LWSY ARCHIVE Le Labo Fragrances Rose Harvest in Grasse, France
The cult fragrance brand Le Labo may be based in New York, but that doesn’t stop them from sourcing the most covetable rose for their signature Rose 31 Fragrance. I was invited to experience the key ingredient’s harvest, the centifolia rose during its annual harvest in Grasse which lasts around 3-4 weeks in May dependant on the climate.
Known for its collection of hand-made perfumes, body products and candles, Edouard Roschi and Fabrice Penot founded Le Labo in 2006. After meeting at Armani, they left to create Le Labo, and travelled the world seeking incredible scents and inspiration for their fragrances, using only the highest quality ingredients. Their boutiques have a unique raw identity, and can be found in the most relevant parts of their chosen cities from Berlin to Tokyo, London, San Francisco, NYC, Hong Kong, LA and Paris.
My experience with Le Labo began with checking into the Fairmont Monte-Carlo Hotel the night before our day in the rose fields. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts first partnered with Le Labo in 2011 to launch a new in-room amenity line using Rose 31, a hallmark scent of Le Labo. As I settled into the hotel, I was encouraged to try my personalised bottles of Rose 31 in my suite the night before our day in the field. For a girl who left her home (and bath) in London for a new life in Paris (with no bath) let me tell you, many bubble baths were had in my 3 day stay at the Fairmont.
We woke at first light for our hour long drive to the Grasse. The fields were heavy with morning dew and the sun was beginning to burn through the clouds. We took our time to take in the incredible scent of the fields, which only got stronger as the sun began to rise. We knew we were walking on treasured soil.
There are just a few fields left on the outskirts of Grasse still growing the centifolia rose. Dior, Chanel and Hermes still cultivate their roses just down the road. Le Labo’s relationship with the rose farmer we visited is incredibly important to sustain the signature Rose 31 Fragrance that has become such cult fragrance. We were shown around the fields and invited to walk to meet the pickers who’d begun their day in a field close by.
“We believe the soul of a fragrance comes from the intention with which it is created and the attention with which it is prepared.” Fabric Penot
The owner of the rose farm, Alain Rebuffed & our guide from Firmenich, Xavier Crochet
A team of 6-8 ladies delicately hand pick each and every ripe bloom from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week for the 3-4 week long rose harvest. By the end of the day the fields are bare. The following morning, an entirely new crop will be ready to harvest.
In pairs the ladies work their way up and down the fields collecting every rose that has flourished overnight, each lady bags her own pickings, to be weighed at the end of every day.
“When you see generations of women picking flowers for perfume as they have for centuries, it feels spiritual and human.” Fabrice Penot
Hessian sacks are colour coded with a string to identify it’s pickers crop. The sacks are then delivered to the Firmenich distillery on a daily basis. The roses are laid flat immediately, to prevent any damage following the morning or afternoon harvest, before the daily distillation process.
We were driven to the Firmenich distillery plant for our tour of the factory (Strictly no photos inside!) before our science lesson in the art of becoming a ‘nose’.
Our magnificent lunch under the arches of the Chapel next to the rose fields in Fayence,where we were served a local rose wine (and I don’t mean rosé).
Our personalised Le Labo Rose 31 Travel Tubes
So what does it smell like? The perfume’s aim is clear, to transform the famous Grasse rose, a symbol of voluptuousness and unqualified femininity, into a fragrance that can be worn by both men and women. Think warm, spicy, woodsy notes such as cumin and cedar with a hint of amber. With a name such as Rose, don’t assume this is just for women.
Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion and soap products packaged in 40gm and 60gm containers are lightly fragranced with the Rose 31 scent and are exclusive to Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. The 60gm containers which are in the Suites, will be personalised with your name.
To purchase your own personalised Rose 31 Travel Tube click here.
For further information & to purchase the Rose 31 fine fragrance click here.
For your closest Le Labo boutique click here.
Thank you to Le Labo, the FRHI Hotels & Resorts and Fairmont Monte-Carlo Hotel. To read about my experience as a guest at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo Hotel click here.