This is probably about as close as I’m going to get to the American Beauty shot. The pink blooms are headily-scented May roses that I watched being hand-picked this morning in a field in Provence, and then accompanied on the first stage of their journey to becoming a small part of Chanel No 5 Parfum. Happily, I got out of the vat before the solvent was poured in. Afterwards I had a long chat with the very dapper, very elegant Jacques Polge, the man who has been the Chanel nose for over three decades and who created the Coco Mademoiselle fragrance. It was interesting to talk to a ‘smell professional’ from a field other than wine, even if he did say he can’t stand the way wine is discussed. Why? “It’s so imprecise. People talk about things [he means fruits and flowers I think] that aren’t actually there. When we talk about perfume, we’re talking about ingredients that actually exist in the blend.” I should probably have challenged him a bit later when got to comparing distillations of jasmines and ylang-ylang and he began reaching for other descriptors. But that’s esprit d’escalier for you.
A brilliant day, and I can’t wait to write the interview up for the Telegraph’s Luxury magazine. The only downer was that storms in London meant a loooooooong delay at Nice airport, which was full of loud and melty-faced Americans making their way home from the Cannes Film Festival. Oh, and Frasier, who was very quiet but had serious, and I really mean serious, like a juggernaut’s-worth (how does one family even have that much to pack?), quantities of baggage. I’m sorry, I didn’t take a photo of his luggage
trolley vehicle. I’m brazen but not quite that much.
Over and out –