The Story of Grasse, Provence & Perfumery

The Story of Grasse, Provence & Perfumery | Brûmée – Alcohol-Free Fine Fragrances
The art of fragrance is ancient, yet fascinating. The word “perfume” comes from the Latin per fume “through smoke” - reflecting one of the oldest uses of aromatic materials, the burning of incense and herbs as a religious offering. Whilst the South of France currently remains the spiritual home of perfumery, in this article, we explore the fascinating history of fragrance, the handmade traditions of Grasse, and the inspiration behind our very own Brumes. 

From Ancient Civilisations to Modern Times

The art of perfumery dates back to the dawn of time, developing alongside civilisations. It was more than 4,000 years ago that ancient Egyptians started using them. From then on, variations of perfumery were created for hygiene and cleanliness and as a symbol of wealth and nobility. In many ancient civilisations, scents were also used as part of spiritual ceremonies by burning essential oils and resins. 

In the modern day, perfumes are no longer regarded as a sign of nobility; they accompany everyday life to express one’s identity. It's rise in popularity has forced the industry to replace handcrafted traditions by mass-producing synthetic fragrances.

The Story of Grasse

The people of Grasse began supplying Persian scent-makers with their raw materials as early as the 16th century. The business of fine fragrances slowly expanded as the region started producing iris, hyacinth, and rose-scented soaps. The small town of Grasse is now widely considered the world’s perfume capital. Buildings hug the landscape of its medieval town, and the surrounding basin has a rich soil and warm climate perfect for the growth of sweet-scented flowers. The region's unique savoir-faire has been passed down from generation to generation.

Due to Provence’s history, the growers quality, and the perfumers’ creative gifts, Grass's influence in the fragrance industry remains unmatched. Despite the lucrative nature of the French perfume industry, very few have been able to meet its reputation as a purveyor of fine perfumes to the world. Today, Grasse’s handcrafting traditions and manufacturing heritage is benefitting from the organic movement that has helped revive the demand for small-scale flower produce, specifically for its fragrant roses and jasmine. 

Brûmée, made from the heart of Grasse

Our founder, Dr Anne-Claire, grew up exploring the scented streets of Grasse. It was here, surrounded by Provence’s natural aroma, that her fascination with scent was born. Fast forward to the present day, and Anne-Claire has established Brûmée to bottle up the passion for fragrances, and nostalgia of a landscape so cherished, to now be shared with the world.

At Brûmée, we develop our fragrances with an expert 'Nose' based in Grasse to design beautiful natural fragrances. Using the savoir-faire and unique heritage of the region, we bring the aromas of the French countryside to life.