Strawberry Scented Jasmine from Grasse

The Mul farm in Grasse has been growing roses and jasmine for Chanel for generations, and these precious essences are used in No 5 parfum. ELLE takes a look at the fields and interviews Chanel in-house perfumer, Christopher Sheldrake. Did you know that jasmine and strawberries share many similar components?

chanel parfums-pv

You can watch the video over at ELLE’s exclusive look at the creation of No 5. Sheldrake narrates the video.

Chanel claims that each 30ml bottle of No 5 parfum contains 1,000 jasmine flowers and 12 roses from Grasse. Since 1 kg of jasmine absolute and rose oil require 6 000 0000 jasmine blossoms and 1 600 000 rose blossoms, respectively, you can work out for yourself how much essence No 5 contains. On the other hand, what makes No 5 special is not just the rare materials, but their balance and harmony. Since the flower fields in Grasse have been steadily disappearing, the Mul farm is especially precious.

Photo by Bois de Jasmin

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80 Comments

  • Michael: Thank you for the an interesting and informative article, and link to the video clip. Interesting to note that the narrator is Christopher Sheldrake, the creation of Coromandel. March 18, 2014 at 8:45am Reply

    • Victoria: There was another video I posted a couple of months ago, in which Sheldrake explained the iris and how it’s used in Chanel. I like learning about the materials that go into perfumes, and I enjoyed his explanations. March 18, 2014 at 12:35pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: Thanks for sharing, Victoria. I enjoyed watching it. They are so quick at picking flowers! It looks like hard work but I’d love to try it myself. So you get 0.167 g of jasmine (I think Sheldrake said 6 million = 6,000,000) and 0.0075 g of rose in the 30 ml bottle. I don’t have a feel for whether that’s a lot though. Which molecule was Sheldrake talking about? Methyl anthranilate? I would love to know more. March 18, 2014 at 9:11am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s hard to pick them that quickly, and your fingers really have to be delicate and nimble, otherwise the blossoms become crushed and this ruins the quality of essence. You’re right, the work is really hard, your back stays sore, but one consolation is the scent of jasmine lingering on your skin. I could only do 1 hour before I felt like collapsing. March 18, 2014 at 12:32pm Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: It sounds painful! Do you mind me asking how you could experience the flower picking yourself? And sorry to be a pain to ask again but is methyl anthranilate the molecule that’s common to both jasmine and strawberry? Which other similar components do they share? It’s all so fascinating! 🙂 March 18, 2014 at 1:22pm Reply

        • Victoria: You can contact farms and arrange for a visit (although I have no idea about Chanel farms; I don’t have any experience with those.) I’m not sure how a person not connected with the industry can do it, but I imagine it’s possible.

          I don’t know which molecule specifically Sheldrake meant, but methyl anthranilate does occur in small amounts in jasmine and it smells like wild strawberries. On other components, I would have to check my perfume training notes, because I don’t remember off the top of my head. March 18, 2014 at 2:44pm Reply

          • Anne of Green Gables: Thank you very much! Please don’t hesitate to tell me if I ever become too annoying with my questions. I realised that I can be overexcited and become too demanding. Your comment below about JCE describing the Grasse jasmine as blackcurrant smell is also very interesting. March 18, 2014 at 4:38pm Reply

            • Victoria: Oh, no worries! 🙂 I’m happy to answer to the extent of my knowledge. March 18, 2014 at 5:17pm Reply

              • Anne of Green Gables: You’re always too kind and generous! 🙂 I had so much fun last night reading about methyl anthranilate. March 19, 2014 at 7:29am Reply

        • George: Anne, you might find this interesting: it’s an article listing what ingredients might be found in an artificial strawberry flavouring. http://www.theguardian.com/news/2006/apr/24/food.foodanddrink
          I’m not sure how seriously to take it however: is there really orris butter in a fast food milkshake? March 18, 2014 at 7:54pm Reply

          • Anne of Green Gables: Thank you for the interesting link, George. Just to make sure, you’re the same george (with lower case g), right? I was also surprised to see orris butter on the list but doing a bit of internet search proved that it is indeed used in raspberry and strawberry flavourings. But I thought that orris butter is really expensive… I’m really shocked that even toddlers drink soft drinks now. This is rather disturbing! March 19, 2014 at 7:43am Reply

            • George: Yes, I am now capitalised- the product of a browser reboot! March 19, 2014 at 10:53am Reply

            • JulienFromDijon: Hi Anne!
              Actually the scented orris yields have always been split between perfumery and flavoring food.
              What king of food, that’s a mystery.
              I suspect the “anis de Flavigny” to be flavored with it. It’s a famous French hard candy, a spheric 7mm candy, white, with an anisic and powdery sugar taste.

