3 maggio 2011

13th "Journèe du Parfum" in Grasse

Once a year the city of Grasse celebrates the ”Perfume Day”, and although this year the date was moved several weeks, I could still participate, as usual.
This year's event was dedicated to functional perfumery, that is perfumes for home and personal care detergents. Essence Companies located in Grasse (Robertet, Charabot, Mane, Payan Bertran, Astier Demarest etc.) showed some of their products, both natural and synthetic, that may be found in everyday products: ambrox, verdox and galaxolide for clothes detergents and softeners, levo-carvone in toothpaste, citronnellyle and dihydromyrcenol in dish detergent, floralozone, aldehyde C18 and C14 and gamma nonalactone for shower gels, benjoin, neroli, sandalwood, osmanthus, eliotropine for air fresheners, terpenyle acetate and geraniol for WC tablets... in short, a seemingly endless and very interesting overview on everything that we use everyday in our kitchen, bathroom, etc…
Next, Annick Le Guerer, perfume historician and writer of some illuminating books on perfume, held a conference on "Cloister Gardens, Kings’ Gardens, when herbs were used to heal".
As always, there was the Osmothèque stand which -alone- is worth the visit, because it offers the opportunity to spend some time in the company of the great classics of perfumery now lost or completely changed. The perfumed tour was led under the expert guidance of Mr. Tanguy, who presented masterpieces as Crepe de Chine (Millot), Iris Gris (Fath), Apres l'Ondèe, Ode, Djedi (Guerlain), La Rose Jacqueminot (Houbigant) , Coty’s and Caron's jewels... in short, it’s so interesting that I saw people sit down and not leave the chair, if not an hour later. And, like every year, during the day there was the chance to participate to the "Concours de nez" (sponsored by Rotary Club Grasse) which is a perfect opportunity to test your knowledge on fragrance-related issues: the test consists of thirty questions divided into several sections. One section focused on the history of perfumery, and you had to date some perfumes launches, complete several advertising slogans, find the name of a perfume from a detail or the silhouette of the bottle. Another section focused on the use of both natural and synthetic raw materials and their specific characteristics, while another section was pure and simple identification, you had to name half a dozen raw materials sniffing a numbered touche. Furthermore, you had to assign a geographical location to some accords, recognizing the area which the raw materials came from. Like every year I took the test for my personal pleasure, but this year -and I did not expect it- I ranked first. When they called to tell me, on Sunday morning, I nearly got a heart attack. With all the people who were there – and many people, there, work in the industry- I didn’t expect such a result.
And now I gloat, rejoice, exult, boast…at least, for a little while :-)

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