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Floral Science

A highlight of visiting Provence and the French Riviera is definitely a sojourn in Grasse, with its splendid 19th-century villas, grand town houses, 11th-century cathedral and old town centre. But more than that, it is the gorgeous flower fields in the countryside that draw tourists and locals alike to the region. For this town in south-eastern France, where several international luxury brands also maintain their fields of flowers, has been considered the perfume capital of the world since the 17th century. Fragrance and flavour company Robertet has had its headquarters here since 1850. One of their master perfumers and native Grassois Daniel Visintin, who’s been in the business for 45 years, has utilised his elevated sensory instincts to create a wide range of products using natural ingredients from all over the globe. During a quick tête-à-tête, Verve gets a whiff of what it takes….

Daniel Visintin
What got you interested in perfumery? Could you tell us a little bit about how you developed your expertise as a ‘nose’? In the world of perfumery, you learn something every day. What has kept me fascinated through these years is the fact that I am able to interpret a feeling through fragrance. I learned from a master perfumer, who gave me all the elements necessary to formulate something that expresses my inspirations. Before I became a master perfumer myself, I worked for 25 years creating perfumes in the company’s natural division.

Grasse, to an outsider, is most commonly associated with fields of roses, jasmine and lavender. Which floral scents are most evocative for you?

The queen of flowers, the rose, is by far the one that evokes many memories and emotions in me. I am Grassois, and very attached to my city; I have always loved to walk in the heart of the rose fields and feel all the facets of this bewitching and charismatic scent.

Do your heightened olfactory sensibilities affect other sensory experiences?

Of course! I am always looking for new kinds of sensory experiences. But I particularly like to cook, and much like with scents, I develop new flavours by modifying existing recipes and seeing how they evolve.

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April - May 2019