The production of a world class fragrance is complex, but it relies on some the simplest raw ingredients and the most primal sense.
In this three part blog series we're exploring the creation of UNITE from Thomas Clipper: the world's first premium blending cologne for men.
Made up of City, Coast and Country, every man can make his own blend, creating a custom fragrance. Two sprays of City with one of Country? One spray of Coast An equal Coast/Country blend? The choice is yours.
Here's how we made it...
The first step in making a premium cologne is in the creation of the very best essential oils.
These are volatile aromatic compounds that usually come from the flowers, seeds, stems, roots, and bark of plants. This 'volatility' means that they turn from liquid to a scent easily, so when they’re exposed to the air they turn into a fragrance.
The process of reducing the best ingredients into their essential scent makeup is very much rooted in the south of France, which has been the historic home of the process since the 18th century.
This is partly because a lot of aromatic plants grow in the Grasse climate. It's partly because of a period of rapid technological innovation that put Grasse on the forefront of perfume development over 100 years ago. But it's also because of the power of networks: everyone who wants to be a real perfume expert will spend some time in Grasse. It's an amazing place to learn and practice the fragrance trade.
Traditionally the machinery involved in the production of essential oils looks a great deal to the untrained eye like the production of gin: indeed the distillation process and the essential oil creation process grew up hand in hand, borrowing technology from each other.
Today the machines look a little different from the copper cauldrons of the 18th and 19th centuries, but the basic process is usually much the same. The biggest difference is in synthetic production of scents. There are certain volatile compounds the were originally extracted from animals: this quite cruel process was rendered unnecessary by the synthesis of the same, or better, musk aromas in the lab. That’s what we use.