In the city of Grasse in southern France, Symrise is breathing new life into the Maison Lautier brand, which is more than 150 years old. To support this effort, the company is building its own factory and working closely with farmers both in the region and around the world. The idea is to develop an extensive portfolio of natural substances in the coming years that complements the fragrance ingredients manufactured in Holzminden and Madagascar.


The season is long since over. But as it was warm for such a long time, there is still a single flower on Floriane and Albin Coulomb’s rose field. The scent of the centifolia – the rose variety planted here – gives you some idea of the effect when the entire 2.3-hectare field is in full bloom. The rose has a strong, slightly sweet fragrance and is more at home in the region surrounding Grasse than just about any other plant. The married couple began cultivating roses in 2021 – here in the global center of fragrance production where perfumes have been produced since the 16th century.

Albin Coulomb, now 36 years of age, completed farmer training when he was younger and then, just like his wife, worked in other areas. Now, the parents of three are interested in pursuing a career in the sector in which Albin Coulomb’s grandfather and great-grandfather once supplied Grasse’s fragrance industry with raw materials. “We can offer a wonder­ful, traditional product which makes cultivation all the more exciting,” says the farmer, who also grows jasmine in a large garden next to his house. These two plants have been basic materials in perfumery for centuries, as their oils fetch high prices and are used in countless perfumes. Floriane and Albin Coulomb have invested a great deal of time into their new career in an effort to produce the best products, and will be planting a total of 12,000 new rosebushes over the next two years. They plow everything that grows in the vicinity to fertilize the soil, and then harvest around half a kilogram of flowers per bush. No pesticides are used because the entire field is certified organic.

Camille Quintin is eager to hear about the progress made on the couple’s field. As a manager, he is responsible for the entire supply chain that Symrise is currently developing under the renowned Maison Lautier brand, which the company has had in its portfolio for more than 20 years and never used. That is about to change, now that Symrise is breathing new life into the two-century tradition of fragrance production. The roses grown in the field that Camille Quintin is visiting today will play a role in this change. “We want to develop long-term partnerships with local farmers and thus also promote the diversity in flowers and plants in our region,” says the manager.

The raw materials sourced from the region are one of the foundations for the new plant that the Group will be building for Maison Lautier in the years to come at a location just 30 minutes from the Coulombs’ field of roses. There, near the commune of Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne, Symrise will manufacture extraor­dinary products – fragrance ingredients made exclusively from natural materials – which will form the “Artisan” product line by Maison Lautier (see box further below). In the future, the company will market around 50 fragrance ingredients under this brand.

“I’ve never worked with technologies like ‘Cold Treatment’ and ‘Symtrap®’, developed by Symrise. I find it all very interesting.”

Dominique Maubant

Still, there is much to be done before the portfolio is complete. Dominique Maubant has been analyzing new fragrance ingredients for months. The experienced chemist has worked in Grasse for more than 25 years and specializes in natural substances. He has spent time in a variety of departments, including distillation, quality control and research, and developed absolutes and concretes. He says his switch to Symrise was inspired by curiosity. “I’ve never worked with technologies like Cold Treatment and Symtrap®, developed by Symrise. I find it all very interesting.” While distilling different patchouli oils, Dominique Maubant explains that natural substances are complex. “We need to get the fragrance profile just right. Even minor deviations can prevent it from working properly in the composition later on.”

He then climbs the steps to the offices where he sees Camille Quintin who has just come back from the rose field. The manager is very well acquainted with the raw materials, having worked for Symrise in Madagascar and at other locations for several years. The two experts inspect materials together on a regular basis. Today it is resins, including myrrh and opopanax from Somalia. “For us, it’s important to find the right suppliers that are reliable and offer high quality,” explains Quintin. The process is complex. For example, promising raw materials are sent to Holzminden after testing in Dominique Maubant’s lab. SFA Romani employees are also involved in quality control.

In the Maision Lautier laboratory, Dominique Maubant (in the background) works with an intern to develop fragrances from natural raw materials.

Good collaboration in the Group should help Maison Lautier to develop an extensive portfolio in the coming years, with initial customers based in the perfume industry. “But we plan to expand our range to the whole Scent & Care segment,” Camille Quintin informs. This diversity is also reflected in the raw materials such as resins from Somalia and raw materials from Madagascar. At the same time, Maison Lautier is picking up on a trend that has captured the entire industry. “Customers set great store by regionally-produced fragrance ingredients, which also applies to France where there are traditionally many perfume manufacturers,” Camille Quintin says. Grasse is the ideal location for the company: “Dominated by a unique climate for typical perfume plants and flowers, the entire region has a long tradition and expertise in perfumery which lends itself to product customization.”

“We want to develop long-term partnerships with local farmers and thus also promote the diversity in flowers and plants in our region.”

Camille Quintin

Maison Lautier: the best fragrances from all over the world

When glove maker François Rancé began selling fragrances made from flowers and other plants in Grasse in southern France in 1795, he could never have anticipated how successful the company he founded would become. Business flourished for hundreds of years and, in the 19th century, culminated in the Maison Lautier brand, one of the most popular brands in the fragrance industry. Symrise has now revived and revamped the brand, with a location near Grasse and with a high-quality basis of raw materials from all over the world, developed in close contact with growers.

The new brand now has three product lines. Based in Grasse, the Artisan line uses plants and flowers that are cultivated primarily in the region, but also around the world, as raw materials. For its Madagascar line, Symrise uses its close connections to the African island, which are rooted in its 15-year procurement of the raw material vanilla. The value chain is backward-integrated, from the plant to the essential oil. Symrise therefore assumes responsibility for upstream production steps, working closely with local small-scale farmers who benefit on many levels, from education and health care to the development of sustainable, successful agriculture.

The Supernature line combines the best raw materials that nature has to offer with process innovations, using groundbreaking procurement and processing techniques as well as upcycling to acquire materials from by-products in food production, for example. Symrise introduced its first collection with raw materials from all three lines in summer 2022 at the World Perfumery Congress in Miami, Florida. This included vanilla, geranium and mandarin orange from Madagascar, strawberry, apple and cranberry from the Supernature series, and iris, sandalwood, jasmine and boya for the Artisan line.