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  1. #1
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    Default How much is perfume a French artifact?

    We all know that a lot of perfume names are French, and it is also true that a lot of perfume terminology, even when translated into English, is of French origin.

    Apart from that, the role assumed by French fragrance and design houses, French noses, and French cultural atmosphere looms very large in the history and development of the whole modern perfumery enterprise. I have to acknowledge that many brilliant perfumers and houses are not French; Italian, Spanish, British, German, American, and Japanese creators are prominent in the modern market as well.

    Nevertheless it seems to me that the French imprint
    is still predominant on the whole perfume scene as it has come down to us today.

    Do you agree with this assessment? Whether your answer is yes or no, it would be very interesting to spark a discussion of pros and cons on the subject, so I'd like to invite all you perfumistas on Basenotes to join the discussion. Please give lots of nifty reasons for your ideas — that makes it so much more fun!

    I'll hold back for a bit, and perhaps chime in again as a discussion develops.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 17th April 2010 at 06:09 AM.
    Yr good bud,

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    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

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    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Excellent topic! I've been giving this some thought as well. I can see three main reasons.
    One is that Louis XIV and his minister of finance Colbert deliberately put in place a policy to make France the main purveyor of luxury goods, and to make Paris the hub of fashion for Europe. From that moment, the combination of high-end luxury or trendy goods made in France, and of the prestige they acquired through "marketing", made France the place to turn to for the best, most fashionable items, including perfume and cosmetics.

    The other is that the town of Grasse benefitted from this policy, as well as from its ideal micro-climate, to develop the art -- if there is a constant demand for newer and more refined products, there will be more creativity and technical advances.

    The third reason is the prestige acquired by Paris couture in the early 20th century: at the time, perfume wasn't the couturier's cash cow (they actually made their money with their clothes) and they could afford to experiment, be creative with their perfumers, thus creating several of the templates of modern perfumery.
    Probably also the genius of people like François Coty, who pretty much pulled the whole industry into the 20th century, was also a factor.

    Perfume could have been Italian (it was up to the 16th century), and it could have been English (London was a competing perfumery center in the 19th). Despite the fact that there are major perfume houses/brands in other countries today, "perfume" and "French" are still durably associated and French perfumers are all over the labs in every country... The latter phenomenon is probably also due to the fact that up to recently (the founding of the perfumery school in Versailles, ISIPCA), one of the few ways to break into the industry was growing up in Grasse and being part of a dynasty.

    I'm sure there are other reasons and I'm looking forward to reading them!

  3. #3

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    Apart from that, the role assumed by French fragrance and design houses, French noses, and French cultural atmosphere looms very large in the history and development of the whole modern perfumery enterprise. I'll hold back for a bit, and perhaps chime in again as a discussion develops.
    Fragrance has been important since the very dawn of civilization and nowhere more than in ancient Egypt. I have just returned from a cruise down the Nile and am happy to report that if Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King Tut, I've discovered traces of the first perfumer. Here he is, this nose of the valley of the Kings, already duplicating a flower. You can see several trial bottles in front of him. Please realize that these murals are 4,000 years old. We move next to the temple of Ed Fou where there is a room covered entirely from floor to ceiling with nothing but ancient fragrance formulas. Then we see this farmer who is very happy with the price of jasmin flowers and is giving a wreath of jasmin to his God. Now, we feel that the marketing positions of our fragrances are very sophisticated, but the Egyptians could teach us some tricks. Here you see the back of King Tut's throne with a scene depicting his Queen applying perfume to her husband.
    What we do is part of the fashion world and it must be as up-to-date as the latest clothes. In a new product introduction, the box, the bottle and the perfume must all work together to achieve a certain level of beauty and newness.
    - Bernard Chant http://www.bsp.org.uk/newsarc/creat.html
    I think Bernie sums it up quite well. While, as you state, Jaime, much of the terminology is French, the impulse to create potions to adorn the body is much older than French culture itself. And as Carmencanada points out in her post, from the reign of Louis XIV to Yves St. Laurent, the French have dominated the luxury goods industries for centuries. Their dominance is of course, slowly and steadily being eroded. The break from French tradition begins with things like Estée Lauder, continues with Commes des Garçons and Demeter and by having English, German, American, Swedish, etc. designers taking over the big, 20th century French design houses. The same can be said for the wine industry.
    Quel horreur!
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 17th April 2010 at 03:28 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Nobody should ignore that 99% of modern western perfumery relies on alcohol plus water.
    Eau de Cologne has been the most important novelty of the 18th century which revolutionized perfume manufacturing not only in Germany and Italy but in all of Europe, including France, of course. The pioneers were Italian immigrants in Köln (Cologne), Germany by the name Farina. Their classic, citrussy 'water', Eau de Cologne, stands for a singular success story during centuries.

    From this light perfume to all the variations we have now, the step has been a small one. It's just selecting and mixing different fragrant oils and resins in the same basic mix of alcohol and water. By international agreement 'EDC' is still the proper term for perfumes (clognes) with the lowest concentration of fragrant components. While Europeans speak of 'Colognes' only in context with the classic light-weigts, Americans seem to prefer that term for masculine fragrances which people in (continental?) Europe call parfum (profumo/ perfume/ parfüm...) without hesitation.

    Eau de Cologne marks a new start with fragrances, and how they are applied, in post revolutionary France. From the little I know, I am almost certain that the efforts of Ancien Régimes to strengthen the French perfume industry (Louis XIV, Colbert in particular) could not help its decay during the revolutionary period and a subsequent (political) ban on 'being perfumed'. The revival, instead, coincides with the adoption of les eaux d'Allemagne.

    From then onwards French influence dominates in the West, and also reaches far into the east (Oman). This nose isn't unhappy with the results.
    Last edited by narcus; 17th April 2010 at 05:53 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Guyer View Post
    The break from French tradition begins with things like Estée Lauder, continues with Commes des Garçons and Demeter and by having English, German, American, Swedish, etc. designers taking over the big, 20th century French design houses. The same can be said for the wine industry.
    Quel horreur!
    But don't forget that Comme des Garçons Parfums is art-directed by a Frenchman, Christian Astuguevieille, and that several of the perfumers who worked for the house are French and/or French-trained (Mark Buxton being an exception); Bernard Chant, who composed Aromatics Elixir, Aramis and Azurée for Lauder was French. Und so weiter.
    Not saying this because I'm French (I'm not) but the industry is still dominated by French perfumers working for houses of several nationalities and apart from the in-house schools in big labs like Givaudan (which is is France), the only school for perfumers is in Versailles, with a 100% French faculty, which perpetuates the tradition even though now there are students from different countries.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    50/50.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by carmencanada View Post
    But don't forget that Comme des Garçons Parfums is art-directed by a Frenchman, Christian Astuguevieille, and that several of the perfumers who worked for the house are French and/or French-trained (Mark Buxton being an exception); Bernard Chant, who composed Aromatics Elixir, Aramis and Azurée for Lauder was French. Und so weiter.
    Not saying this because I'm French (I'm not) but the industry is still dominated by French perfumers working for houses of several nationalities and apart from the in-house schools in big labs like Givaudan (which is is France), the only school for perfumers is in Versailles, with a 100% French faculty, which perpetuates the tradition even though now there are students from different countries.
    Yes, agree completely. Commes des Garçons, the French named, Japanese company, has quite a bit of French DNA. Their philosophy is rooted in French deconstructionist theory, they show their clothing collections in Paris during the RTW shows, they use French surrealist games to market their anti-perfumes that are made by French noses using aroma chemicals developed in France.
    Of course France is still the headquarters, but like so many dismantled colonial powers, it will always need outsiders to survive, while at the same time clinging to their "tradition". I think Bernard Chant's work for Estée Lauder feels very American in its boldness and simplicity.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 17th April 2010 at 05:15 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Rather than a French artifact, I would say a standard set by the French: of course, this does not rule out other traditions that are as valid as the French one, albeit less known because France is a reference in terms of fashion and luxury, and being perfume making a spin off of the fashion industry, this explains why they have set this standard. Quel horreur? Not at all, we have more access to alternatives.

