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  1. #1

    Default God, what's happening with these new fragrances?


    Lately I've been really pissed -- there seems to be an onslaught of really mediocre fragrances coming out, and this trend seems to be pointing the way to the future.

    For decades, it took most fragrance houses on average about 5 to 10 years (if not longer) to come out with a new product, something of quality that they could rightfully be proud of. They really took their time to work on their creations and not just rush them out; their reputation was at stake. Nowadays, most houses (on average) release one to two fragrances a year; and if they flop, it seems like no one cares. They just whip out the next best thing that one of their noses happens to be working on, even though it might not be quite ready for prime time. God forbid if a company missed their Christmas sales as a result of their nose not wanting to release the fragrance because he was not completely done with it yet. Why the V.P. of Marketing could have his head on the plate!

    Can you imagine this? They actually expect the customers to show loyalty to the brand and buy into their multi-million dollar advertising campaigns just because they come out with a new fragrance! Yoopie! I for one, will not buy anything new unless I have tested it first. And only if it could match the quality and sophistication of the older venerables.

    Just my $0.02.

    Godzilla


  2. #2

    Default Re: What's happening to the new fragrances?

    I so agree with you and sad part is if these scents don't make the cut in a half year they are pulled. No longer is the nurturing to make a loyality. The only scent recent that has done Thierry Mugler with Angel.

  3. #3

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Sooner or later a Popular house will rippoff your fav fragrance and everybody will be wearing a cheap copy of your jewel.
    "...but I also can't prove that mushrooms could not be intergalactic spaceships spying on us." Daniel C. Dennett

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  4. #4

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Incedal
    Sooner or later a Popular house will rippoff your fav fragrance and everybody will be wearing a cheap copy of your jewel.

    I hear you. Although what really concerns me is not what other people wear, but rather what these big conglomerates charge their loyal customers for a mediocre scent. No thank you.

  5. #5

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    I think they made their beds and now they have to lie in it. *They've created their own vicious cycle they can't get out of. Seems like these new scents become so boring that the consumer is already looking for something else, so sales plummet after 6 months, hence the new frag around the corner, even if it's a summer version of the same scent. *You're right, there is no loyalty anymore. *The only loyalty is for the few people who treat frags like their favorite deodorant, they buy the same one everytime after it runs out.
    *********************



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  6. #6

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by iMaverick
    ...The only loyalty is for the few people who treat frags like their favorite deodorant, they buy the same one everytime after it runs out.
    Good observation. If they decide to quit this 'cycle', they'll most likely lose market share. I just hope no jarhead in marketing decides to cut short classics like Egoiste, and Antaeus.

  7. #7

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    What pisses me off is that these companies concentrate primarily on the marketing rather than the scent itself. What they don't know is that sometimes their plan backfires. Take True Star for example. Even if it were a good scent, I wouldn't wear it because of the Enrique Inglesias connection with it.
    Another prime example of marketing is the whole "Black" theme. Aside from Bvlgari, I haven't sampled any scents at Macy's/Sephora that actually represent the color black. KC Black? Polo Black? No way. They're not bad per se but I think they're misrepresented. After all, how can "iced mango" be black? ...Unless it's rotten of course.

  8. #8
    Yvan
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    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    I agree totally with the theme of this thread. *I think the market really lack new classics. *I will say that, looking at my wardrobe, I do have 7 fragrances that have come out since 2000, though of those 7, I wear only 2 really regularly. *I think that, instead of taking more time themselves to create new classics, many of the fragrance companies are making us spend more time doing the work to sift through all the dreck to find the few gems that're coming out. *But of course, that's supposedly good for Basenotes, with hopefully more people coming here to get the lowdown on what's good or not! *The current lack of inspiring fragrances is also one reason why I'm experimenting with my own homemade scents, and while I still wear manufactured scents more, I can't wait 'till my next batch is ready to try...notes of rose, pepper, clove, sandalwood, cedarwood, tobacco, vetiver, patchouli, musk and more. *See you in Basenotes' Fragrance DIY section!

