The 'nose' of Grasse: portrait of a creator of fragrances
12 14. Edition nationale
First broadcast date
Jacques Polge explains the mythology around the "nose" of Grasse.
He is the latest creator of fragrances to be tied exclusively to a fashion house.
France 3 - Own production
- Economy / Techniques and technologies
Credits / Cast
- Delalex Laure - Journalist
- France - South East - Grasse
Perfumery in Grasse
The town of Grasse has gradually become specialised in making perfume, beginning in a small way, like a cottage-industry, then growing so that from the end of the 18th century it was an industry, and all thanks to the climate which is ideal for growing the right kind of flowers. Today Grasse is one of the capitals of this very particular industry.
The perfume business uses all or parts of the primary vegetal matter, the flower of course, but also the fruit, bark, roots, leaves, mosses... as well as primary matter from animals, which today are more often replaced by synthetic products. This technological change which started around the end of the 19th century, revolutionised the make-up of perfume, enriching the perfumer's palette with a whole new range of aromas. However, synthetic components, even if today they are very important, can never totally replace natural primary material; they act as complementary elements. In fact substances of vegetal origin have a great future since they give a perfumed composition its richness, its "colour" and its energy. At the heart of the production chain is the perfumer, who has patiently memorised the wide variety of olfactive nuances and knows how to put them together harmoniously in subtle and varied combinations, using both his intuition and the innumerable materials available to him. For this his "nose", meaning his highly sensitive sense of smell, is all important, which like a finely tuned instrument he uses with the experience he has acquired to memorise, detect, compare and then dose several primary materials in exactly the right quantities to make a perfume. He works either independently or as an employee in a company to fine-tune perfumes which are then offered to the most varied areas, not only the perfum industry and cosmetics, but also washing powders and detergents, car interiors....