    In my case, I am in debt with Middle East and Indian perfumes and fragrances.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    I am enjoying the informed discussion on this thread. I find the shift from Italian to French cultural leadership interesting. Does anyone think that Catherine de Medici in the 16th century, who introduced many aspects of Italian culture into French society, plays a early role in this process? Cultural appropriations and adaptations are very interesting. Roman empire absorbing the Hellenistic Greek culture being another example.
    odysseusm

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  10. #10

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Not at this point, if you are thinking of most frags that most people considered buying last year, for example. What I mean is that few want the "heavy" frags with animalic jasmine, etc., so I'd need have some clarification. Yes, Stetson must have decent sales and references the traditional French style, but that must be a drop in the bucket compared to the sales of frags that reference the traditional Italian style (or some other one) or a newer one (such as aquatics). If you had written this in the 80s, with all the "heavy" frags (and all the lavender in the "men's" frags) I think a strong case could be made, but a lot has changed since then (even the niche frags are "all over the map" with regard to what's being "referenced," if anything).

    Yes, modern fragrances came into prominence with the French, but I hardly ever consider this connection when I'm thinking of any aspect of fragrance except the historical, obviously. I can't imagine that the average American consumer who buys a few frags a year, at most, thinks of France at all, unless the name of it is in French, perhaps.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 17th April 2010 at 08:58 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    I don't think there is any doubt about the association of the French and idea of refinement, luxury and art. It is no coincidence that they rank at the top in cuisine, perfumery, Haute Couture, and fine art. It is deeply entrenched in the Western mind that if it is French, it automatically comes with an unspoken seal of approval, deservedly or not. We are all influenced by it, whether we realize it or not. A perfume bearing a French name or connotation somehow seems to carry a mystery and allure not given to the rest. As irrational as that is, I think it taps into the romance that France has developed around itself and it’s culture, and it is still very pervasive in the minds of artistic people.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    As long as a fragrance is labeled as either an Eau de Cologne, Toilette or Parfum, there will always be a French connection, if in name only. The classification Body Spray certainly severs ties with French tradition.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 18th April 2010 at 04:34 AM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    A very interesting discussion so far. What got me started thinking about this thread was a blog post I made about ISIPCA and the Osmothèque a couple of days ago: you can see it here.

    In that post I make reference to Marie De Médicis and her Italian perfumers, as well as to Grasse, though not to Louis XIV and his minister of finance Colbert. I enjoyed seeing that other people made some of those same observations in this thread.


    I am the first to admit that a lot of good perfumery goes on outside of France and is done by people who are not French. At the same time, I feel the whole concept of the culture of perfume as we have it today owes its greatest debt to the work of French perfumers and their
    maisons. I am not French either, but I did study the French language, literature, history, and culture for many years. While not exclusively so, I am what you could call a Francophile, as well as an admirer of other nations and cultures.

    Living in the United States, I encounter a lot of people who denigrate the French and their culture, and I feel it's a shame that things French are held so cheap here. (Please don't bother to deny this; just remember the whole flap about "freedom fries" from a few years back!)


    Of course perfume didn't originate in France, and I don't think that any country could ever be its exclusive and permanent home. Even so, I don't think the perfume industry would be what it is today without the French contributions to it, in art, business, and technology, as well as in
    le bon goût (good taste). The perfumes themselves, even the least "French" (in the old sense) of them, would not be what they are without the very French themselves.

    Now that Europe has become a single economic community, it will be hard to draw the line between French, Swiss, German, etc. synthetics labs and their contributions to so-called "modern" perfumes. Still, in my estimation, the center of perfumery is still in France. Grasse is still in France, and could only be in France, with its unique microclimate and the agricultural/floricultural production that it makes possible. Moreover, the mere existence of institutions such as ISIPCA and the Osmothèque there rather than anywhere else on earth is, for me at least, evidence of France having a unique relationship to perfumery.

    Thanks again to all who are responding to this thread. Among my other motivations for posting this thread,
    I wanted to see some thoughtful discussion of the industry in this board among all the other (also interesting and necessary) stuff.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 18th April 2010 at 05:33 AM.
    Yr good bud,

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    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

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    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

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    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    Still, in my estimation, the center of perfumery is still in France. Grasse is still in France, and could only be in France, with its unique microclimate and the agricultural/floricultural production that it makes possible. Moreover, the mere existence of institutions such as ISIPCA and the Osmothèque there rather than anywhere else on earth is, for me at least, evidence of France has a unique relationship to perfumery.
    I feel exactly the same and agree with you on this very strongly.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    I'd compare the modern state of perfumery with opera in the 1800's, and replace French with Italian. Despite emerging national traditions all across Europe, it was a tradition bound by Italian terminology, Italian singers, and often exported Italian operas themselves. With France and perfumery, it's no longer the A to Z of western perfumery, but its history and influence so far outstrips the contributions of other nations it can still be called the world leader.

  16. #16

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Good post, JaimeB!

    I tend to think of the association of the French culture with perfume is the French domination of the making of perfume in the 19th century, so I agree with Galamb: the Italian opera, the Russian ballet, Italian sportscars, French couture...and French perfume. I think of Grasse as the centre of perfumery.

    I can't help but point out again that the French Comte d'Orsay--who used quite a bit of scent--took perfume when he, his wife and mother-in-law moved from Paris to London. I guess the English were not known for having perfume of the quality that the Comte appreciated, so the family stockpiled a good quantity of orange blossom water.
    Last edited by Primrose; 18th April 2010 at 03:40 AM.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    It feels to me like there's a slow movement away from the French-ness of perfumes, though. Like Kevin said about "body spray", there seems to be a slow rejection of associations with French culture. Huge mass market releases are rarely named in French any more. Even the French perfumers mentioned above often eschew traditional French perfumery and techniques in favor of styles aimed more at American tastes.

