Tuberose is worth its weight in gold (and nine other things you may not know about fragrance)

1. A perfumer must learn over 2,000 molecules off by heart, before qualifying as a ‘nose’. (Here are the molecules perfumer Mathilde Laurent works with, at Cartier.)


2. Kissing is the most intense form of smelling in the animal kingdom.

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3. We are born with no knowledge of odour. Our sense of smell is linked directly to the emotional part of our brain and therefore, our individual sense of smell is based purely on impressions and experiences.

Baby girl smelling giant rose

4. Heat dulls smell, yet humidity intensifies it – think of London after rain.

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5. Jasmine and tuberose must be picked before the sunlight hits them. (Here’s a jasmine-picker we photographed in the weighing room at the Chanel jasmine fields. They wear THE coolest hats.)


6. Enfleurage is said to be the oldest method of extraction in the world. There are said to be only five people alive today that know how to undertake this artisan process (most ‘enfleurage’ is actually now carried out via solvent extraction).

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Source: Bepa Riokoba via

7. In 1921, Molinard released a fragrance called Habanita that was originally designed to fragrance cigarettes: you applied it directly to your cigarette in liquid form form: ‘A glass rod dipped in this fragrance and drawn along a lighted cigarette will perfume the smoke with a delicious, lasting aroma’. How times have changed…!


8. Coty Chypre is often quoted as the first ‘Chypre’ construction, but Guerlain’s Chypre pre-dates it – 1909 -v- 1917 for Coty Chypre. (Thierry Wasser has recreated the original Chypre for the Guerlain archives, purely for private consumption. We’ve smelled it – and it is heartbreakingly sublime…)

Guerlain Chypre 53 Ebay find

9. Tuberose is worth its weight in gold.


10. Compared to other animals, we’re seven-stone weaklings in the smell department. Humans have between five to six million odour-detecting cells, high up in the nasal passages; rabbits have 10 million and a dog 220 million.

Background with nose

So now you know…!

by Carson Parkin-Fairley

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