  9. #9

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Ditto...and "I concur." with all that has been said...my feelings and observations entirely. I just cannot believe that folks actally sat around and took money to create some of this CRAP!!!!.

    What gives??

    Prada Man don't let me down....please.....

    Otto
    Giving Life My All And Improving Every Day

  10. #10

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Great post Godzilla. The saddest part of all is that the retailers (and vendors) have allowed this to happen. Unfortunately, there is no going back. Too much consolidation in retailers, too much market share for certain vendors. They have all but squeezed the life out of any indie fragrance (or cosmetic) company with any point of difference. Take it from a former "indie", it is virtually impossible to bring a product to market without serious leverage with the retailers. The big time fragrance companies and distributors have so much leverage that the retailer has no choice but to carry the crap for fear that they might not get the exclusive on the next "big thing". It's all a convoluted mess.

  11. #11

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    The current lack of inspiring fragrances is also one reason why I'm experimenting with my own homemade scents, and while I still wear manufactured scents more, I can't wait 'till my next batch is ready to try...notes of rose, pepper, clove, sandalwood, cedarwood, tobacco, vetiver, patchouli, musk and more. See you in Basenotes' Fragrance DIY section!
    Yvan
    Glad to hear that you are working on your own compositions, perhaps we can compare notes over in the DIY forum. I just ordered about 30 bottles of EOs etc. The composition you mention is also something I plan to work on. I still need rose, tobacco and musk; I imagine that I will be buying many more bottles of fragrance components.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  12. #12

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Part of the problem is of their own making. I am totally against the idea of designing a frag based on target audience divided by age groups. What happens is that they produce poorly constructed, cheapo, synthetic, one-dimensional scents for the 17-25 age groups, thinking that these adolescents would not be able to handle more sophisticated stuff. This condescending attitude causes a dumbing down effect because when the adolescents mature, they will still be looking for similar linear, synthetic scents and actually buy the drecks we lament today. The cycle continues. >

  13. #13

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Vendors are not the problem, the company execs are. Blaming the vendors is like blaming the people at supermarkets when your tomato sauce sucks. What the hell does the person who sells it have to do with anything? They have no choice in what is popular, or what is marketed, or how scents are created.

    The problem I think has been thoroughly been discussed, the execs want to make sure they have a hit during the holidays and could care less about whether the scent is long term or not. The same ingredients are in same fragrances; it's sickening. How many times do we really need patchouli, honestly? :-?
    The pursuit of philosophy is the hope that there is more to life than we realize. By philosophy, however, we come to realize that in fact there is less to life than previously imagined.

  14. #14
    whitebar's Avatar
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    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yvan
    my next batch is ready to try...notes of rose, pepper, clove, sandalwood, cedarwood, tobacco, vetiver, patchouli, musk and more. See you in Basenotes' Fragrance DIY section!
    Wow, this sounds like a wonderful scent. Many of my favorite notes are in it. I can't wait to hear how it turns out so please keep us updated. Rose, pepper, cedar, tobacco, patchouli...UMMMMM!

    ;D ;D ;D

  15. #15

    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Informer
    Vendors are not the problem, the company execs are. *Blaming the vendors is like blaming the people at supermarkets when your tomato sauce sucks. *What the hell does the person who sells it have to do with anything? *They have no choice in what is popular, or what is marketed, or how scents are created.

    The problem I think has been thoroughly been discussed, the execs want to make sure they have a hit during the holidays and could care less about whether the scent is long term or not. *The same ingredients are in same fragrances; it's sickening. *How many times do we really need patchouli, honestly? * :-?
    In my post, vendors= the companies (execs) making the product and selling it to the retailers. *I agree, most companies don't want to take a risk. *Then they jam it down the throats of the retailers then on to the customers. *Not much a consumer can do but find the little indie shops and websites out there that support the indie manufacturers. *The problem for an independent manufacturer is that there aren't enough indie retailers out there. *I could go on. *The manufacturing side is not set up for an indie either. *The minumums on components and manufacturing are so high that you end up with either ten years worth of inventory or you have to compromise the quality of your product to find manufacturers to produce small batches. *

