Robertet and Rolls-Royce Mark 160 Years Of The Rose

To commemorate its 160th year of cultivating and processing scented roses, Robertet partnered with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars for its second annual Seed to Scent program. At a luncheon held on May 23 at the New York Botanical Garden, leading members of the fragrance, design and fashion industries gathered together for the unveiling of the latest edition of the scent series, which focused on the Bespoke Rose and the introduction of the Spirit of Ecstasy—a limited-edition, conceptual fragrance that intertwines the legacies of each luxury house.

Robertet collaborated with Paul Austin, founder of the Austin Advisory Group, to develop the FiFi Award-winning Seed to Scent program in 2010. The program comprehensively follows the production of a fragrance from the sourcing of its ingredients to the creation of the finished product.

“Seed to Scent has the power to connect perfumers and consumers to the truth and the beauty found at the source of where natural perfumery ingredients grow,” said Christophe Maubert, president of the Robertet fragrance division. “By starting at the source, and establishing a continuous and traceable line from the point of origin to the end of the creation process, Seed to Scent aims to yield authentic, innovative and highly-desirable fragrances.”

This year’s Seed to Scent initiative showcased the production of the Spirit of Ecstasy—from Robertet’s rose fields in Provence, to its creative center in Paris, and the headquarters of Rolls-Royce in the UK. The program, which along with the finished fragrance also featured a corresponding documentary film, demonstrates the ways in which both luxury houses respectively source, transform and integrate the usage of natural materials.

“Whether it's perfumery or automobile design, the vision of Seed to Scent is to honor the spirit that is woven from the beginning to end,” said Austin.

Grasse-based Robertet, a leader in the industry for sourcing natural, sustainable and organic ingredients for the fine fragrance industry, has maintained a rich legacy with the rose. Each year, 15,000 tons of rose petals are
processed across the entire fragrance industry, and Robertet controls approximately one-third of this production.

“For the first hundred years of our history, Robertet was only working with natural ingredients,” said Maubert. “From the very first day, the rose has been one of our key ingredients and it is the ideal ingredient for the Seed to Scent partnership. For 160 years, Robertet has controlled all phases between the farmers in the fields up to the finished product on the shelves. This isn’t an opportunistic marketing tool to demonstrate sustainable policy, this process has been in place for our entire history.”

The rose also holds significant meaning for Rolls-Royce. Although one might not immediately associate the flower with the luxury automobile producer, the Rolls-Royce chassis plate is emblazoned with an icon of the English rose—a symbol of its national heritage. Yet the companies share more than a connection to the flower, both houses keenly value upholding the tradition of luxury in the modern age. 

“There is a human element to the Rolls-Royce brand and our products,” said Ian Cameron, chief designer for Rolls-Royce. “We work tenaciously to create a product that transcends time, though, in spite of living in an age where time is money and modern desires focus on instant delivery, actually achieving this takes time. With luxury products, people seek this element of timelessness.”

Created by Robertet perfumer Sidonie Lancesseur, Spirit of Ecstasy incorporates the rose with complementary notes of leather and wood. The fragrance’s use of leather hide represents the Rolls-Royce upholstery that is sourced from Bavarian bulls, while burr wood evokes the aroma of the wood knot and root stock used in the Rolls-Royce Woodshop.

From the perfumer’s perspective, the Seed to Scent approach is particularly powerful as it aims to bring the many ingredients in a perfumer’s laboratory to life.

“Being in the fields and being able to touch the roses changed everything,” said Lancesseur. “I was inspired by the knowledge of the growers in the fields and this contact was transported back to the lab in Paris. I never looked at the materials in the same way. The fragrance is embedded with the spirit of where I have been.” 

The final product includes a satchel created from the leather used in the interior upholstery of a Rolls-Royce automobile that holds four fragrance vials. Three vials separately contain the ingredients of Burr Wood, Leather Hide and Bespoke Rose, while the fourth vial joins the notes together to create the Spirit of Ecstasy.

1 Robertet Rose 2 Robertet Rose 3 Rose

Robertet’s Philippe Maubert and The Estée Lauder Companies’ Veronique Gabai-Pinsky
with Valerie Chapoulaud of Louis Vuitton.

Robertet’s Julien Maubert, Philippe Maubert and Christophe Maubert (r.) and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Ian Cameron with Austin Advisory Group’s Paul Austin and Peter Kukielski of New York Botanical Garden.

Through Smoke Creative’s Gary McNatton with Jill Belasco of Coscentrix.

4 Rose 5 Rose 6 Rose

Avon’s Denise McEvoy and
Isabel Ryan.

Mast’s Benedicte Bron with Monica Rowe of Bath & Body Works.

Two Passports’ Sherry Baker with Margaret Hayes of Fashion Group International.

7 Rose 8 Rose 9 Rose

The Estée Lauder Companies’ Trudi Loren, Hérmes’ Bob Chavez and Metropolitan Museum’s Andrew Bolton with Carl Adams, Byredo’s Ben Gorham and Pierre Wulff of Robertet.

Mast’s Felicia Schepis with
Jennifer Powderly of Robertet.

Chrysallis’ Jill Scalamandre with
Rhona Stokols of Robertet.

10 Rose 11 Rose 12 Rose

Christophe Maubert with Tim Marshall
of The New School.

Coty’s Ruth Sutcliffe with Tamara Steele
of Elizabeth Arden.

Ben Gorham and Le Labo’s Fabrice Penot with Paul Austin and D.S. & Durga’s David Moltz.


See more Rose photos

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