|(The pretty hills of Grasse)|
|Major Parfumeries in Grasse|
Soon one can see the lovely factories that have been here in existence for more than a century , doting the landscape. Galimard, Molinard, and Fragongard are one of the biggest names that make perfumes here and it is possible to do a free tour followed with a workshop for two hours and prepare your own brand of perfume with the help of ‘Nose’ and their assistants.
|The facilities of Fragongard|
During the guided tour, it was fascinating to see the traditional process of extraction of ‘essential oils’ by the process of ‘Maceration’ ( soaking the flowers in a liquid that will absorb their fragrance) or by distillation. Next, the extracted oil is blended into the perfume as per the formula worked out by the ‘Nose’.
|The process of Maceration|
With a lively and entertaining approach, the ‘Nose’ explains the architecture of a good perfume that is the ‘Top Note’( Peak), Middle Note(heart note) and Base Note(Fond Note). ‘Nose’ is the expert with highly developed olfactory sense that develops new perfumes. There are about a thousand ‘Noses’ in the world and of these only 50 that are masters in the trade. The majority of them work with the perfumeries in Grasse. There could be as many as 800 ingredients in a formula developed by the experts and each formula is patented. Next, the scent is mixed with alcohol, the percentage of which varies depending on the usage. The perfumes have 10-20% content of essential oil whereas the colognes have just 3-5% of the essential oil content.
|An office of the 'Nose'|
Fine perfumes are then aged for periods ranging from 15 days to a few months. The quality control is very strict and the final product is bottled in very enticing packaged fancy bottles. All the perfumeries use the fatty acids / oils to make special soaps that are equally ‘alluring’.
|An enticiing display of perfumes|
An experience of creating ‘your own perfume’ is a huge learning experience besides creating your own perfume and the formula is registered in the name of the creator( You)!So the beautiful 100ml of perfume in the specially packaged bottle can be carried as a souvenir along with a diploma certifying completion of seminar.
|International Museum of Perfumes at Grasse|
There is also a beautiful International Museum of Perfume’ in Grasse that can be visited to learn more about perfumes and the history. It was a rewarding day which will remain etched in memory forever. The return trip through the fascinating city of Cannes deserves another post.