A New Documentary Traces the Life and Work of Dior’s Master Perfumer
If you’ve ever wondered about the mysterious process of perfume-making, you’ll delight in watching Nose: The Most Secret Job in the World, now streaming on Apple TV, following last year’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. In the hour-long documentary, directors Clément Beauvais and Arthur de Kersauson follow the life and work of François Demachy, Dior’s nez, or nose—perfume industry parlance for an expert perfumer-creator with a finely attuned sense of smell—and his sensorial journey to source the world’s finest natural ingredients.
The behind-the-scenes dive into perfumery shows how Demachy, long touted as one of the world’s greatest noses, continuously trains to keep up his encyclopedic knowledge, and to maintain the wide orbit of cultivators, scientists, and laboratories that play a role in transforming raw ingredients into commercial scents. He visits patchouli growers in Sulawesi, Indonesia, mashing, rubbing, and squeezing the leaves in his hands, taking deep wafts; sources bergamot citruses in Calabria, Italy, as makers mill the citrus rinds into a granular powder to release their essential oils; forages for ambergris on the rocky coasts of Ireland; and visits a 10th-generation sword maker in Tokyo, taking in the scent of raw metals and searching for notes of iron and blood. Demachy’s operations are centered in Grasse, France, the perfume capital of the world, where he sources his roses, and where he was also born and raised. “Perfumes are a language everyone understands, but few people can speak,” says Demachy, whose profound connection to all five senses is likely, upon watching this compelling film, to make you rethink the notion that scent is invisible.