From Petal to Perfume

By Chloe Mercier-Legros

One singular petal, sheer little fabric of nature, delicately held may seem like the most powerless creature. In the world of fragrances, they all must be taken care of in the most singular and personal way, as each has a unique and important part to play. But when a myriad of petals come together in unison with others of its kind, the smallest most fragile piece of nature reveals an unmatched strength. From the wild countryside to the bottles, how to go From Petal to Perfume?

No part of a flower contains a stronger scent than the petal. This detail of the flower, seeming so weak, so tiny, and so easily ripped apart is the main focus of fragrance production, it’s the only tangible piece of the flower that ends up in the perfume bottle.

Image courtesy of Chanel

To even brush the possibility of managing to grow perfect petals, many things must align. Growing odorous flowers resembles a magical rite. First, the flowers, the residence of the petals, are fine and lush. The rosebushes, strong, tortuous, and full of refreshing shade, are the pillars carrying this creation. The soil, the energy source, is a feast, rich and diverse. The wind gives its blessing, caressing the buds. The fields are drenched in sunlight, releasing the most comfortable warmth. Their neighbours must be chosen carefully, any tree or bushes planted too close could compromise the full development of the plant. The very elements of nature agree before letting anything grow.

Image courtesy of Chanel

When this intricate process is achieved, beautiful flowers blossom. The time it is then to harvest, and being less of a rite, more of a recipe, this process requires firm and delicate hands.

In addition to this, each flower has its rituals. In May, and only before the sun reaches its peak, gatherers pluck the Roses from their homes.  In September, it’s the Jasmine’s turn to be softly detached from their land. The collected crop, freshly reunited, is sunk and mixed with a soft substance, which will turn the thin petals into a solid matter, absorbing and reinforcing all scents and colours.

The obtained result is squeezed into the “Absolute”, the most odorous essence at the heart of flowers, directly used in the fragrance’s formulas.

Image courtesy of Chanel

This is how the perfumes of the signature brand Chanel are created. In Grasse, France, Chanel’s endless rows of Jasmine and Rosebushes stretch out on the horizon, organised in well-behaved lines, cultivated with both skill and passion, ready to be harvested three weeks each year and pressed into their fragrance bottle.

It’s within their fragrance Chanel N°5 that the meticulous creating process is most illustrated. Indeed, they used their skills and Savoir-Faire to create a condensed extract of nature, magic and charm but also of well-cultivated Jasmine and Roses.

If a single petal is the one thing which, multiplied by thirty, creates a strong and stunning rose, thousands of flowers will be needed to create just a few millilitres of odorous fragrance. The power of the petal resides in their number, together only their strength is revealed.

As May starts for us, the harvests have just begun, and this year’s blooming flowers will soon be sprayed on necks, clothes, and hair worldwide.

Click here to shop Chanel N°5

If you liked From Petal to Perfume, why not try The Scent of Summer

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