    If you add to that the rather disturbing current trend where people consider perfume to be an offensive attack on personal space, but then buy everything scented except perfume (soap, lotion, detergent, fabric softener, body spritz, etc), there's a further step away from France. The basic techniques of creating a fine perfume are not the same as creating a scent for shampoo or laundry products, and that's where a lot of people get their scents from now.

    But I suppose you could balance that with niche houses or designer exclusif collections using French names (even when they're not from France) in order to subtly lend an air of sophistication to their products. The French carries a certain gravitas in the world of perfume. My question is whether that will last...
    Last edited by rogalal; 18th April 2010 at 05:09 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    D'accord.

    I see a paralel between french perfume and german/austrian classical music.

    No matter if there are plenty of great orchestras all around the world, everybody wants to listen to the Berlin Philarmonic.

    No matter if there were great composers from other countries, names like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven are universally admired.

    When it comes to perfume, I believe there aren't non-french equivalents to institutions like Guerlain, Caron, Grasse, etc.

  19. #19

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    As Bigsly and Rogalal have noted, perfumery has been steadily moving away from French taste, and the classical French style, for going on three decades now: in fact, ever since the industry itself moved away from top-down creations (there must be a marketing term: I mean the era when couturiers or perfumers took the creative decisions and offered them to the public) and towards marketing-driven products in the 80s. At that point, styles shifted towards aquatics, fruity florals, innocuous citruses, which broke with the classical style and were more orientated towards international tastes.

    But whether you look at aquatics (Cool Water = Pierre Bourdon), gourmands (Angel = Olivier Cresp), transparent eaux (Bulgari eau parfumée au thé vert = Jean-Claude Ellena), etc., the templates for the new styles came from French perfumers, and in the case of those three particular scents, were developed by them without going through the marketing grind.

    Of course, to succeed now perfumes need to have a name that can be pronounced in a lot of languages, and a smell that can please the major markets; in addition, even in France tastes have often moved away from the grand classical styles except for an older age group who's faithful to their classic Guerlains. So that there is a move away from "frenchness", but that move is partly orchestrated by the French perfume industry itself: again, French names still dominate the industry on the creative side of things and probably will for the next decade, because there's such a culture of the industry in France that it'll take a while for perfumers of other nationalities to catch up.

    I'll be curious to see whether a new generation of Indian or Chinese perfumers will crop up: whenever I do a perfume primer course or talk at the London College of Fashion, I see a lot of receptiveness and interest in my Indian and Chinese students. There's a real olfactory culture there which hasn't yet found its expression in Western perfumery terms.

    And Jaime: you're right in mentioning Catherine of Medicis, she was indeed the one to launch the Italian fashion for perfumed leather items in France, which led to the development of the perfume industry in Grasse, primarily focused on the tanning industry at the time.
    We could also note that Montpellier was also a major perfumery center up to the 18th century because of the medical faculty: apothicaries were often also perfumers, and vice versa, and there was a lot of work done on distillation. In fact, the university of Montpellier is still a major center of research on aromatics.

  20. #20

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    What is a decade of shifting trends when France can look back on five centuries? Nowhere in the world has the modern perfume industry been as solidly rooted, and nowhere is it as firmly installed as in France.

    Right from the beginning, and far into our days, French manufacturers and the industry have been able to adapt to innovations, also from abroad. French perfumes wouldn't be what they are without natural resources from southern countries and the tropical zones around the globe, or without the development of synthetic fragrant components which are often being discovered in other countries (Germany, Switzerland, USA, etc.).

    What remains French for decades to come is the French school of perfumery, no matter whether that is located in Versailles or associated with/ being taught at French universities, or abroad. Givaudan, the world's leading fragrance producer-developer (in Vernier, Switzerland), have their own school of perfumery. Students are from everywhere, lessons are in French but what's most important: methods taught are the ones that have already been successful in the past century, or longer.
    Last edited by narcus; 21st April 2010 at 08:46 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  21. #21

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Jaime, your comment about Grasse and it's specific microclimate brought up a thought I have often had.
    If you were to parallel perfume and wine, you would find a similar theme as you have discussed here. Wine being made all over the world, but with a couple of historical hotbeds (France of course being one of them). Then look at the more modern history, particularly the emergence of US wines (California), and the subtle changes that occured with that. I remember a big wine tasting event within the last couple of decades where a Cal Cab beat out top wines from top wineries (including the big French houses), and the stir that caused in the wine industry. My guess is that the stock grape vines used here may have come from France, and they may grow well here due to some similarities in climate.

    My whole point, after all the rambling, is that I wonder if Grasse really has a one of a kind climate. Could the same quality products be grown in other places if the effort was spent, and if economic benefit were there. Could California become the next great producer of perfume ingredients, and therefore put it's mark on perfume history from this point forward? Hmm, I don't know.

  22. #22

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by cello View Post
    Jaime, your comment about Grasse and it's specific microclimate brought up a thought I have often had.
    If you were to parallel perfume and wine, you would find a similar theme as you have discussed here. Wine being made all over the world, but with a couple of historical hotbeds (France of course being one of them). Then look at the more modern history, particularly the emergence of US wines (California), and the subtle changes that occured with that. I remember a big wine tasting event within the last couple of decades where a Cal Cab beat out top wines from top wineries (including the big French houses), and the stir that caused in the wine industry. My guess is that the stock grape vines used here may have come from France, and they may grow well here due to some similarities in climate.

    My whole point, after all the rambling, is that I wonder if Grasse really has a one of a kind climate. Could the same quality products be grown in other places if the effort was spent, and if economic benefit were there. Could California become the next great producer of perfume ingredients, and therefore put it's mark on perfume history from this point forward? Hmm, I don't know.
    I think very good points are raised here.

    Something worth noting is that due to urban development, decline in the use of naturals, and increased labor costs, very, very little of what goes into fragrances is from Grasse these days. A favorable climate and long history means that a lot of the French fragrance industry is still based there, but foreign ingredients have been making vast inroads for decades.

    As for similar climates, looking at Grasse's climate averages, it looks like a Mediterranean climate - California, Chile, South Africa and Australia could offer similar growing conditions. Given labor costs, I think it could only really be a growth industry in the third world or if market conditions changed considerably from what they are now, so I think - comparatively - lower-income countries like South Africa and Chile might be the best places for growing and harvesting a Grasse-ish product. I know similar, albeit more extreme Mediterranean climates in Turkey and Morocco produce a lot of rose otto and rose absolute used in today's perfumery.

    It's also worth noting that extraction methods with greater yields have emerged over this past century or so. Maybe at some point they'll find a way to make it great enough to make it profitable by first world standards once again...

