What is the process of a perfume

The perfume

Patrick Süskind's bestselling novel "Perfume - The Story of a Murderer" was published in 1985. The story takes place in France and is about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who has no body odor of his own, but is born with a keen sense of smell. He becomes a murderer for the production of an extraordinary fragrance.


Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born on July 17, 1738 in a fish market in the Cimeterie des Innocents cemetery in Paris. His mother, a fishmonger, gives birth to him under the slaughter table and just leaves him there. She plans to later wash her son away with the leftover fish. But Jean-Baptiste sticks to his life and utters a piercing scream that draws the attention of passers-by to him. His mother is then charged with child murder and executed.

The boy, who even as a baby has the extraordinary ability to absorb a wide variety of smells, has no body odor of his own. He comes to various wet nurses who are supposed to raise him, but all of them want to get rid of the baby after a short time. This is because Jean-Baptiste scares them. He doesn't smell or act like other babies.

After a while he is sent to Madame Gaillard. They earn their living by raising orphans. Jean-Baptiste quickly becomes an outsider. The other children find him strange and even try to suffocate him. But all attempts fail. Grenouille grows up with Madame Gaillard without love and friendship.

As a child, Jean-Baptiste decided to absorb all fragrances and keep them forever. At the age of eight he was sold to the tanner Grimal. Grenouille survived the tough working conditions due to his innate toughness. One day he suddenly perceives a hitherto unknown smell. He follows the fragrance through the streets of Paris until he finds its source. It's the smell of a young girl.

Jean-Baptiste is so fascinated by the smell that he would like to hold on to it. He sneaks up on the girl and kills her. But he quickly notices that the perfect smell evaporates with death. He decides to find a way to preserve the fragrance. This greed drove Grenouille for the next few years.

When one day the apprentice supplies the perfumer Baldini with his master's leather skins, he sees his chance. Jean-Babtiste proves Baldini's skills in dealing with fragrances and the perfumer actually buys his apprentice from the tanner. At Baldini, Jean-Baptiste learned various techniques for creating fragrances. It was soon he who made the fragrances for Baldini and made the old teacher known throughout Paris and beyond.

In addition to the usual scents, Jean-Baptiste would like to capture the scent of iron and other materials. When he realizes that Baldini's technique of distillation is not bringing him the desired success, he decides to go to the capital of fragrances: to Grasse.

Grenouille leaves his master Baldini with a journeyman's letter in his pocket. On the way to Grasse, the increasing human smell begins to disgust Jean-Baptiste. The disgust is so strong that the traveler hides away from other people in a hole in the ground on a volcanic mountain. He will stay in this shelter for the next seven years. During this time he keeps all scents locked in his cave. The idea of ​​having power over people is becoming increasingly important in his mind.

He leaves his hiding place. In a city he is taken in by the researcher Marquis de la Taillade-Espinasse. He sees in Jean-Baptiste the confirmation of the "fluidum letale theory" he put forward: According to this, the earth emits harmful gases and also harmed Grenouille in his cave.

During his time with the Marquis, Grenouille succeeds in producing a human-like fragrance that gives him acceptance in society. Then he finally makes his way to Grasse, where he learns new methods of scent extraction from Madame Arnulfi and her journeyman. While taking a walk he perceives the scent of the girl Laure and wants to own it as soon as Laure has matured into a woman. Jean-Baptiste sees in Laures fragrance the highest essence that he lacks for the creation of his ultimate perfume.

Over time, conspicuous murders accumulated in the city of Grasse. A serial killer kills women and leaves them naked and with their heads shaved. The murderer is Jean-Baptiste, who preserves the women's fragrances. When Laure's father realizes that his daughter will probably be the next victim, he takes Laure and flees the city. But Grenouille quickly locates the followers due to his keen sense of smell and finally kills the young woman in an inn. He takes her smell.

But in the end you get on the trail of Grenouille. The serial killer is sentenced to death on April 15, 1766. On the day of the execution, he enters the square where tens of thousands are waiting eagerly. Suddenly he is loved and adored by everyone. The reason is because of the ultimate perfume he made from the scents of the murdered women. Because of this, an extraordinary aura surrounds him, which makes the people around him forget everything. Intoxicated by the scent, the crowd celebrates an orgy that no one wants to remember the next day.

Jean-Baptiste is pardoned and the blame for the murders is put on Madame Arnulfi's husband. But Grenouille quickly realizes that it is not he who is loved by people, but the fragrance he created. He then returned to Paris and went to the old fish market to see beggars, murderers and outcasts. He deliberately applies the "perfume" in excess and approaches the crowd around a campfire.

The effect on them is so overwhelming that people believe they are looking at an angel. Everyone wants a piece of the angel and so it happens that they tear up Jean-Baptiste and eat it up. Grenouille dies in the smelly place where he was born.


Süskind's novel shows how a person became a murderer because he sought acceptance and love in society. Already left alone as an infant and pushed back and forth, Jean-Baptiste grew up unloved and lonely. He would do anything to belong. And finally it does. He becomes a murderer. The main character of the novel only finds acceptance through an artificially created aura. This atmosphere in turn unfolds an unimagined power.