Sunday, May 04, 2008

Egyptologist and Perfumer David Mark - Expert Q&A Guest in Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery online Class

On Saturday, May 3, 2008 Egyptologist and Perfumer David Mark of Chicago's Renaissance Aromas was the guest for the Expert Q&A session (formerly known as Guest Lecturer series) in
Anya's Garden online Natural Perfumery class.

Originally scheduled for the Spring 2008 students' Module, due to popular demand the Fall 2007 students joined the Q&A, resulting in a student audience of 45 for Marks' session. David had just returned from an Egyptologist conference in Seattle, so he was brimming with news and scholarly insight to share with the students.

The subject was the legendary and mysterious Egyptian incense known as kyphi. David has studied kyphi for many years, and he explained that there is no one kyphi recipe - the use of kyphi spanned many dynasties and changed according to new ingredients being introduced to Egypt by trade route introductions. Additionally, it is impossible today to recreate some of the kyphi recipes, since the ancient Egyptian language is now dead, and many of the word descriptors are not related to any plant aromatic known today.

A fun discourse occurred when the subject of one recipe came up - peeled and seeded raisins. Conjecture was that perhaps the word raisin was referring to the date fruit - a more likely ingredient, given the difficulty of peeling and seeding the tiny fruit we today call raisins.

David emphasized that the ancient Egyptians were the original natural perfumers, and the discussion turned to oil and solid perfumes. He promised he will return for a further Q&A on the subject of ancient Egyptian perfume formulas, which is near and dear to his heart.

Natural Perfumers Guild President Anya McCoy, teacher and host of the Q&A noted that there seemed to be enough different recipes for kyphi to elevate the study to a fragrance family study, and that perhaps a coffret of kyphi perfumes (not incense) could be developed to reflect that, e.g., a gourmand kyphi, a herbal kyphi, an Oriental kyphi.

The medicinal use of some kyphis was also discussed, and the historical and spiritual significance of the blends were acknowledged with references to books and journals for further study. All the questions and answers are archived as emails for the student's future reference.

David has graciously volunteered to be the Expert Q&A for all future Module 1 classes in the online program.

David Mark Covill is a Natural Perfumer & Owner of Renaissance Aromas, Inc.; “Natural Fragrances Reborn”, Makers of Authentic, Luxury Potpourris, Sachets & Pomanders TM (website and company launch TBA shortly)

David is also a Charter Associate Member of the Natural Perfumers Guild and a longtime Member of the Yahoo Natural Perfumery Group

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