Lightyears Collection
Jean Carles
(1892-1966)

Jean Carles is a legend in the world of perfumery but not so much for any single creation but for the impact of his career on the company he worked for, Roure Bertrand, for the great designers Roure created for — Lelong, Ricci, Dior, Balmain, Schiaparelli, Piguet, Arden, Balenciaga, Hermés — and for the many perfumers who learned their art under his tutelage — Monique Schlienger, Jacques Polge, Marcel Carles, .

We don't really know how many modern fragrances exist thanks to a little help from Jean Carles. We do know that he was famous for developing perfume bases that could be used, as if they were single ingredients, to create new fragrances. Carles's contribution helped speed development time for new fragrances at Roure, giving them a distinct advantage over the competition.

Carles was also known for his ability to create fine perfumes using simple formulae and economical ingredients. His fragrances were affordable, which, again, gave Roure a marketing advantage and the ability to make a nice markup while at the same time offering affordable fragrances to their designer clients.

Now Jean Carles work is back in the news thanks to the re-inauguration by Givaudan of its (and Roure's) perfumery school. Carles was responsible for launching Roure's perfumery school which was famous for the perfumers who passed through it and for the perfumery training methods Jean Carles developed for Roure.

Roure, of course, was merged with Givaudan, first as Givaudan-Roure, now simply as Givaudan. Givaudan too had its perfumery school with its own celebrated perfumer graduates. But the Givaudan school was not initiated until 1968, while the Roure school dates back, officially, to 1946. However, Jean Carles had taken young perfumers under his wing and helped guide their training well before his tutelage became a "school".

The importance of the Givaudan and Roure schools can be appreciated when viewing Givaudan's claim that today — in 2006 — one perfumer out of three worldwide is a graduate of either the Roure or Givaudan perfumery school.

Jean Carles's son, Marcel Carles, succeeded him as director of the Roure perfumery school.

Interestingly, it is said that Jean Carles preferred students who did not have a background in chemistry. This information is provided by Monique Schlienger, perfumer and founder of Cinquiemé Sens, a former student of Carles. It is worth noting that a Roure perfumer who had gained a degree in chemistry before working for Roure, Germaine Cellier, was not on Jean Carles's list of favorites — to the point where their boss and Roure co-owner, Louis Amic, had to set Cellier up in a laboratory of her own — away from Jean Carles.

Jean Carles's article, "A Method of Creation In Perfumery," was published in Soap, Perfumery & Cosmetics's 1988 Yearbook (pages 13-30). Carles believed that a perfume should be created in the mind and the formula written on paper before aroma chemicals were mixed. This was his own method for creation. In his elder years, Carles lost some of his ability to smell yet, through his knowledge of what raw materials would smell like when combined, he was able to go on creating new fragrances with few people being aware of his disability.


Perfumes By Jean Carles

FragranceMarketerYear
TabuDana1932
CanoéDana1935
IndiscretLucien Lelong1935
ShockingElsa Schiaparelli1937
Elle...Elle...Lucien Lelong1937
TailspinLucien Lelong1940
Ma GriffeCarven1946
OrgueilLucien Lelong1946
Tout LelongLucien Lelong19??
Miss Dior (with Paul Vacher)Christian Dior1947

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