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Editing Nature: a Look Inside Laboratoire Monique Remy

By: Kelly Frederick
Posted: January 5, 2009

“Naturals are an integral part of our perfumers’ creations,” says Judith Gross, IFF’s global director of fragrance innovation. “ The company has seen a notable shift to true luxury. The desire for perfumers to use sought-after raw materials, especially naturals, continues to increase.” 

One of the key players behind the production of new and refined naturals is Bernard Toulemonde, general manager of IFF’s Naturals facility, Laboratoire Monique Rémy (LMR). “We can take a rose essence or a patchouli essence and remove components to accentuate the other facets of the scent,” Toulemonde explains. “Today we are able to produce materials that are pure, fully natural—but not necessarily containing all the nature. This is our specialty.”

Refining Traditional Naturals

IFF’s LMR often fields requests from perfumers seeking custom-modified extracts. “Each demand is different,” says Toulemonde, “but is very often associated with a perfumer’s vision.” At any one time, IFF’s LMR could be handling dozens of such requests, for instance producing colorless extracts via molecular distillation or removing some of the dirtier notes from patchouli. Often, an IFF perfumer will use the resulting modification on just one particular project. In addition, IFF’s LMR is able to remove allergens from materials via thermal and molecular distillation. All told, each year IFF’s LMR produces eight to 10 new products for IFF perfumers.