John Stephen is the perfumer and owner of The Cotswold Perfumery Ltd. He is the "nose" and jokingly defines his work as "sticking my business into other people's noses!". But make no mistake about it, perfumery is a serious business, and John learned the tools of his trade in the same way that all perfumers' learn, by painstaking trial and error over many years.
Modern perfumery requires a mix of abilities. There are times when the perfumer must be the artist - creative, open minded, unbound by tradition and willing to experiment on new ground. But he may also have to be the scientist, having the technical knowledge to be able to predict chemical conflicts between oils or between a perfume and its packaging. He must also be the detective, testing to see if an oil has been adulterated.
Many fine fragrances in the niche market owe at least some of their success to John, and his perfumes are worn by enthusiasts all over the world - even The Queen.
Others are now able to benefit from his experience - both technically as a Chartered Chemist, and creatively as a "nose" - through the Perfume Courses that he runs at the Perfumery - Level One which is an introduction to the concepts of creative perfumery, and Level Two designed for those who want to make perfume for others. Students are also able to attend Lab Days and gain experience working in a Perfume Laboratory.