Known as “the nose of France,” the city of Grasse is considered the Perfume Capital of World because it was there, back in the 17th century, that craftsmen perfected the extraction of essential oils from flowers in order to turn them into perfume.
“We’re trying to take it back to where it started,” says Munib Bhandari, co-founder of Portland, Oregon’s Grasse Company, which makes hand-crafted, all-natural, solvent-free, cold-pressed rosin.
“We are essentially the cold-pressed juice of cannabis,” he says.
Bhandari, who is originally from Queens, New York, and grew up on Long Island, studied business at college in Albany, New York, and worked in finance. He says he dabbled in startups and though his goal was always to start his own company, cannabis was never really the focus. One of his first companies sold medical supplies and devices and while running a health technology incubator program, he met a nurse who was passionate about what cannabis could do. He calls that “my first gateway” into the industry.
After visiting the West Coast, Bhandari and his brother settled on Oregon and decided to make their way in the processing industry because “we’re not farmers.” Bhandari says his business background and knowledge of distribution channels give Grasse a leg up over the competition, as does the company’s decision to take a “culinary perspective” on its business: using the best ingredients in order to make the best product.
“Our strategy is to think like a chef would, not a chemist,” he says. “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”