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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    IFRA expanded restrictions, EU restrictions, cost cutting, greed, and market research influences perfume availability and development in the 21st Century.

    Is the golden age of Perfumery over? Will there be a renaissance?
    "Nature and all her wonders guide me...Emotions find expression in fragrance. Fragrance is the music of my dreams. Fragrance is my inspiration." - Annick Goutal

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Interesting subject, happyscent - the age of the Classics is probably past , or at least severely compromised for now, but there are plenty of interesting products being made - they're maybe a little less accessible in terms of availability in 'bricks & mortar' shops but the internet is a really helpful tool for those looking beyond the mass market offerings - I'm having a fun time discovering new lines & products anyway & I'm not keeping up as much as many here

  3. #3
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Quote Originally Posted by happyscent View Post
    Is the golden age of Perfumery over? Will there be a renaissance?
    If there is to be a true one, I don't think I'll see it in my remaining years.I have learned to accept what's out there and make the best of it.
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    Dependent Arij's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    I see it this way...

    Golden Age (1800-1920)
    Industrial (1920-1990)
    Technological (1990- )

    IMHO we are way past the golden age of perfumery, it having lasted til almost the arrival of Chanel No.5 in the early 20's, end of WWI would be my estimate of a traditional golden age.

    Around the WWII era, mass production brought upon the next phase in perfumery that probably culminated in the powerhouses of the 80's. Regulations beginning in the 90's and advancements in synthetics have pushed perfumery into the digital era, where the secrets of the who/what/how of perfumery are unlocked, and the industry is out of the closet with it's consumer/market/audience.

    The interesting things that are upcoming to compensate for the implementations of regulations is the push in synthetics to go for notes and accords away from nature (ie; Popcorn, concrete, gunpowder, cotton candy, etc). Artistically speaking, it's akin to the move away from olfactive realism.
    Last edited by Arij; 27th February 2014 at 02:22 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    I wonder if Ck One heralded the end of the Golden Age, I suspect that was when companies saw the benefits of marketing to the masses.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Yes it's well and truly over and we are now in the Dark Ages of perfumery.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    I wonder this too - after 20 years in rock n roll and being a smoker/player/bon vivant - I find myself in middle age with busted eardrums and MUCH more sensitive olfactory equipment than in my 20s and 30s. Although I always had pretty good taste in fragrance, I usually found things I liked and used them for years. Chanel, Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake, Romeo Gigli (lol), etc....

    And now, I am just learning and experimenting with dozens of fun fragrances - but it seems that everything is crashing down, getting reformulated, ingredients getting banned, and much confusion.

    I think I am going to spend this year finding the fragrances I really do enjoy, buying a decent amount of them to stockpile, and will have enough for the next 20-30 years I expect to still be extant on this big red rubber ball.

    I do hope it's not as dire as the forum would lead me to believe. But 30 years of dealing with vintage musical instruments has taught me to buy the "good stuff" while you can, it's only going to get more expensive (ie: Brazilian rosewood guitars)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Is the Golden Age of Perfumery over? Absolutely. The vast majority of new launches (and there are far, far too many) are terminally boring, and designed to last less than a year. For whatever reason, IFRA and other regulatory bodies have destroyed the wonderful creativity of Perfumery.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    In the classic sense, yes it is over. Will efficient use of new tech create a Renaissance, quite likely, eventually.

  10. #10
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    It would seem that just as in politics- might makes right. Money talks. We are being steamrollered by concerns above and beyond our control. All we can do is hunker down and seek out the underground concerns.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    I mean no offense, but honestly, this question comes up again and again here. People talk about how great things used to be, but if you look at their favorite scents, you'll see it again and again... they're from 2010, 2011, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2009...

    30 years from now, there will be people looking back on the era we're in now and saying how great perfumes were "back then, in the early 2000's." And they'll be right. And there will be amazing perfumes still being created, perhaps more than ever before.

    Yes, there's probably more garbage being made now than during any time in the history of perfume.

    But it's also true that there are probably more astoundingly good scents being made now than during any time in the history of perfume.

    There's just so much more of everything now. But don't let the garbage fool you into missing out on the greats from this era, because there are so many greats. You could easily bankrupt yourself by trying to buy them all.

    Is the golden age of perfumery over? No. A golden age is over, but we're in the early stages of another.

    Never forget that each generation makes the mistake of believing the previous generation's favorites were garbage. And never forget that previous generations tend to think the newer stuff is garbage. It's true for perfume, it's true for music, it's true for movies. Take a look at TV for a perfect example. Boo hoo, Seinfeld is gone. Boo hoo, Cheers and Mash are gone. Boo hoo for the end of the West Wing. Oh, please. Those were great, but look at the quality of what's on TV today. Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Walking Dead, House Of Cards, Downton Abbey, Louie, It's Always Sunny... We're in a new golden era of TV. The same is true of perfume. It's a new golden era. Amouage, Tauer, recent Creeds, Tom Ford private blends, By Killian, Dior, Histoires de Parfums, The Different Company, etc etc etc... It's crazy how much astoundingly good perfume there is these days. I think too many take it for granted.

