Famed French perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain once said, "To imagine a scent is to imagine the woman who wears it." He probably didn't mean it quite as literally as today's perfumers are taking it. With the top end of the fragrance market booming, it's no surprise that luxury brands—titans like Guerlain, Cartier and Jean Patou, as well as smaller specialized houses—are investing in the rapid-growth niche sector of bespoke perfumery.
— From Bottling Your Own Personal Smell: Luxury perfumers create singular scents—for a price at Newsweek magazine.
Is it really a surprise, this bespoke niche? Let's think…aromatherapy, whatever you may think of it, had many DIY scent chemists whipping together purposeful blends, and then maybe thinking about how their applied scent can simply be “nice” without solving a malady, or be an expression of oneself.
Meanwhile, perfumery runs strong as a commodity. Who recently pointed out the exponential increase in the past decade? The point being, if you are going to have THAT many scents out there, and people are becoming more aware/educated (okay, at least more inclined to wear/purchase a scent), isn't there going to be a sector who wants their OWN scent?
I think it's great. I wonder how directive the typical bespoke customer will be? Will they guide the perfumer, clear in their vision of what they are looking for? Or will they look to the perfumer to be a fortune-telling psychologist who will reveal something about their character that they never knew?
It does not surprise me in the least. Don't know if it's great or not…would love to smell some of what the high end houses have done. Suspect it is not so great as to justify the price tag, but who knows.
As much as I love the idea of bespoke anything:-) I think perfume is sort of gilding the lily a bit – after all, most perfumes smell different on all of us anyway so my chemistry alone makes whatever it is bespoke, yes?
of course, there is the cachet of a fabulous 'nose' creating something especially for you…but it's only “special”, I think, if a select few are doing it…..and it's always more fantastic and romantic when the creation is prompted by a muse than if a customer goes in and requests it (does that make sense?)
True about chemistry, but I'm guessing most people do this purely for the status, don't you think? I mean, the prices are outrageous.
I was thinking recently about why the idea of custom appeals so little to me, and you know, I think part of it is that while I'd love to have my dream (jasmine+green+incense) perfume, what fun would it be if nobody else could smell it? Which means, I guess, that half the fun for me is talking about it.
Well, they could smell it, if they were around you …they just couldn't buy it!
And it's that “I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as a member” thing that appeals to so many people. Me, I'd rather use the big bucks to buy vintage fragrances I already know I love!
Robin, how about a thread on who (living or dead) you would get as your bespoke perfumer – at least those of us for who this is an economic impossibility can indulge in a little fantasy!
Great idea! Will file that away for the next time I need a “lazy poll”.
Luckily for my wallet I'm not buying vintage — yet! — but agree there are tons of things I'd rather do with my money. But then, I haven't got the money for a Cartier custom perfume anyhow
I can't imagine nose would come up with something so much better than what they're coming up with now. And if they did, wouldn't they use the idea in a later mass-market fragrance?
I guess the idea is to keep up the image of perfume as an exclusive, luxury item, not just something you can buy on eBay for a few bucks. Still, it sounds like going to Atlanta to have them formulate your own, personal brand of Coca-Cola.
3 liters = 30 x 100ml bottles of perfume! What if you get bored with it?
I agree entirely — it is about image as much as anything else.