字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Narrator: Fresh roses are the main ingredient for this ancient way of making perfume. The tradition is thousands of years old, and this small city in India is one of the only places that still makes it this way. One batch can take weeks or even months to prepare. The result is 100% pure perfume, also called attar, the Arabic word for fragrance. But what makes the attar so special is also what is leading to its demise. The time-consuming process is hard to sustain. We visited India's perfume capital, Kannauj, to see how this craft is still standing. Workers gather roses in these fields near Kannauj and deliver them to distilleries while they're still fresh. This one is over 100 years old. It's owned by M. L. Ramnarain Perfumers. There is no electricity and no industrial machinery here. Workers have already prepped these copper containers, or degs, filling them with just the right amount of water, about 80 kilos. The most difficult part of this job is accurately measuring the water. Not everyone can measure it accurately. Narrator: Once the flowers arrive, they're carefully weighed. It is an essential part of the process, as getting an accurate ratio is key. It took me five years to learn this craft. Narrator: The roses are evenly spread out, and it takes two men to carry and pour them into the degs. As the petals begin to seep in the water, a craftsman seals the container rim with a mixture of clay and cotton. They then light firewood inside an earthen oven called a bhatti, and the alchemy begins. The heat boils the water and flowers until they emit steam. It condenses as it travels through this hollow bamboo pipe, or chunga. That connects to the bhapka, a smaller container filled with sandalwood oil that forms the base of attar. Rajeev: They are tying up the bhapka. The straps loosen after a while, so we try to keep them tight, so that the bhapka captures the water vapor. Narrator: This is where every last drop of fragrant water will gather over six hours. In the meantime, workers constantly check the temperatures of the different vessels, using their hands and years of experience instead of thermometers. They monitor the fire to make sure the degs are warm enough to create steam. But not too much — otherwise it can destroy the scent. They also have to make sure the bhapka stays cool enough to turn the steam back into liquid. This is a job which requires a lot of patience. It requires a lot of time and effort. The input has to be good to get great outcomes, so every stage of our process has to be given a lot of focus and to be done with a lot of concentration. And any slip off can have negative results. Narrator: And the result is the all-natural attar, free from any alcohol or artificial chemicals, with a scent that can linger for days. Here, they make over 15 different kinds of oils. But one of their most prized is mitti attar, literally meaning "earth perfume." Pranjal: When, let's say, there is rain on dry, purged earth, and you know the smell, the sweet, soothing smell that one gets, so that's the smell that you can expect from attar mitti. Narrator: To recreate the smell of earth, they use old clay pots that were used for spices or tea. They crush the pots and add them to the water, just as they did with the roses. But while rose attar is made in a day, others can take weeks or even months to produce. They're distilled and redistilled till the smell is potent enough. The last step is the bottling process. It's also old-school. Using a funnel and a bucket, every tiny bottle is filled by hand. Expensive attars can sell for 10,000 Indian rupees, or $135. And that's the price for just 2 teaspoons of it. The raw materials are costly, and it takes a lot to make just a little amount of perfume. It is expensive because sandalwood oil costs more than 1 lakh rupees [per kilogram]. We also use flowers that cost between 50 and 250 rupees per kilogram, so the price automatically rises. Narrator: Kannauj has been known to produce attar for at least 400 years. Pranjal: As a matter of fact, Kannauj has got the geographical indication for an attar. So, technically, an attar can only be from Kannauj. Narrator: But the method of steam-distilling is said to have originated in ancient Persia and the Middle East thousands of years ago. In India, it was popularized by Mughal kings during the 17th century. But these days, young brand-conscious Indians mostly use Western perfumes. As a result, in the last 20 years, 80% of India's traditional distilleries have closed down, and the people of Kannauj have felt the decline. Pranjal: So, the whole town is involved in the business of perfumery. I would say about 80% to 85% of the people living in the town are associated to the perfume industry in one way or the other. A lot of people say that it's losing its sheen and stuff like that, but I really personally don't feel that way. Every day, we strive to innovate and find a new application for our oils. So we've seen growth, no doubt. Narrator: Muslims all across South Asia have used attar for centuries. It's believed to be one of Prophet Muhammad's most prized possessions. Attar is something that my grandfather and my father have been using for a very long time. Narrator: And outside of India, these chemical-free attars are popular in the Middle East. European fragrance houses have also been importing attar to use it as an ingredient in their modern perfumes, breathing new life into an ancient industry. We are very proud of our lineage. But at the same time, it's a lot of responsibility as well. When you have to maintain and sustain certain standards, then that becomes difficult. It makes us proud to carry forward a legacy of five generations. Narrator: After all, recreating the smell of rain on earth is no small legacy.