Chanel will be launching a reworked Chanel No 19 Perform, named under No.19 Poudre. Here’s an exclusive interview with Christopher Sheldrake, perfumer, director of research and development in Chanel:
Key ingredient is the iris. Unlike many other frangrant products the scent of iris increases over time. It’s amazing! It wears off extremely slowly. It actually increases before disappearing. The irone which is the fragrant element in the iris, is a molecule that develops over time.The flowers aren’t fragrant, or very slightly. The flowers themselves don’t give perfume. Only the rhizome, which is the root. is actually scented. These rhizomes have reached maturity, after drying for 2 1/2 to 3 years. They aren’t very pretty, unfortunately. But they have that characteristic scent of powdery, clean and fresh already. It’s quite unusual for a dried product to smell fresh. We grind them and distill them, which produces something less like an essential oil than like butter, Iris butter. It’s sweet and slightly oily, but stimulating at the same time. Extremely pleasant. From this butter, we then make what we call an absolute. For its extracton we use a volatile solvent. It’s the same process we use for jasmine or rose. Traditionally, the iris we use in N19 comes from Florence, Italy. It’s the variety we call pallida. Today we face a colossal problem. Pallida production in Italy has been reduced to practically a few kilos per year. So we decided as we had with jasmine and rose, to plant our own iris fields in Grasse. We started four years ago, We planted two species, the pallida and the germanica and this year will be our first iris harvest. One hectare can product 15 tons of iris rhizome which produces a maximum of 10kg of iris butter, which inturn produces only 1kg of iris absolute. It’s a marvelous product. It has a powdery scent. It gives perfume a pleasant lingering. Even a small drop can fill a perfume and create a powdery, sensual skin like effect. It can truly exalt a perfume.
It’s said to be available in stores in fall 2011 or you could order it now through its’ official online stores.
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