  23. #23
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Some very good replies here, and it's quite gratifying to see this thread go on so long, and with such varied and intelligent comment!

    About the uniqueness of Grasse as a center of fragrance-oriented agriculture: I think the variables in Grasse have to do with more than just the temperature and rainfall patterns which many "Mediterranean" climates share. For one thing, the range of elevation is remarkable: in only 44.44 sq km (17.16 sq mi) of land area in the commune of Grasse, elevation varies from 80 m to 1061 m (260-3480 ft). Furthermore, the influence of a marine climate — Grasse is only 20 km (12 mi) from the sea — probably has a significant effect on growing conditions. Add to that a type of soil that is especially suited to flower cultivation, and a markedly high number of sunny days during the growing season, and you have a set of conditions not so very easy to duplicate, even among other "Mediterranean" climate areas.

    Of course, the centuries of agronomic expertise which has supported the perfume industry there is nothing to sneeze at either. Just as it took California about a hundred years from the first introduction of European vines until it began to rival France and Italy in wine-making, it might take a similarly long time to develop a new Grasse, even if the natural, human resources, and financial conditions were in place.

    It is true that Grasse's production is small compared to other sources of both natural and artificial perfume ingredients. Nevertheless, even a relatively small amount of high-quality natural absolute or concrete can turn a combination of cheaper or synthetic materials into a believable accord in a much closer impression of the imitation of nature. Small in quantity, but not at all insignificant in their impact on the best perfumes, these ingredients could still make Grasse an important perfume center for the high-end industry.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 19th April 2010 at 07:58 AM.
    Yr good bud,

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    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

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  24. #24

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    This is indeed an interesting discussion.

    In addition to France's historical and current dominance of the fragrance industry, it seems to me that there's quite a bit of faux-Frenchness in the perfume world as well. For example, as near as I can tell, Miller Harris is an English company and Lyn Harris is an English woman; yet most Miller Harris fragrances have Francophone names. It's true that Harris studied in France, but is there any other actual connection to France other than marketing?

  25. #25

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Very little is grown in Grasse these days, though lots of materials are still processed there. But it think it's not as much a matter of agriculture as of culture: five centuries of fine fragrance-making is a very long time!

  26. #26

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    While I'm not very knowledgeable about perfume industry, I'll chime in. Take it as an outsider's view if you will.

    In today's world where material and information is so easily accessible, I don't think raw ingredients / super cool local garden is that important. For that aspect only, Grasse or any other place can not be the capital of any multi-level produce. Aouds for example, are not Indian or Cambodian. They are arabian. It has to do with alembics, access to silk road, and marketing. Technology, logistics and... marketing.

    In reply to the original question, I think western perfume has its roots firmly in France, and people are used to this. Even though VW can make a car like Phaeton, even though Hyundai tries so hard to please, it won't be easy to make people buy them for what they are supposed to imply. It's easier for VW to focus on Audi, buy Bugatti and so forth. It's easier for a non-french producer/brand to put a french image to their line. Even in today's high information world.

    It would take a paradigm shift -in the most shallow sense- to change this I think.

  27. #27

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    I'd be curious if any working perfumers can answer this - how do Grasse-based materials stack up against those from elsewhere in the world? Is Grasse jasmine better than Egyptian and Indian, etc?

    I know Rose de Mai is actually a different variety than grown elsewhere; not sure if Grasse has some sort of "copyright" or if it's just more profitable to grow damask roses...

    The problem working from the "fan" end rather than the "maker" end is that most of what goes into fragrances is an educated guess on our part, unless we've been involved in the industry. It would be great if some Grasse-y people could drop by this thread!

  28. #28

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    I'd be curious if any working perfumers can answer this - how do Grasse-based materials stack up against those from elsewhere in the world? Is Grasse jasmine better than Egyptian and Indian, etc?

    I know Rose de Mai is actually a different variety than grown elsewhere; not sure if Grasse has some sort of "copyright" or if it's just more profitable to grow damask roses...

    The problem working from the "fan" end rather than the "maker" end is that most of what goes into fragrances is an educated guess on our part, unless we've been involved in the industry. It would be great if some Grasse-y people could drop by this thread!
    Actually, for jasmine and rose, it's easy: the only two houses who can afford the ones grown in Grasse are Chanel and Patou, for N°5 and Joy in the extrait. That's it.
    The jasmin de Grasse does have a different olfactory quality to others: just pop into the Jean Patou flagship store on the rue de Castiglione in Paris and you'll be able to smell it in comparison with Indian jasmine and jasmine sambac, all of which are on the counter.

    Again, it's not so much what's grown in Grasse nowadays as the experience, expertise and history. The actual perfumers' labs are almost all in Paris, and materials come from all over the world...

  29. #29
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by carmencanada View Post
    Actually, for jasmine and rose, it's easy: the only two houses who can afford the ones grown in Grasse are Chanel and Patou, for N°5 and Joy in the extrait. That's it.
    The jasmin de Grasse does have a different olfactory quality to others: just pop into the Jean Patou flagship store on the rue de Castiglione in Paris and you'll be able to smell it in comparison with Indian jasmine and jasmine sambac, all of which are on the counter.

    Again, it's not so much what's grown in Grasse nowadays as the experience, expertise and history. The actual perfumers' labs are almost all in Paris, and materials come from all over the world...
    So, then, the materials from Grasse, at least some of them, do have unique qualities that some perfumers still want to exploit. I have read (although I don't know how long ago this was written) that Grasse lavender was also sought out by certain houses. And I thought I read about cassie (Acacia Farnesiana) from Grasse being prized above many others.

    Of course, as natural materials become more and more restricted with IFRA and EC regulation, the profitability of small-scale extraction becomes more and more dependent on very high prices to sustain the operation. That much stands to reason...
    Last edited by JaimeB; 19th April 2010 at 07:55 AM.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by NillaGoon View Post
    This is indeed an interesting discussion.

    In addition to France's historical and current dominance of the fragrance industry, it seems to me that there's quite a bit of faux-Frenchness in the perfume world as well. For example, as near as I can tell, Miller Harris is an English company and Lyn Harris is an English woman; yet most Miller Harris fragrances have Francophone names. It's true that Harris studied in France, but is there any other actual connection to France other than marketing?
    Good observation. Think of L'Eau Ambree by Prada. French name, Italian company...and I think the juice is made in Spain. (The Infusion d'Iris is made in Spain.)
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  31. #31

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    I feel what is perceived as French taste, these days, is quite often the end result of an eclectic mix of world cultures working in what can be seen as a French idiom. Take Chanel for example, a French company that almost died from creative exhaustion after the death of its namesake founder Coco Chanel. It's been brought back to credibility and profitability by a cabal of international design talents.
    First and foremost there's the German, Karl Lagerfeld and his English muse, Lady Amanda Harlech. Then we have Chanel shoes and handbags designed by a Brazilian, Laurence Roberge Bernardo and an Italian, Kayla Paulini. And of course there's the Englishman, Christopher Sheldrake, Director of Development and Research of Fine Fragrances to complete the international roster.
    It's sort of like American baseball, where would it be without the Latinos?
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 21st April 2010 at 02:43 PM.