  16. #16

    CologneJunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: God, what's happening to these new fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by milamber
    Part of the problem is of their own making. I am totally against the idea of designing a frag based on target audience divided by age groups. What happens is that they produce poorly constructed, cheapo, synthetic, one-dimensional scents for the 17-25 age groups, thinking that these adolescents would not be able to handle more sophisticated stuff. This condescending attitude causes a dumbing down effect because when the adolescents mature, they will still be looking for similar linear, synthetic scents and actually buy the drecks we lament today. The cycle continues. >
    Excellent point!
    "Wait...is David Bowie really God?" - Penelope Garcia

  17. #17

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    Is it really fair to blame the big fragrance companies and their executives for all the dross...err, I mean new fragrances....that hit the counters at major department store fragrance counters these days? Surely, these companies are just responding to consumer sentiment when they launch their latest atrocity. I'm sure all the major fragrances companies do extensive consumer testing and market research before they launch a new fragrance. So when Calvin Klein or Hilfinger or Hugo Boss release a new fragrance, they're trying to give consumers what they think consumers will want. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a buck in it for them.

    I don't want to sound elitist here, but I think the real problem lies wtih consumers themselves. It is an unfortunate fact of life that "the masses have no taste". Good taste and a well developed sense of aesthetics are not qualities that most people are born with: they are acquired traits. So it doesn't surprise me that the average person - the type of consumer that most fragrance companies are pitching their product at - will probably prefer a Hugo Boss or Calvin Klein fragrance to a MPG or a L'Artisan.

    Same is true in many walks of life. When most men buy a business shirt, they're not going to get something from Hilditch & Key or New & Lingwood. They're going to buy some awful polyester-cotton product from their local department store, even though they could probably afford something much nicer. Why? Because they lack good taste.





  18. #18

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    Quote Originally Posted by verve
    Is it really fair to blame the big fragrance companies and their executives for all the dross...err, I mean new fragrances....that hit the counters at major department store fragrance counters these days? * Surely, these companies are just responding to consumer sentiment when they launch their latest atrocity. * I'm sure all the major fragrances companies do extensive consumer testing and market research before they launch a new fragrance. * So when Calvin Klein or Hilfinger or Hugo Boss release a new fragrance, they're trying to give consumers what they think consumers will want. * Otherwise, there wouldn't be a buck in it for them. *

    I don't want to sound elitist here, but I think the real problem lies wtih consumers themselves. * It is an unfortunate fact of life that "the masses have no taste". * Good taste and a well developed sense of aesthetics are not qualities that most people are born with: *they are acquired traits. *So it doesn't surprise me that the average person - the type of consumer that most fragrance companies are pitching their product at - will probably prefer a Hugo Boss or Calvin Klein fragrance to a MPG or a L'Artisan. *

    Same is true in many walks of life. * When most men buy a business shirt, they're not going to get something from Hilditch & Key or New & Lingwood. * They're going to buy some awful polyester-cotton product from their local department store, even though they could probably afford something much nicer. * Why? *Because they lack good taste. *

    Lack of taste or lack of understanding. I personally think the consumers just don't know any better. There was a time when many retail associates would take the time to educate their customers. They too have been conditioned to sell the crap. Partly becuase they don't have a choice and partly because of the "incentive" to sell the crap.

  19. #19

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    I agree with all thats been said so far, but I do have to say that it appears that BPI (Gaultier, NR, Issey Miyake etc..) seem to be doing things the old fashioned way.

    Take Gaultier for example, its been many many years since Le Male was released, I would say this has become a modern classic (as much as its not to my taste anymore)

    Also Miyake waited many years for L'eau Bleue too.

    Hmmmm, just an observation!

