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  1. #1

    Default do niche houses use more natural ingredients?

    Or alternately titled "Natural vs. Synthetic"

    I'm reading "Emperor of Scent" and learning about the process of scent molecule creation the "big boys" of fragrance go through when looking for that next new scent. Here, we talk about Mitsouko reformulations, bans on oakmoss, and sythetic musks vs. real musks.

    My question is, and I would love to hear from some of the perfumers on the board (Ayala and others), is one of the reasons niche houses are (generally) thought to create better products is due to the use of natural, as opposed to synthetic, ingredients?

    Do any of the mass market fumes (Dior, Chanel, etc) use naturals anymore, or has mass market gone the way of the synthetic?

    Do natural ingredients last longer/have better projection/smell better than synthetics?

    And finally, are there any houses that market themselves based on their use of natural ingredients?

    I'd also like to hear from those who have strong opinions on the synthetic vs. natural debate.
    Beauty is but the sensible image of the Infinite.
    Like truth and justice it lives within us; like virtue and the moral law it is a companion of the soul.
    -George Bancroft {1800-1891 American Historian}


    current favorites:
    Balmain Jolie Madame, Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan

  2. #2
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    Lincoln, Nebraska
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    Default Re: do niche houses use more natural ingredients?

    I have been thinking about this very thing lately. Especially in the case of Mitsouko. I can understand the need for cheaper fragrances but it if we can view these great fragrances as works of art then cheapening them is equivalent to zeroxing a Picasso.

    The first Mitsouko I had was EDT on sale so at least it was cheap but I barely enjoyed it. I decided to try a sample of pure parfum and there was no comparison. NOW I see what all the fuss is about. I imagine the original was even better and it is really annoying to know that the real thing was there and now it's lost.

    As far as natural ingredients alone are concerned, I have two of Strange Invisble Perfumes scents; Eleuria and Trapeze. They are supposed to be all natural and they are very expensive but very strong, long lasting and unlike anything else out there. They all have a resinous accord which gives them their depth. At first they seem too much like tree sap or tar but the silage is fantastic and they have a haunting quality that seems to grip and mesmerize.
    Currently wearing: French Cancan by Caron

  3. #3
    Bois et Musc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Queens New York

    Default Re: do niche houses use more natural ingredients?

    Frederic Malle, Serge Lutens, Parfums Delrae definitely work with the most precious ingredients, some of their fragrances use the highest grade natural ingredients (Fleurs d 'Oranger) others like Iris Poudre are 100% made of the most expensive synthetic notes.

    What matters the most is ingredients quality integrity used in perfumes wether they are synthetic or natural. Interviewed in 'Tous les parfums de l 'Arabie' Serge Lutens said "there are horrible cheap natural ingredients and very rare expensive synthetic ones too". That said rare natural ingredients( like jasmin de Grasse, santal de Mysore, patchouli, iris are the rarest most precious ingredients for perfumes and the best niche and classic perfumers use them.

  4. #4

    Default Re: do niche houses use more natural ingredients?

    Jean Patou supposedly attempts to use 80% natural ingredients.
    Etro tends to use high-quality ingredients.
    Serge Lutens gives the user a high concentration of ingredients, as well.
    Santa Maria Novella uses high-quality, and lots of natural.
    Les Parfums de Rosine makes the Greenpeace list for safe ingredients, and it smells strong and beautiful, too.
    Montale uses high-quality naturals.

    My nose cannot always tell which are natural, but I often can detect high-quality ingredients by the "depth" of the notes. The cheap perfumes are "flat." The good ones let you sniff "around" the notes. This smells like the notes are "moving" i.e. first you smell the sweetness, then the sourness, then the flower, then the amber, then a strong presence , then a gap. Three-dimensionality.

  5. #5

    Default Re: do niche houses use more natural ingredients?

    Certain natural ingredients are now actually banned for various reasons.

    Musk is synthetic now as it is totally banned, the musk deer is an endangered animal.

    Ambergris is 99% synthetic as it is so rare and expensive.
    Mysore sandalwood forests are nearly gone and will take many years to regrow.

    civet there is only one farm left in the world. When those animals die no more real civet, so 99% of that will be synthetic already.

    Some ingredients where banned long ago for causing cancer.

  6. #6

    Default Re: do niche houses use more natural ingredients?

    It really depends on the house. Niche is perceived in the public eye as having a better quality, and using better quality ingredients - and for the most part it is true. However, for some niche houses the definition of them being niche says more about (limited) distribution than quality. The two go well together (because really high quality stuff is more expensive and can be afforded by less people), but it's doesn't mean it's always the case.

    Some use a combination of synthetics and naturals - Miller Harris, Rosine, Serge Lutens, Lorenzo Villoresi, Dyptique...

    Some use mostly synthetics (I am judging by the scent alone here) - Monyette Paris, Fresh, Yosh, Jalaine, Susanne Lang, Pillar & Lucy (most of their perfumes smell like fragrance oils to me - and these have more synthetics than naturals in them).

    And some use only naturals (natural perfumers), such as Aftelier, Anya's Garden, Artemisia Perfumes and myself (Ayala Moriel Parfums) and other Guild members (you can see the complete list on the Artisan Natural Perfumers' Guild website).
    Gobin-Daude's perfumes (sadly discontinued) were all natural as well.
    Ayala Moriel, Perfumer
    Ayala Moriel Parfums
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  7. #7

    Default Re: do niche houses use more natural ingredients?

    I concur with Ayala. Excellently said!

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