  32. #32

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Guyer View Post
    What is often perceived as French taste is, in reality, an eclectic mix of world cultures. Take Chanel for example, a very French company that almost died of exhaustion and is continuously being revived by a cabal of international talents.
    First and foremost there's the German, Karl Lagerfeld and his English muse, Lady Amanda Harlech. Then we have Chanel shoes and handbags designed by a Brazilian, Laurence Roberge Bernardo and an Italian, Kayla Paulini. And of course there's the Englishman, Christopher Sheldrake, Director of Development and Research of Fine Fragrances to complete the international roster.
    It's sort of like American baseball, where would it be without the Latinos?
    The French were overwhelmed by Anglomania at the beginning of the 19th century and took many English ideas and fashions to heart. The early men's clubs such as "le jockey club" were created by aristocrats influenced by living in England after many French nobles and their families fled at the time of the French Revolution. The English, of course, were profoundly influenced by French culture after the 11th century with William the Conquerer.

    I understand France had "Russian mania" in a similar fashion in the 1920s when many Russian aristocrats fled to France following the Revolution of 1917. Cuir de Russie, anyone?
    Last edited by Primrose; 19th April 2010 at 06:09 PM.
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  33. #33

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by Primrose View Post
    Think of L'Eau Ambree by Prada. French name, Italian company...and I think the juice is made in Spain.
    Hee hee! Another really good example is Amouage: it's an Arabian company with a portfolio of mideast-influenced fragrances that have very little to do with even the general tradition of French perfumery. IIRC, even the name comes from an Arabic word (amwaj = wave), and yet it's been given an adventitious lashing of Frenchness.

    Clearly, somebody's thinking (or thinking that somebody thinks :-), "If it's not French, it's shite!"

  34. #34

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by NillaGoon View Post
    Hee hee! Another really good example is Amouage: it's an Arabian company with a portfolio of mideast-influenced fragrances that have very little to do with even the general tradition of French perfumery.
    Actually I find, for the most part, Amouage's fragrances to be very traditionally old-school French in their construction. Omani frankincense, their common denominator, is an Arabic ingredient they all share, but it doesn't signify their style. The Amouage attars, of course, are a different story, but Gold, Ubar, Lyric all are très Francais to my nes.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 20th April 2010 at 02:54 PM.

  35. #35

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    What a great post this is. I am still eager to learn so much about Scents and how they "work". This reminds Me of how much I still need to educate Myself about the wonderful world of Fragrances. Thank You Everyone for adding so much and please continue.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by NillaGoon View Post
    Hee hee! Another really good example is Amouage: it's an Arabian company with a portfolio of mideast-influenced fragrances that have very little to do with even the general tradition of French perfumery. [...snip]
    Here's a quote from the Amouage website:

    "Adopting an artistic approach to create an original and evocatively fragrant experience, Amouage perfumes are created by internationally recognized perfumers in Grasse in the South of France under the guidance of Amouage Creative Director, Christopher Chong." [Emphasis added]

    Amouage's first perfumes were made by the famous French nose Guy Robert. Guy Robert is the author of Les Sens du Parfum and a former president of the French Society of Perfumers. Perfumes created by Guy Robert include:
    Amouage Amouage (1983)
    Christian Dior Dioressence (1979)
    Gucci No. 1 (1972)
    Hermes Calèche (1961)
    Hermes Equipage (1970)
    La Prairie One Perfect Rose (1990)
    Mary Quant Havoc (1974)
    Pink Room Parfum no. 1 (1999)
    Rochas Madame Rochas (original version, 1960)
    Rochas Monsieur Rochas (1969)
    [from Now Smell This blog]
    Nothing to do with France?
    Last edited by JaimeB; 20th April 2010 at 06:16 AM.
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  37. #37

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    Nothing to do with France?
    I stand corrected! Most of the individual perfumers seem to be French as well.

    It's interesting that their web site plays up the Omani connection. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Amouage "has nothing to do with Oman." :-)
    Last edited by NillaGoon; 20th April 2010 at 10:18 PM.

  38. #38

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    A very interesting conversation. While France's contribution to perfumery has been very important in the modern era, I'd still give the prize to the Middle East for inventing the extraction techniques and technology that modern perfumery is based upon. And in the 8th-9th century, no less! The alcohol and perfume oil form fragrances are sold in was pioneered over a thousand years ago by the perfumers of Baghdad (they invented effective alcohol distillation, so they had a leg up there). Modern perfume aesthetics are very heavily French but the mechanics were worked out long ago (modern synthetics aside).

    . . .but I don't think any single culture can claim perfume as an artifact any more than they could claim food or music. I'd be very interested in seeing a comparison of different cultures' fragrance aesthetics.

  39. #39
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zizanioides View Post
    A very interesting conversation. While France's contribution to perfumery has been very important in the modern era, I'd still give the prize to the Middle East for inventing the extraction techniques and technology that modern perfumery is based upon. And in the 8th-9th century, no less! The alcohol and perfume oil form fragrances are sold in was pioneered over a thousand years ago by the perfumers of Baghdad (they invented effective alcohol distillation, so they had a leg up there). Modern perfume aesthetics are very heavily French but the mechanics were worked out long ago (modern synthetics aside).

    . . .but I don't think any single culture can claim perfume as an artifact any more than they could claim food or music. I'd be very interested in seeing a comparison of different cultures' fragrance aesthetics.
    I mention Arab distillation in a blog post of mine here: http://www.basenotes.net/entries/800-Some-Arab-Contributions-to-Perfumery.

    "Perfume Technology.

    Distillation. A method of distillation using an instrument called an alembic, which greatly improved efficiency and yield, was developed by Arabs in 7th or 8th century. It was applied to many materials, including aromatic ones."

    The basic techniques of distillation were developed by the Arabs, it is true; but more recent developments in distillation techniques, such a supercritical CO2 distillation and molecular (vacuum) distillation, are the contributions of modern scientists. These techniques are responsible for making possible the production of much purer absolutes.

    International tastes have been affected by some cultural considerations. In men's perfumes especially, some Middle eastern tastes have been propagated in recent years, such as the fashion for rose, the expansion of oud, and that kind of thing. Of course, that doesn't affect a lot of consumers of "light" scents, but it has had some impact on the higher-end markets. Can you think of any others? Any Indian perfumes with kewra (pandanus or screwpine) or any exotic African botanicals, like karo karounde flower, which has made an appearance in a couple of things recently, notably Duchaufour's Timbuktu.