  20. #20

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    Many, many things have influenced the current state of the biz in the US. *One interesting turning point was CK one. *CK came in heavy handed and demanded the retailers put in the CK installation, kiosk thing. *Nordstrom stood up and said no. *They lost hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of dollars and relented after the fact. *Their buying philosophy has been different ever since. *Things changed after 9/11 too. *I actually had a buyer at Barney's tell me that they were buying more mainstream brands, they needed a sure thing. *The state of the world and the economy after 9/11 is still influencing things. *Anyway, it's not too easy to bring something to the market anymore. *The only chance you have without juice with the retailers is to get some celebrity endorsement. *That seems to be a real driver now. *On the manufacturing side, I'm not so sure that the designers are even influencing their products so much anymore. *Most just license their name out. *There aren't many creative partnerships between designer and licensee anymore, not when you only have a handful of companies bringing the product to market. I don't know how LVMH can churn out so many similar products from such different designers.

  21. #21

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Maestro
    *I don't know how LVMH can churn out so many similar products from such different designers.
    If this was posted last year, I'd fullheartedly agree. But this year, kudos for LVMH! I mean, L'Instant p.h.edp,
    Very Iresistible men, Dior Homme.Hellohoo!.. It doesn't get better than this! A lot better than most P&G (Boss)or L'Oreal (RL, Armani) releases from this year.

  22. #22

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    Quote Originally Posted by eric
    [quote author=The_Maestro link=1129407174/15#19 date=1129480266] *I don't know how LVMH can churn out so many similar products from such different designers.
    If this was posted last year, I'd fullheartedly agree. But this year, kudos for LVMH! * I mean, *L'Instant p.h.edp,
    Very Iresistible men, Dior Homme.Hellohoo!.. It doesn't get better than this! * A lot better than most P&G (Boss)or L'Oreal (RL, Armani) releases from this year.[/quote]

    Maybe there is hope. I suppose I should check some of those out. Dior Homme, although different, didn't do much for me on first try, haven't tried the others.

  23. #23
    Allen-on-Holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    godzilla wrote: They actually expect the customers to show loyalty to the brand and buy into their multi-million dollar advertising campaigns just because they come out with a new fragrance!

    I agree with verve that the mass consumers are to blame. I will admit it's tempting to buy the newest Polo, so I can say, "Yes, I'm wearing Polo Black" (especially since I wore the original green for years), but the blue and the black are so "blah" they aren't worth mentioning, much less purchasing. So now I don't care what the fragrance house rep is, each new scent must stand on it's own. Bottom line: I will only buy it if my nose likes it, no matter which house it comes from.
    Licorice candy for breakfast, and another dab of Black Vines by Kerosene. And a spritz of Plum Japonais for Sunday.

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  24. #24

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    Quote Originally Posted by verve
    ...I'm sure all the major fragrances companies do extensive consumer testing and market research before they launch a new fragrance.... Otherwise, there wouldn't be a buck in it for them. *
    A good logical point. However, I myself have never been asked to participate in any Coke vs. Pepsi version of the perfume challenge test; and I doubt very much if any of our fellow B'noters have either.

    It kind of makes you wonder how these companies conduct their tests. Do they just walk up to a couple in a mall and ask them:
    "Excuse me sir, would you mind telling us how you feel about this fragrance?"
    And unless the juice is horridly bad, a typical response might be "Ahhh, yeah, it's kind of nice!".
    Followed by the girlfriend muttering, "Ehmmm, it kind smells like Eternity or something....heh heh heh" !!!

    You see, I just don't know if companies really perform tests like this. There are so many other variables to consider as well: do they conduct the test in a European country, or in U.S., or in Asia? No doubt the tastes differ from region to region. And obviously any test that was conducted in a specific locale will most likely not be representative of the entire market.

    Question: Does any one here know how (if at all) fragrance companies conduct these tests?

    Overall, I agree with Maestro on the fact that the big conglomerates have considerable clout to define, and shape what the consumers will consume. If they indeed are catering to what the public is demanding (as verve has mentioned), then I must say that the majority of people really don't have a 'good' taste. Most likely as a result of not being exposed to other remarkable fragrances.


