In Memory of Tony Burfield (1946-2023)
A.B.P., M.I. Biol., C.I. Biol., M.I.F.S.T., F.L.S.

Anthony Graham Burfield was born July 7, 1946, in Tunbridge Wells, England. He passed away suddenly May 17, 2023, in Tunbridge Wells.

Tony spent most of his working life in the essential oil and related industries. He worked in the production, analysis, and applications of essential oils, work which has often meant long periods working on-site overseas such as Seychelles and Madagascar. Over the years he worked for many major aroma concerns such as H.E. Daniel, CPL, Robertet UK, Graham Page Ltd., and FPI, amongst others.

After initially qualifying as a food scientist, he returned to academia mid-career to do a further degree in biochemistry, followed by a period of post-doctoral research in the microbiological biotransformation of essential oil components at Cranfield University (UK).

During his early life he was an anti-nuclear protestor and a member of the Friends of the Earth. The majority of his adult life Tony spent in the fragrant materials industry. He worked as a consultant, using his direct experience of the aroma and related industries to help industrial clients with ideas, projects, and problems.

Tony lectured world-wide at scientific meetings, perfumery, and aromatherapy conferences. He wrote extensively on essential oil matters, including occasional articles for various flavour, fragrance, and aromatherapy journals. With his experience and continuous research, he started Cropwatch (no longer up), a site that was dedicated to referenced information on origins and sustainability of aromatic plants to help industry personnel improve their technical knowledge of the aroma industry. He also spent time tackling the EU regulatory committee on the restriction of natural perfume materials (Scientific Committee on Consumer Products) head on in Brussels.

He helped change the aromatherapy industry toward safer use of essential oils when many aromatherapists had no idea of sensitization. He provided valuable scientific referenced materials first on his Cropwatch site and later this expanded into his major work which has now helped thousands worldwide. Called “Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours and Origins, the First Edition was published in 2000 and the updated expanded Second Edition in 2016. This two-volume set was the first of its kind, replacing a 1960’s text that was currently used, giving an in-depth study of over 1000 entries of aromatic materials as well as their odours and technical inside information of the industry. This work will be used and cited for many years to come.

When the workaholic side of his nature could be abated, Tony’s hobbies included rock music and jazz, walking, and traveling. In his own words, he “fooled himself that he could play pretty good bass guitar”, and was a keen connoisseur of real ale, the consumption of which he always said was “an important feature of living a balanced and healthy life.”

Tony is survived by his three daughters Phae and Corrina (former wife Janice Burfield, predeceased), and Rosie (partner Kendra Kirkham), and his son Tristan Burfield (partner Nina Taylor).

He will be deeply missed by family, friends, and colleagues.