Flower fields in the south of France. Creative Commons[/
Situated between the sea and the mountains, the Pays de Grasse is an area of exceptional natural flora, in which perfume plants have developed due to very favorable conditions. Rose, jasmine, tuberose, iris, and others have made this region the historic birthplace of French perfumery since the 18th Century. This geographic indication, the tenth of its kind, was given after a decision to allow for extending the French notion of geographic indications to artisanal and industrial products.
To make these fragrances, plant processors extract a concentrate called “absolue,” used in the production of perfumes and cosmetic products. For a longtime a city of tanners, Grasse saw perfumery prosper at the same time as perfumed leathers came into fashion. Starting in the middle of the 19th Century, the first true perfume factories started thanks to new developments in extracting hexane – a volatile solvent used in treating large quantities of plants, all while preserving the quality of the flowers – which gave the industry a boom and allow the city to become the “Capital of
After several waves of outsourcing, the industry united to fight for the protection of the knowledge linked to the perfumes of Grasse. The plant quality of the area and the artisanal savoir-faire of extracting flower essences are globally recognized.