GRASSE, THE CRADLE OF PERFUMERY
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…
Plants have been grown for fragrances in Grasse for over 300 years. Cooled by the wind and bathed in the Mediterranean sun, the fertile soil of his region provides the ideal conditions for growing high-quality flowers for fragrances. Grasse is, without a doubt, the cradle of French perfumery.
EXCEPTIONAL RAW MATERIALS
The flowers grown in the Grasse region quickly became the raw materials of choice for the finest perfumers. So it is only natural that the history of the N°5 fragrance began in Grasse. In 1921, its creator, Ernest Beaux, chose Grasse jasmine for his composition.
CHANEL has sourced its flowers from Grasse for close to a century, and since 1987, it has been actively contributing to the sustainable farming of jasmine and rose. Today, the crops have expanded to include other flowers for fragrances, namely iris, geranium and tuberose. Five exceptional crops, exclusively reserved for CHANEL fragrances
“The May Rose starts to open in the evening and develops sweet, honeyed and spicy scents.”
Olivier Polge, Perfumer Creator for CHANEL
Each morning in May is a mad race against time to harvest the roses with their delicate petals.
- HARVEST For three weeks, the gatherers work in pairs, nimbly filling their apron pouches with the newly blossomed flowers. The roses are then ever so gently gathered into big burlap bags, taking care not to crush their fragile corollas. 1kg of roses represents 350 flowers. Each gatherer picks 5kg of flowers per hour.
- WEIGHING The bags are then taken to the nearby extraction plant for weighing and processing before the flowers wilt in the heat. A race against the clock continues. 50,000 rosebushes are grown.
- EXTRACTION Once the flowers have been weighed, they are poured into five stacked perforated trays. The flowers are given three consecutive baths in solvent, gently stirred and then brought to high temperature. The solvent absorbs the odorous components, giving concrete form to the fragrance. Each extractor contains 250kg of flowers.
- CONCRETE Concrete is the wax obtained after floral extraction using solvents. It is preciously stored like a treasure. 400kg of roses are needed to produce 1kg of concrete.
- ABSOLUTE At the request of the CHANEL Perfumer, the concrete is transformed into absolute, a liquid used in the formulas of the CHANEL N°5 Extract. 1kg of concrete yields 600 g of rose absolute.