Brand Portrait: Rancé 1795
From scented leather gloves to 230 years of perfumery excellence: Rancé 1795
The story of Rancé 1795 began in a place that represents the great milestones in perfumery history like no other: Grasse in the south of France. Nowadays, the town located in the hills north of Cannes is undoubtedly the center of the world when it comes to noble scents and sophisticated perfumery craftsmanship.
In the 17th century, however, Grasse was still a village. But even back then there was something special about the up-and-coming town at the gates of the sunny Côte d’Azur. In a similar way to how it is characterized by haute perfumery manufactories today, Grasse was dominated by the tanners' guild back then. And it is exactly this time-honored craft to what Grasse owes its current reputation as the world capital of fragrances.
The 17th century in Grasse was the heyday of the Gantiers-Parfumeurs - mostly long-established tanneries that specialized in a trendy product that was very popular among the noblemen and -women of the time: perfumed gloves, made of supple leather! And Grasse would soon become famous for this noble specialty.
One of the major manufacturers of scented leather gloves was the House of Rancé. Together with other tanneries in Grasse, it experienced a unique transformation in that era: the city's tanneries became increasingly involved in the production of fragrances - initially to scent the leather gloves with ever new scent mixtures. Therefore, large quantities of aromatic herbs, plants and flowers were grown in the gardens and fields around Grasse in order to meet the increasing demand for fragrant essences.
Over time, perfume became so much the focus of their activities that more and more tanners from Grasse gradually changed their profession - until they finally switched to making perfume entirely. Tanners became Gantiers-Perfumers - and these in turn became full-time perfumers. This is how the old tanning village of Grasse gradually transformed into the town as we know it today: the world capital of perfume, a paradise of fine scents between Provence and the French Riviera!
Born from the craftsmanship of the Gantiers-Parfumeurs, Francois Rancé turned fully to perfumery in 1795 - and established his own distillation and perfume laboratory in Grasse. His innovative spirit brought forth exquisite and modern perfume creations of unique beauty and elegance.
His talent did not remain hidden for long and word of it spread quickly - all the way to the French imperial court. He soon received the highest honors of the era: Francois Rancé was appointed purveyor to the imperial court and was even considered Napoleon's favorite perfumer. For him, Francois Rancé created exquisite perfume pearls such as Le Vainqueur, Triomphe or L'Eau de Austerliz. He also dedicated an own fragrance (l'Impératrice) to Napoleon's wife, Empress Joséphine - a perfume dressed in the finest porcelain.
The House of Rancé 1795 has resided in Grasse for more than a century - and from there it supplied the world with the most beautiful fragrances. In 1902, the perfume house dared to make a spectacular change of location: under the aegis of Alexandre Rancé, the traditional perfume company moved to Milan. Rancé opened its new headquarters there, which was both a fragrance factory and a perfume museum.
To this day, Rancé 1795 remained loyal to the cultural metropolis in Northern Italy. It is now the seventh generation to continue the fragrant family tradition. They are inspired by ancient recipes, selected natural ingredients - and a creative passion that has written more than two centuries of perfumery history. A story that once began in Grasse - and is now about almost 230 years of timeless perfume excellence.
It's quite fascinating, actually, when you consider what a few perfumed leather gloves can become and bring forth over time...!