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  1. #1

    Default The future of fragrances

    The “most 90s scent” thread got me thinking that in many ways L’eau d’Issey with its fruity aquatic stylings ushered in a wave that still rolls to this day and shows no signs of abating. As of late we’ve seen the trend for super sweet scents that attempt to out diabeetus each other with each release but in general there hasn’t really been much in the way of innovation or genre shifting releases that defined the times and changed the course of what followed like with the big standouts of the past.

    Could this have to do with all of the mazes a nose must first run through to appease everyone else before getting down to the set or is it simply due to the industry being such a large cash cow now that’s dominated by the few whose accountants keep everyone in check or could it be that this generation of noses simply lack creativity?

    The closest I could say to a landmark scent was Aventus but even that was the bones of an old chypre dressed in modern clothes, although it smelled wonderful and inspired many half assed clones. Personally I think we’re headed toward a time where one IFRA sponsored “house” will make “ACME Perfume” and ship out tankers of it that will be sold with different designer labels and price points to a public who’ll snap it up happily without realising the scam as they are so invested in everything but the scent.

    Sounds crazy but watch it occur and then remember this as you can already see the seeds of that future in the releases and environment of today with its silently enforced “best practice guides and recommendations” that hollow out gems of the past and how many times we’re smelling the same scent in different bottles as well as the headlong rush toward genericism.

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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Palmolive View Post
    Sounds crazy but watch it occur and then remember this as you can already see the seeds of that future in the releases and environment of today with its silently enforced “best practice guides and recommendations” that hollow out gems of the past and how many times we’re smelling the same scent in different bottles as well as the headlong rush toward genericism.
    Probably right, but I hope not.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    The only thing that would surprise me is if a rollback of regulations were to happen, so that perfumers could have more freedom to innovate (or even maintain the low level of quality that already exists).

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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    I keep trying to give some play to small artisans lately to try new stuff. Designers may already be doing the whole 'tankard' of chemicals for mass-production and we don't even realize it.

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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    First to admit that I know almost nothing about fragrances other than whether or not I enjoy them.

    When I happen to hear rap "music" coming from a nearby car while stopped at a traffic light, for example, I sometimes catch myself wondering if in addition to cultural shifts and changes in taste, if the lack of melodies and originality in this genre are born out of todays composers simply finding it more difficult to write more melodic, original music because there are less combinations of notes to form those melodies.

    Wondering if composers of perfumes are running out of combinations of notes as well--thus contributing to so many newer scents being / seeming generic. Just a thought.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    I was thinking about this the other day. The most recent, genre-shifting, landmark scent we've experienced recently has been Sauvage--a plethora of similarly styled scents has been released by nearly every major mainstream brand since. But rather than a creative leap or excursion into new territory, Sauvage struck me as a very uncreative and uninspired release--almost like a sarcastic nod to all the mediocre stuff that had been preceding it, as if to say, "You think that's bad? Watch this!" In many ways it was a leap backwards (since we're all headed into the abyss--who are we kidding, right?--let's just dive there now) And of course the public ate it up. And since then, at best, it's inspired many other releases and at worst, has been shamelessly copied from major designer brands down to cheap knockoffs. A good portion of them are horrible. Furthermore, about a year ago, I made a post basically explaining how even the golden era of creative niche has come and left, and how ten or 20 years ago, the niche realm was releasing gem after gem (, and now, they're so few and far between, or (as the other side of my argument challenged) is there just so much niche available now that great releases get lost in the sea of mediocrity? I concluded that it was more the result of a dearth of creativity than anything. Where are the new Fahrenheit's? Acqua di Gio's and Terre d'Hermes? The Cool Water's or, as you put it, Issey Miyake's?

