More Than Rock

Rock & Perfume

Scentless Apprentice (Nirvana)

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a 1985 literary historical cross-genre novel (originally published in German as Das Parfum) by German writer Patrick Süskind. The novel explores the sense of scent, and its relationship with the emotional meaning that scents may carry. In 2006 it was turned into a film by the same name directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman.

Set in 18th century France, Perfume relates the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, "one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages". Born lacking a personal odour (a fact other people find disquieting) but endowed with an incomparable sense of smell, he apprentices himself to a perfumer and becomes obsessed with procuring the perfect scent that will make him fully human. In the process, he creates perfumes—presumably based on pheromones—that powerfully manipulate human emotions, murdering 25 girls to take their scent. The book features detailed descriptions of the techniques of scent extraction such as maceration and enfleurage.

Some editions of Perfume have as their cover image Antoine Watteau's painting Jupiter and Antiope, which depicts a nude woman sleeping.

The town of Grasse is the setting in the final chapters of the novel Perfume by Patrick Süskind. Grasse is a town in southeastern France.

Grasse has had a prospering perfume industry since the end of the 18th century.

Grasse is the centre of the French perfume industry and is known as the world's perfume capital (la capitale mondiale des parfums). It produces over two-thirds of France's natural aromas (for perfume and for food flavourings). This industry turns over more than 600 million euros a year. Many "noses" are trained or have spent time in Grasse.

Grasse's particular microclimate encouraged the flower farming industry. It is warm and far enough inland to be sheltered from the sea air. There is an abundance of water, thanks to its situation in the hills and the 1860 construction of the Siagne canal for irrigation purposes. The town is 350 m above sea level and 20 km from the Côte d'Azur.

Jasmine, a key ingredient of many perfumes, was brought to southern France by the Moors, in the 16th century. Twenty-seven tonnes of jasmine are now harvested in Grasse every year.

There are numerous old 'parfumeries' in Grasse such as Molinard, Fragonard and Galimard each with tours and a museum.

Grasse's International Museum of Perfume tells the story of the town's famous perfume industry and explores its importance today and through the ages. The museum is split into different zones, some looking at the origins of the industry, others focusing on manufacturing and marketing.

There is an annual Fête du Jasmin or La Jasminade, at the beginning of August. The first festival was on the 3 August4 August 1946. These days, it is a big event; decorated floats drive through the town, with young women in skimpy costumes on board, throwing flowers onto the crowds. This is known as the 'flower battle' and everyone gets soaked by the natural perfume of the flowers. There are also fireworks, free parties, folk music groups and street performers. There is also an annual international exhibition of roses ("Expo Rose").

The book Perfume inspired several rock bands:

·  The song "Scentless Apprentice", by the American grunge band Nirvana, was inspired by Perfume. It appears on their 1993 album In Utero. The band's singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain often described the novel as one of his favorite books.

·  The song Herr Spiegelmann from the Portuguese gothic-doom metal band Moonspell contains an excerpt from the book.

·  The song "Red Head Girl" by French downtempo duo Air is inspired by Perfume.

·  The song "Du Riechst So Gut" by Rammstein was inspired by this book which happens to be one of lead singer Till Lindemann's favorite books.

·  Marilyn Manson credits this book as one of the inspirations behind the title of his second album, Smells Like Children.


The Spanish artist Salvador Dalí designed many perfume bottles. The scent “Rock ‘n’ Roll” came in a package bearing a stark design that Dali intially slashed on a black leotard worn by American actress and pin-up model Geene Courtney. The perfume was marketed simultaneously as “Coup de Feu” in France.