Columnist Ian Belcher imparts the gist of his experience learning to blend essential oils in Languedoc in a 17th century convent. The essences are even distilled on location, in an area full of plant varietals that will be further expanded thanks to a 100 € investment sum and will include reconstituted medieval therapeutic gardens.
"Theory comes first, practice later. It's technical stuff so pay attention at the back. Well-balanced perfume smacks your nostrils three times: a "light, fleeting" top note, "subtle, lingering" middle note and "heavy, lasting" bass note. And unlike modern synthetic concoctions, wild-flower oils talk to three parts of your brain: the intellectual left, creative right and instinctive central limbic...
Before I morph into the Prince of Wales and chat to the geraniums, my scent needs a purpose. "Make me more attractive" seems reasonable. "We are doing aromatherapy," says Sefton. "Not miracles."
Fair point. I'd like something not too girlie that will help me to sleep and eradicate traumatic pubescent memories of Brut."
Le Couvent d'Hérépian (0871 2187066, www.garrigaeresorts.com) has double rooms from £112 a night. The DIY Spa Experience with massage costs £140.
For more perfume tourism destinations check our Scented Paths & Fragrant Addresses category.