    It really seems as though creativity has become funneled into a channel that grows narrower each year, leaving less and less room for exploration and true consumer choice. But as you wondered, I couldn't tell you if it's due to a true lack of creative noses, or moreso (and this is probably the case) very strict limits as to what's "allowable" as set down by corporations controlling the industry.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    I feel ya B, I’ve said before, and it may even be proven one day, that I don’t think Sauvage was fully designed by a human. When I first smelled it the various accords and styles it had jacked from other scents and then mashed together felt like this:



    But in fragrance form and it’s entire structure felt very artificial and almost digital which is what made me think that a computer program (probably an AI connected to a fragrance database filled with what features people like, gleaned for free from sites like these) had a part in it and given its success with the masses I’m happy to stick by that perspective as the computer angle is used very heavily in other creative industries for just such ends and is the reason why all music sound the same now and I believe this was the first scent made using a similar approach whose logical conclusion is the ACME perfume outlined above.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Palmolive View Post
    I feel ya B, I’ve said before, and it may even be proven one day, that I don’t think Sauvage was fully designed by a human. When I first smelled it the various accords and styles it had jacked from other scents and then mashed together felt like this:



    But in fragrance form and it’s entire structure felt very artificial and almost digital which is what made me think that a computer program (probably an AI connected to a fragrance database filled with what features people like, gleaned for free from sites like these) had a part in it and given its success with the masses I’m happy to stick by that perspective as the computer angle is used very heavily in other creative industries for just such ends and is the reason why all music sound the same now and I believe this was the first scent made using a similar approach whose logical conclusion is the ACME perfume outlined above.
    Allegedly AI/computers can write stories and compose music, it wouldn't surprise me even slightly if there's an algorithm to churn out fragrance. Interesting post though, I'd say the future will have more post-modern/avantgarde type frags, but that's already been done and nobody seems to care outside the bubble of BN/fragcom. Fashion (like art) moves in cycles; I'd say we're likely due for a return to classics, but...
    "I drank what?" -Socrates

  9. #9

    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Palmolive View Post
    I feel ya B, I’ve said before, and it may even be proven one day, that I don’t think Sauvage was fully designed by a human. When I first smelled it the various accords and styles it had jacked from other scents and then mashed together felt like this:



    But in fragrance form and it’s entire structure felt very artificial and almost digital which is what made me think that a computer program (probably an AI connected to a fragrance database filled with what features people like, gleaned for free from sites like these) had a part in it and given its success with the masses I’m happy to stick by that perspective as the computer angle is used very heavily in other creative industries for just such ends and is the reason why all music sound the same now and I believe this was the first scent made using a similar approach whose logical conclusion is the ACME perfume outlined above.
    That picture is a great analogy, and music is also a good comparison. The main issue seems to be this: Not too long ago the competition seemed to be about who could create the most unique, distinct perfume that also became a blockbuster with the public: So you had Fahrenheit duking it out with Insense and Egoiste, or A*Men going up against Dreamer and Gucci Envy for Men. There was creativity backed by solid marketing. Just as Rock in the 70's and hip hop in the 90's was all about being different than the next group while also attaining popularity as a result of that originality. Now, the competition seems to be more about who can be the quickest to capitalize on marketing trends and ride the wave until it ends, and be the first to jump on the next one before, or just as, it hits. Nobody's competing for originality, or demonstrating faith in their vision. I think to some extent it's always been about a dollar. But how to go about getting that dollar is what's changed. And when you start thinking about it like that, it's almost as if the onus is on the public. Has the public just become a generic shell of its formerly diverse and creative self? I know the city I grew up in in the 90's is no longer the diverse, creative epicenter it once was. I walk around New York now it's all franchise restaurants and the same 4 or 5 banks block after block. And almost every neighborhood has become watered down, gentrified and faceless. So this seems to be where we're moving as a whole. There's been a major push toward sacrificing individuality and creativity for safety and "pleasantness." Maybe the industry is just a reflection of that.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Buysblind View Post
    Now, the competition seems to be more about who can be the quickest to capitalize on marketing trends and ride the wave until it ends, and be the first to jump on the next one before, or just as, it hits. Nobody's competing for originality, or demonstrating faith in their vision. I think to some extent it's always been about a dollar. But how to go about getting that dollar is what's changed. And when you start thinking about it like that, it's almost as if the onus is on the public. Has the public just become a generic shell of its formerly diverse and creative self?
    The internet has homogenized culture. And as always, money (or the desire for hoarding money, aka greed) is not without blame.
    "I drank what?" -Socrates

  11. #11

    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Designer fragrances have been overrun by accountants and misguided marketing. It's similar to what's happened to pop music. Genuine art and creativity have been replaced by "marketable product." The real creativity has been driven underground -- niche fragrances, in the case of perfumery.