              Iris can now be produced faster, because a process has been created to skip the 2 years maturation phase. The price sinks, but it gives iris with a watery wishy-washy strengh, and none of the romantic whisp of the true iris pallida process, which is still expensive. (try “iris silver mist” from Lutens, or “après l’ondée” from Guerlain, to get close to the soapy, almost mellatic, then ingredibly creamy feel of it. March 20, 2014 at 11:23am Reply

              • Anne of Green Gables: Hi Julien, I’m not familiar with Anis de Flavigny but it sounds delicious. I’ve tried both ISM and Apre l’Ondee and love them. The way ISM changes from chilly, rooty top to smooth drydown with hints of sweetness is spectacular. March 20, 2014 at 4:36pm Reply

                • Victoria: I second Julien in recommending those candies. I wish there was a perfume that smelled like them. 🙂 March 20, 2014 at 5:07pm Reply

  • Mary: It makes me want to smell Chanel No 5 parfum. I tried only the eau de toilette and it smells very harsh. March 18, 2014 at 10:11am Reply

    • Victoria: The parfum is worth trying, because it’s closer to the original created in 1921 by Ernest Beaux. And it’s really wonderful. 🙂 March 18, 2014 at 12:30pm Reply

  • James: Thank you for sharing this link, Victoria. March 18, 2014 at 10:33am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re welcome, James! March 18, 2014 at 12:29pm Reply

  • James: What does everyone think of Chanel’s masculines? Any good? March 18, 2014 at 10:34am Reply

    • Victoria: They’re very good! I love Egoiste, Pour Monsieur, and Antaeus. Allure Pour Homme Blanche is also very good, if you like something more trendy. March 18, 2014 at 12:29pm Reply

      • Isis: Since we are on the subject (sorry for barging in), which of the Les Exclusifs are for men? And yes, of course, anyone can wear anyting they want, but I mean: which ones could men wear without making a political statement about gender roles? March 18, 2014 at 4:56pm Reply

        • Victoria: Coromandel would be my first choice, and also, Eau de Cologne, Sycomore, and maybe, Bel Respiro, although the latter turns a bit too floral and sweet. But Coromandel and Sycomore would definitely be perfect for a guy, even if he doesn’t feel like experimenting with perfumes too much. March 18, 2014 at 5:14pm Reply

        • Floramac: I haven’t smelled all of les exclusives, but certainly Coromandel, which I love, smells positively masculine to me at times. Bois des Iles, with its sandalwood base, would also be a good choice for a man. March 18, 2014 at 5:20pm Reply

          • Isis: Husband is getting a spritz of Coromandel in the morning. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. March 18, 2014 at 5:41pm Reply

        • James1051: Isis, do try No 19 EDT. Very green, not sweet at all, subtle. Suits me well for office wear. Perfect for Spring. March 18, 2014 at 5:58pm Reply

          • Isis: Thank you James! I actually wear no. 19 a lot myself, and if I had to make a top three of favorite perfumes no. 19 would be in it. I never thought of it on a man though (silly isn’t it), I imagine it would be lovely! March 18, 2014 at 6:17pm Reply

            • Isis: Meanwhile I am still in the process of my first encounter with Coromandel. I’ve never worn anything that so strongly evokes chocolate for me. Chocolate with woods and incense and chocolate en a bit of jasmine and some darkness and more chocolate. I don’t know if I want to eat myself of smoke myself right now. March 18, 2014 at 6:21pm Reply

              • Victoria: You make me want to go and put on Coromandel right this minute, and I’m craving chocolate too. 🙂 March 18, 2014 at 6:58pm Reply

                • Isis: 🙂 March 18, 2014 at 8:08pm Reply

  • Ashley Anstaett: So interesting, thank you for sharing! What is happening to all of the flower fields in Grasse? Why are they disappearing? What a beautifully fragrant profession, picking the flowers of the Grasse fields. I would love to bury my nose in those handfuls of Jasmine.

