Jean Baptiste Grenouille gets obsessed about the process of distillation. And surely, what works with plants should work with glass, stone and other objects as well.
Me: "Can someone please explain to Grenouille, how distillation actually works?"
A couple of sentences later the omniscient third person narrator of this book, who tells the story in hindsight, adresses the issue himself:
"He did not know that distillation is nothing more than a process for seperating complex substances into volatile and less volatile components and that it is only useful in the art of perfumery because the volatile essential oils of certain plants can be extracted from the rest, which have little or no scent. For subtances lacking these essential oils, the destilling process is, of course, wholly pointless. For us moderns, educated in physics, that is immediately apparent. For Grenouille, however, this knowledge was won painfully after a long chain of disappointing experiments."
I have to admit that I really like the narration in this novel.