Here’s a look back at some of the highlights and revelations during this amazing trip…
Highlight: Summer in Paris is better than any other season in Paris
There’s a lot to be said about summer in Paris, and all of it is wonderful.
The weather’s just right, the city’s cranked up its fun quotient with fetes at the sprawling gardens, tourists swarm the city and the cafés with their no-time-limit policy are complete with garçons eager to serve.
Just as you’re taking all of this in, imagine a welcome dinner at one of Paris’s best terrace restaurants, one that’s prepared for you by a Michelin star chef, with a full course meal that’s interrupted only by a delicious amuse-bouche(palate cleanser) and of course, the customary sparkling of the Eiffel Tower at 10 pm.
Little did we know that this was, without a doubt, just the tip of the iceberg.
Revelation: There’s so much that goes into the making of a perfume
Everyone knows about France’s long standing love affair with perfume. For us however, the most we’d ever thought about it (a little over twenty minutes) was probably when we were at the airport Duty Free store scurrying to gather last-minute presents for family back home. Apart from the basic chemistry lesson of fragrances being distillations, there wasn’t much we knew about them. All of that changed with our visit to the world-famous Givaudan Perfumery School.
Highlight: An unforgettable visit to the Givaudan Factory
Givaudan is the world’s largest fragrance manufacturer and with some of the biggest labels, has crafted quite a few of the world’s best perfumes for men and women. Our visit to their school on the outskirts of Paris was a rare opportunity.
This world-class perfumery is home to some of the world’s most famous perfumes as well perfumers. It trains and houses Master Perfumers (also known as ‘noses’) that create perfumes for Dior, Miu Miu, Tom Ford, Prada, Calvin Klein and now, the divine scents for Lux’s new range of soaps and body washes.
Here’s what a day in the life of a perfumer is like—students and perfumers spend their day sitting at a desk, just like ours. However, instead of laptops or iPads, they sit with miniscule bottles that are filled with fragrances, dipping paper sticks into them and scribbling notes that will help them differentiate one fragrance from another. This notebook is their personal Bible of sorts and will stay with them as a ready reckoner for the rest of their career in the perfume business.
Revelation: Studying to become a perfume maker is much harder than other academic courses
Just like any other graduation school, students spend close to five years perfecting and mastering fragrances till they’re capable of assisting a professional perfume maker and work with him/her they can become perfumers themselves, a process that can take anywhere between ten, fifteen or even twenty years depending on their personal progress.
Through their career, they will create fragrances for perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products (such as the Lux’s new range of perfumed soaps) and even the food industry. Given that the fragrance business is very demanding and competitive, only students who show unbridled tenacity and true passion for this art form can become masters in this field. Hats off!
After interacting with some of the students at the school, it was time for us to put ourselves to the test and craft a scent.
Read more about our adventures of the Lux Fragrance Experience in Part II of this essay here…