    We are in a new golden era. It's a shame some will only be able to recognize it in hindsight.
    Last edited by L'Homme Blanc Individuel; 28th February 2014 at 12:20 AM.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    What about the proliferation of small, independent perfumeries? The internet makes it possible to access many of these; goes this not lead to some optimism?

  13. #13
    Basenotes Junkie Mrnybluesman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Some very good points have been made. I do not think it is over, I believe it is ongoing. There have been many wonderful scents created in the last few years. I agree 100% that we should appreciate them now and not in hindsight. The term vintage seems to make everyone nostalgic. I like Bel Ami, both the original and the current version. Have some scents changed for whatever reason? Yes they have. I can tell you from experience Cartier's Santos is not what it used to be. I was also saddened to see Nobile discontinued. It happens. The variety these days is enormous, and that enormity means some scents that will fall short. Enjoy the here and now.

    Stargarden....I agree with you. Brazilian rosewood guitars sound exceptional.
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

    "I've been everywhere but the electric chair seen everything but the wind."..

  14. #14

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    I mean no offense, but honestly, this question comes up again and again here. People talk about how great things used to be, but if you look at their favorite scents, you'll see it again and again... they're from 2010, 2011, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2009...

    30 years from now, there will be people looking back on the era we're in now and saying how great perfumes were "back then, in the early 2000's." And they'll be right. And there will be amazing perfumes still being created, perhaps more than ever before.

    Yes, there's probably more garbage being made now than during any time in the history of perfume.

    But it's also true that there are probably more astoundingly good scents being made now than during any time in the history of perfume.

    There's just so much more of everything now. But don't let the garbage fool you into missing out on the greats from this era, because there are so many greats. You could easily bankrupt yourself by trying to buy them all.

    Is the golden age of perfumery over? No. A golden age is over, but we're in the early stages of another.

    Never forget that each generation makes the mistake of believing the previous generation's favorites were garbage. And never forget that previous generations tend to think the newer stuff is garbage. It's true for perfume, it's true for music, it's true for movies. Take a look at TV for a perfect example. Boo hoo, Seinfeld is gone. Boo hoo, Cheers and Mash are gone. Boo hoo for the end of the West Wing. Oh, please. Those were great, but look at the quality of what's on TV today. Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Walking Dead, House Of Cards, Downton Abbey, Louie, It's Always Sunny... We're in a new golden era of TV. The same is true of perfume. It's a new golden era. Amouage, Tauer, recent Creeds, Tom Ford private blends, By Killian, Dior, Histoires de Parfums, The Different Company, etc etc etc... It's crazy how much astoundingly good perfume there is these days. I think too many take it for granted.

    We are in a new golden era. It's a shame some will only be able to recognize it in hindsight.
    These are my sentiments exactly--thank you for the reality check.

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  15. #15

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    When I first saw the title of this thread....I thought it was referring to the act of fragrances being worn more so than the actual fragrances being released. And in my honest and humble opinion....I have to say....A big part of me DOES believe that the day and age of a vast majority of people wearing a fragrance may very well be over.

    I say this, because I don't smell people - men or women - wearing them with the frequency and regularity that I used to. Now....could part of that have to do with the fact that designers and manufacturers have gone to great lengths to almost "water down" the potency of fragrances? Very possible, yes...I'd say that could be part of it. We live in a world where everyone is offended by every little thing, and people like to complain. So...much like they have done with cigarette smoke and tobacco in general....since people don't like to "be forced" to smell that...I think the fragrance industry has taken measures to see to it that fragrances aren't blowing people away from several feet away.

    Having said that...I'm in close proximity to people on a regular basis...and the days of smelling a fragrance is no where near as frequent as it USED to be. Used to, you could have a conversation with people - guys and gals - about this stuff. These days, though, most people don't know the names of much of anything...unless it is very, very popular (i.e. - in America, something like Acqua di Gio, Cool Water, Polo...and now Bleu de Chanel is starting to become well known)....most people simply don't know names like they used to. Add to that, the cost of fragrances has exploded, while considerably cheaper alternatives like AXE Body Spray are available....and it's no wonder that the "era of widespread fragrance use" may be coming to a close (if it isn't already over with).

    This is also another reason why I don't think the "I want to be unique and not smell like anyone else" argument is as valid as it once may have been. These days, I can wear Bleu de Chanel and STILL feel like a majority of people that smell it on me may be smelling it for the first time, despite how "popular" it is. And that's because a lot of people simply don't wear fragrances these days, so the "saturation" of a scent isn't as widespread as it used to be years ago.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Yup.

    Long gone, as Arij points out (altho I would extended things a bit - maybe into the 1930's) and I do think there was a mini-renaiisaance of sorts somewhere around the 60's and into the early 70's when 'niche' kicked off with people like Diptyqe and Laporte, Lutens etc.

