Demonstrate the heritage and history of the Pays de Grasse in its culture of plants and aromatics used in perfumery around the world – this is the challenge of their candidacy for the INPI for Geographical Indication, led by the group Exceptional flowers from the Pays de Grasse recognize “l’Absolue”, an essence extracted and used in perfumes, perfumes and cosmetics. Products that could be certified with a GI must meet two criteria: they must be made from plants grown and processed in a specific area. To delimit this area, Armelle Janody, president of Fleurs d’exception, has conducted historical research on the cultivation of these plants. “It goes from Vence to Fayence, passing through the villages south of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. It also includes two planters in Carnoules and Puget-Ville who have historic contracts with industrialists in Grasse. These horticulturalists are all based in the “small country of Grasse” (small country of Grasse), the historic cradle of the industry since the 18th century. Centifolia rose, jasmine, mimosa, lavender, the list goes on; in total, around thirty quality plants have been included in the GI application.
Meeting many challenges since the 1950s
This recognition comes two years after their inscription on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List, recognizing the work of farmers in the cultivation of these plants and the manufacturers who transform these plants into various scents. An excellent base for revitalizing this forgotten industry after the Second World War, Armelle Janody can appreciate the difficulties that the creators of perfumes have gone through. “Production was difficult from the 1950s with the arrival of plastics as well as the rise in prices of agricultural land and the arrival of foreign competition.”
Find solutions to secure planters’ livelihoods
This is certainly a context which would encourage producers to diversify. In 2006, Carole Biancalana and Sébastien Rodriguez, plant producers, refused to see their business collapse and thus created the group Fleurs d’exception du Pays de Grasse. “Our goal is to put the spotlight on Grasse products and find solutions to secure the livelihoods of the planters.” To do this, the association launched several missions; not only do they seek World Heritage from UNESCO and the geographical indication label, but they also represent producers at major trade fairs and help new project managers. Even though there is still a long way to go, Armelle Janody seems confident. “We have made good progress, the demand for perfumeries has increased, we have seen renewed interest from finished product companies like LVMH, and we have trained around twenty producers who have been able to set up or replant.”
Ensuring a secure future for local know-how
With the potential approval of the geographical indication, the whole sector should benefit from its effects. “It is a process used by farmers to label an industrial process, that of producers. They all have the same goal, just like the whole industry and the territory. All with the support of local authorities. “Cécile Mul, president of the Mul group, owner of two processing companies, Jean Gazignaire and Sotraflor, confirms” as a manufacturer, this will allow us to highlight our origins. It is a way of answering consumer questions and enhancing the heritage of the region, which has a significant history in production and processing. It is a way to respond to a demand for transparency, traceability and an ever-increasing regional factor. Cécile Mul continued, saying that “the objective today is to take charge of the whole chain, even the jobs behind the scenes. We hope to value agricultural work, but also all those who gravitate around them, such as glassmakers, boilermakers, etc. We are refocusing on the local and regional commitments of the sector so that it can integrate training into its development. “And thus ensure the sustainability of an exceptional industry and its know-how.