Jacques Polge is a poet and creator of some of the most seductive perfumes of all time. A man who, if you don’t know by name, you probably know by perfume creations: Chanel no. 5 (EDP version), Allure, Antaeus, Egoiste, Cristalle Eau Verte, Coco, Coco Mademoiselle (EDP, EDT, Perfume), Chance, series Les Exclusifs, Bleu de Chanel are just some of the 72 perfumes he created. No perfume lover does not have at least one of his creations. Exclusive perfumer of the house Chanel for which he worked for a full 37 years (1978-2015).
Jacques Polge was born on June 14, 1943, near Avignon, France. He would spend the summers with his family in the famous city of Grasse and, like many other perfumers, was enchanted by the scent of jasmine that surrounded this city. The place where he spent his childhood greatly influenced his later decision to become a perfumer.
The first scent I remember was my mother’s scent. She smelled of milk, and that scent always brings me back to my childhood. I also remember my grandmother’s house, the smells of the beach, the sea, and the leaves we burned in the fall. Nature smelled of her; he once told a perfume blog.
He has a degree in English language and literature and describes himself as a passionate lover of poetry.
Perfume is a unique way of expression, in which words and images are superfluous.
When a woman buys perfume, it is, above all, an intimate act for her. A woman is always looking for something that is “her,” and when she leaves, her perfume remains as a trace that she was once there; Jacques Polge explains the essence of perfume.
Most of his perfumes are inspired by the character and work of Mademoiselle Chanel, that are like her: always new and timeless.
In 1986, Jacques Polge created a modern reinterpretation of the famous Chanel No. 5, a fragrance of grace and elegance, has jasmine, May rose, lily of the valley and iris at the heart. The quality of jasmine that is added to this fragrance is so exceptional that it can only be obtained in small quantities. It comes mostly from Egypt and a little from India. Only five tons appear on the market each year, and Chanel No 5 alone uses 25% of that specific type of jasmine.
Among the many perfume creations, one of his favorites is Chanel No. 18. As the address of the Vendome Palace, where Coco Chanel spent her time, number 18 is a shimmering floral fragrance as precious as the finest jewelry. The central part of this magical bouquet is a scarce ambrette plant whose flowers look like jewels. An impressive and unique mixture of fruity, sweet notes makes up this exceptional fragrance from the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection.
He also devoted a lot of time to revive some of Chanel’s vintage fragrances, such as Una Idee, which Coco created back in 1929. There is a well-known story in perfume circles that the formula for this fragrance almost ended up in the trash when a factory worker on Pantin wanted to “clean up” the conservatory where the archive of the famous Mademoiselle is still kept today. For bottles of this perfume, passionate collectors pay a fortune.
When creating a perfume, Jacques Polge follows a specific order. Each fragrance starts with fresh notes, gradually adding heavier ones: first, he adds citrus and fruits, then spicy notes, then jasmine, rose, and notes of white flowers, followed by woody notes, amber, and finally musk. For scents like Coco or Coco Mademoiselle, however, the process took a little longer. Coco was a kind of pioneer because a lot of time passed between this and the perfume before him.
Coco Mademoiselle is the “younger” version of Coco, while Allure has a simple tune, universal for every woman.
For the Les Exclusifs collection, I wanted to offer everyone a choice. Coco Chanel had a fragrance called Beige de Chanel, introduced in 1940. Beige is a fragrance that takes us back to the past, primarily through a note of hawthorn that no one used for a long time in perfumes, Jacques Polge explained to Vanity Fair.
Black is an essential color for Chanel because a Chanel woman follows fashion, but is looking for one that is always current. Hence its original name, Bois Noir. Interestingly, this perfume was in production only a few months in 1987 before it was withdrawn from the market. It was replaced three years later by the famous Egoiste.
Creating perfume is like kissing: gentle, but passionate. Mademoiselle Chanel always said that a tailor dresses people on the outside, and a perfumer on the inside. Perfume is, therefore, our invisible clothing
He retired from the Chanel Empire in 2015 and left the empire of fragrance and fashion to his talented son Olivier.
Among his most famous creations are:
- Rive Gauche, Yves Saint Laurent (1970)
- Diva, Emanuel Ungaro (1982)
- Senso, Emanuel Ungaro (1987)
- Tiffany for Men, Tiffany (1989)
- Allure (1996)
- Allure Homme (1999)
- Antaeus (1982)
- Bleu de Chanel (2010)
- Chance (2002)
- Coco (1984)
- Coco Mademoiselle (2001)
- Coco Noir (2012)
- Cristalle (1993)
- Égoïste (1990)