"A couturier must be an architect for design, a sculptor for shape, a painter for color, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for temperament."--Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972), Spanish Couturier: Balenciaga Paris
Grasse, a very small town in the French Riviera, approximately two dozen perfumeries manufacture 90% the perfumes, colognes, soap, talc, and after shave etc., sold globally. Specially trained "Noses" are of the greatest importance here. They are the fragrance couturiers, or perfumers that develop perfumes within the strict make up of detailed properties. Hundreds of new perfumes are invented each year, but not many are able to survive after their first year.
When a designer, cosmetic and fragrance company, or celebrity makes the decision to create a fragrance, they send their specifications to the perfumeries in Grasse where their thought will come to life. The perfumer sits at an "organ" with hundreds of vials of individual fragrances, mixing and sniffing until the perfect combination has taken the form of a new perfume.
Most of the famous perfumes of every nation are made in Grasse, making it the fragrance capitol of the world. Whether you wear Chanel no. 5 or a perfume from a specialty boutique, rest assured your fragrance was most likely created in Grasse.