The visit to the perfumery atelier of Guy Delforge
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The visit of perfumery atelier Guy Delforge was rather disappointing although not without some charm. There are three official languages in Belgium, but in fact people in the French part of it reluctantly speak Dutch (or better say Flemish – the Belgian dialect of the Dutch language) and vice versa. The same was with my guided tour. Officially I could take it either in Dutch or in French. But I appeared to be the only one asking for a Dutch tour – the rest of the group (about 15 people) were French speaking. The guide simply refused to translate for me in Dutch as it would drain the attention from the rest of the group and make a mess from a tour. To be honest I have to mention that I didn’t have to pay for the tour as a compensation (3,50 euro).
My French is only good to translate the names of the perfumes (sometimes with a dictionary). The most of the tour I could understand because of my knowledge of basics of perfumery. But I didn’t learn anything new – even if there were something new – I simply couldn’t understand it.
The tour is addressed for a public wishing to touch the “mystery of perfumery” and is full of perfumery fairy tales and myths (mostly based on common facts although). The tour is not going through the laboratories, but through a set up route. The laboratories were not on the way and I could only glance at them behind the closed glass doors. I could also see an obviously set up perfumer’s organ. Surprisingly it was consisting of only natural materials in the big aluminium cans. On the table – a couple of measuring glasses with some liquid in it. Pure decoration as I really doubt if any perfumer has used it. I was told about the favourable location of the atelier in the basement of citadel for making perfumes – it’s dark there, no dramatic temperature variations, no climate influences, it’s silent and quiet…
The perfumery fairy tales I heard were about the stage of perfume creations, the factors giving impacts on fragrances and how to use and to store the perfumes. Enflurage and distillation were briefly mentioned. The guide has also played the games with the audience – he let us smell some essential oils asking to guess what it was. Later he did the same with the basic fragrances like rose, jasmine and muguet. I did really appreciated his sense of humour, but unfortunately my French was not good enough to understand the most of it. He made some jokes about the purpose of glands of the musk rat and even promised a personal demonstration of how the rat would use the glands. He also made some jokes about the most popular fragrance in Belgium (“muguet” was the fragrance he meant, but “les frietes, potato chips” was the answer of the audience).
At the end of the tour there was a surprise for everyone. The guide and his assistances promised to choose a Guy Delforge fragrance for everyone based on his or hers favourite perfume. The trick is simple – Guy Delforge has a fragrance for each of the subgroup of olfactory group. So if you like Paris of YSL, you get the rosy violet floral perfume from Delforge. He also has his version of Cabochard and Angel and oriental perfumes for only 28 or 38 euro for 50 or 100 ml. For the visitors of the tour – 2 euro discount per perfume. I can’t add anything else about the fragrances of Guy Delforge.