- Perfume Flowers
Although the French perfume industry has moved towards synthetic scents, the natural floral sources of perfume are still popular and very highly sought-after. The flower-growing fields around Grasse are much smaller than in the "good old days", but still looked after with the same care and devotion.
As recently as 1975, there were 2200 flower growers; today (1997), there are 120 growing roses and twenty-some growing Jasmine. Part of the decline is because the synthetic creations are becoming more sophisticated and subtle. That special quality of fresh scent is still appreciated, however, by some of the greatest parfumeurs in the world.
The Jasmin Grandiforum was introduced to Grasse from Nepal around 1560. It flowers daily mid July to mid September. If the winter is mild and a bit damp, the spring-time scent of the flowers will be stronger.
It takes from 8 to 10,000 flowers to make a kilogram, and a delicate-fingered person can pick a half-kilo an hour. Todays small fields produce about 30 kg a day. Jasmine is a delicate flower, requiring year-round care by humans, rather than machines. While roses sell for around 30F/kg, jasmine goes for over 170F/kg, with an additional 20F/kg for the special shipping required.