Givaudan uses the essential oil as a natural perfume ingredient often in place of oak moss in fragrance formulations.
Givaudan’s Innovative Naturals program intends to ensure long-term ingredient supply. “In 2008, there was a crisis in the patchouli supply and the price tripled in one year. At that time, we realized how valuable it is,” Jean Guichard, Givaudan’s perfumery school director explains in a company video about the ingredient.
The company’s fragrance stories rely heavily on ingredients inspired by and derived from international destinations. “If we’re lucky we can get ingredients from local sources or be inspired by being there,” Adriana Medina Baez, a renowned perfumer with Givaudan told Cosmetics Design late last year.
Growing and collecting
The company now has its own collection management team at work in Sulawesi, Indonesia. And, it’s established farming partnerships with GaiaOne Sdn Bhd and Gaya Naturals Sdn Bhd on Borneo, Malaysia.
The team in Indonesia comprises field buyers who engage hundreds of farmers and essential oil distillers to purchase the ingredient. This grower-buyer network “now provides most of the patchouli oil required by the company,” states a media release about the venture.
With the help of tablet devices, the Givaudan team tracks the crop as well as the oil purchases: “Data permits more agile and efficient monitoring of the collection activity and gives insight that deepens knowledge of the market and facilitates swift adjustments, should they be required, to protect quality or supply,” the release continues.
In Malaysia, the company has anther enterprise underway with a landowner: “with its farm and a dedicated distillation plant, this open-air laboratory enables Givaudan to develop special, totally traceable qualities of essential oil especially for our perfumers. Here Givaudan has financed plantation machinery, production equipment, as well as new homes for workers.”
Other fragrance industry players are investing in ingredients at the source too. Asia Plantation Capital Group specializes in agricultural investment projects and has recently announced plans to secure the supply of oud oil from Agarwood trees.
The “planting of trees and growing them is relatively easy. The secret lies in possessing the proprietary technology, expertise and production systems through to end product distribution to turn a simple tree from a near worthless softwood, into an oil that is valued at up to US $50,000 per kilogramme,” the group acknowledges.