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Voyage of Discovery


07th January, 2000

This fragrance is designed to be a celebration of Basenotes itself. It seeks to achieve several important goals:

  • To symbolize Basenotes and

  • To symbolize the worldwide community of fragrance lovers therein

  • To do the above with important Anglophilic and historic aspects

  • To do these things in a commercially successful manner

  • To free the perfumer to achieve these ends without undue constraint


When looking at the membership of Basenotes, one sees that the diverse membership is, in fact, unified by the common tongue of English. Although the majority of members are from countries descended from the old British Empire and colonies, it is equally clear that the membership is now worldwide – from nearly every place and culture. This fact leads us to an important truth – that the true influence of England on the world was never in the political realm, but rather in the subtle spread of its intellectual influence, which both carried knowledge to the world, and brought even more back home, enabling its further spread. This history nicely parallels the influence of Basenotes, which is quietly British, yet unites the world in knowledge and a common love of fragrance.


The theme of this fragrance is embodied in the working name, Voyage of Discovery. Although one might jump to the conclusion of a well-worn, purely nautical/aquatic/”Eau” theme from “Voyage”, it is the “Discovery” aspect which frees the perfumer and allows for unlimited novelty. Although there need be no overt connection, the voyages of Charles Darwin (2009 being the bicentenary anniversary of his birth), James Cook, and others, are emblematic of the exotic, worldwide set of components available to the perfumer, and thereby provides a facile way to symbolize the worldwide membership of Basenotes. Yet, despite the familiarity of the nautical theme, or perhaps even because of it, there are provided both a target market beyond Basenotes itself, and a way to introduce the simultaneous modern and traditional thematic aspects which are so beneficial in a fragrance. “Voyage” is the classic, traditional, historical side of the theme. “Discovery” is always fresh and exciting and new, even if steeped in history. The idea of representing the journey of the fragrance lover as a “voyage of discovery” is almost a common idea of the community. With little effort, I found the phrase used several times on Basenotes, and also in this quote on Perfume of Life:

“To me perfume is a voyage of discovery and the thrill of the hunt!” (Annegina)


There are minimal constraints on the perfumer, other than to respect the basic theme. Suggested ways of doing this are:

  • Consider components from varied sources, particularly those parts of the world encountered by the early British explorers and naturalists.

  • Feel free to use aquatic notes and cool citrus notes to support a nautical sub-theme or unisex appeal – the former being useful for broadening commercial appeal, and the latter being representative of the Basenotes community.

  • With the above in mind, avoid a purely aquatic or nautical fragrance, typical of the broad market. This is not any voyage – it should be mind-broadening, as befits a true “voyage of discovery”. Thus, the fragrance offers the possibility of something new and exciting, should the perfumer have a groundbreaking idea that fits the basic theme.

  • Avoid coming too close to earlier aquatic/exotic contrast ideas such as “Old Spice”, yet study the success of any predecessors to avoid duplication, find patterns of market success, and discover new opportunities for a breakout fragrance idea which can claim novelty

  • Avoid an overtly “synthetic” feel, which negates the historical aspects of the theme. Something leaning toward a classic citrus eau de cologne is a possibility.

Marketing and Other

The word “Voyage” has been used in six fragrance names in the Basenotes Directory. The word “Discovery” has been used in two. The combination of them is not found. The phrase has been used in the website wordage for Baldessarini Del Mar, but was not used in a similar context. The usage there was less intellectual, and more targeted at a luxury theme:

“The luxurious clear blue fragrance is inspired by the idea of a voyage of discovery across azure waters – the cool freshness of relaxing on the deck of your yacht, reminiscent of exotic places.”

I can think of no better description of what we would be trying to avoid. The word “yacht” should be kept far away from this fragrance, as it easily diminishes the traditional aspects so important for the theme.

The closest potential for a collision of names is with the various fragrances of Nautica – four of the six fragrances using the word “Voyage” are theirs. However, the other two predate Nautica’s use of the term, and with a sufficiently unique theme, “Voyage of Discovery” is likely to be distinct and free of legal entanglements. In addition, Nautica’s Voyage is usually used by the full name Nautica Voyage.

If the word “Voyage” is deemed too risky from a marketing standpoint, then the similar phrase “Age of Discovery” – which retains most of the proposed theme – is a useful alternative. There is no fragrance with this name.

