, with adult supervision).

> Review our calendar for upcoming sessions.
> Please review our refund policy before signing up!

We hold these sessions at the IAO headquarters in Chinatown, Los Angeles. The IAO is wheelchair accessible.

The Institute for Art and Olfaction
932 Chung King Road
Los Angeles CA 90012

> Visit our directions page for access information + parking.