    I think the music in the beginning of this video may have inspired my outfit and drink of choice for today! (Striped boater top and polka dot skirt, strawberry-jasmine iced tea!) March 18, 2014 at 10:35am Reply

    • Victoria: The cost of labor in Europe is very high, making the agriculture a difficult enterprise. Jasmine and rose are also grown in places like India, Turkey and Egypt, where the costs are lower and the price of the final essence is more competitive. As a result, farmers sell their land or convert it into bungalows. This is a quick, simplistic explanation, but that’s at the heart of the problem. If fragrance companies didn’t work directly with the farmers, then I doubt the perfume raw material agriculture would survive in Grasse at all.

      The fields are gorgeous, especially when everything is blooming. And there is no thrill like seeing the rooms filled with flowers. Your outfit sounds gorgeous! What perfume are you wearing with it? March 18, 2014 at 12:28pm Reply

      • Ashley Anstaett: That makes a lot of sense, but it’s very sad. If the agriculture in Grasse continues to decline, won’t it change the scent of perfumes like Chanel No. 5, and I’m sure many others?

        I went with La Fille de Berlin today. It’s finally feeling like spring here in Missouri! I waffled between that and Balenciaga Paris (in keeping with the France theme), but ultimately decided it was a Fille de Berlin kind of day! Plus you get that kind of jammy rose that is so delightful, and felt in line with my jasmine strawberry tea. March 18, 2014 at 6:06pm Reply

        • Victoria: There are plenty of gorgeous essences from other parts of the world, so even if the change is inevitable, we simply have to explore other options. For instance, Italian jasmine is also beautiful as are the Indian and Egyptian varieties.

          La Fille de Berlin sounds like a great choice. 🙂 I wore a rose perfume today too, but it was Dior’s Gris Montaigne. Our spring has retreated a bit, so we have to pretend it’s here despite all appearances to the contrary. March 18, 2014 at 6:57pm Reply

  • Sarah: What a coincidence1 I’m wearing Chanel today, Allure. March 18, 2014 at 11:09am Reply

    • Victoria: I like Allure, especially the fruity-citrusy Eau de Toilette. March 18, 2014 at 12:24pm Reply

  • Ann: Picking those flowers looks like back-breaking work. I don’t mean to go all Cesar Chavez on everyone, but when I see sun-burnt, older women toiling, I immediately think their work must be very low paid if no men or young people are doing the same job. Victoria, do you know anything about the flower pickers of Grasse? Are they French locals or immigrants? Is it seasonal work, or is there always something to pick year-round? March 18, 2014 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: They are generally immigrants, or workers from Eastern/Southern Europe (although I should add that I don’t know who specifically picks flowers for Chanel.) It’s seasonal work, and it’s not the best paid job. Picking those flowers in the summer heat is hard work, especially since jasmine bushes are low and you have to bend down. Your back is sore for days! In the past, the workers used to be locals + the Italian migrant pickers, since the local community was never large enough to do all of the work. But some older perfumers remember helping pick flowers as children. Jasmine is actually quite delicate, so you have to be very careful when you pick it. March 18, 2014 at 12:23pm Reply

  • George: I just found out that Jean-Honore Fragonard came from Grasse (there must be a link between him and that other Fragonard); no wonder his style is so pink and girly. I guess about 2 percent of the total formula for no.5 parfum is Jasmine Absolute, which seems pretty good considering the range of ingredients. I love the set design for the Christopher Sheldrake talks section of this video: everything seems as placed and proportionally perfect as anything Chanel produces. March 18, 2014 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Pink, girly and frilly. I have never appreciated Fragonard until I started learning more about Grasse and his background.

