I have always enjoyed perfume, I think like most women, in a fairly typical manner, but since moving to Grasse, the World Perfume Capital in 2007, my love for perfume has reached a whole new dimension! Many aspects of our life rhythms here in Grasse revolve around the flower and perfume industry, so you really can’t avoid becoming at least mildly interested in the whole world of Perfume.
Throughout the year on the Cote d’Azur, different flowers are harvested during different seasons. February it’s Mimosa, March it’s Violets, May is Roses and the blessed Jasmine starts flowering in May and flowers all summer until September. I never lose my appreciation for all this flower beauty! There are flower festivals all over the French Riviera and on a regular basis while walking or even driving around it’s a common experience to feel quite intoxicated by the delicate fragrances in the air. We have friends who work year round in the flower fields and it’s not unusual for people to bring us a small handful of Jasmine or Roses, secretly salvaged from the harvest! All the flowers are traditionally hand-picked and the essence is extracted immediately, on site.
Every year the world renowned perfumer, Fragonard, celebrates a different flower. They bring out a whole collection each year which features locally produced flowers. In recent years they’ve celebrated Mimosa, Violette, Sweet Pea, Orange Blossom & Lilly of the Valley. It’s something I personally look forward to every January, finding out the new flower fragrance for the year, discovering it’s gorgeous packaging and beautiful scent! 2015 is Jasmine, and while every year I have the very same thought, this one is definitely my favorite! There’s just something very unique, very exotic and very Grasse about jasmine.
The Jasmine from Grasse is the most expensive in the world, and it’s the only Jasmine that Chanel uses for it’s signature No.5 fragrance! Apparently, if they used any other Jasmine it would totally change the scent of the perfume. I have read that 1000 jasmine flowers and 12 roses de mai are in every 30ml bottle of Chanel No.5. No wonder it costs a small fortune!! While other perfumers may have given up on the traditional perfumery ways in favor of cheaper synthetically made scents, Chanel has been growing Jasmine and Roses here in Grasse for over 90 years!
We have planted Jasmine here at Villa des Parfums and not only does it grow prolifically without any effort, but the scent is quite lovely!