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Monday, June 27, 2016

Has the Cash Cow Run Out?

" [...] since peaking around 2011, the business has "seen its heyday and now is not very much in vogue with the consumer or with the trade," according to Bart Becht, chairman/CEO of Coty, the company that churns out fragrances for Lopez, BeyoncĂ© and Katy Perry (who released Mad Love on June 21, a follow-up to 2015’s Mad Potion). Though year-over-year sales for individual fragrances are not released to the public, Coty’s net fragrance sales declined by 9 percent on a reported basis in the most recent holiday quarter, driven by slowing sales of its celeb scents. At Elizabeth Arden, the dip amounted to 9.6 percent."


This is but a small excerpt from a longer article appearing in The Hollywood Reporter about the (apparent) waning of celebrity fragrances' appeal in the market. Since I have been erroneous once before concerning a similar discussion on their impending ebb, I will withhold judgment till I actually see this with my very own eyes.

 Still I found two comments from professionals in the industry to be most relative to the discussion: '"When the market is saturated, people’s attention span is limited," says Marian Bendeth, founder of fragrance consultancy Sixth Sense. "If that name is regurgitated in the media, it sets up demand. If they take a break, God help you." It also doesn’t help if the star lacks a style following. "The biggest driving force in what makes a consumer purchase a celebrity item is whether the star is a fashion influencer," says Marc Beckman, CEO of advertising and representation agency DMA United.'

Friday, June 24, 2016

Thierry Mugler Innocent: fragrance review

Mugler's Innocent seems in retrospect to be the perfect alternative for people who like gourmand fragrances, love sugared almonds, love fluffy compositions with a tang of sour-sweet fruit on top, but do not appreciate a masculinity factor, in this case the prominent androgynous quality of the intense patchouli of the original Angel. 


Don't get me wrong; I love Angel for all those reasons and have come to appreciate how a teensy-tiny bit of application from afar (or, better yet, using the gorgeous body products) can enhance my neuron pleasure responses. But Innocent is just easier to wear every day, easier to wear during the warmer weather, and, still with a light hand application, easier to feel less conspicuous wearing it.

The scent itself is a succulent mix of Jordan almonds, egg-whites meringues and praline, floating around an intensely sweet & tart note of blackcurrant, like blackcurrant jam but without the stickiness. Instead the feeling is one of copious amounts of musk underpinning the composition into a cloud-like, duvet feel of goose feathers falling softly on nude skin. 

It's a sensual perfume, no doubt because its original skeleton is one that puts lots of flesh over the handsome bones, but it's a benevolent sensual and with the eerie melancholy of a beautiful anime boy with blue eyes and dark hair...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Scent of Mummy, the Egyptian kind, that is...

In one of my newest historical articles for Fragrantica, amassed under the collective title of 1001 Past Tales, I discuss the infamous "scent of mummy", or "mumia", coming off the Egyptian mummies which were actually used in the preparation of apothecary formulae for external use as well as -most poignantly- internal consumption.

wiki commons

Perish the thought that people actually consumed mumia internally, but this is what they did from at least 1000AD onwards: vital energy at its most macabre. Egyptology might not have been born, yet people knew these corpses were old. The ground matter of the corpses, black, firm and putrid smelling, defies modern logic, as do most arcane and animistic practices that come from the prehistoric world. Eating a worthy opponent or an ancestor is an ancient practice in order to graft their excellence unto the eater.

You can read the entire article on this link.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Berdoues Cologne Grand Cru Selva do Brazil: fragrance review

You emptied the soapy suds onto the polished wooden floorboards by accident, knocking the full bucket in one tug of the broom. The planks got soaked, a mess all around, hair on end, screaming.
I later apologized. You were furious I held this against you. "We're building a nest, baby", you said. Made me feel small, so small; not a feeling I often get. I don't know if it was your tone or the comforting soapy feel, recalling new beginnings, but I allowed myself to feel optimistic.

Wearing Selva do Brazil feels small, so small, and comforting in an optimistic way. The soap, the woodiness, the polished woodplanks, the summer air all around, the vetiver cologne in the distance, at the crook of your neck. It just felt like home. And I was sold.

Perfectly shareable, leaning slightly masculine, more than Maison Berdoues Scorza di Sicilia, but pleasantly borrowed by women. If you like subtle woody scents, this is for you. Beautiful bottle too, as usual.

A note on terminology: Though "cologne" might evoke either short lasting power or a masculine effect I assure you that it's a rather decent eau de toilette duration scent that could be worn by either men or women in warm weather (I suspect it'd get drowned in the cold).

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Best-selling Fragrances in France & Worldwide: First Half of 2016

"Familiarity breeds contempt" goes an old saying, but in what has to do with fragrance it looks like what people are choosing to wear (and buy for gifts) depends quite a bit on familiarity, both in terms of known and well-liked accords, as well as compositions which have received positive feedback. This is the real reason behind perfume best-sellers, I'm sure, and this is why I have dedicated a specific corner of the Perfume Shrine project to these best-selling perfumes lists (more of which you can see per country and per year on the right hand column of this blog).


For the first half of 2016 the situation is without great ripples, cementing the thought that the mainstream division is going ahead on what is essentially the cajoling of a sweet tooth and of a steady, somewhat sterile, notion of masculinity. Without further ado, here are the results.

For women:
La Vie Est Belle by Lancome is the top best-selling perfume in Europe, as well as the third best-selling globally, behind Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel and J'Adore by Christian Dior. [Compare and contrast with perfume best-sellers in France for 2015 on this link].

It's interesting to note that according to the social media barometer NetBase the French are especially responsive to the brands of Christian Dior, Adidas and Chanel, so this result accounts for more than bargained for.

For men:
Bleu de Chanel is the best-selling global performer in masculine fragrances, behind Acqua di Gio by Armani (surely a case study for its sheer duration) and One Million by Paco Rabanne. [For French results of previous years, please see this list]

The results are officially based on data publicized by L'Oreal and LVMH, first and second respectively in placement for sheer volume of luxe feminine fragrance products. (L'Oreal still holds the first place in masculine scented products volume globally).

Still the big conglomerate companies are the first to admit that without the spectacular rise in niche fragrances, many of which they're acquiring, the perfume sector would be doomed to a decline that mainstream sales wouldn't quite make up for it.


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