the Jasmine

jasmine harvestingHello!  Bonjour!  How time is flying by!  School continues, and we had another field trip recently. We returned to the farm in Pegamo and saw the fields of jasmine that are right beside the fields of Roses that we toured in May.  These crops are also produced exclusively for Chanel.  The jasmine of Grasse is incredible!  It is so heady and sweet and dripping with honey notes, for me, although others describe it as being very animalic.  Either way, it is recognized as being very special and unique. The bushes are much smaller than the roses and the plump little white flowers that are open are picked throughout the day, and layered in quite small baskets with pieces of damp fabric to keep them fresh and free from bruising.  They are much more delicate than the roses and even the slightest damage changes the final product.  As it is, once picked, the flowers are dying and it is because of this that the chemical indole develops and appears as a constituent in the extract.  This is the faecal/animalic note that is so pronounced and valued in jasmine absolute.

  Once enough flowers have been collected, the blossoms are loaded into the same extractors that saw the roses, in five layers of 40kg each.  Hexane is again the solvent of choice and the yield from 200kg of flowers is approximately 1kg of concrete and from that 500grams of precious absolute. 

 On our way back to school we stopped at a fantastic boulangerie and adjoining produce store, and with fresh figs (I’ve tried to eat them until I’m sick of them…unsuccessfully- yum!)  and beautiful bread, made our way back to school to work on our formulae. It was interesting to note that we were ALL quite energized and a bit ecstatic for the rest of the afternoon.  Laughing and dropping things and generally acting like we’d drunk too much coffee.  Perhaps it’s true that jasmine is an energizing plant! 

2 Replies to “the Jasmine”

  1. Hello Jessica
    I just came across an email from you to me last year when you were setting off on your studies, asking about the Guild, so I clicked to your business website, and remembered this one, too, so here I am. I visited earlier this year, but didn’t realize you were the same person who wrote earlier.

    How wonderful to experience the jasmine of Grasse, and yes, how carefully it must be harvested. I read that the further south and east from Grasse, the higher the indole — before picking! That has to do with the soil and climate, I’m sure.

    I pick the 8 varieties of jasmines in my garden and am very careful, also, and straight into the alcohol for extraction they go. I was fortunate this year to obtain a quantity of Grasse grandiflorum absolute and it is so heavenly. Delicate, ethereal, clinging and innocent, like the jasmines from my garden. Fresh processing does insure and good extract.

    Anything that pleases the senses exhilarates us, so yes, you can blame the “inebriation” on the jasmine!

  2. Hello Anya,
    Thank you for your comments- and yes, just to clarify, indole does occur in varying amounts in the jasmine absolute, but the amount shows a definite increase the more time has passed from the time of harvest to the actual extraction. Our teacher who has been a specialist of GC (gas chromotography) analysis for many years can tell by the amount of indole present in the absolute whether the flowers were processed immediately after picking or not as it does increase as the flowers ‘die’. Rather interesting!

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