The annual British Society of Perfumers Fine Fragrance evening was presented by perfume evaluator and consultant Virginie Daniau on the 13th of November. Her observations and conclusions about this year’s fine fragrance launches provided a much-needed executive summary on trends – now with over 1400 fragrances launched annually, it would be impossible for any one person to keep up (let alone for perfumers who tend to be too busy making scents for others). The evening was held at the Royal Institution in London, which provides a great venue for these types of events.
The scents featured were:
It seems that apple-like fruit notes (fig, pear, quince) are overtaking straight-up apple as a favourite. Trendy floral notes feature freesia, sweet pea or orange blossom, and there have also been several tuberose launches recently – though the note is treated in a modern way. Perfumers have been creating longer-lasting citrus scents with the aid of synthetic materials and novel accords. Cashmeran seems to be everywhere, and is definitely enjoying a surge in popularity. There are many new feminine fragrances on the market with distinct woody notes, and chypres are enjoying a revival. Pink peppercorn, black pepper and cardamom have been favourite spices in recent launches, and add sparkle and lift to a fragrance.
Several scents featured a marine accord, often accentuated with a subtle coconut note. Many fragrances featured had a skin-scent, powdery musk drydown, and there were several with orris notes. Coffee notes appeared in many masculine launches, and generally, there has been much exploration of the gustatory/gourmand territory in masculine fragrances. Two fragrances had a prominent boozy theme – Tralala by Penhaligon’s and Shisur by Molton Brown.
Virginie told us many of the stories behind-the-scenes of the fragrance creation process – how, for instance, Dolce by D&G came to feature a white amaryllis accord even though it is not a theme they were originally going for. A new headspace analysis of a South African white amaryllis captured the designers so much, they demanded it in their new fragrance.
The evening’s selection was a mixture of mainstream scents and those in somewhat limited distribution, and demonstrated that there are many noteworthy launches in both categories, despite opinions to the contrary. The strangest scent of the evening had to be Tralala by Penhaligon’s, which comes across as a strong whisky-leather-aromatic-floral, with a high odour intensity (harking back to 70s and 80s in strength). The packaging is deliberately outrageous, too, and it was actually one of the scents which gained most of the “wow factor” comments during the evening’s proceedings.