Fragrance has been important since the very dawn of civilization and nowhere more than in ancient Egypt. I have just returned from a cruise down the Nile and am happy to report that if Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King Tut, I’ve discovered traces of the first perfumer. Here he is, this nose of the valley of the Kings, already duplicating a flower. You can see several trial bottles in front of him. Please realize that these murals are 4,000 years old. We move next to the temple of Ed Fou where there is a room covered entirely from floor to ceiling with nothing but ancient fragrance formulas. Then we see this farmer who is very happy with the price of jasmin flowers and is giving a wreath of jasmin to his God. Now, we feel that the marketing positions of our fragrances are very sophisticated, but the Egyptians could teach us some tricks. Here you see the back of King Tut’s throne with a scene depicting his Queen applying perfume to her husband. Quite an achievement for brand X. Jumping now a few millenia, let’s look at the important creative contributions of today in their classic groups:
The Citrus Group – The Splash Colognes: This is a very important group in Europe where some colognes are sold in quart sizes and are used by the whole family as a basic fragrance. Technically speaking, and until recently, they have not brought any revolution to the industry. Some of them are very old and still very successful. They are well-made with a large percentage of citrus. We had to wait until the latest generation to see real sophistication, such as in Eau Sauvage, where maybe for the first time Hedione was used, bringing to the public a very natural note of jasmin that was immediately loved. Created for men, it was also used by women because, in my opinion, of this very natural jasmin note. The influence of Eau Sauvage was felt in the new generation of Eaux like Eau de Rochas, ‘O’ de Lancome and others.
The very exciting group of Floral Bouquets: There are many great names, but I would like to mention L’Air du Temps, the grandmother of so many successful fragrances. If we smell L’Air du Temps it is really, in 1982, a rather straightforward scent – floral, spicy, woody, very smooth, smelling more or less the same way from beginning to end. So why such a success? In my opinion it comes from the utilization of Benzyl Salicylate. I do not know of any other perfume before L’Air du Temps that contains Benzyl Salicylate in such an amount and, although it seems that many perfumers are strangely anosmic to it, it produces a diffusing, blooming effect very pleasing to the public. Many big successes were created on the same theme, such as Wind Song, Norell, Estee, Charlie… there are too many to mention them all.
The Tuberose Group: White Shoulders and Fracas in the early fifties, now Chloe, Jontue, Candid and many others. All the fragrances using a Tuberose note give to the consumer a scent with tremendous diffusion. In my opinion, no other note can give you as much diffusion as this one. Usually, women cannot smell their own fragrance; when they wear a Tuberose, they can and they receive many compliments. In the age of diffusion, this is a key quality.