The most expensive jasmine

"It's the most expensive jasmine in the world," the farmer explains. "It's a sweeter scent, less aggressive and softer than exotic jasmine. It would be a different perfume if the flowers were cultivated elsewhere."

— Columnist Geneviève Roberts of The Independent talks to Joseph Mul, a farmer at Chanel's jasmine fields in Grasse, about the jasmine grown for Chanel No. 5. Read more in The sweet smell of success.

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24 Comments

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  1. RusticDove says:

    How awesome is that? That conjures up such romantic notions in my mind. *Sigh*

    • Robin says:

      I would love to stand in a field of jasmine, wouldn’t that be wonderful? To pick the petals, not so much ;-)

      • RusticDove says:

        Exactly – just to stand there, in a fragrant field in the French country side and – inhale. Ahhh.

  2. OperaFan says:

    Robin – Thanks for the link to this great article. It’s nice to be reminded of some of the roots from which the fragrances we love begin and the amount of dedication that goes into ensuring their perpetuity.

    • Robin says:

      Thank Ms. Roberts, I didn’t do a thing :-)

  3. Too bad they can’t use as much of it as they used to…

    I swear that ever since the announcement about the IFRA regs rolled through I have seen an uptick in articles just like this one–articles about the amount of natural flowers in perfume or specific perfumes, articles about jasmine in particular. But maybe I’m just more aware of it now.

    • Robin says:

      You did say that they claim the amount of jasmine in 5 will not change, right? Who knows if it’s true, but it’s what they say.

      • Robin says:

        Oops, meant “see that” not “say that”. Sorry.

  4. SmokeyToes says:

    I smelled pure Grasse Jasmine perfume once. A fragrance customer of mine brought in a bottle, needing assistance with decanting (she was elderly with frail hands).
    I have to say, the smell was heavenly! IMHO, the most exquisite jasmine I’ve smelled. And the disclaimer is, I am not a huge fan of jasmine either…

    • Robin says:

      Sounds wonderful! I have a feeling I might like “aggressive” jasmine better myself, but who knows.

      • SmokeyToes says:

        I’m not sure, but I think Joy (although it’s lovely) has a certain strong jasmine note, but that’s a jasmine my nose can’t handle.

        I can appreciate Joy in small doses, but can’t wear it otherwise I’m bedridden with a migraine and nausea within minutes….

        • Robin says:

          See, that’s one of my favorites, although actually don’t think of it as an aggressive jasmine. Assume it will be ruined now via reformulation — so maybe it will turn into something you can wear!

          • CynthiaW says:

            Just the thought of Joy or No 5 being ruined in reformulation is enough to make me want to cry – I don’t understand why somebody, anybody doesn’t just stand up and say “hey, we’re not going to ruin our fragrance – spray at your own risk”?

          • Robin says:

            I don’t get it either.

      • laken says:

        I confess that I like the “aggressive” exotic Chinese..?.. jasmine best!

  5. Flora says:

    Oh, I would give just about anything to smell those fields!

    I have to say that I wish that not all of it was not marked for Chanel No. 5, a scent I have never really liked – all that jasmine beauty buried under aldehydes and too much powder. Oh well at least it still exists and it’s the real thing.

    • Robin says:

      Ah well, the rest of us have to live with “exotic” jasmines ;-)

  6. lilydale aka Natalie says:

    I would like to gambol across the jasmine fields, pretty please — then take a nap on that bed of oakmoss that Ellena mentioned a few months ago…

  7. annemarie says:

    Chanel seems to regularly take us out to the fields of Grasse to meet smiling, contented farmers who dedicate their lives to the purity of the jasmine supplied for No. 5. Contrasting the agricultural origins with the opulent end product is always part of the story. We are meant to feel good because not only is the jasmine the best that money can buy, it is produced for us with love. This is what Chanel wants us to think about when we ponder the making of fragrance, not all the other stuff they’d rather you not know about.

    Okay, I’ll stop. I love No. 5 and had a delicious No. 5 day only yesterday. One of the reasons I love perfume is that I allow myself to suspend cynicism. (But not skepticism; never that.)

    • Robin says:

      Yes, quite so…they have a very effective PR machine at Chanel, and the jasmine fields in Grasse do get mentioned on a regular basis. They took a whole group of bloggers there a couple years ago.

      • Joe says:

        You know, annemarie, I’m pretty cynical myself when I see pieces like this. I don’t know why. My first thought is: “oh sure, is this grown-with-LOVE jasmine really ALL THAT? mmm hmmm.”

        In any case, it’s a nice fantasy, and conjures nice images, which is obviously the point. Part of me also wonders how eco-friendly this agricultural commodity is, compared to other crops, in terms of fertilizer/pesticide use.

        • annemarie says:

          Yes, there must be a large environmental impact involved in perfume production, in terms of both synthetic and natural ingredients. Not something you hear discussed much.

          • Perfume Monkey says:

            The amount of jasmine used in No. 5 is probably infinitesimal, so small in fact as not be there at all. In my opinion the field in Grasse is used for marketing and advertising purposes mainly.
            As for environmental impact of growing plants for perfume… do you say the same for food production? If the farmer uses sustainable organic practices, the land that is being used for plant production can actually be improved. There is always an environmental impact, but when weighing the consequences of manufacturing petro chemicals which most perfume scents are made from, against working with the land in a natural way there are glaring differences.

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