Perfume Trends: 52 posts

Overview of fragrance trends and popular perfumes

Why Do We Like Floral Perfumes?

One of my favorite childhood pursuits was to make perfume. At least, that’s what I called it—my great grandmother’s description was “pestilence.” I scoured the flower beds, collected rose, carnation and dahlia petals, soaked them in water and waited until they turned into a fragrant brew. Eventually, the whole lot would rot and smell more beastly than beautiful, but undaunted I persevered. Faced with a garden that her great granddaughter pillaged on a daily basis, Asya gave me a bottle of perfume called White Lilac and hoped that my interest would eventually fade.

Years later, and I’m still fascinated by floral scents. Their variety is immense, from jasmine to marigold, from rose to ylang ylang. More than any other family, florals are susceptible to change as technology evolves. The aroma-material called hedione has changed the way we perceive floral perfumes. Its lemony freshness decorates almost all floral accords–and fragrances in all other perfume families. For instance, you can notice hedione in classics like Christian Dior Diorella or in modern blends like Penhaligon’s The Favourite.

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Rose for Men and The Freedom to Choose Your Perfume

The arbitrary nature of gender divisions in fragrance becomes obvious as soon as you examine scent habits around the world. Both men and women splash themselves with sharp citrus colognes in Spain. Jasmine attars are shared in India, while rose is a favorite essence among men in the Gulf countries. But try to convince a lad in North America to don some flowers and you are met with a quizzical look. Aren’t roses just for ladies? Of course, this won’t hold true for the regular Bois de Jasmin male readers on both sides of the ocean, but gender associations with fragrances can be hard to break.

renoir

Francois Robert, the perfumer behind the niche line Les Parfums de Rosine, doesn’t think so. Les Parfums de Rosine is devoted to fragrances based on rose, and it includes a dizzying array of roses in all guises, including roses for men. Rose d’Homme is a rose in soft focus blended into leather and patchouli. Rossisimo wraps the red blossoms around a zesty accord of bitter orange and bergamot, with a dash of lavender for a cavalier spirit. Both fragrances require a willingness to experiment, but the classical masculine scents like leather and citrus take so well to rose that the outcome is refined rather than radical.

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3 Perfume Trends for 2021 and beyond

Today’s topic is trends in fine fragrance, air care (candles, diffusers, room sprays,) and body care. Based on my professional experience and studies of consumer reports, I will share three key trends that define 2021/2022. First of all, a note on how trends are compiled, because it’s an obscure topic to most people outside of the perfume industry–and to many people in the industry as well. No crystal balls are involved; it’s all about numbers.

To put it simply, agencies like NPD and Mintel track sales of different products, and based on the sales volumes and types of products, they make inferences about consumer preferences. Similar, perfume companies research trends and preferences, based on the sales of their products and those of their competitors. Understanding trends is important for brands in today’s crowded market not so much to make the whole world smell of green tea and peaches but to see where the tastes of consumers lie. What are they interested in? What kind of products appeal to them?

The insights I share below are based on my professional experience as a researcher and the information I come across as part of my day-to-day work as an industry analyst. I will explain each trend and give a few examples. You can watch the video or read my report below.

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Popular Brands and Perfumes of 2020

For those who like lists and rankings, I have a little treat today courtesy of the Cosmetify Index, a service that ranks the most searched for and followed beauty brands around the world. The Cosmetify Index was created in 2019 to see how brands engage with social media and also how consumers respond to new launches. The newest index tracked searches and engagement in 2020, assessing the impact of the pandemic on beauty and fragrance sales.

The Cosmetify Index also tracks which brands are popular in which country, so you can glean fascinating information like Russia being a Jo Malone country, while China favors Estée Lauder. Yves Rocher rules in France, Italy, and Spain, while Rituals holds court in Germany, Scandinavian countries, and unexpectedly, Angola and Bhutan. The Indian subcontinent is united in its love for The Body Shop, although Nepal prefers Dove. And so on. Of course, these are the macrotrends and generalizations, but all trend reports are bird’s-eye-view snapshots.

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5 Modern Perfumes with a note of surprise

A good fragrance smells familiar, a great fragrance smells surprising. The whole quest of modern perfumery can be summed by this sentence. We’re instantly attracted to the scents that remind us of something — a pleasant memory or another pleasant perfume, which is why well-liked, best-selling fragrances are often reminiscent of other perfumes on the market. A composition that rises above a merely easy-to-like, however, has an unexpected element. This surprising touch makes the scent linger in the memory and intrigue us. Finding the right combination of familiar and surprising is part of perfumer’s aim.

The five fragrances below represent different genres and styles, but the one element they have in common is surprise. I’ve selected examples that surprise rather than jolt to show subtle accents at play. These perfumes reinterpret classic themes, challenge conventions, and most importantly, smell wonderful.

Galop d’Hermès

At the top of my list is Galop d’Hermès, a fragrance that appears at first as a pastel toned, chic rose but has a dark, smoldering heart. To wear Galop is to be enveloped in soft layers of leather, woods and musk. The new Hermès in-house perfumer Christine Nagel also added an accord of incense inflected rose and juicy quince, an additional surprise.

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