The latest celebrity to join the ranks of celeboscents (fragrances produced with the added cachet of bearing the name of a celebrity) is Bruce Willis, inextricably tied to his Die Hard days (pity, does no one recall the masterpiece that is Twelve Monkeys?) The new scent being launched today across Europe captures his "strength, self-assurance and single-mindedness". This translates into a smell that combines cedar, vetiver (an east-Indian grass), pepper, grapefruit, orange and geranium leaves, we're told. The NYMag is rehashing the linked BBC article which follows, precluding that it wouldn't smell that good anyway. To my mind, withholding judgement until sniffing, the really interesting -and potentially problematic- thing is how this would play in a demographic (the one hankering after celeboscents is routinely aged 16-25) which is so far removed from the actor's own age and "golden years of fame" (the 1990s)
In an article appearing on BBC, there is extended commentary on how the industry of celebo-scents works, out of which we have weaned the most memorable quotes:
One in five of women aged between 16 to 24 wears a celebrity scent [in the UK], according to market researcher Mintel. "It's about buying into a lifestyle they aspire to", it says. "Celebrities nowadays are looking for as many way as possible to monetise their fame," says Hamish Pringle, director general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and author of Celebrity Sells. "The attraction of doing a fragrance deal is that toiletries and cosmetics are more amenable to celebrity endorsement than some other less personal products. Plus the perfume houses have got more scents and bottles on their lab shelves than you can shake a stick at and they think putting a celebrity on the label is a really easy way to stand out from the crowd." Roja Dove links this to the celebrity-mania that infests our society, arguing that perfumes have always reflected societal mores. But things are getting a little prosaic too.
"Smell is a really powerful sense and one people really underestimate," says Prof Jacob. "The celebrity perfume market depresses me because it is short-sighted. The fragrances are usually thrown together and sold off the back of a big name. They're simply an excuse for not trying to create something truly original and beautiful."
Last but not least, let's once again break the myth that celebrity scents began with Elizabeth Taylor in the early 90s and Jennifer Lopen in the 00s, as Denise Winterman notes in her otherwise very interesting article. We have established on our own site (click for The Cult of the Celebrity Scent: Perfume History, with photographic proof no less) that that was not so, through numerous examples of celebrity scents from the past expanding their own brand, namely themselves. It's just that the phenomenon has mushroomed beyond all control nowadays...
Pic of Bruce Willis with baby via sofeminine.co.uk