By Creezy Courtoy, IPF Founder and Chair and Perfume Anthropologist
Understanding Scent Preferences for Creating and Distributing Fragrances
Distributing a perfume in several countries can be a real challenge. It can be just a failure for famous brands, but a dangerous game for small brands who can financially lose everything. In the art of fragrance creation, understanding the anthropology of perfume is essential. By delving into the diverse scent preferences shaped by culture, region, and individual sensitivities, fragrance creators can craft scents that resonate on a deeper level. The ability to influence others through the strategic use of preferred scents becomes more attainable when armed with the knowledge of anthropology of perfume. So, let's embrace the rich tapestry of scent preferences and create fragrances that captivate the senses and forge lasting connections.
Men and women have long recognized the power of scents in influencing their fellow humans. While it is impossible to predict exactly how an individual will respond to a particular smell, psychologists have discovered intriguing connections between odors and memories. For example, a single floral scent can evoke memories of a crowded elevator, a funeral, an old boyfriend's excessive aftershave, or even the onset of hay fever. Despite the varying responses, scientific investigations have revealed common preferences among sexes, cultures, age groups, and personality types. By understanding these preferences, perfumers can safely select the countries where their products will be successful.
Cultural Influences on Scent Preferences
Cultures play a significant role in shaping scent preferences and the ways in which scents are used. Let's explore some fascinating examples:
The Japanese: Perfuming Daily Life
In Japanese culture, scent has permeated almost every aspect of daily life. From personal care products to household items, the Japanese have cultivated a deep appreciation for fragrance. They even engage in games with friends and family that involve identifying various smells. Understanding the importance of scent in Japanese culture can provide valuable insights when creating fragrances for this audience.
In contrast, the Anglo-Saxon approach to scent is more understated.
Publicly smelling one's food or wine is considered uncouth in their culture. However, the bouquet of wine and the taste of food both heavily rely on the sense of smell. Anglo-Saxons prefer subtler scents when it comes to personal fragrance, avoiding being too "obvious." Respect for cultural norms is crucial when designing fragrances for this audience.
Across different cultures, there are notable variations in scent preferences. For instance, Orientals appreciate heavy, spicy, and animalistic perfumes. Valerian root extract, which is detested by most Europeans, is favored in Oriental cultures. On the other hand, Asians may struggle to understand the Western love for pungent cheeses. Recognizing these cultural differences is essential for creating fragrances that resonate with specific target markets.
Regional Influences on Fragrance Choices
Apart from cultural influences, regional factors such as climate and environment also shape fragrance preferences.
Northern Europeans, living in colder climates, often prefer heavier fragrances that provide warmth and comfort. In contrast, Mediterraneans are drawn to sophisticated floral scents, likely due to their love for being surrounded by flowers. Taking these climate-based preferences into account can enhance the effectiveness of fragrance creations.
Universally Pleasant Smells and Aversions
While there are cultural and regional variations, it is safe to say that there is a broad agreement within the human race about what smells pleasant and what doesn't. Most people appreciate flower and fruit scents, while being repulsed by foul odors such as rotten eggs, fish, or stagnant drains. Understanding these universally pleasant and unpleasant smells can guide fragrance creators in developing appealing and attractive scents.
People's responses to scents can also vary based on their individual sensitivities, as well as the influence of education, societies, and marketing.
Therefore, do not miss your opportunity to sell and distribute successfully your perfumes worldwide.
Learn more about the Anthropology of Perfume and get ready for your perfume distribution.
By Andrej Babicky, Certified Natural Perfumer and
Raw Material Extraction Methods Expert
Unveiling the Ancient Art of Enfleurage: Capturing the Essence of Flowers
Natural perfumery it's not just about creating amazing fragrances, but also about growing flowers and extracting essences. One technique that holds a special place in this aromatic world is enfleurage. It's all about capturing the magical essence of a flower to make one-of-a-kind scents. So, let's dive into the enchanting process of enfleurage and get tangled up in the mesmerizing world of scents!
It is to the Greeks that we owe the addition of oils scented with flowers to spices, gums and balms.
The flowers and plants used for export must be transformed to be preserved. Olive oil, one of the main wealth of Greece, was used as an ointment and as an excipient in the manufacture of perfumed oils. The Greeks practiced enfleurage and very early developed the art of making perfumes.
During the mid-1700s. Grasse became a thriving center for industrial production and essence extraction, thanks to the refinement of this technique. However, in today's modern perfume industry, enfleurage is considered more of a historical extraction method. Solvent extractions and the utilization of aromatic molecules have taken precedence. Nonetheless, with the recent resurgence of interest in natural perfumery, some perfumers have embraced enfleurage once again, making slight modifications to the classical procedure and achieving remarkable results.
Enfleurage is primarily employed for flowers that contain small quantities of essence or delicate blossoms that could be compromised by other extraction methods.
The technique capitalizes on the principle of fat absorption, where the most volatile aromatic molecules are captured by a fat medium upon contact. Various fats, such as lard, ox fat, lamb fat, vegetable oils, mineral oils, and even Vaseline, were traditionally used. Often, a combination of fats was employed, and the specific formula was carefully guarded as an industrial secret, tailored to different flowers and extraction seasons.
The unique property of fats to adsorb odorous substances is harnessed when other extraction methods fail to capture the desired scent from flowers or plants. In enfleurage, the flowers are placed in direct contact with the fat, be it in liquid or solid form, until the fat becomes saturated with the perfume. Enfleurage can be performed using either the hot or cold method, depending on the flower and desired outcome. Nowadays, enfleurage is predominantly practiced for illustrative and educational purposes, as it is a labor-intensive and costly process.
During cold enfleurage, flowers were placed daily on frames coated with a thick layer of fat.
It took approximately 60 days for the fats to absorb the fragrance fully. For instance, 25 kilograms of jasmine flowers were required to perfume one kilogram of fat, while a mere two kilograms of tuberose flowers achieved the same result. This exemplifies the delicate nature of enfleurage and its ability to capture the essence of a flower in minute quantities.
Enfleurage holds a special allure for many, as it manages to capture the ethereal essence and aromatic breath of a flower, entwining them in a magical alchemical process. While it may be a time-consuming and demanding technique, it offers a more intimate and personal relationship with the raw materials. For those fortunate enough to have a garden, a balcony, or even just a window, enfleurage can be an enchanting experiment worth undertaking. Through cultivation and extraction, one can discover unexpected and delightful results, forming a deeper connection with nature's fragrant gifts.
Enfleurage stands as a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of perfumery.
It allows us to delve into the essence of flowers, their fleeting beauty and transforming it into olfactory masterpieces. While modern techniques have largely replaced enfleurage in commercial perfume production, its revival among natural perfumers showcases its enduring charm and the endless possibilities it holds.
So, why not embark on your own scented adventure and uncover the captivating world of enfleurage following our course of Natural extraction techniques?
Discover more about the Natural Raw Material Extraction Methods
Enroll in an IPF Certified Perfumery School