The 100 Leaf Rose

By Jo Phillips

The sweet scent captures you. Pulls you in and never leaves your heart. Those velvet-like petals leave a faint trace as you rub the tips of your fingers across their nappa surface. Regal yet delicate, beautiful yet shy, until each petal unfolds spraying out into its majestic crown. Gentle pink, this perfume giver known by the special name Rose de Mai sometimes also known as Cabbage rose, Provence rose or Rosa Centifolia, The 100 leaf rose.

The rose of May. One of only two roses to share her majestic scent for perfume, this royalty of the floral world has been farmed in Grasse, France since the middle ages. The home, of course, of fragrance and the home of this flower of divinity.

So famous a perfume, so charismatic a scent she blooms only once a year in May. Early in the morning to late in the night in May and possibly early June does she truly boast her greatest fragrance. Those mornings see skilled reapers gather her opulence; To save her rich voluptuous perfume;  clean, sweet floral with honey hints of green.

Those with the knowledge of how to prune the very best first petals pick quickly. Natures firstborn who give away their prize juice willingly offering it up as a gift.

The very moment when the skilled pickers have delicately harvested at least, 700 kg of Roses they race against the clock, to capture the magical scent before it eludes all. To the vast vats, to be saved as a concrete and eventually becoming the elixir, reddish-golden concentrated rose absolute oil.

It is this most selfless flower that is a cornerstone of the great perfume known to us all as CHANEL N°5 who happens to be our 100th-year-old birthday girl this year.

Know for her exclusive inclusion of regals flower so, alongside sublime Rose de Mai, it dances with other thoughtbreed flowers in a full stop of a scent. Divine Jasmine (who gives her perfume away in June from the same family of produces as the Rose) Ylang-Ylang, Iris, Lily-of-the-Valley and Patchouli and these are just the floral notes.

CHANEL’s roses grow every year in the same location with the same family. The Grasse fields of the Mul family; a land preserved by several generations; where excellence resides.

Recolte de roses a Grasse, France en mai 2015

Joseph Mul studies the sky. In the first few days of spring, he can tell whether the Rose harvest will be generous in May. His heart beats in unison with his flowers. With his piercing, smiling eyes, he observes the twenty hectares full to the brim with floral delights.

Our flowers are like children that we raise until they are adults.” says the family.

Perfumer Henri Robert, Jacques Polge’s predecessor, (perfumers of Chanel) liked to come here to smell the best qualities of Jasmine and Rose. No chemical fertilizer has ever been or is used to grow the flowers.

We let our parcels rest between each crop and carry out in-depth analyses to understand their language. We aim to produce the most fragrant flowers and ensure the same quality in the future.”

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Finally, delve into the cubic bottle and bring alive the masterpiece on your skin, knowing it contains in one 30 ml bottle of edp alone 1,000 Jasmine flowers and 12 May Roses lovingly cared for in Grasse by master growers. These leaders tend the roses that make the perfume that all goddesses wear.

Long live N°5and of course happy birthday you stunner.

All Images with thanks CHANEL. Find bottles of the scent Here at

If you enjoyed The 100 leaf rose then why not read about CHANEL’S golden glow Here

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