In France's Perfume Capital Of The World, There's A World Of Beautiful Fragrance

France is the Perfume Capital Of The World. There's a World Of Beautiful Fragrance.
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GRASSE (France) Grasse is located in France's hills above Cannes. It doesn't have the Mediterranean Sea right at its doorstep. It does however have fields of flowers, including jasmine, May Rose, tuberose and lavender. It is the perfume capital of the globe.

This wasn't always the case. Grasse was a very unpleasant town in the 18th century.

Laurent Pouppeville (director of Grasse's perfume museum) says that "Grasse was well-known in Europe in the Middle Ages, especially in 16th century"

The town was awash with lye and dead animals because of its many tanneries. The first glove manufacturers to improve the smell of their products by using a maceration technique.

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Pouppeville says that they used animal fat, and then put flowers in the fat. The fat will absorb the fragrance of the flowers. "And they will obtain a perfume pomade after two months. They're going to parfum the leather gloves using these perfume pomades.

After leather taxes rose, tanners began to make perfume full-time. Instead of cleaning the hides with their hillside springs, they used the hillsides to make perfume and water the flower fields.

Pierre Chiarla, a jasmine grower, stands in full bloom in a field. He is with a small group of people picking tiny white blossoms from long-row bright green bushes. His grandmother and her two sisters picked jasmine from the same terraced field, surrounded by an old stone wall.

He says, "In Grasse perfume is often a family tale." She was only 12 years old. This was around 70 years ago. Do you see the little shack? He points to the terracotta-roofed structure with vines. "That's where pickers slept and cooked, so they could be there at dawn to start working."

Chiarla claims that jasmine is delicate enough that it must still be picked by hand. The tiny flowers are quickly taken to a factory within a mile, where they are extracted from the pure scent of the flowers, also known as concrete and absolute.

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To make 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs), it takes between 7,000 to 10,000 jasmine petals. A kilo (2.2 lb) of jasmine absolute is extracted by a ton of flowers. A kilo of jasmine absolute is worth more than 50,000 euros or $59,000.

Grasse has been a hub for perfume-making since the 1700s

Grasse is a Provenal town with its ochre-colored homes and large shutters that close against the noonday sunlight. Laundry hangs from balconies and above small, labyrinthine roads. Leafy plane trees shade the town squares, caf tables, and town squares.

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The old town was home to perfume factories built in jewel-box-like structures. Pouppeville claims that Queen Victoria visited Grasse in the 1800s to purchase her perfumes.

The old town has been abandoned by the factories. Grasse remains the best place for perfume-makers, regardless of whether they are multinationals producing signature scents for shampoos or detergents or small artisan perfumers.

Canadian Jessica Buchanan arrived in Provence to study at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery. She now owns 1000 Flowers in the town, and also runs a successful online business.

Buchanan is also known as a nose or a nez in French.

She explains, "Which is that I mix the materials together to formulate the perfumes." "So you can see the perfumer's body, which is the various raw materials I use to create my scents.

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The perfumer's organ is composed of hundreds of vials of different scent materials, laid out on different levels. It is similar to a pipe organ. A perfumer's organ is often likened to creating music. It has base notes, heart and head notes. The notes are learned by the perfumers.

Buchanan states, "We learn how to smell." That part of the brain is what really develops. It is like a muscle. It develops faster in perfumers than it does in regular people who don't pay attention to smells every day.

Since the outbreak, she has been more careful about her sense of smell. Anosmia is one possible side effect of COVID-19. She says, "Absolutely, that's been my fear since the beginning, when it turned out to be a side effect." "My nose is my primary tool, and I'm hyper-paranoid about it."

Climate change is a problem

The Mediterranean garden of the perfume museum is where you can smell all the plants that have shaped the economy and history in Grasse over the past 300 years.

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Christophe Mge, the head gardener. According to him, Grasse's industrialization resulted in perfumers bringing back scent samples from all over the globe: jasmine from Egypt, patchouli from Singapore, and pink pepper wood from California.

Mge claims that fragrance formulas can be very precise. For example, Chanel No. Chanel No. 5 was created originally with jasmine from Grasse. It must be kept that way.

He says that the same rose or jasmine from Egypt or Morocco will not be the same as the one grown in Grasse. It's like wine. You can have the exact same grapes, but the sun, the soil and the terroir will make the wine different.

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This French term describes the unique characteristics of a location that produce a unique agricultural product. It includes the soil, sun and harvesting techniques. 2018 was the year that UNESCO declared Grasse's perfume-making expertise as a world cultural heritage.

Michael Nordstrand is a student from the U.S. who is enrolled in the Grasse perfumery school's year-and-a half program. He says that plants you might find in exotic gardens grow here like they are nothing. "Like everybody has orange blossoms or jasmine in their garden. Because of the micro-climate, everything is second nature in this area.

Climate change is a problem. Chiarla says, "We are concerned because we are experiencing, for instance, freezing temperatures in spring and hail in the summer much more often." Because of the late winter cold, some perfume growers placed candles between their vines for the first time. This would have happened every 50-100 years. It has happened twice in a row now. We also see more severe storms and flooding in the flower fields."

Visitors can create their own perfumes

Nearly all factories offer workshops for those who wish to create their own perfumes.

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Tourists can enjoy a relaxing time in front of the intimidating organs of the Galimard perfume factory.

"We are testing fragrances and making our own perfumes, so it is very exciting!" Mariska Lokker is visiting the Netherlands with Paul, her husband.

Ivana Ristevska, Galimard perfume coach, stops by to balance Paul's creation which she claims has too much musk.

"So, you like it a lot?" Lokker asks her.

He says, "Yes." "Is it too strong?"

She chuckles, saying "Even 10 mililiters is too much" but "but let's try it."

Mariska says that he will be very smelly today.

"Yeah, good luck to all!" Ristevska replied as they burst into laughter.

She says that a good perfume shouldn't recreate a scent you have worn before.

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She advises to be open-minded and follow your gut instinct. Follow your nose, especially."