Potential marketing icons include globes, maps, ships, exotic flora, and assorted nautical and exploratory accoutrements. British icons can be borrowed if kept subtle, tasteful, and world-welcoming in outlook. It might be fun to involve our good Captain Grant and his very fetching “First Mate” in the publicity and marketing of this fragrance – at least within the community and industry - should it be one of those


Submitted by Redneck Perfumisto

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    • Leesee | 9th January 2010 06:47

      This brief is quite interesting! I appreciate the distinction between a scent that captures the feeling of embarking on a voyage and a scent that falls into the category of "nautical." If brought to life as a perfume, this would be a scent that really takes its wearer somewhere profound and wonderful.

    • Redneck Perfumisto | 9th January 2010 08:26

      Thanks, Leesee. It's a bit of a dicey concept - to a large extent, it tries to triangulate toward a point that it may not have to, but I did feel that at least one perfume needed to somehow symbolize Basenotes itself. If one of the fragrances really needs to do that, it needs to be (in my opinion) more conceptual than just a laundry list of worldwide components, which is almost as common as the old nautical theme (you wouldn't believe how often I saw the "components from around the world" thing in marketing blurbs, once I had my eyes open to it). No - it needs story of some kind. Admittedly, an adventurous exploration does that, but it's a bit fragile, actually. Which is one of the reasons I'm enamored with your brief. It has not only a great story behind it, but a true story. The stained glass image is perfect, too - the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. It's like a mystery fragrance. It has that same appeal as stained-glass suncatchers (and offers a wealth of packaging concepts, too).

      I'm really glad we have so many excellent briefs. I was worried going into this about all kinds of things that don't look like they're going to be worries. I sort of felt like my briefs were safety valves - something reasonable and sufficiently open for the perfumer to do the right thing, in case we got a bunch of briefs that made Lonestar Memories look like Acqua di Gio. Well, surprise, surprise, and excuse me for having too little faith in my fellow perfumistae, but it looks like people came through with some really well thought-out perfumes and incredibly artistic concepts. I'm going kind of nuts working on a blog piece about these briefs, because they're some of the most inspiring stuff I've seen in a while. I had no idea people would put so much of themselves into these darn things. Had I known, I might have been a bit more "out there" myself, but no need now, because we've got a bunch of very artistic briefs on hand.

      Again, thanks for your kind words - much appreciated! :smiley:

    • Aerandir4 | 11th January 2010 00:14

      This scent captures a beautiful feeling one dreams of experiencing in life-adventure and discovery. Its interesting to see if its possible for a top quality aquatic themed scent to be compiled as you have described it to be Redneck!

    • Sarahsaurus | 18th January 2010 13:55

      I'm in love with travel. I'm in love with maps. I'm in love with this idea.

      How perfect, I'm picturing smelling this and being on The Beagle with Charles Darwin.

    • Redneck Perfumisto | 19th January 2010 05:14

      Thanks, Aerandir. I think this one would really be up to the perfumer. Aquatic scents are a real boom-or-bust phenomenon. So many people do them, and a few of them hit really big, but most sort of bunch up in this sort of "nice but no surprise" group. So you really have to have something memorable to stand out. Perhaps if one of our perfumers really felt like this one offered the opportunity to do something nifty and adventurous, that could translate into an adventurous feel. But you're absolutely right - top quality aquatic themed scent. It needs something that stands out - otherwise, I say don't do it. Personally, if the perfumer wasn't feeling it - if they didn't have some je ne sais quoi to add to it, I'd rather that they passed on this and did someone else's.

      OK, I've found someone else who gets this, so I'm going to let my hair down and say OH YEAH, wouldn't that be so cool?

      That's exactly what I was thinking. I have a friend who's really quite into the Master and Commander series, and he got me to see the movie, which I LOVED. Well, something just as exciting, but maybe lose some of the gun battles, but more Darwinesque and maybe like Cooke in meeting some new cultures, and maybe if we did it all over again, we'd do that part better. But that's the kind of feeling I wanted to express - something really adventurous in mind and body and spirit. Which is exactly what fragrance was like in those early days of my fragrant adventure. For inspiration, I would hope the perfumer could dig up those songs from when they first fell in love with fragrance. When I hear those songs, I just get excited in a very romantic way. It was like the world was opening up with possibilities. That's the voyage I'm talking about. Now picture yourself on the deck of the Beagle in swelling seas, and seeing the Falkland Islands coming into view, or gliding past mountains in Tierra del Fuego, or watching eagerly with Darwin, as you see the Galapagos coming into view on a sunny morning. It's not just one morning in one faraway place - it's way bigger than whatever you're imagining, and you don't know what it is, but you can sense it about to happen. :happy: