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.