    The problem with this: niche fragrances are often hard to find, hard to sample, and often somewhat pricey. I miss the days of being able to stroll into any department store and sample some really fine scents. For the most part, the stuff that's out there now, at the big department stores, is pretty bland. Can't imagine this changing anytime soon. I wish I had a more sunny outlook on the future of fragrances, but right now I'm not seeing a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    It's not up to the perfumers anymore. It is now in the hands of the chemists.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    I was wondering the same today. But you know what? The recycling of old ideas can work in our behalf: perfumes are made by details. The simple change in a little amount of a note in a formula or adding an extra note can make a fragrance way better for us. It can work otherwise too, but I prefer to think things will get better.

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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by dougczar View Post
    It's not up to the perfumers anymore. It is now in the hands of the chemists.
    It's not in the hands of the chemists either - trust me. We lost control of chemistry over the period between 1975 and 2005. IMO.
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
    Just how we started, soon, we will all smell of nothing.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    This whole conversation has me dreading whatever the perfume equivalent to EDM (Electronic Dance Music) will be.
    oh look, I have a signature

  17. #17
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Palmolive View Post
    The “most 90s scent” thread got me thinking that in many ways L’eau d’Issey with its fruity aquatic stylings ushered in a wave that still rolls to this day and shows no signs of abating. As of late we’ve seen the trend for super sweet scents that attempt to out diabeetus each other with each release but in general **there hasn’t really been much in the way of innovation or genre shifting releases that defined the times and changed the course of what followed like with the big standouts of the past.**
    If you think about it, modern eras of perfumery are defined more by synthetics than by genres.

    The 90s were the height of the Calone era, though it never died. People referred to those scents as Aquatics, but calone was used in lots of 90s "clean" scents too.

    The 2010s and beyond are (ugh) the norlimbanol era, though people tend to think of it as woods, and/or incense, and/or oud, and/or all kinds of imaginary B.S. because that's kind of sort of what it smells like.

    Norlimbanol is the scratchy bone dry fake wood, incense, smell that is sometimes even listed as things like oud (What the...!?!) rocks, metals, and various imaginary B.S. It's showing up in everything over the past 5 years, though it's heyday began in earnest back in 2010 with the release of Bleu De Chanel. Now, it's everywhere. Norlimbanol has become the smell of dude-wearing-stale-colongne (because it's the smell of what's left once the other notes have faded, and it is tenacious).

    It's in designers like Bleu, Dylan Blue, Bvlgari Atlantiqve, etc etc etc.
    It's in niche like AdP Colonia Oud, Bal D'afrique, Moscow Mule, etc etc etc.
    I'm sure it's in tons of cheapies too since it's just a cheap synthetic.

    I'm noticing that smell everywhere. It IS the smell of this era, and I think it's awful. Norlimbanol has such a chemical smell. It's sort of woody-ish, but not, which is why it also gets listed as being so many other notes. It's jagged, harsh, bone dry, scratchy, and it lasts forever on skin, but I have a feeling most people who wear those scents become anosmic to it because it's one monotonous smell. It's kind of like living in a house next to a highway or next to a loud factory where, after you get used to it, you don't even notice it anymore.

    Norlimbanol is such a heavy base note that norlimbanol scents end up smelling relatively the same once the top & heart wear off.

    The norlimbanol era can't come to an end soon enough, but it's still gaining steam. Ugh.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by dougczar View Post
    It's not up to the perfumers anymore. It is now in the hands of the chemists.
    THiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiS!

    ...and not in a good way.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    What a great discussion! And I concur with the music analogy, too.

