Essence of Provence
Provence, the district in which Grasse is located, is alive with aromatic plants and its beauty has been celebrated in literature for hundreds of years as the few selections below illustrate:
"We woke up as we were passing along the Rhone. Soon the continued noise of crickets came in through the windows, that cry which seems to be the voice of the warm earth, the song of Provence; and seemed to instill into our looks, our breasts, and our souls the light and happy feeling of the south, that odor of the parched earth, of the stony and light soil of the olive with its gray-green foliage."
--from Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant
"After dinner I chanced to look into another chamber that fronted the south, where the sun shone; and opening a window perceived, within a yard of my hand, a large tree loaded with oranges, many of which were ripe. You may judge what my astonishment was to find Winter in all his rigour reigning on one side of the house, and Summer in all her glory on the other. Certain it is, the middle of this mountain seemed to be the boundary of the cold weather. As we proceeded slowly in the afternoon we were quite enchanted. This side of the hill is a natural plantation of the most agreeable ever-greens, pines, firs, laurel, cypress, sweet myrtle, tamarisc, box, and juniper, interspersed with sweet marjoram, lavender, thyme, wild thyme, and sage. On the right-hand the ground shoots up into agreeable cones, between which you have delightful vistas of the Mediterranean, which washes the foot of the rock; and between two divisions of the mountains, there is a bottom watered by a charming stream, which greatly adds to the rural beauties of the scene."
--from Travels through France and Italy by Tobias Smollett
"They travelled leisurely; stopping wherever a scene uncommonly grand appeared; frequently alighting to walk to an eminence, whither the mules could not go, from which the prospect opened in greater magnificence; and often sauntering over hillocks covered with lavender, wild thyme, juniper, and tamarisc; and under the shades of woods, between those boles they caught the long mountain-vista, sublime beyond any thing that Emily had ever imagined."
Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, A Romance Interspersed With Some Pieces of Poetry
"They proceeded by easy stages; and after travelling for some days among the romantic mountains and green vallies of Piedmont, they entered the rich country of Nice. The gay and luxuriant views which now opened upon the travellers as they wound among the hills, appeared like scenes of fairy enchantment, or those produced by the lonely visions of the Poets. While the spiral summits of the mountains exhibited the snowy severity of winter, the pine, the cypress, the olive, and the myrtle shaded their sides with the green tints of spring, and groves of orange, lemon, and citron, spread over their feet the full glow of autumn. As they advanced the scenery became still more diversified; and at length, between the receding heights, Adeline caught a glimpse of the distant waters of the Mediterranean, fading into the blue and cloudless horizon. She had never till now seen the ocean; and this transient view of it roused her imagination, and made her watch impatiently for a nearer prospect."
--from The Romance of the Forest, Interspersed with some Pieces of Poetry by Ann Radcliffe
In order to celebrate the city of Grasse and the surrounding environment of Provence a new perfume has been created that I have simply called Essence of Provence. It is composed of many of the herbs that are found growing in the wild of Provence like lavender, rosemary, cistus, laurel leaf, sage etc along with the essence of a few plants that later came into extensive cultivation in the area. This perfume displays a complex herbaceous bouquet sweetened with a bit of rose, jasmine and neroli.