The history of Grasse and perfumery was not very familiar to me. I was aware that the middle east, Iran and Turkey where amongst those who first initiated the mechanics of perfumery. When I was invited by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Le Labo to discover and learn more on the cultivation of roses, the origins of perfumery and a wonderful introduction to the great ideology behind Le Labo product range, I instantly moved my trips around and agreed on this project.
Le Labo and Fairmont Hotels partnered in showcasing an exclusive line of in-room amenities that features Rose 31 product line. A strong and powerful scent of the rosa centifolia and the project involved finding out the history, culture and the harvesting of the beautiful flower.
Thank you to the Monaco Tourism Board for flying me in from Nice airport via helicopter into Fairmont Monte Carlo and thank you to Fairmont Monte Carlo and Le Labo for inviting me to Monaco. The journey was a quick 3 days, including a full day trip to Grasse, the rose fields and the rose factory where we learned about the rose centifolia and on the harvesting process which is done the same day the roses would be picked from the fields and ended with a lovely lunch outdoor under the chapel’s arbor and at night, dined at the famous Nobu restaurant.
I would also like to say thank Monsieur Xavier Brochet from Firmenich and Monsieur Alain Rebuffed, the owner of the fields for taking the time to explain thoroughly the process and the history of the roses scents and other plants.
Staying at fairmont Monte Carlo
The Fairmont Monte Carlo is 7 minutes away by helicopter (I was not nervous at all…not really) and 45 minutes away by car from the airport. The collaboration between Le Labo and Fairmont Hotels comes in no surprise, for 5 years Le Labo has partnered with Fairmont Hotels across the world to be their number one amenities brand. The 4 star hotel is in the heart of the city with fantastic views of the Formula One race track from one side and the full sea view on the other. It has the best of both worlds with the famous Nikki Beach Club on the roof top and a legendary casino on the ground floor and Nobu with Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, celebrity Chef and owner of Nobu restaurants.
The Journey with Le Labo in Grasse
It was an early start, 7am early, a 50 minute drive into the perfume capital of the world, Grasse. Each season, flowers bloom, from Jasmine to Lavender and roses, most particular the centifolia. The industry today though has shrunk dramatically due to shortage of land because of real estate development and extreme labor costs because the time of season of the harvest for the roses, does not fall on any holidays where part time labor could be used for picking. We were there in particular the first week of May to learn about the Rosa Centifolia, one of the region’s popular flower. The moment you step on the fields, you smell the strongest rose scent which almost can get you drunk on roses!
Picking the roses doesn’t sound as romantic as it is. There are thorns involved, a lot of back work and mobility. On good days, you might win with the weather, but on sunny and hot days, someone has to do the job. Around 60,000 roses make 1 ounce of rose oil! We were invited inside the factory where pictures where not allowed and got a thorough explanation on the process and time it takes producing the oil.
About Le Labo
Le Labo Fragrances is a New York-based perfume house which has become known for its collection of hand-made perfumes and home scents available in a limited number of stores and labs around the world. Le Labo composes with some of the world’s most creative and talented perfumers and uses only the highest quality raw ingredients. Edouard Roschi and Fabrice Penot founded Le Labo in 2006 after working as perfumers at luxury beauty brand Armani. Since then they have traveled the world seeking incredible scents and inspiration for their distinctive products.