Grasse (Fragonard & Galimard) – Part 2
Besides Molinard, I visited two other perfume factories.
During the factory tour in Galimard, I learned about another way to extract the fragrance from plants by using a layer of animal fat, usually from pork or beef. Flowers which are plucked will be left on the layer of fat for a few days and fresh flowers will then be replacing the old ones. This process, called enfleurage will go on until the layer of fat reaches the desired level of smell.
The picture below shows an example of how things would be done back then using jasmine flowers.
Our tour guide who was a french lady conducted this tour in German because this student group which I was with was from Germany. It was for me like a school excursion since I was with a bunch of students! Here is a photo of the french lady holding the wooden frames which were used to place rose petals on animal fat.
Just like in Molinard, we were also shown the other area of the factories where the distillers are kept.
After that, we were brought to the working place of the perfumer. They basically mix the scents into bottles according to given recipe.
Ever wondered where do companies get their fragrances from? For example, a company (eg: Estee Lauder) will contact such a factory like Galimard to see what new creations have been done by “The Nose” and they will then decide which to buy. The factory will then call “The Nose” to complete the deal and the smell will be patented. This whole process is done in full confidentiality.
So after the tour around the factory, what’s next? Of course it’s shopping!
So this lady was telling us, they have the insider information for latest perfume trends in 2012. I forgot what was for summer (it’s going to be over soon anyway) and for winter it was something that smells like lebkuchen which is made of honey, aniseed, coriander, cloves, ginger, cardamon and different kinds of nuts. I took photos of Lebkuchen during the Chrismas Market. Check it out here if you forgot. Anyway, she was a good sales lady. I have a perfume all prepared for winter now!
Last but not least, Fragonard was the last factory to visit.
Once again, I went through the whole perfume making tour. Although the content of the tour was very much similar, but I learned something slightly different from every factory. Besides that, the shopping experience was different. Hehe..
So, Fragonard had a more modern outlook. The machines below are used to create soap bars.
And below is the room for those who are interested to mix your own personal perfumes.
This was the boutique area and a picture of me doing things I should be doing- shopping!
So this post sums up my day at the perfume factories. Here are some quick infos for you perfume lovers :)
1. We (normal peeps) recognize about 60 smells and a “Nose” recognizes about 1000 smell at the end of his career.
2. Perfumes which are stored in aluminium bottles are best kept for 3-4 years. Once the colour changes, the composition of the perfume is no longer original.
3. There are only about 200 talents (Noses) to create perfumes. 40 of them are women.
4. To be trained as a “Nose”, one will need to study 5 years of chemical and botanical studies. There should be no smoking, no alcohol drinking and no spicy food – for life as a perfume talent.
5. One has got to pass the test before becoming a “Nose”. Last year, 6 people took the test in Genf but only 3 new “Noses” were discovered.
Now, there is a movie…a very famous story/movie which is well known in Germany too. It’s called “Das Parfum”, which is basically The Perfume. Students in Germany learn this during their literature studies. After my tour in Grasse and since the story is mentioned in all the factory tours, I told myself, I had to watch it.
It’s about a man who adores the smell of beautiful woman. So he kills them and tries to preserve their smell using the distillation or enfleurage process. Yeap, it’s a movie about murdering pretty young things. Watch it, it was interesting till the last scene. I literally went “WTF??!!”
Watch it and you will know why….