Jacques Polge

Jacques Polge

Jacques Polge: A Legendary Perfumer for Chanel


Jacques Polge is a French perfumer who has been the head of fragrance creation at Chanel since 1978. He has created over 100 fragrances for the iconic brand, including some of the most famous and beloved perfumes in the world. He is known for his mastery of different notes and materials, his elegant and sophisticated style, and his ability to capture the essence and spirit of Chanel.

Polge was born on 14 June 1943 in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a town in Provence, France. He grew up near Avignon, where he was inspired by the scents of the countryside, especially the jasmine that grew in Grasse, the perfume capital of the world. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Aix-en-Provence, where he developed a passion for art and culture. He then decided to pursue his dream of becoming a perfumer and moved to Grasse, where he trained at the Lautier Florasynth group.

Polge began his career as a flavorist at Givaudan Roure, a Swiss fragrance company, where he learned the basics of perfumery and chemistry. He then worked for Créations Aromatiques, where he created fragrances for various brands, such as Rive Gauche for Yves Saint Laurent, Diva for Emanuel Ungaro, and Tiffany for Men for Tiffany.

In 1978, Polge was hired by Chanel as the successor of Henri Robert, the previous in-house perfumer. He became the third perfumer in the history of the brand, after Ernest Beaux, who created the legendary Chanel No. 5, and Robert, who created Chanel No. 19 and Pour Monsieur. Polge was given the freedom and responsibility to create fragrances that reflected the vision and values of Chanel, as well as the personality and taste of its founder, Coco Chanel.

Polge's first creation for Chanel was Antaeus, a powerful and masculine fragrance that was launched in 1981. It features notes of leather, patchouli, labdanum, and sage. His next creation was Coco, a warm and spicy fragrance that was inspired by the Parisian home of Coco Chanel. It features notes of rose, jasmine, orange blossom, clove, coriander, and sandalwood. It was launched in 1984 and became an instant success.

Polge continued to create fragrances for Chanel, both for the main line and for the exclusive line, Les Exclusifs de Chanel. Some of his most notable creations include:

• Égoïste (1990): A woody and spicy fragrance that was originally launched as a limited edition scent named Bois Noir in 1987. It features notes of sandalwood, rose, vanilla, and cinnamon. Polge has said that Égoïste is his favorite creation.

• Allure (1996): A floral and oriental fragrance that was based on the concept of six facets: fresh, floral, fruity, woody, oriental, and spicy. It features notes of bergamot, jasmine, vanilla, and amber.

• Coco Mademoiselle (2001): A floral and fruity fragrance that was created as a tribute to the young Coco Chanel. It features notes of orange, rose, patchouli, and musk. It won the Fragrance Foundation's FiFi Award for Best National Advertising Campaign / TV in 2008.

• Chance (2002): A floral and fruity fragrance that was inspired by the idea of luck and serendipity. It features notes of pink pepper, jasmine, hyacinth, and amber.

• Bleu de Chanel (2010): A woody and aromatic fragrance that was created as a modern and masculine scent. It features notes of grapefruit, incense, ginger, and cedar.

Polge has also collaborated with other perfumers, such as Christopher Sheldrake, who has been his assistant and co-creator since 1992, and Olivier Polge, his son and successor, who joined Chanel in 2013. Together, they have created fragrances such as Coromandel, Sycomore, and Coco Noir for Les Exclusifs de Chanel, and Gabrielle, Boy, and 1957 for Chanel.

Polge has won several awards and honors for his work as a perfumer. He was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fragrance Foundation in 2003. He also won the Prix François Coty in the same year. He has been praised by various magazines and critics as one of the best perfumers of all time.

Polge lives in Geneva, Switzerland, where he has his own laboratory and garden. He is also passionate about music, literature, and painting, which he considers as sources of inspiration and expression. He continues to create fragrances for Chanel, always seeking to honor the legacy and spirit of the brand.