Five emerging scent trends: Much like cycles in fashion, music and interior design, notes and ingredients in perfumery move in and out of style over the decades. Each generation discovers its own fragrance personality and perfumers respond with prestige fragrances that cater to these tastes. The impact of Starbucks on the fragrance industry cannot be understated as teens flock to the cafes for frappucinos and London Fogs. This taste for a combination of coffee, vanilla and caramel is reflected in the sales of new fragrances. They respond to scents that reflect their lifestyles and tastes.
Fragrance Houses employ trend forecasters to predict what consumers will desire in the coming months, years and even decade. They study what you eat, wear, listen to and read. And based on this information, perfumers are given detailed briefs when designing a new scent. It’s a detailed and precise process. We’ve searched the globe for the most interesting trends in perfumery. These ingredients and movements are not only influencing the fragrances arriving on counter this season, but will continue to influence perfumers for the coming year. Here are five biggest scent trends:
Five Emerging Scent Trends
Trend 1: Patchouli
If you are a fan of That 70s Show or lived through the 1960s hippie counter-culture era, you will recognize the name and scent of patchouli. It has a rich, earthy, almost-woody aroma with a slightly sweet character and was often used to mask the scent of cannabis. It was so popular that it defined a generation committed to social change and creative pursuits.
Fast forward half a century and you will find a patchouli renaissance happening in the world of fine perfumery. A new generation of perfumers is reimagining this ingredient in modern ways that emphasize the soothing and comforting qualities of the note. You’ll discover that these new patchouli-themed scents have subtlety and elegance to them thanks to pairings with rose, peony and iris. One of the most surprising ingredients that works seamlessly with patchouli, is peach. It has a velvet, fruity personality that blends nicely with patchouli.
Patchouli is an aromatic oil extracted from a Southeast Asian shrub, a member of the mint family. Perfumers extract the fragrant oil from dried leaves using a process of steam distillation. Some say the highest quality oil is produced from fresh leaves distilled close to where they are harvested. It’s been hugely popular in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for centuries making its way to Europe from South Asia during the days of Napoleon along the Spice Route.
One of our favourite patchouli-themed scents this season is Bvlgari Splendida Patchouli Tentation. This elegant chypre scent for her features a trio of high quality patchouli oil that blends in peach and iris notes. It’s warm and cocooning. Check it out here.
Trend 2: The Great Escape
With the global pandemic changing almost every aspect of our lives, we look for a momentary escape from reality. A whimsical perfume bottle or an unexpected fragrance can give us a sense of joy and fun. Online retailers are reporting that sales of collectible miniature fragrance bottles are exceeding expectations. Not only are they adorable bottles that make nice displays, the sets allow you to sample and explore scents that you might not have considered.
Jeremy Scott’s creations for Italian fashion brand Moschino never fail to make us smile. There is humour and joy in every single outfit and fragrance he creates. His most recent fashion collection channelled Marie Antoinette with cake-shaped structured dresses, exaggerated silhouettes and mile-high wigs. It was 9 minutes of pure joy on the catwalk.
Trend 3: Gender-Fluid Fragrances
“Wear what you love.” That is the message from perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. The award-winning perfumer, who once recreated Marie Antoinette’s favourite fragrance for a Versaille gala, says it is important to wear what speaks to you – regardless of how it is marketed. He says it is important to understand that fragrance has no gender in and of itself. The kinds of fragrances that we classify as “men’s” and “women’s” are classified by marketing teams to advertise. In the past, florals and sweet gourmands have been targeted to women while aromatic, woody scents have been advertised to men. This is all changing as fragrance enthusiasts are now encouraged to wear their favourite notes. Take Versace’s Eros Flame for example. That scent was classified as a men’s scent with notes of Italian citrus, black pepper, rose, geranium, rosemary, woods, sweet tonka bean and vanilla. It is estimated that half of the individuals who bought the scent were women. It really did smell incredible on women.
We also really love Atkinsons’ 44 Gerard Street as a wonderful balance of masculine and feminine notes: eucalyptus, green lemon, jasmine, rose, ginger, orchid and cashmere wood.
Trend 4: Peach
The first mention of peaches can be traced back to ancient Chinese scriptures in the 10th century BC, where they were enjoyed by royalty and emperors. Even from this early day, the peach was seen a symbol of longevity and a good life. It was Alexander the Great who introduced the sweet fleshy fruit to Europe after conquering Persia. Today, there are more than 700 different varieties of peach that offer a sweet, velvety aroma with a little acidity. You may be surprised to learn that the peach notes in modern perfumery are recreated in a laboratory using headspace technology since there is no way to extract essential oil from the fruit itself.
You’ll discover perfumers using peach notes more and more in modern-day fragrances such as Versace Pour Femme Dylan Blue. That is because it is a nice change from Italian citrus while still providing a juicy, sweet fruit effect in the top notes. It also blends nicely with woods and patchouli. Expect to see more peach notes in the coming months.
Trend 5: The Starbucks Effect
An industry social media tracking service recently revealed that mentions of vanilla in perfumery has jumped 133% over the previous year. Posts discussing coffee, cocoa and caramel are seeing similar increases.
Online retailers witnessed a surge in sweet-themed scents during the pandemic lockdown as consumers craved comfort and familiarity. The daily visit to Starbucks for a frappucino may have been put on hold for a period of time, but a fragrance could create the olfactory experience. Trend forecasters predict that gourmand and sweet notes will continue to sell well throughout the rest of the year.