    My guess is that we will see things progress along two lines. The most obvious will be the 'mainstream', corporate side of the industry where we may see the occasional new idea, and will certainly see new aromachems launched that may even usher in a trend (a la Issey / calone) and IsoE Super Duper Gary Cooper. And in amongst it all something 'magic' might happen (despite the EU boffins / IFRA regs / marketing departments and focus groups). Witness the recent adventurous Gucci Guilty Absolute and the 'nu classic' Dior Homme of a few years ago. A couple of original gems from 'designer' conglomerates, albeit both with the creative nod from opinionated Creative Directors for the respective brands, who seem to actually care! We will look for the good 'uns that manage to slip thru!

    On the other hand we look to those individuals who approach creating perfume in much the same way as Jacques Guerlain, Ernest Beaux, Coty et al did a century ago. Vero Kern and a host of 'indies' who create their own works without anyone telling them what to do still seem to be able hit it out of the ballpark. These individuals are not to be confused with all the 'insta niche' companies, or 'lines', that appear overnight - the boardroom niche brigade. In some ways they are worse than the mega-companies because they flip the work of to 'the majors' who provide perfumes for the conglomerates, but they market what they are doing (with a keen eye for the bottomline - keep the formula cheap!) with a 'narrative' designed to baffle civilians who have no clue that their specific new 'niche line' collects unicorn tears from a remote island or a rare flower from inaccessible 'Lost Horizon' type mountain jungle where there be dragons.

    Personally I'm open to cool designer stuff - if it has some originality and SMELLS GOOD, but most of the stuff I have bought over the last few years has come from independents: Miyako, MAAI, Sova and a few others, along with the odd one from the more established 'niche houses' that, while having been bought by investors or major fragrance companies, still manage to maintain a sense of integrity (L'Artisan, Diptyque, Malle).

    Thank goodness for this place (and a few friends I stay in touch with privately) - we can share our research (and argue about Creed) while the unwashed masses wander around the Sephora's and Sasa's in blind ignorance
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  20. #20

    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    sometimes I think 'niche' is a big con although I do still seek out artisanal and 'different' fragrances

    I have been really liking 'designer' new releases also -- especially, Prada and Mugler -- should I feel guilty -- is it a backward step?

    I am not sure the music analogy holds, i.e. I will always hate Ed Sheeran

  21. #21
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    ...

    These individuals are not to be confused with all the 'insta niche' companies, or 'lines', that appear overnight - the boardroom niche brigade. ...

    ...
    "Boardroom niche"! Make it stop!
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    The future is already here. Fragrances as commodities. Synthetic captives replacing genuine materials to lower the cost of fragrance construction. Focus groups deciding on what type of scents to release. Brand loyalty shoring up sales since every major house has its own version of whatever is in-trend. Mass market laps it all up as they all smell great for the first 5 minutes - long enough to part the fool from his mobey. Artisanal outfits continue to push boundaries of marketing copy, if not fragrance concepts/constructions. Differentiation through better quality ingredients becomes harder to achieve, what with increasing levels of restrictions lobbied no doubt by aromachemical business with deep pockets. If you must have it you’ll have to source /distill your own stuff. That means you’ll remain small /niche until your sources dry up and put you out of business.

    But I wonder if the trend in scenting shared customer-facing spaces will continue. If more of such spaces get scented, personal fragrance may one day become obsolete.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Zealot Crusader View Post
    This whole conversation has me dreading whatever the perfume equivalent to EDM (Electronic Dance Music) will be.
    Totally agree......mostly why I end up listening to old school majority of the time.

    Great thread by the way - good points. Chemistry out - AI in
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Zealot Crusader View Post
    This whole conversation has me dreading whatever the perfume equivalent to EDM (Electronic Dance Music) will be.
    DJamBROxanne is so FRESH
    There is no beauty / That cannot be more abused / To beauty's effect.
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: The future of fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by raygsoko View Post
    Totally agree......mostly why I end up listening to old school majority of the time.

    Great thread by the way - good points. Chemistry out - AI in
    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    DJamBROxanne is so FRESH
    Oh well, I'll always have my vintage Avon that nobody wants but me. I'll just stock up enough to see me through the rest of this lifespan. XD
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