Where would you discover roses from Turkey, lemon from Italy, jasmine from India and French mimosas, all underneath one roof? The reply is, in Paris. Not in an unique flower market, however in a museum dedicatedto such gadgets with its personal historic cachet— French fragrance.
Set inside the historic Opéra district, surrounded by landmarks such because the Palais Garnier and Madeleine church, the Musée du Parfum Fragonard, typically flies underneath the vacationer radar. Locatedin an 1800s townhouse, the museum is a homage to the traditional approach of bottling scents.
Set up by Maison Fragonard— a conventional, family-owned French fragrance home courting again to 1926, the museum was the primary of its type to open in Paris in 1983. Through free excursions and interactive displays, guests get a behind-the-scenes take a look at scent creation, and may even check their olfactory senses at a enjoyable sport of ‘guess the essence’.
The guided tour of the two-storey non-public museum is a journey by way of the method of perfume-making, which mixes art and science, historical past and innovation, and details and fascinating insights shared by the information.
Exotic flowers that make the uncooked supplies for Fragonard’s line of perfumes are displayed in lovely jars. These blooms are gathered by hand— a way that has remained unchanged for many years. The quantity of flowers required to make a scent is unbelievable. Did you understand it requires 3,500 kg of roses to extract only a litre of rose essence, that goes right into a tiny bottle of fragrance? Or that Italian iris is the costliest essence to create, as it’s extracted from the foundation, which might take as much as six years?
Creating a perfume is a long-drawn, labour-intensive and costly proposition that entails extracting essences and then artfully combining completely different scents. Past the ingredient shows, is a dimly lit room, the place nice metallic equipment show how flowers are changed into sweet-smelling potions. Steam distillation is used to extract the essence from flowers like rose and lavender, whereas different flowers like jasmine want a extra trendy, chilly extraction approach.
How a lot essence goes right into a bottle of fragrance? Fragonard has the science down pat. “Eau de toilette is the least concentrated kind of fragrance, with 10 per cent essence. It stays on the pores and skin for a most of three hours,” says the information.
In between is Eau de Parfum, with 15 per cent essence, adopted by fragrance, which is probably the most concentrated, containing 20-24 per cent essence. It can keep on the pores and skin for 5 hours to the entire day. A flower essence is costly, and correspondingly, of the three varieties, fragrance wears the best price ticket.
With all of the numbers and laboratory-like shows we’ve seen, it feels prefer it takes a chemistry genius to create one little vial of the good things. No surprise then that ‘noses’ are probably the most revered species in the fragrance trade. The gifted professionals who create perfumes are known as noses, tasked with the difficult job of making scents that attraction universally to temper and reminiscence.
The career requires intensive examine: chemistry at college, adopted by attendance at a particular college for perfumers—a course of that may take seven to eight years. Noses have to have an acute sense of scent and are capable of recognise as much as 400 scents.
As we attempt to fathom this quantity, we transfer right into a chamber full of all method of containers in completely different shapes, sizes and supplies. There are delicate porcelain vials and shimmery crystal jars, bejewelled steel pomanders and rugged stone vases.
The assortment traces the evolution of fragrance bottles as much as the twentieth century, housing many vintage items from all around the world. Over the years, perfumers used a variety of intriguing devices to formulate scents, and one sees these vaporisers and distillers on show.
An elaborate equipment that resembles a musical instrument occupies pleasure of place in the centre of the room. The ‘fragrance organ’ is a Fragonard masterpiece, made up of over 200 bottles of the essence and constructed to appear to be an elaborate church organ.
“Each bottle of essence known as a observe, identical to in music,” says the information. Like how an organ includes distinct musical notes, so is fragrance a posh concord of essences. Perfumers combine wherever between 20 to 250 notes to create a single perfume;a activity that may take wherever between two months to years.
There’s one thing deeply poetic about equating perfume to the melody. After all, sound and scent each attraction to reminiscence, influence our temper, and have the flexibility to tug at our heartstrings.