Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fragrance Trends for 2014: The Notes That Will Dominate in Your Perfume

Although it seems like it, fragrance vogues aren't just random, nor do they follow the latest celebrity, image first, perfume formula later. The perfume producing companies who manufacture them are actually doing extensive R&D into what captures market interest and follow up with combinations that ring at once familiar and a little different to keep interest going. The perfume barometer, the Seven Scents company, has revealed the fragrance notes that are looking like they're going to be big for the autumn and winter of 2014-2015. Looking at one year ahead, then, what will your perfume bring?

It seems like what we perfume aficionados know instinctively, that autumn and winter are natural habitat for fragrances that "evoke a sense of warmth and comfort" (to quote Miri Scott, the insight manager of Seven Scents) is a market watch conclusion. To reinforce this desired feeling, Scott prescribes "darker, rich rose and red berries, as well as a dash of spirit-inspired notes to give a seductive character to fragrances".

Rose is looking like a winner for the third consecutive year, reinforced by intense notes of (yet again) oudh and plush, velvety saffron. These notes will add depth to the rose and create elegant bouquets.
For sophistication and edginess, Scott reveals a direction to "spirits' notes" such as gin-like juniper berries, or the smoky aroma of whiskey and rum.

The company goes so far as to categorize the fragrance directions for autumn and winter 2014-2015 in three distinct trends:

  • Futuristic Folklore: bold and potent compositions with leather notes and urban woody notes lead to a structured base of metallic musks and amber. 
  • Energetic Kaleidoscope: Warm and spicy fragrances inspired by the global village, with cosmopolitan accents of local spices.
  • Engineered Evolution: Responding to the demands of the digital generation, this path offers fruity berries, floral notes and familiar sandalwood and musks as the base for fragrances to appeal to the younger segment. 

Mock as you may on the imaginative names, the drive of demand through the ubiquity of ingredients and the opportunities for innovation thus created account for a reach of 15.7 billion dollars by 2017, no mean feat in itself.


  1. Maria12:23

    Interesting... I wonder how far in the future their predictions can go. Do they predict for periods of, say, five years? This here is for the next year, but now and then I read in those PR-interviews that perfumers work on one scent for 2 or 3 years. E.g.: in a promotion mag of a big local Sephora-type chain there's an interview promoting La Vie Est Belle, where Anne Flipo says that it took three years and 5521 "phases of trials" (whatever this is) to make La Vie. (Am I the only one shocked by this 5521 figure?!)
    Of course this is all PR, but still... Could it be that predictions are influenced by some kind of restricted knowledge about work already in progress?

  2. Maria,

    rather it works in reverse. The aroma producing companies work like textiles producers; they dictate the trends on which the companies will brief the perfumer next ;-)

    "Phases of trials" sounds like an awkward translation of "mods", industry speak for the versions produced for evaluation.

  3. I realize that does not tie the link between the predictions and the aroma producing companies. Basically it's one and the same: they "predict" what they manufacture.

  4. Miss Heliotrope00:58

    & for those of us in summer?

    I like the phrase Futuristic Folklore, & leather & woody sound nice, but - it also seems the sort of thing that is being stamped on for using oakmoss, and deemed nasty for animalic aspects.

    & the problem with spirit notes is when you're pulled over by the police for a breath test...

  5. Actually, it doesn't seem like they are offering anything new.
    And I wish that Engineered Evolution wasn't actually a trend. ;)

  6. MH,

    ah....like with everything, they all revolve around the US (and Europe to a lesser degree). It's a huge shame.
    I suppose you get the batch of these with a delay of 6 months.

    As to the ingredients, some oakmoss is still used (it's allowed) and animalics have excellent substitutes, so no problem on that score.

  7. Ines,


    Like I said above, it's more of a chronicling of what the suppliers (the aroma manufacturers) are offering which will directly influence the making than a "prediction". It's quite deliberate.
    As to EE, tell me about it.... :-/

    Hope you're having fun!

