Le Baudruchage - The Art of Sealing Perfumes


Baudruchage, also known as baudruche, is a way of sealing a perfume bottle with a covering of kid leather, animal membrane, cellulose, collodion, sheet rubber, gelatin, onion skin, cellophane, parafilm or. It is done during the finishing period and can often be quite lovely as a finished part of a presentation.

During the late 1800s, the bottles had ground glass stoppers which was preferable over cork, which happened to have a peculiar odor which it would communicate to the liquid. For the more perfect exclusion of air the stoppers and bottle necks would be covered with goldbeater's skin (animal membrane), cellulose, sheet rubber, gelatin, or onion skin (vegetable parchment), with an outer cap of white glove leather.

Originally the seal was made from thin membranes of prepared cow or ox bladders, called goldbeater's skin. I found a reference to this process in a 1924 book, The Integration of Industrial Operation:

"The skins which we are manufacturing in our plant are skins that are used for the capping and decoration of perfume bottles, toilet waters, and other lotions. They are commonly known as baudruche skins and being used exclusively by the perfume trade qualifies them as a product kindred to our perfumery and cosmetic plant."

The 1922 Julius Schmid advertised their Silverlight and Nearkid capping skins that were available for perfume bottle sealants.

In 1922-1923, Antoine Chiris also had a sealant, called Capes-Viscose, available for perfume bottles, these could be tinted in a variety of colors to match the perfume's color or packaging. I believe that Guerlain used the blue colored seals for their early Shalimar bottles or gelatin.

Made by hand, the baudruchage consists of applying a waterproofing membrane on the neck of the bottle of perfume. Today, the baudruchage is exclusively reserved for the perfumes of Chanel and Guerlain.

In the case of Chanel, this very special art is acquired through training of 2-3 weeks followed by 3 to 6 months of training with a more qualified workers. These women may baudrucher more than 100 bottles per hour and more than 2,500 per day, all being of not getting tired fingers alternating steps between them. Chanel explains that the baudruchage is "something ultimate and precious, unchanged for decades". The thin protective membrane is "maintained by two rows of Black Pearl cotton, ensuring absolute waterproof and protect the scent of any intrusion of air. The installation of the wax seal to seal the double "C" of Chanel then guarantees the inviolability of the bottle".


Chanel in particular explains the baudruchage thus:

1. The small hands of the perfume

Chanel is one of the few houses still practicing the baudruchage for its extracts. Nine workers are trained in this method of tight closure. It takes two weeks to "take the hand round" and six months to reach the rate of a hundred bottles per hour.

2. A thorough and precise gesture

After having received the bottle of perfume at the exit of the filling lines, the baudrucheuse place a very thin membrane of natural origin, known as balloon under the CAP and then covers the neck and the top of the bottle. Initially in the form of a rigid sheet, this membrane is previously SOAP and then rinsed several times to make it flexible, elastic.

3. Keep a thread

Now firmly the vial and the membrane, the baudrucheuse wrapped a Black Pearl Cotton (or salmon-coloured for Allure fragrance) thread under the collar, made a first knot and renew the operation. The fix: keep the constantly taut wire and align the second knot on the first. The surplus of elastic membrane is then cut to the cutter. There also, to obtain a clean cut, the baudrucheuse must turn the bottle around the cutter, and not vice versa. The bottle is wiped before entering the labeller.

For each parfum there is a specific color thread:

-  Black for No.5, No.19, Coco, Allure Sensuelle, Bois des lles, Cuir de Russie and Gardenia.
-  Pearly white for Coco Mademoiselle
-  Pink for Allure

4. Stamped Chanel

Once the perfume label on the bottle, it passes back into the hands of a baudrucheuse to be stamped with the seal of the House, guarantee of inviolability. A first drop of wax seals carefully the knot under the CAP and then a punch with the famous two intertwined C is applied on a second drop of wax. The bottle is then ready to be packaged in its case and go to the Chanel bonded warehouse, near Compiègne, before joining the perfumeries and the shopping. Last December, of baudrucheuses revealed their art and Saks, Printemps Haussmann, Paris, customers in New York. History will remember that the perfume is part of the luxury. (source: cosmetiquemag de mars 2009 par Maryline Le Theuf)

To open the classic Chanel crystal parfum flacon, use the following tip provided by Parfums Chanel in 1963:

Remove cord and paper; with index finger as cushion, tap underneath sides of stopper lightly with glass object (glass on glass being the scientific method) while turning the bottle steadily between fingers, so that the stopper will be loosened evenly.