      These videos are nicely done. When I watched similar ones from Guerlain, the corporate shadow of LVMH was too strong for my taste. Of course, Chanel’s videos are also about marketing and branding, but as you said, it all fits with the aesthetic of the house. March 18, 2014 at 1:05pm Reply

  • Truehollywood: Chanel no 5 Parfum was the first fragrance I ever bought for myself. I will always love it. March 18, 2014 at 1:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: First loves are the ones that never fade. 🙂 March 18, 2014 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Ferris: This video makes me want to go smell N°5 parfum. I need to compare the modern vs the vintage. I love the smell of strawberries and wish I had a batch or garden full of jasmine to make my own comparison as the weather warms in the upcoming months of Spring. I am skeptical of the amount of genuine jasmine and rose essence that it contains. I’m sure it’s enhanced with something. I mean those fields can only produce so much absolute in a years time/ growing season. But it smells great anyway. Thanks for sharing Victoria! March 18, 2014 at 1:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Replaying the video, I realize that he meant that the jasmine from Grasse specifically smells of strawberries, rather than all jasmine essences. Jean-Claude Ellena, on the other hand, has written that jasmine from Grasse smells of black currant. Either way, it’s a gorgeous complex material, regardless of its provenance. I just diluted some Egyptian jasmine absolute, and it smells so good, I want to nibble on the blotter. 🙂

      It’s very likely that the jasmine in Chanel uses jasmine absolutes from other countries, not just France. But even if it’s a tiny amount, the fact that Chanel maintains the Mul farm is already a good thing. It’s part of Grasse’s heritage, and while I understand why farmers switch to other business ventures, it’s sad that the tradition disappears. March 18, 2014 at 2:08pm Reply

  • SallyM: Very interesting indeed Victoria – thank you for posting. I’m reminded of the women who pick the tea on plantations in China and India. As a tea merchant, I was lucky enough to go on a plantation tour and spent some time picking the tea leaves. Its a similar process – have to do it in the early morning, and only get the top 2 leaves and bud. Its incredibly hard on your fingers, not to mention your shoulders and back. And like you said above, I’m sure its lowly paid. The one thing I did notice though was that the women all seemed very happy and content – I didn’t get the impression there that they were “slave labour” thank goodness.
    I do hope that the Grasse fields can maintain – what a loss if they were to be gobbled up by “progress.” March 18, 2014 at 1:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, you’re right, the working conditions on this particular farm are quite decent, and the same goes for many other farms in France. I can’t judge about the other places, since I haven’t observed them closely. Since this business is so small (nowhere near tea or coffee!), the chances are higher that the farms are owned by the local communities and farmers work alongside the pickers. In Nice I met an elderly Italian lady who came to France as a young woman to work, and she said that despite the hard work, she preferred picking flowers to all other agricultural jobs, because of “the beautiful scents.”

      How fascinating that you were involved in tea and even visited the plantations. Seeing how something is grown and collected adds so much to one’s appreciation. By the way, I recently watched an interesting documentary on BCC called The Tea Trail with Simon Reeve, and it was very interesting. He looked at the big business of producing tea in Africa and didn’t hesitate to discuss the darker sides of it. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. March 18, 2014 at 2:19pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Is it true that roses and raspberries share similar components? Like so many things that are gradually vanishing nowadays, it is my understanding that real estate developers are taking over the fields of Grasse. March 18, 2014 at 5:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: They do. They share components called damascones and ionones; the latter is present in violets too, which is why the rose-violet pairing is so harmonious. March 18, 2014 at 5:26pm Reply

  • Austenfan: When I heard that Jasmine shares facets with strawberry, my first thought was that No.5 is in that case the first fruity floral.
    Banter aside; I loved this video. Sheldrake seems such a gentleman, and I always go slightly weak at the knees when I hear a Provençal accent.
    The Grasse area seems very built upon, small wonder, since it is so close to Cannes and the Mediterranean. I’m glad to see that so far this farm is surviving.

    A couple of years ago I watched a documentary about the Auvergne, one of the more rural, and less populated areas in France. They cultivate daffodils there for the perfume industry. It even showed students training as perfumers making a visit to the fields. Very different flower, different way of harvesting, but the same dedication to a good product. March 18, 2014 at 5:57pm Reply

    • Austenfan: Thanks for the link. I first got a chance to sniff No.5 extrait a couple of months ago. While I’ve never been that fond of the EDT the extrait made me swoon. (But I think I’ve mentioned this before). March 18, 2014 at 5:59pm Reply

      • Victoria: Yes, the difference is striking, and the extrait makes you realize what the fuss is all about. March 18, 2014 at 6:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Auvergne is a great place to visit in the spring when all of the daffodils are in bloom, and the scent is really indescribable. I don’t know if you had a chance to try L’Artisan Fleur de Narcisse, but it was one of the best daffodil based perfumes. Otherwise, Vol de Nuit by Guerlain is my other favorite. March 18, 2014 at 6:52pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I’m nuts about daffodils, both because of the smell and the flower. I was sort of salivating when that part of the documentary was shown. Mind you they had been discussing cheeses before, another favourite subject.

