Last month, Team BB was whisked away to France for the Lux Fragrance Experience (read Part I of the story here)—we visited cities we knew little about, explored new cuisines, and learned everything there was to know about the fragrance industry…
bottle of perfume

For those of us whose interaction with perfumes hadn’t spanned more than a singular yes or no, each aspect of this visit was turning out to be a mini-discovery.

Revelation: Fragrances are compounded from notes

Raise your hands if you, like us, didn’t know that a bottle of perfume is actually compounded from many different scents. Yeah, right? It won’t be fair to make a curry analogy here but that’s somewhat how it is.

luxury fragrance

Turns out, a fragrance is comprised of a number of scents called notes from the main fragrance families, namely, floral notes, citrus notes, fruity, woody, oriental and chypre. There’s a top note, a middle note and a base note, each of which can be floral, spicy or even woody. The percentage of the note depends on the kind of fragrance being crafted or the gender it’s being crafted for. The same formula applies for scented luxury soaps, bath and body lotions.

 

Highlight: Making our own signature fragrance

Highlight: Making our own signature fragrance

After a morning spent doing some classroom lessons at the perfume school, it was time to put our learning to test. We were lucky enough to gain access to Givaudan’s labs (yes, the same ones where all your CK perfumes come from), throw on our lab coats and try our hand at recreating a fragrance that mimicked the new range of Lux fragrances. Easy? Absolutely not!

 

Highlight: A visit to the historic Perfumerie Museum in Grasse

Highlight: A visit to the historic Perfumerie Museum in Grasse

Obviously, this trip was going to be incomplete without a stopover at Grasse in France—the perfume capital of the world—and very specifically, the Musée International de la Parfumerie. Established in1989, this fantastic museum has the oldest of fragrance artefacts, some bit of French fashion history and machines from the ancient perfume factories.

entire perfume collection

However, since the industrial vats didn’t quite pique our interest, we shifted our attention to more materialistic things; namely; Marie Antoinette’s extravagant perfume set up, Napoleon’s entire perfume collection (that travelled with him everywhere) and the exhaustive display of every French perfume ever made, neatly arranged in their original packaging and in chronological order.

 

Highlight: Floral workshop with Dior’s illustrator Garance Wilkens

Highlight: Floral workshop with Dior’s illustrator Garance Wilkens

As if all of this wasn’t enough of a sensory assault, we were treated to a floral workshop with the iconic Garance Wilkens, best known for her illustration work with Dior. Fangirl moments ensued!

covering the world in flowers

Needless to say, covering the world in flowers was never so much fun!

eiffel tower and croissants

Could there have been a better way to learn about the science of scents?

Probably not!

We came back with full bellies, warm hearts and a head giddy with all the fragrances we had experienced, fairly certain of the fact that the next time someone mentions France, we’ll be thinking about much, much more than just the Eiffel Tower and croissants.

(Team BB was in France for the Lux Fragrance Experience. Read more about our adventures in Part I of this essay)