Thanks Thrax and MMM.
I don't think there's anyone who would disagree with scentinell's basic point, certainly not me, but more with the manner in which he makes it.
Absolutely MMM, but there is also a variation within niche companies in terms of how much the unit cost per bottle comes down to depending on the quality and concentration of their ingredients.Originally Posted by MonkeyManMatt
A very general rule of thumb for niche fragrances is usually that the more product out there in the gray market, the lower the unit cost per bottle at the manufacturing stage. Of course, other things come into play, like how much a company limits its distribution, but, like I said, it's a general rule of thumb so it shouldn't be taken as the final statement on determining quality. There are many factors that come into play as I hope to show below.
A good comparison to illustrate my point is say between Czech & Speake and the newer Creeds. Czech & Speake has decided to limit its distribution, and Creed has gone the opposite direction, SMW even turning up in K-Mart, and that's one of the reason you won't see a tester bottle of Czech and Speake Cuba or No. 88 selling for under $50.00--if you can find one selling for any price at all on the gray market, you'll be lucky--as you will say the same tester bottle of Silver Mountain Water. I have it on good authority that wholesalers get such a bottle for under $20.00. But if you also trust your nose, you can certainly tell the quality difference between say SMW and Cuba (BTW, I am not knocking SMW in any way. I happen to like it quite a bit), which is another reason you won't find a Czech & Speake bottle selling at the reduced prices of many modern Creeds.
I even heard from a friend in England, who heard from a friend who heard from a friend, that Czech & Speake discontinued production of Dark Rose when they switched to a new production company in England--as opposed to the old on which was located in Italy--because they weren't willing to compromise the formulation with cheaper alternative aoud and rose sources.
If you smell Czech & Speake Dark Rose, you'll definitely understand what I am talking about when I talk about high quality absolutes and synthetics. I am pretty sure the aoud in Dark Rose is synthetic, but damn it's fine. There is no doubt at all that the rose in Dark Rose is the finest quality rose absolute available. As I noted in a recent post on rose fragrances, Dark Rose trumps any of the Montale aoud line in terms of the quality of both the rose and the aoud. I also suspect that Czech & Speake's basic rose fragrance was discontinued for the same reason.
There is another dimension in determining the use of quality of ingredients in top end fragrances and that is the way a company operates and conceive of itself. I am mostly 100% sure that Czech & Speake uses extraordinarily high quality ingredients in their fragrances because they don't necessarily conceive of themselves as primarily a perfume house. Czech & Speake are primarily high-end purveyors of bathroom fixtures and their "aromatics" line is seen as a way of enhancing their prestige rather than as its prime money making product. The weren’t offering their aromatics line for almost a year and a half when looking for a new manufacturer. They can, therefore, afford to be more extravagant in their choice and use of high-end ingredients and also in terms of the concentration of those high-end ingredients.
Finally, I think that if we could actually get a cost analysis sheet of our favorite niche and designer fragrances, we certainly would be very surprised at how much the final retail cost of a fragrance is added cost above initial cost of producing the fragrance as juice pure and simple.