        Unfortunately I’ve never sniffed Fleur de Narcisse. March 18, 2014 at 7:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: I would be doing that too, especially since I’d be hard pressed to choose between flowers and cheese. 🙂 March 19, 2014 at 8:07am Reply

          • Austenfan: Cheese tastes better! March 19, 2014 at 4:41pm Reply

  • Aisha: I love seeing informative videos like these! Thank you!

    I was most impressed that the factory was right there on the farm. I was wondering how they got the picked flowers to the factory before the flowers started turning too brown. March 18, 2014 at 6:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: I was too, and I suppose that it’s an essential arrangement, otherwise, the blossoms rot and the essence picks up the unpleasant scents from the damaged petals. March 18, 2014 at 6:57pm Reply

      • Aisha: A little off-topic … I tried a sample of Chanel Chance Eau Tendre today. I found it to be very lovely. But then the scent completely faded within two hours, which is very unusual for my chemistry. Most fragrances last at least five hours on me. Candy lasts at least 8. Is this because of the fragrance, itself, or is it because of the method of application? My fragrance sample came in a mini-rollerball style. Would it have more staying power as a spray?

        Again, just curious. 🙂 March 18, 2014 at 8:05pm Reply

        • Victoria: Maybe you didn’t apply enough? Chance and its ilk are usually impossible to scrub off (on me, at least!) March 19, 2014 at 8:09am Reply

          • Aisha: That could be. I’m always afraid I’ll apply too much, especially when it comes to Chanel fragrances. The first time I tried No. 5 and Coco, I think I over-applied them because they almost knocked me out with their power. That turned me off of Chanel fragrances for a lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ong time. I tested the waters again with Cristalle and Coco Mademoiselle several years ago, and now I’m a Chanel junkie. 😉 I think I purchase a Chanel sample or two every other month or so. I love their Les Exclusifs collection! March 19, 2014 at 9:57am Reply

            • Victoria: The quality of their perfumes is certainly excellent, and even if some of them like Chance aren’t that new, they smell much better than many other similarly priced fragrances on the market. I smell a lot of Chance in Brussels, by the way. March 19, 2014 at 3:11pm Reply

  • Elena: Interesting! I love learning more about the technical side of perfumery. I wore Bois des Iles parfum today (from a sample) and I wish I could grab that FB from that gorgeous photo! It’s so sublime… it just made my whole day that much better. March 18, 2014 at 11:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, the parfum version of Bois des Iles is sublime. The EDT gets to the similar drydown, but it takes far more time. I always wish I could speed it up a bit. March 19, 2014 at 8:16am Reply

  • Elia: I think that very much a misquote in the article, Sheldrake certainly doesn’t quote Chanel numbers.
    It was actually Joy parfum that was famed to contain 10.000 Jasmine flowers and 12 dozen Roses. March 19, 2014 at 4:02am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sure it’s not a misquote by ELLE, since Chanel’s press releases often mention the same thing. If Jean Patou can make up this sort of stuff, why can’t Chanel? Anyway, in practical terms it doesn’t mean much. March 19, 2014 at 8:20am Reply

      • Elia: hahha, true. And it doesn’t mean much in practical terms,
        but ‘1,000 jasmine flowers and 12 roses’ are not amounts to boast and seemed too close in primary figures to the Joy press.
        I’d never read the similar Chanel press, I wonder if it actually says only ’12 roses’, that would be funny 🙂 March 19, 2014 at 12:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: I heard it at the Chanel counter and thought that it meant there was hardly any rose in No 5. 🙂 March 19, 2014 at 3:26pm Reply