    Come on guys, chime in, this thread is getting more interesting as we go along...
    Last edited by JaimeB; 21st April 2010 at 12:08 AM.
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  40. #40

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    I think if Amouage is representative of an Arabic emulation of western traditions, then Montale is a clear case of vice-versa in some respects. Generally there's been an increased awareness that there is a unique perfumery tradition in the Middle East, especially over the past decade or so, what with the oud craze and so forth.

    I think a number of things gained precedence through the ( largely Anglophone ) hippie movement that might not have otherwise, especially the desire for the "all natural" in many areas. The '50s and early '60s aesthetic in much of west was for clean, modern, and "scientific" in many areas, and I think these social changes during '60s and early '70s brought herbalism and aromatherapy to where they are today in terms of popularity, and thus, natural perfumery. Just a look at the Natural Perfumers Guild's members list shows that, despite a few dotted around Europe, despite French roots both in Aromatherapy and in perfume style, the modern manifestation of natural perfumery is a largely American phenomenon.

    I'd be curious to learn if the rise in popularity of all things Indian, likewise during the '60s, has introduced more of the Indian perfumery world to the west. It still seems largely hidden, despite many raw ingredients and a smattering of attars originating from there being popular.

    A big part of the difficulty of analyzing things today in national terms has been the trend, accelerating for hundreds of years, really, of everything to be on an international scale. A Ruggles pointed out about, even the exceedingly French Chanel is now an all-sorts of international names. Even Ernest Beaux was born and raised in Russia, after all...

  41. #41
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Galamb Borong's last comment is well-founded.

    Pierre Montale went to Saudi Arabia in 2001 and created many perfumes that were intended for use by various members of the Saudi royal family. In doing so, he consulted with them and prepared perfumes in the Arabian style, using many ingredients not very common in Western perfumes, such as oud and gurjum, as well as incorporating the prominent use of damask rose in masculine fragrances. Pierre Montale returned to Paris in 2003 and opened his own house, where he began to produce two lines of perfumes: one which used the materials and inspirations he had learned to provide for the Saudi royals; and another which was largely a conventional European-style line, but which took care in selecting high quality materials worthy of his former royal patrons.

    There is no doubt that the line of Aouds created quite a sensation in the West among perfume cognoscenti. The Middle Eastern tastes represented not only Arabian, but also some Indian traditions in perfumery; I especially like Attar, which is a blend of fine sandalwood and Rosa damascena intended for masculine use. It is the epitome of oriental male elegance, and not something most Euro-American guys would wear to the office! With this line, Montale had a big impact on a small segment of the market, but a very sophisticated and influential one. Even so, the deciding factor in the sudden proliferation of oud-prominent scents from other designers may have had more to do with the introduction of good oud-mimicking synthetics, which made it possible to produce convincing imitations at much lower cost.

    The second Montale line is represented by some very distinctively European genres and design concepts, including chypres and fougères, and even a couple with marine notes, Embruns d'Essaouira and Fougères Marines. Soleil de Capri is a very good citrus floral appealing to both sexes. Red Vetiver was a fresh take on a very well-entrenched and familiar scent genre in the European tradition. There are also some florientals in the line. This line reinforced Montale's reputation as a perfumer in the French tradition.

    It is interesting that the Saudis chose a French nose to develop their scents for them when they had plenty of home-grown perfumers at hand who were expert in the traditional style of Arabian perfumery. I guess the interpenetration of perfume tastes cuts fairly equally in both directions: wealthy Middle Easterners have long consumed French perfumes, and seem to have perceived that a French nose might be successful at a syncretistic approach in creating perfumes in the middle ground between European and Middle Eastern tastes.

    The Omani royal house may have provoked some jealousy in their Saudi neighbors with the Amouage line: prestige and cachet are ever the concern of the powerful. If I had to say in which direction the influences of European and Middle Eastern styles came and went in these two houses (the Saudis and the Omanis, or if you like, Montale and Amouage), it would be hard to pull all the threads of that weave apart and give a definitive answer.

    One thing I can say is that I am very happy to have the best of both worlds available to me, and that it seems (to me at least) that the ability of French and other Western perfumers to incorporate new exotic elements into the existing corpus of the French perfume tradition bespeaks its versatility, openness to innovation, and continued future prospects.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 21st April 2010 at 07:43 AM.
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  42. #42

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Well...for me...I believe that the French culture is typically specified by their aesthetic history...Ie; Chanel, Guerlain, Serge Lutens, Frederic Malle, Givenchy, Dior++++ SOO MANY more...it seems as if that is apart of their Nomenclature, it's just staple, settled and satiable! It's almost like settling the Greek culture for their Food, Mythology and Philosophy, they do get a bit more kudos than other nationalities only for the pertinent fact that they're prolific for these Epochs!

    For me, it's just history repeating itself.. ...though it takes people of refined knowledge in perfumes to conclude for themselves!!

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  43. #43

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Re: Montale and Amouage:

    A very clear and detailed post on (Pierre) Montale, Xaime, some of which confirms my own observations and perceptions. Outside of beauty press, I never saw much of a biography on Pierre Montale, and nothing substantial regarding the house. I would therefore appreciate it very much, if you could kindly offer a few links to the documents you may have used here. I am wondering what makes you believe that P. Montale is the real owner of the perfume house? It's still a puzzle to me, and there are a few bits that do not seem to fit in.

    About a year ago, there has been a TV documentary on the Oman, and Omani investments in the West have been part of it. It became quite obvious that Amouage is one of those. Members of the royal family do take pride in perfume creations of their own, but the main purpose of the Amouage company is to make more €uros from their precious Olibanum than they do by simply exporting the raw material. That's mainly why they rely on les nez francais. Luca Turin had been invited to attend the Amouage jubilee events and subsequently wrote about that in NZZ Folio. He is confirming the Amouage project more or less directly there. (details in post # 55)
    Last edited by narcus; 22nd April 2010 at 10:53 PM.
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  44. #44
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Geehrter Narcus:

    The articles I read on Montale were all from promotional materials or perfume blogs and reviews: mostly puff pieces with not a lot of business information. The ones that mention his shop all say he opened it in Paris in 2003, but nobody indicates if he was the direct owner. Further searching leads to dead ends. The Parfums Montale website doesn't allow me entry; the Google maps app says the Place Vendôme address is invalid. I remember hearing something about a lab in Switzerland; it's a vague recollection, but I think it was in Geneva. It may have come from Vijay (maisonstinky), but I haven't seen him around Basenotes in a while... Sorry I can't be more helpful...
    Last edited by JaimeB; 21st April 2010 at 02:54 PM.
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  45. #45

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Alright then, until we know otherwise, I think it would be wise to consider it possible that the 'Maison Montale' is either a direct Saudi investment managed by PM, or a European (French or Swiss) entity run by Pierre M. with Saudi financial participation. Remember how Montale started out overnight, from nowhere, without visible press but with almost 30 different fragrances? How can one install oneself in the heart of the French capital with such an impressive number of perfumes, unless at extremely high costs? I find it strange that nobody seems to have had these questions at the time, but if Google never bothered to cover much of the French press these would be hard to find.

