Modern technology efficiently packages perfume into tight, vacuum-sealed atomizers, but in the past, a more intricate bottle-sealing process—an art, really—kept fragrances untouched until the woman to wear it twisted the airtight lid. Baudruchage, the act in which a highly trained artisan carefully hand-seals each bottle, is a tradition that has been passed down through generations. Though not practical when producing mass quantities, baudruchage is important for its sentiment: a personalized finishing touch or a stamp of approval.
At the Chanel Fragrance Laboratory just outside of Paris, the process is considered a symbol of exclusive luxury. Of a small handful of artisans that still practice the technique today, eight of them work for Chanel. The complex process is reserved solely for the Chanel N°5 perfume extract—the purest, most concentrated expression of the fragrance.
Once vessels are filled with the precious liquid at the Chanel Fragrance Laboratory, the baudruche—a thin and waxy membrane— is wound by hand around each delicate bottle’s glass stopper, binding the two together. A double layer of fine, black, pearlcotton thread is wrapped around the film and skillfully knotted in a blur of precision. Finally, a seal of black wax is dabbed atop the thread and stamped with Chanel’s double-C logo, ensuring a perfect, tamper-proof seal. The small gesture differentiates a regular bottle of perfume from a treasure that holds something more. There’s value instilled by the personal touch and care—a priceless kind of luxury shaped by a timeless tradition.