  25. #25

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    I wonder if they truly ever test market the scents with consumers. I'd bet they just test it with branding agencies, to make sure the name, packaging, image,etc. are all on par. They usually focus these things so much that the scent gets overlooked. As long as the scent goes along with the branding. I wish they would start the other way and just come up with a remarkable scent. Who cares about all of the other crap.

  26. #26

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    For me it usually takes some time to 'get' great niche frags, and on the other hand most of the time I get easily tired of the frags I like right away. I think connection to music is obvious, for example, I've been listening to Mr. Bungle lately, first time I heard their album Disco Volante, I thought it was total nonsense. Now I know better!

    I would not say that masses are stupid. There are SO many things in the world I'm in that ignorant mass of people, poetry to mention just one. Obviously it's possible that some people naturally have better taste than others, but I think that the interest and effort we put into an aesthetic subject is the most important thing that affects our taste. Why would it be stupid to not be into fragrances from the dozens interesting things in the world? I honestly believe that most of us, who now have 'refined' taste, would choose Acqua di Gio over Piper Nigrum - or Britney over Mr. Bungle for that matter - if we were totally new to the context (frags, music) and would sample or listen just once.

    So, my point is that major companies want their fragrances to smell nice, be linear and smell good on the strip, and all this right away. That's the way people test fragrances, they smell it five seconds after applying and only once before making their verdict... if they are patient ones! The most used tactic here in Finland is to smell the bottle and say 'no'.

    The dichotomy in aestetics is philosophically interesting. Most people are ready to accept that beauty is in the eye of the beholder AND that it's possible to be an auctority or develop your taste. These two can't be true at the same time. If the beauty indeed is only subjective there is no way to develop your taste for everything is aesthetically as valuable.

  27. #27

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    Johnny_Ludlow,

    Please note that no one has called the masses "stupid"!
    As I alluded earlier, not being exposed to a variety of scents does limit one's ability to judge fragrances.
    As a somewhat related example, I can tell the difference between a $5 bottle of wine, versus a $100. But, I cannot tell the difference between a $100 wine and one costing $800. You see, my taste buds have not developed to a level where I can appreciate the subtle intricacies of a more expensive wine -- yet.
    So I would not call that "stupidity", it's simply my lack of exposure to more expensive wines.

    Hope that clears up the matter.

    Godzilla

  28. #28

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    I agree with Johnny in that sense. When I came to the world of frags, I happened to like Polo Blue, AdG, Issey Miyake and other light fragrances, just like the other 100 million men. After a year of trying hundreds of frags out, testing them on my arm, getting nauseous after thirty sniffs... guess what? I still like them.

    I guess the countless new fragrances are just never ending, and a lot of them seem half assed, but they all (to me) accomplish one mission. They smell good.

    I have yet to smell a truly awful cologne, maybe I will eventually, but as of now, haven't come upon one. Most people are just looking for something to brighten themselves up, to smell fresh or maybe masculine. Many of them don't care about top notes, middle notes, and so on. Fragrance makers know that, and really don't have to abide to something that most people won't notice. It's like a government spending millions of dollars to make sure every coin currency they manufacture is top A quality to satisfy a small minority of coin collectors, when most people just use coins to spend and nothing more.

    And of course, it's all in taste and opinion as well. A lot of people here shun mass market fragrances and enjoy niche ones. I like both, though occasionally I will encounter bumps along the way. Sorry guys, but some niche fragrances that I've tried seem to be niche for a reason...


  29. #29

    Default Re: God, what's happening with these new fragrance

    Quote Originally Posted by CoL
    I agree with all thats been said so far, but I do have to say that it appears that BPI (Gaultier, NR, Issey Miyake etc..) seem to be doing things the old fashioned way.

    Take Gaultier for example, its been many many years since Le Male was released, I would say this has become a modern classic (as much as its not to my taste anymore)

    Also Miyake waited many years for L'eau Bleue too.

    Hmmmm, just an observation!
    My view is that BPI took two big losses with Issey's Le Feu and Gauthier's Fragile that they pulled back on launching and just pushed L Eau line and Clasique and Le Male that makes the most money.

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