Perfumery, and its birthplace in Grasse, have been awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO, joining the organization’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
The list aims to preserve the world’s most precious traditions. Grasse’s perfumery was recognized by UNESCO for “savoir-fair” that includes the cultivation of perfume plants, the knowledge and processing of raw materials and the art of perfume composition.
Temperature, soil quality and sunlight make Grasse uniquely suited to nurture the flowers at the heart of perfumery creation; the area is particularly known for the Rose de Mai and jasmine, cultivated for Firmenich and many French luxury houses.
At its Naturals Center of Excellence in Grasse, Firmenich utilizes technologies such as CO2 extraction and traditional processes to process around 500 tons of raw materials, sourced from around the world. These include rose, jasmine, mimosa, lavender and violet leaves from the Grasse area. The company also co-founded Grasse Expertise, to preserve the unique expertise of the region at every stage of perfumery production and creation, from lower cultivation and ingredient extraction to scientific research and supply.
“Since the 16th century, Grasse has been the cradle of perfumery and the global guardian of its unique heritage. With Firmenich’s Naturals Center of Excellence in Grasse, we are proud to be part of this exceptional tradition,” said Armand de Villoutreys, president, perfumery and ingredients. “UNESCO’s world heritage status guarantees that we can safeguard Grasse’s collective savoir-faire and natural ingredients for generations to come.”
“Having grown up in Grasse, the heart of perfumery, I carry with me a deep respect and understanding of flowers and nature, and the beauty they bring to fragrance,” added perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin. “I love to spend time in flower fields to feed my inspiration, while sharing the essence of Grasse with the next generation of perfumers to keep the magic of Grasse alive.”