  8. Dear Shrine
    Interesting, though as so often with these analytics, they map existing trends as much as shaping new ones.
    Spice and leather have been observable as resurgent categories for quite a while.
    really, it's a little like betting on a horse race that's three quarters run.
    One thing, I'm not sure I know what your final sentence means...
    "Mock as you may on the imaginative names, the drive of demand through the ubiquity of ingredients and the opportunities for innovation thus created account for a reach of 15.7 billion dollars by 2017, no mean feat in itself. "?
    Perhaps you could clarify...
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. Dandy,

    it looks like you might have missed my reply to Maria above.
    This is no palmistry, nor is it horse betting, it's a business direction directed by those who actually produce the aroma ingredients and bases in the first place. This is how the industry works.The company who issues the "forecast" is actually supplying these.

    Opting for these ingredients by the industry creates familiarity to the public who demand more and more of them and accounts for more R&D into how to offer more variants of the same.
    The figures are provided by the company.

  10. Maria13:57

    Thanks for clarification on mods, that makes sense... 5521 still puzzles me. Personally, I'll blame it on PR :-)

    And shame on me, but I still don't get chronology :) This prediction is for the next year, while it takes (allegedly) twice or thrice as much time to make a perfume that will fit into this prediction. Which means work on that predicted "Engineered Evolution" scent must have begun a year or two ago from now. So this must be info for consumers, telling them what they will find on the shelves, based on work already being done, right? While industry works with longer-term predictions, which allow time for perfumers to develop scents based on fruits of labor of those aroma producing companies. Do I make any sense?

  11. Maria,

    first off you make perfect sense.

    Let me offer these thoughts.

    I believe the 5521 trials is a code name, not actually 5 thousand and change mods. The "trials" is also a generic term. They might mean that they tried it 5521 times from head to bottom to focus groups. We'd have to ask Anne Flippo to nuance it but I doubt she would.

    As to chronology, most perfumes do not take 2 or 3 years in developing, no matter what is said. And furthermore as you yourself are saying the forecast is telling the consumers what they will find on shelves, correct.

    It's like textiles and fashions, my example was very apt (even if I say so myself); if a big textile company has produced tons of acid green satin for the fashion houses to work with, we will be wearing acid green satin for 3-5 years down the road, rest assured: first the really haute designers will feature it sprinkling their collections for rich patrons, then the more mainstream pret-a porter will have it, then the diffusion lines and the mass market, till we're fed up with it and come to throw up at the mere glance of acid green satin.
    By then it'd be time for something else, already produced by the big textile producers. ;-)

  12. morticia02:57

    E. the majority of the scata bought in the U.S. is by "tweens" that idolize Justin Bieber and J-Lo. (I think). I'm beside myself thinking about the direction that perfume has gone in the past 20 years. I guess I'm stuck in the past and when push comes down to shove and there's nothing I like to wear, I'll go back to wearing essential oils that I used wear back in the 60's (patchouli and Nag Champa ;-) Oh well...

  13. Maria05:01

    Thank you for the answers!
    Those lying PR campaigns... Imagine perfume made like a leftovers-based dinner: "I had no recipe, just threw it together".
    I admit I have no idea how textile business works, but now I hope somebody's working om great corduroy fabrics right this minute...

  14. Mort,

    I just love the casual throwing of "scata" in there....
    I suppose the teen fandom accounts for something. Then again the shocking thing is that they're made by the exact same people, the exact same companies, often with the exact same budget. It's the bottles, promo and general context which is anathema.
    But of course much of what circulates is subpar, so the celebrity scents are just the tip of the iceberg.

    There's something romantic about going for simple oils reminiscent of past eras, you know. It's an appealing idea from time to time. ;-)

  15. Maria,

    you're welcome.

    Oh I don't think it's like leftovers made dinner (which can actually turn out fabulous on occasion), it's more like "let's follow the recipe we have made a thousand times before and just sprinkle a bit of pink pepper on top to make it modern". Duh....

    I suppose it's not just the textiles business. Most design businesses work like that. Someone makes the materials, someone assembles, someone has to promote finished product and someone has to buy. Simple.

    Corduroy is fine, so crossing my fingers with you.


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