Chanel have their own fields of jasmine in Grasse – there are actually over 200 species of jasmine, but they choose to cultivate the exquisite Jasminun grandiflorum there (it translates as ‘big-flowered jasmine’) which is sometimes simply referred to as ‘Grasse jasmine’, because it grows exceedingly well in that micro-climate.
Chanel explains: ‘Grasse jasmine. The original flower chosen by Mademoiselle, its sensual notes are the signature of N°5. A delicate flower with 5 long, chalk-white petals, jasmine has been cultivated using the same techniques and savoir-faire for generations in the fields of CHANEL in Grasse. A night-blooming flower, it comes to life at sunset to diffuse its smooth, heady scent. Jasmine is an incredibly light flower that reveals its purity and finesse in the hands of the nose of CHANEL. The essence of femininity, it is a CHANEL flower…’
‘Initiated by Jacques Polge, the partnership between the House of CHANEL and the Mul family began in 1987. “Jasmine production in Grasse was on a steady decline and we feared we would no longer have enough for our formulas,» he remembers. And so began a beautiful story of trust and cooperation. Ties of friendship were formed, ensuring a lasting future for this rare heritage in Grasse and perfect control over the transformation from flower to fragrance. “At the time, no one was concerned with replanting jasmine, so we conducted a scientific study to find a viable rootstock and bypassed the industry by controlling all of the links in the production chain, from growing the plant right through to its extraction”, Polge continues. This partnership provides a guarantee of both the olfactory quality and the quantity of flowers required for CHANEL fragrances.’
The quality of Chanel’s Grasse Jasmine is quite exceptional because they ensure the crop flourishes at every stage, as Olivier Polge, CHANEL In-House Perfumeur Creator describes:
“Our work begins at our plant in Grasse. It is not only a production and processing unit for flowers, but also a genuine laboratory where we test, compare and take the time required to continually improve the olfactory result of each harvest. The raw essences are shaped and refined to become CHANEL essences.”
Let’s follow each fragrant step, as detailed by Chanel…
For another instalment of our jasmine focus this month, we look at some of the most iconic Chanel fragrances that make use of this exceptional jasmine in their compositions. Until then, we shall be dreaming of the heady scent of jasmine that must billow from the Mul family fields, through every single step, until it’s captured in the bottle. Close you eyes, now and dare to dream along…
Written by Suzy Nightingale [quoted extracts and images provided by Chanel]