Trip to Nice: Fragrance Capital of the World
Last spring, our fragrance team took a trip to Nice, the fragrance capital of the world! They met with suppliers, visited the World Perfumery Congress (WPC), and took in all the sights, sounds, and smells associated with French culture. Find out what Nice is like and more with a trip recap from our premiere perfumer, Emily Arce!
What was your overall impression of France?
"I was very excited as a perfumer to be visiting France, especially Grasse (the birthplace of perfumery), for the first time. The trip did not disappoint! I especially enjoyed how well the French have preserved their history and buildings, which were significantly older than that of the US. The food was also delicious and inspiring!"
Did anything surprise you about the culture in France?
"After a week in France, I was happy to get back to a US airport and begin hearing English again. The experience made me sad for American schoolchildren who are not nearly as multi-lingual as their European peers."
How did seeing and smelling the original source of the fragrances notes you use (like vetiver, poppy, jasmine, etc.) impact the way you formulate fragrances? Did it have an impact on your perspective as a perfumer?
"The unique experience of observing fragrance ingredients growing naturally really helped to expand my understanding. I was able to see and smell which parts of the plant are harvested, the ideal growing conditions, and gain an appreciation for the global impact crop harvesting has not only on the fragrance industry, but also on the farming community."
What was your favorite thing you smelled on the trip?
"Let me say there were wonderful fragrance ingredients discovered on the trip such as, pine tar rectified, jasmine tea extract CO2, creative co-distillations and/or fractions, and advances in green chemistry techniques. My favorite of all wasn’t seen at a booth though, it was prepared in a dish as only the French could: Morels! Spongy, earthy, nutty, creamy, buttery…I wonder how to incorporate this into a future fragrance concept?!"
What was your favorite part of the trip as a whole?
Two things: I have been conversing with a French perfumer “pen-pal” for the past 4-5 years and we had the opportunity to meet for the second-time at this year’s WPC. In addition to providing great travel tips from a local, she was able to translate master perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena’s, workshop into English on our behalf, which was a wonderful treat!
The tour of IFF-LMR’s farm was another once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was delighted to learn about the ongoing selective plant hybridization research that is expanding the possibilities of natural fragrance ingredients. For example, we smelled geranium plants with a lemon scent and others with a rosy scent. I was very inspired by the intersection of creativity and science on the ingredient development side of the industry.
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