  • JulienFromDijon: 6 millions of jasmine flowers for a 1 kilogram of absolute
    makes 6 000 of flower for 1 milligram of absolute
    Let say 1 milligram equals 1 milliliter here (as 1mg water does*). It will make things easier.
    (6 000 000 / 1kg) = (6 000 / 1mg) = (6 000 / 1ml)

    If Chanel uses 1000 jasmine flowers, then there is one sixth of ml in a whole 30ml bottle.
    In the result, jasmine absolute makes only 0,6% of the formula. (with alcohol, water, and perfumes)
    (proportion of jasmine absolute = 1/6 x 1/30ml = 1/180 = 0,00555 =~ 0,6% of the formula)

    It’s astoundingly few.
    Actually the 0,5% of jasmine oil reminds me of IFRA restrictions. Such rules hit extrait stronger :/
    So I don’t put the blame on Chanel (or Guerlain). At least for the caped proportion.
    Because we are still taken as stupid when they let us hunt for the effect of this droplet on the whole formula. They let our imagination run free.
    In Germany you can buy 10% indian jasmine absolute in the corner of organic shops quite easily. (~15€ for 5ml, brand “Primavera” or something)
    Ok, it’s not Grasse jasmine of top notch quality, but still!

    * 1kg = the weight of 1l of water = the space of 10cm x 10cm x 10cm
    Those graduations were created as such under Louis the XIV for normalization.
    1l of water is 1kg of water, even if liter is used for volumic space, and kilogram is used for weight.
    As oil is lighter than water (it floats on rose water), then you get a little more than 1ml for the the weight of 1mg. (highschool remembrance : is that called density?)

    If, say, the density of jasmine absolute is 0,80 , then you need a bit less flower to get 1ml than for 1mg, we’re closer to 5000 flower / 1ml, and n°5 a a little more jasmine that expected : 0,667%

    (btw, you wrote 6 0000 000. I think there’s is mistakenly an extra zero.) March 20, 2014 at 4:04am Reply

  • JulienFromDijon: To sum it up :
    – it’s easier to think with ml.
    (ml is our scale for perfume bottle,
    (and we never spray liter of pure fragrance oil!)
    – 6000 jasmine flower for 1mg
    – ~5000 jasmine flower for 1ml
    – between 0,56% and 0,67% in no5 extract
    (if my calculation are not too wrong)

    😀 Now let’s find what the add for “Joy” was saying.
    10 600 jasmine flowers for 30ml? Ok, then, I’ve been mean to Chanel, 6000 flowers is not that few.

    And 23K€ per kilogram => 23€ per milligram

    If you want to create a perfume with just Rose absolute at the concentration of Joy, it will cost you 50€.
    10 600 flowers / 6000 flowers needed for one milligram = 1,7666 gr in the whole 30ml of joy
    23€ x 1,76mg = 40,63€
    +20% VAT = 48,75€ [Cause perfume brands don’t pay the VAT, they buy absolute from professional to professional, so I don’t think they include it when they quote the price of absolute] March 20, 2014 at 4:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Just glancing at these calculations, I have to take off my hat to you, Julien! 🙂 But don’t forget that even if the number of flowers is correct, it’s only the flowers from Grasse. I’m fairly certain that Chanel also uses rose and jasmine essences from other non-Grasse sources in its formula. March 20, 2014 at 7:05am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Sorry to butt in but I have a question, Victoria. How much difference would using these small amounts of Grasse jasmine and rose absolutes make in the final quality of the perfume. If you replace them with absolutes of different origin, would you be able to detect the change in the smell? I’m wondering if Chanel adds them for symbolic/marketing reasons or really for the fragrance quality. March 20, 2014 at 9:16am Reply

        • Victoria: It depends on whom you ask. Some perfumers think that nobody would notice, others claim that a difference would be there. March 20, 2014 at 9:22am Reply

          • Anne of Green Gables: Thank you. That’s interesting. March 20, 2014 at 10:04am Reply

    • Anne of Green Gables: I derived similar numbers as you can see.

      Jasmine:
      6,000,000 : 1 kg = 1,000 : x kg
      x = 0.167 g

      Rose:
      1,600,000 : 1 kg = 12 : x kg
      x = 0.0075 g

      As a first order approximation, assume density of the whole perfume to be 0.8 g/ml* then 30 ml of perfume would weigh 24 g. Therefore, the perfume will contain 0.7% of jasmine absolute and 0.03% of rose absolute from Grasse.

