Grasse Perfumes

Day 4 – Raw Materials & Suppliers

Posted by ANA.

As I anticipated from my previous experience, walking to school takes me about 40 to 45 minutes walk with few moments of rest to catch my breath and rest my legs, as there are many sections which are UP-HILL!!

Today, I arrived the FIRST at class. The teacher was still preparing her material and structure of her class when I arrived. I asked her whether for her it was better I stayed outside the classroom or would it be OK to be inside the classroom. She did not mind I was there, but she would not be talking to me at that time as she was concentrating in the preparation of the lessons of today.

Today, we learned to identify many categories of RAW MATERIALS – this means:

  • beans,
  • resins
  • plant
  • Wood
  • pods
  • seeds
  • twigs or branches
  • root

In that line of materials we could visually and by their aroma identify: Tonca bean, Myrrh, Frankincense, Benzoin, Sandalwood, Opoponax, Amber seed (Musk), Orris (Iris), Inmortel (Helichrysone, Everlasting), Evernia (Oakmoss).

Raw Materials
Frankincense, Myrrh, Tonka bean, Benzoin, Oakmoss or Evernia, Inmortel or Helychrisum, Opoponax, Seaweed, Ambret seed, Orris or Iris

This experience was very different. Sometimes it is hard to identify the odours, as the material is solid and needs rubbing, or burning or dilution into alcohol or other solvent. While this material is processed by Distillation or by an Extract from Combustion and Filtering and Dilution.

Appreciating raw materials like wood, seeds, resins, roots, twigs, flowers

Again, we learned the different origins of these raw materials and which of the original countries, if the material is encountered in many regions or countries, is the best quality.

From Left bottom to top to Right bottom to top: Tonka bean, Sandalwood, Ambret seed, Immortel, then, Evernia, Myrrh, Opoponax, Benzoin, Frankincense, Orris unpeeled

There was also resolution of inquiries about pricing. Generally speaking, the prices of essential oil or absolute, are calculated by 1 litre or 1 kg. Each minimum price is calculated per kg.

We learned the difference in process between a RESINOID and a CONCRETE.

A RESINOID is an extract from a dried material. A resin is produced by trees.

A CONCRETE is an extract from a fresh material such as fresh flowers.

Then, Elisabeth Proal gave us a lot of information about important people in the industry and their Associations,  suppliers and traders, processors, and transformers in Grasse. She is connecting us into the perfume industry here in Grasse.


  • PAYAN BERTRAND – Family Company. Tomorrow, Wednesday 15 May, we are going to visit this organisation and people
  • Jean-Claude Elena : Director of Les Amis de MIP (Musée International du la Parfum)
  • Christian Mahé : Director of PRODARON, which is a Syndicate for Aromatic Products
  • Le Savoir-faire du Pays de Grasse: People who join this association are:
    • Agriculturalists 
    • Chemists
    • Engineers
    • Perfumers


  • B.H.L.
  • Diffusions Aromatiques, directed by F Gasque – Indurern
  • AACE: Associate Allied Chemical Europe by C Paillan
  • BERNARDI (Sappa P)
  • MPE: Matière Premier Essentials (SCARPA)
  • ADL: Astier Desnaret (Destournieux)
  • Perfumer Supply House : Christine distribute from ROBERTET)
  • Perfumer Apprentice for USA market

PROCESSORS AND TRANSFORMERS: They do Extracts and Blends, but not finished products

  • IFF (International Flavours Fragrances) – LMR (Laboratoire Monique Remy): Monique Remy started with Chanel. Now she is retired.
  • ALBERT VIREILE (Givaudan)
  • MANE
  • Absolute aromas : For aromatherapy raw materials by David Tomlinson. (Moved out of Grasse).
  • BIOLANDES: Goutiere, near Bordeaux – Le Sen


  • From balsamic family
  • From citrus family
    • From the fruit – it is always a COLD PRESS / Centrifugation Expression
    • From the flower, leaf or twigs – it is always steam distillation or solvent extract
  • Orange – bitter flower family
  • Greens family
  • Jasmine family
  • Ambery, woods Family (CISTUS LABDANUM): it has different ways of processing, depending on the part of the plant:
    • Boiling – water plus extraction
    • Boiling – water plus distillation
    • Boiling – water special process
    • Steam distillation (essential oil)
    • Solvent Extraction (concrete, absolute, special process: Dynamone (Givaudan), Cistus Absolute (SIS)
  • Roses Family
  • Spicy Family
  • Aldehydes and acetates from natural sources.

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