    About six months later I got aware of their existence by Vijay's (Maisonstinky's) posts. His enthusiasm inspired not only me at that time. What appeared strange in the early days: I didn't need to order from Paris. Our Swiss flagship perfume shop also had at minimum 50% of both lines (big bottles) nicely displayed and ready to be sold. At that time I thought the Swiss-Arabian Perfume Group, Al Arabiya Al Swissriya might have something to do with that, but I didn't pursue that idea. What I found out instead: there was a Montale business entity registered not far from Geneva and by strange coincidence in a mountain resort called Crans-Montana. I later got aware of the fact that some of the Paris orders were actually executed from Switzerland. And there was a contact telephone number in Geneva that I and others used for some special requests. (traces should be in BN Archives).
    Last edited by narcus; 22nd April 2010 at 03:41 PM.
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  46. #46

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Interesting reading. The Montale plot thickens! Has anyone written Montale and asked...? ( Not sure how open companies are about these things, but still, might be worth trying. )

  47. #47

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Pierre Montale founded (and later sold) Comptoir Sud Pacifique. A French member of the Beauté-Test forum says Mr Montale told him so and said he was working with the same team of perfumers as he did with CSP.

  48. #48

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by carmencanada View Post
    Pierre Montale founded (and later sold) Comptoir Sud Pacifique. A French member of the Beauté-Test forum says Mr Montale told him so and said he was working with the same team of perfumers as he did with CSP.
    Wow, this explains the Montale aluminum bottles and why so many of the Montales offerings remind me of CSP's Barbier des Isles.
    Thanks for sharing your insider knowledge with us, Carmen.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 21st April 2010 at 08:52 PM.

  49. #49

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by carmencanada View Post
    Pierre Montale founded (and later sold) Comptoir Sud Pacifique. A French member of the Beauté-Test forum says Mr Montale told him so and said he was working with the same team of perfumers as he did with CSP.
    We are soooooo happy to have you here, Carmen, our purveyor of inside knowledge!

    I never would have made that connection otherwise.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Interesting reading. The Montale plot thickens! Has anyone written Montale and asked...? ( Not sure how open companies are about these things, but still, might be worth trying. )
    It would be nice to be able to contact them, but the unavailability of their website does complicate matters. I've tried various searches, and have had no luck finding address, web address, email address, or other contact information for them. Corporate information seems hard to track also.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 21st April 2010 at 11:58 PM.
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  51. #51

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    A search for boring industry trivia?! Count me in!

    It looks like the original holder of the Montale trademark was either one Atmeh Ammar of Dubai, UAE or one Sylvie Fretier, rue Danielle Casanova Paris, FRANCIA. That doesn't mean the capital came from the UAE especially since Mr. Ammar's claim to the trademark was invalidated in favor of Fretier's but he has since filed a dissent with the trademark office and we shall see what happens.

    Jamie, what was their old website address? I might be able to track down the registering company. And what exactly did people want to know about Montale?

  52. #52
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Zizanoides,

    The original website (still listed in the Basenotes Directory) was http://www.montaleparfums.com/. When I click on this, I get a "Forbidden" message.

    Another one I have found is http://www.montaleparfums.net/. Clicking on this one gets a "Reserved" message: "
    The domain name you have requested isn't available It has been reserved on gandi.net and parked as unused." If you go to that url, you can get WhoIs information by clicking on the More Information link. Among other things it shows recent activity: "Changed: 2010-04-19 17:43:03."
    Last edited by JaimeB; 22nd April 2010 at 06:05 AM.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

    My Wardrobe
    My Reviews

    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

    Let justice be done, even if the sky should fall.

    Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

    —Seneca

  53. #53

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Ha, synchronized efforts ! I meant to actually add fresh paint to our mental picture of Grasse, the "Cradle of European Perfumery" today, but will have to postpone that in favor of most some recent info collected on Montale

    (1) The Swiss Branch (brain center, or whatever) seems to actually have expanded since I looked into details in 2008 or early 2009. The main address has changed , but older addresses are also still listed. New is a separate unit (company) for cosmetics.

    Montale Parfums GD SA

    Rue du Rhodania 1
    3963 Crans-Montana
    Telefon: 027 480 23 44

    By the way, as I was checking links, I came across a source listing a total of 67 Eaux dP, a rather impressive number even for Paris, and high financial exposure I would think. It would be most extraordinary if this was realized by one person (or a family enterpries only, unless there are enormous funds (petrodollars as i am inclined to believe) behind that.

    (2)
    Their new Paris website works, if only halfway, but that has often been the case in recent years also. It doesn't really serve sales and is nrather unusual for a French company (or a foreign company that has their European business managed well).

    Try this link:



    (3) @ Zizanoides:

    'Montale'
    (trademark).

    There could be a problem because there is or has been yet another Montale business entity, Montale Montres (montres = French for watches), a company manufacturing and /or selling quartz watches. This company is on ‘The Black List of watchmakers' in Germany, a list that has also been published by Ebay Germany to warn buyers.
    Unfortunately, identical company and brand names can cause serious conflicts and even damages. Some of them cannot easily be solved, particularly when the
    entities are active or dimiciled in different countries.

    (4)
    Domaine Tools.com releases the following details on Montale Perfumes (actual, or outdated):

    Plan du site : Montale Parfums - Réalisé par PlanetWebmaster. Montal-Parfums ... autour du AOUD. Accueil. Boutique. Distribution. Contact. 100. Parfums.
    www.montaleparfums.com/montale_FR.php - Im Cache

    “Here's what we know about montaleparfumsparis.com:”


    DomainTools for Windows®
    Now you can access domain ownership records anytime, anywhere... right from your own desktop!Download Now>

