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Live from New York: Russian Middle Class Grows

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: October 8, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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As a fragrance house that has both evolved and converged throughout the years, Swiss company Givaudan, which merged with Roure to become Givaudan Roure in 1991, began with talented perfumers devoted to their art. Its heritage, supported by the Givaudan Perfumery School in Grasse, France—founded in 1946 by Jean Carles, who created a method for classifying olfactory notes, and currently led by Jean Guichard—is continuing its tradition of educating and training perfumers with a new intensity, including transitioning to become a place where industry professionals can hear guest speakers, and both olfactive and social constructs may be explored as a destination devoted specifically to enhance learning.

Kate Greene, vice president of marketing, Givaudan, related the details on the company’s return to its roots in a recent presentation on the perfumers of Givaudan and the history of the company. Greene said, “With all the technology and innovation in fragrance, you don’t do anything without talented perfumers.” She cited Calice Becker, who created J’Adore for Christian Dior, and others, who are the true talent in fragrance creation. Such Givaudan perfumers as Claude Dir, Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Ellen Molner, Yann Vasnier and Aurélien Guichard, are featured in a new book, Givaudan Talents, representing the new organization that Givaudan has become. “As we are looking forward, we are also looking back, which is why we are going back to the foundations of the Perfumery School,” Greene said. “We recognize what a rich history Givaudan has, and we are tracing our roots back to that core.”

Greene noted that since the acquisition of Quest International, Givaudan is becoming a new organization. “It’s the coming together of two cultures, and we are looking at the talent, as well as The Perfumery School as big pieces of it,” she said. Clearly, the new Givaudan, incorporating Roure and Quest heritages, is impacting the company’s direction. Acknowledging Quest’s history, Greene announced the arrival of an olfactive historian, who would be joining the company as a consultant and a contributor to the training that will be taking place at the Perfumery School. The training will include both social history and olfactive history, she added, alluding to the importance of fragrance genealogy in the creative process.