Laboratoire Monique Rémy: In the beginning, there was a woman

Cette publication est également disponible en : Français

Monique Rémy was a pioneer and an iconoclast. She founded LMR in 1983, driven by her passion for the natural world. With her bold vision, high standards and integrity, she rallied the best allies around her, first and foremost perfumers, by offering them natural extracts of uncompromising quality. Part of IFF since 2000, LMR has remained faithful to its original values of transparency, respect and innovation.
On the occasion of the company’s 40th anniversary, perfumers from all backgrounds, engineers, growers, business leaders and partners share their memories of Monique Rémy and pay homage to her unique impact on the fragrance industry in the book Art of Natural, published in the “Nez+LMR – The Naturals notebook” collection. We offer you its introduction.

LMR are the initials, like ingredients of a beautiful and compelling story. “L” stands for “Laboratoire,” the place where experimental science leads to discoveries, improvements and innovations. “M” and “R” stand for “Monique Rémy,” a woman, a pioneer, an iconoclast. She was a remarkable human, known for her commitment to her cardinal value – honesty, the mother of transparency. LMR Naturals was born of her integrity. The company enjoys a solid reputation, offering products whose unrivaled purity has earned its label, the “Rolls-Royce” of the market. 

The LMR story begins with a frame narrative: the remarkable tale of a woman’s adventure in the overwhelmingly male 1980s to the early 2000s Grasse perfumery world, followed by the integration of her business into an international fragrance house, IFF, at the request of perfumers who wanted the finest materials for their creations. The deal owes its success to the very friendly relationship between Monique Rémy and Nicolas Mirzayantz, who would later become head of the entire IFF fragrance division. At the time, naysayers openly wondered about the future of LMR, but the next act quickly curbed their speculations. IFF welcomed LMR as the jewel in its crown, and the acquisition was mutually beneficial. From then on, the group has handled every behind-the-scenes aspect of perfumery, from the terroir to the fragrance oil – long before advertising campaigns are even hatched. 

Today, natural ingredients are recognized as paramount in perfumery – though this status mandates constant protection. But 40 years ago, when LMR was founded, many industry heavyweights had turned their backs on natural materials. That is why this story is worth telling, to explore Monique Rémy’s motivations and retrace LMR’s evolution over the years. 

Monique Rémy is, without a doubt, an iconic figure in the world of fragrances and flavors thanks to her unwavering and tireless commitment to excellence and innovation throughout her career, and in particular at the helm of the company she founded in 1983. Driven by her love of naturals and her respect for the perfume creation process, she supplied her clients – perfumers, first and foremost – with the purest raw materials by overseeing the entire value chain. Her expertise began at the source, where she built trust-based relationships with growers and producers throughout the world. She listened to them, helped them develop customized farming techniques, and supported local communities. These initiatives reflect a deep-seated philosophy which emphasized the sovereign role of nature and the need to preserve it for future generations, but above all the importance of telling the truth and keeping one’s word. Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Monique Rémy remembers her frankness and her devotion to accuracy and precision. Her attitude never tolerated any compromises on quality. She made it a point of honor. 

True to its founder’s ethical convictions, LMR has made a name for itself in the natural ingredients landscape by ensuring perfumers access to high-quality products and meeting their needs for tailored ingredients by rolling out unprecedented and sustainable extraction and purification processes for natural ingredients. Rose Essential, Lavender Enfleurage 2.0 and Vetiver Ultimate are just a few examples. By adopting a holistic approach to production that includes ethical farming practices, environmentally friendly extraction and total transparency throughout the supply chain, LMR has set new industry standards. Its high-quality naturals have not only raised the bar for fragrances, they have also opened new horizons for innovation in food flavorings and cosmetics. 

The expression “Art of Natural” truly embodies this philosophy and approach. Living raw materials undergo a transformation guided by know-how and vision. An ingredient is never an end in itself – it has to be incorporated into a composition where it interacts with others in the service of an emotion, intention or idea. There is no room for approximation, chance or mediocrity here. Through LMR Naturals, IFF champions the art of perfumery in general, striving to achieve excellence in the industry and to supply composition artists with the most sustainable materials possible. Since it was founded, LMR has always recognized that natural perfumery ingredients were part of a broader cultural adventure, downstream of the value chain, because they play a role in artistic creation, and upstream, because they are part of a regional intangible heritage – a scientific object and a source of inspiration. 

Main visual: Monique Rémy in front of the molecular distillation apparatus, late 1990s. © DR

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

With the support of our principal partners

IFRA