    domain: montaleparfumsparis.com
    reg_created: 2007-07-03 15:18:40
    expires: 2011-07-03 15:18:40
    created: 2007-07-03 17:18:34
    changed: 2010-04-19 17:43:46
    transfer-prohibited: yes
    ns0: ns1.ict-backbone.com
    ns1: trinity.bluegix.com
    owner-c:
    nic-hdl: HT450-GANDI
    owner-name: pla'net webmaster
    organisation: pla'net webmaster
    person: HERVE TEBOUL
    address: 47 rue de la ferme
    zipcode: 93100
    city: montreuil sous bois
    country: France
    phone: +33.148182060
    fax: +33.148971631
    email: [IMG]file:///C:/DOKUME%7E1/Besitzer/LOKALE%7E1/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]
    lastupdated: 2010-01-27 10:30:33
    admin-c:
    nic-hdl: HT450-GANDI
    owner-name: pla'net webmaster
    organisation: pla'net webmaster
    person: HERVE TEBOUL
    address: 47 rue de la ferme
    zipcode: 93100
    city: montreuil sous bois
    country: France
    phone: +33.148182060
    fax: +33.148971631
    email: [IMG]file:///C:/DOKUME%7E1/Besitzer/LOKALE%7E1/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]
    lastupdated: 2010-01-27 10:30:33
    tech-c:
    nic-hdl: HT450-GANDI
    owner-name: pla'net webmaster
    organisation: pla'net webmaster
    person: HERVE TEBOUL
    address: 47 rue de la ferme
    zipcode: 93100
    city: montreuil sous bois
    country: France
    phone: +33.148182060
    fax: +33.148971631
    email: [IMG]file:///C:/DOKUME%7E1/Besitzer/LOKALE%7E1/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]
    lastupdated: 2010-01-27 10:30:33
    bill-c:
    nic-hdl: LD2393-GANDI
    organisation: DELTA CONSULTING
    person: Laurent DEREIX
    address: 245 Impasse de La Vallerie
    zipcode: 76190
    city: AUZEBOSC
    country: France
    phone: +33.615922417
    fax: ''
    email: [IMG]file:///C:/DOKUME%7E1/Besitzer/LOKALE%7E1/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.gif[/IMG]
    lastupdated: 2010-03-05 17:29:27"
    (end quote)

    Last edited by narcus; 22nd April 2010 at 11:42 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  54. #54
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Thank you Narcus and Zizanoides for the enlightening information about Montale.

    A word about Amouage's business arrangements and creative team:

    Their main office is in London, where their creative consultant is located, Christopher Chong. The CEO is David Crickmore. The Chairman of the Board is a member of the Omani Sultanate family, His Highness Sayyid Hamad bin Hamoud Al Busaid, who is also said to have set up the corporation at the command of the Sultan of Oman, Qābūs ibn Sa’īd Āl Sa’īd, in 1983. Incidentally, I found a lot of this information online in an Indian publication, The Mangalorean.

    As you can see, their business model clearly incorporates both European and Middle Eastern leadership. Financing is harder to unravel.

    In addition to the founding nose, Guy Robert, Amouage has used Bernard Duchaufour, Jean-Claude Ellena, Mark Buxton, Maurice Roucel, and Lucas Sieuzac to design some of their scents.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 22nd April 2010 at 07:25 AM.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

    My Wardrobe
    My Reviews

    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

    Let justice be done, even if the sky should fall.

    Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

    —Seneca

  55. #55

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Thanks Xaime. In complete contrast to Montale's, cards for Amouage had been on the table from the beginning. And this company has also been under a good management. At least they know how to run a business properly. It is normal practice to have one or more local representatives where the affiliate is domiciled. I can only speculate that Pierre Montale probably needs someone at his side to take care of all administrative matters, communication, and the company's public appearance.

    For those who hadn't been here in 2007, Luca Turin: "...I had rehearsed a speech exhorting him to hire the orientalist perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour for his next fragrance..." [for Amougae]

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    Luca Turin in Folio – December 3, 2007

    Amouage

    "The story of Amouage is remarkable. Twenty five years ago an Omani prince decided that his country, renowned since Egyptian times for the quality of its frankincense, home to the unique Green Mountain rose and on whose beaches half the world’s ambergris lands at random, needed a perfume firm that would take on the world’s greatest....." (link = Amouage )
    Last edited by narcus; 22nd April 2010 at 12:09 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  56. #56

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    To get back to the original debate of the post, and to tie in with our conversation on Montale and Amouage: I wrote a short essay on Jubilation 25 a little while ago in which I wondered whether the Middle East, via Amouage, wasn't actually the last place to believe in French classic perfumery... It's a bit too long to sum up here but I'd love to read your comments, either here or on the blog post.

  57. #57
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    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Bravo, Carmen! The piece was dripping with a kind of nostalgia (a larval nostalgia?) that hangs on to the last vestiges of a lost dream...

    But your comments on the Middle Eastern attachment to a genre not of its own making is a kind of testament to the continuing influence of French perfumery in the "very cradle of perfumery," as you call it. Of the chypre triad, only labdanum thrives in Oman, at least as a long-established species. There were wonderful pictures of it in The Mangalorean's article on Amouage which I found on the web, though they seem to mix up pictures of rockrose (labdanum) and the native Omani rose, the Jabal or Mountain Rose.

    I wrote some speculation on "modern" (oakmossless or near-oakmossless) chypres in my own blog, wondering if the resinous nature of propolis, found in beeswax, wasn't becoming a fairly common substitution for the moss notes of traditional chypres: a resinous element minus the bitterness. Here's the link: http://www.basenotes.net/entries/659...Out-Beeswax-In.

    Thanks again for the link to your blog. I took a look at the French-language version of your article, and as a language teacher, I can't help wondering whether you write your originals in English or French and then translate them (or have them translated) into the other... You don't have to say, of course, but I am curious...




    Last edited by JaimeB; 22nd April 2010 at 02:54 PM.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

    My Wardrobe
    My Reviews

    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

    Let justice be done, even if the sky should fall.

    Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

    —Seneca

  58. #58

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Jaime, I'm also a language teacher, as well as a translator, among other things (girl's gotta eat). Oddly enough, I've done all my writing career in French and only started writing directly in English with the blog -- and now it looks like the rest of my literary career is shaping up to be in English. I write in English then translate into French: for some reason it comes out more easily that way.

    I'll have a look at your blog post on bees wax: I never thought of it with that angle.

  59. #59

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    @ Zizanoides[/U]:



    There could be a problem because there is or has been yet another Montale business entity, Montale Montres (montres = French for watches), a company manufacturing and /or selling quartz watches. This company is on ‘The Black List of watchmakers' in Germany, a list that has also been published by Ebay Germany to warn buyers.[/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Century Gothic][SIZE=3]Unfortunately, identical company and brand names can cause serious conflicts and even damages. Some of them cannot easily be solved, particularly when the
    entities are active or dimiciled in different countries.
    It could well be the same Montale that makes watches:
    http://oami.europa.eu/CTMOnline/Requ...etailCTM_NoReg

    And here is the current legit one:
    http://oami.europa.eu/CTMOnline/Requ...etailCTM_NoReg

    Edit: Nvm, the are using some bizarro coding that makes linking impossible. Just search Montale, the legit one is the first result and the questionable one is third.
    Last edited by Zizanioides; 22nd April 2010 at 05:57 PM.

  60. #60

    Default Re: How much is perfume a French artifact?

    Nice article, Carmen. Thanks to the delightful Hillaire here on Basenotes, I've been able to sample Amouage's Gold and Ubar, as well as a dozen or so vintage French fragrances, and I must say, Amouage really does capture classical French perfumery in spirit and content to a large degree. I have yet to try Jubilation, but I would not at all surprised to smell an old-school chypre in the line!

    Conversely, the two I've smelled remind me nothing at all of any of the oil-based Arabic fragrances I've tried, which were completely removed in style and content from these two Amouages, at least.

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