      *Ethanol has density of 0.789 g/ml, jasmine absolute: 0.95 – 0.97 g/ml and rose absolute: 0.96 g/ml.

      What do you think of the quality of Primavera essential oils? I frequently go to Bioshops and smell them. March 20, 2014 at 9:06am Reply

      • JulienFromDijon: Hi Anne! I hadn’t see that you had already calculated. (I don’t read all the comments)

        You get much faster to the result, indeed! I think what we learn is… it’s not easy to write down a calculus with a computer keyboard 😀
        Joke apart, if tomorrow I remember 0,7% in no5 and 6000 jasmin for a ml of absolute, I’ll be happy.

        Contrary to Victoria, I don’t think other jasmine absolute is added.
        Jasmine flowers are like unfortunate souls burnt in the composition hellfire in the first seconds. A pleasant greasiness remain, but all flowers are lost.
        The actual extrait don’t smell that much of jasmine and rose, it’s abstract. No5 has taken a serious ambery twist in the drydown, not that much civetty or musky.
        In the EDT, I used to catch violet and violet leaves and orris, that are mostly gone in the actual one.

        Primavera essential oils?
        I very like them.
        You can indulge yourself with a natural perfume at bargain price. I have the same experience with tea, when I buy 6 flavors and the bill is only 30€, compared to a full bottle of “la vie est belle” it feels so rewarding.
        I have a “what you buy is what you smell” point of view about their oils. I’m not a professional, I can’t compare qualities, but I still enjoy a lot to smell the real thing.
        I love their myrtle, diluted indian jasmine, and was close to buy their orange flower absolute, rose wood, and diluted bulgarian rose absolute. (Their rose always shut down my nose, 1 second of heaven, then noseblind to the lovely extra facets that makes the real thing so nice)
        (I love the beastly animalic drydown of real egyptian Jasmine.)
        But I don’t think it’s that normal when Ylang-ylang smells like cough sirup, and when sandalwood has no rosy tone.
        Still it’s nice to smell the unalloyed real thing.
        Flowers especially, are always mixed with other stuff in perfume, it’s nice to have a “tête à tête” with them. Only you and her.
        You can then pick up the nice parts that can’t be imitated, the nice part that science successfully duplicate, and like a real person you can start to love even their flaws. March 20, 2014 at 11:56am Reply

        • Victoria: Not sure, I smell both jasmine and rose in No 5 parfum. In fact, I’m wearing it right now, and they’re distinctive enough. In the original version of No 5, there was about 4% of jasmine absolute and .5% of rose oil. I’m sure the quantity is lower today, but I can’t imagine that it’s completely negligible. I really would take the Chanel marketing claims with a big grain of salt. No perfumer would openly reveal the proportions in their formulas, and Chanel, especially notorious for its secrecy, would be the last one to do so. March 20, 2014 at 1:29pm Reply

          • JulienFromDijon: Yes, jasmine and rose are there.
            The misconception must be to await true to life jasmine and rose. No5 was meant to be abstract, with Coco Chanel saying a woman should not smell of flowers. Advertising no5 as quintessential of jasmine and rose is misleading.
            Jasmine and rose are here, but no5 feels like a whole.
            And compared to 90% of the classics, I fully admit that the actual no5 extrait feels great and loyal enough to its original idea.. March 20, 2014 at 2:54pm Reply

            • Victoria: Agreed! The abstraction is part of No 5’a beauty, and as you mentioned, it’s more than the sum of its parts. March 20, 2014 at 5:09pm Reply

        • Anne of Green Gables: I wholeheartedly agree with you on tea and essential oils (or incense). Burning incense or diffusing aroma oil while having tea is one of the best ways to relax in the evening. They are relatively economical way to enjoy and explore different scents. They also have health benefits. 🙂 March 20, 2014 at 4:45pm Reply

  • Jaime: Thanks for sharing that video! Very informative. It makes me respect Chanel for how they go through the effort of making sure their ingredients will produce an accurate perfume with fewer unknown variables. March 20, 2014 at 1:57pm Reply

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