    It's now really a case of seeing who is actually serious about creativity and quality in amongst all the mass celubu-tween things and the even more pretentious 'boardroom niche' offerings. There are still some great people working but the EU thing is hobbling real expression - I think many people are just becoming habituated to blandness to a point where if something if even begins to feel like it has some life it's considered 'as good as anything from the old days'. People are, by and large, kidding themselves.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Quote Originally Posted by chypre View Post
    I wonder if Ck One heralded the end of the Golden Age, I suspect that was when companies saw the benefits of marketing to the masses.
    I think you're on to something, although you're taking the "politically correct, anti-business" approach to and attitude towards this.

    I've long thought that CK One was kind of "the beginning of the end" in terms of widespread use and acceptance of fragrances....but the reason I have thought this, was because it was the beginning of the UNISEX push. It was the first mainstream "unisex" designer fragrance, which in turn, was marketing to human beings and telling them that the genders are no different from one another, and what's "good for a man, is good for a woman".

    As a man...I like that I'm different from women. And I like that women are different from men. And I'm fairly certain that I'm not alone, and that most men and most women also feel this way (even if it's not "politically correct" to say and acknowledge it). It's the whole "opposites attract" philosophy at work; the "you complete me/my other half" way of thinking and looking at things. And there's nothing wrong with the genders being different from one another either...that's how the Creator ordained it to be, so if anyone has a problem with that, take it up with Him.

    But I honestly do believe....that the whole "unisex" philosophy may very well have turned off a lot of people who don't like having politics and acceptance of any "agenda/movement" forced on them.

    So...while you appear to be taking the typical "anti-business/anti-marketing" angle towards your analysis of this, I happen to look at it from more of an in-depth "political" viewpoint and perspective.
    Last edited by SportsFan; 28th February 2014 at 08:01 AM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Yes, for a number of socio-cultural, economic and environmental reasons.
    The world is too fragmented today for "golden ages, " there can at best be golden subcultures. The haut-bourgeosie as cultural carrier of haute-parfumerie no longer exists, its remains have no significant cultural impact.
    There is no replacement for some key ingredients that defined classical perfumery.
    The business side is split into 99% profit-only-driven megacorps and a smattering of genuine independents.
    There is a strong anti-perfume bias in society.
    So, of course there are still great perfumes being made occasionally, and there has probably never been a more thriving web-based perfumista community, but a golden age of perfume - hardly.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    In a certain way and from a strictly personal opinion, but also slightly off-topic, the "beginning of the end" was already starting to show when, irrespective of restrictions, some of the older/vintage formulations of several designer fragrances (still uninformed, unsure and inconclusive about niche) started to gradually disappear from retail.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Quote Originally Posted by SportsFan View Post
    So...while you appear to be taking the typical "anti-business/anti-marketing" angle towards your analysis ...
    There's nothing inherently wrong with business and marketing, venerable houses have been marketing perfume for generations. What was new about marketing CK One was the message that the fragrance was incidental to the image. Ergo, it didn't need to smell special or beautiful, it just needed to smell accessible - and to as many people as possible.

    In any case, mass marketing is just one aspect of the decline of perfumery. I think the most serious threat is currently IFRA/EU and the ingredient restrictions.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    I don't buy that perfumery is declining. It's certainly changing, but perfumery is amazingly alive and well. Yes, ingredients are being restricted, but others are being found and developed. Look at Molecule 01. That's one somewhat recent ingredient (in terms of the history of perfumery) that smells so good and wears so well people are buying it as a complete perfume.

    I guarantee that a hundred years ago, ingredients were already being lost for whatever reason, and others were being found or developed. It's just change.

    I think the real issue today is that the low end of perfumery - the designer side - might be in a lull. But then again, it might only seem to be in a lull compared to the world of niche, where astoundingly good options abound. By that measure, the stuff at the mall seems bad. I also think it's easier to not respect how good today's perfumes are since there are so many of them.

    I really do think we're in a new golden age of perfumery. I'm guessing this new golden age began in the late 90s or early 00s. And, similar to how much of this new golden age of TV isn't on the big 4 networks, much of this new golden age of perfumery isn't at the mall.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  22. #22
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    I agree, L'Homme, ​it's the mainstream market that is the worst. Everything smells similar and not in a good way. :-(

  23. #23

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Please cancel, double post.
    Last edited by Puma; 28th February 2014 at 11:39 PM.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    If there is to be a true one, I don't think I'll see it in my remaining years.I have learned to accept what's out there and make the best of it.
    Couldn't find better words to say this.

    I will certainly not live to see the renaissance. Since my perfume stock will last at least till I am 120 years old, I try not to worry too much for the time being, but enjoy my stuff. I am positive that future will bring other lovely scents in accordance with the zeitgeist.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Is the Golden Age of Perfumery Over

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    I really do think we're in a new golden age of perfumery... similar to how much of this new golden age of TV isn't on the big 4 networks, much of this new golden age of perfumery isn't at the mall.
    +1 Excellent analysis L'HBI, I definitely follow your line of thinking, over lamenting that the end is nigh. The revolution will not be advertised!

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