As we emerge into more social situations, finding a signature scent can seem like a relevant search. We spoke to a collection of perfumers and fragrance experts on how to go about it
Whether you’re a fragrance fanatic or new to fragrance, finding a scent you love can be a daunting task. When you approach a perfume counter, the only information you can gather about the perfumes in front of you is the appearance of the bottle, which of course tells you nothing. You are often left to inhale a few varieties from different bottles, sometimes with the help of the vendor, which is an exercise that leaves you more perplexed.
A scent you love can truly become an extension of yourself. But how to find one? Some of us may be inclined to think that the best perfumes are those associated with high-end fashion houses. While you’re not necessarily wrong, the reasoning behind your choice may be slightly off. If you’re basing your selection on brand image alone, maybe it’s time to talk about what actually makes a good perfume.
Many factors are responsible for making a good perfume. These include the originality of the perfume, the quality of the perfume, which depends on the quality and source of the ingredients, the innovation that goes into its creation, and the longevity of its perfume.
– Saleem Kalsekar, Managing Director, Rasasi Perfumes
“Many factors are responsible for making a good perfume,” says Saleem Kalsekar, Managing Director of Rasasi Perfumes. “These include the originality of the fragrance, the quality of the fragrance, which depends on the quality and source of the ingredients, the innovation that goes into its creation, and the longevity of its fragrance. A person’s body chemistry also plays a major role as the same perfume can smell differently on different individuals.
Creating a perfume is both an art and a science. It requires a nuanced understanding of alchemy and scent notes. Finding the right balance between natural and synthetic notes and ingredients is like creating a musical symphony. “For example, Oudh has a very animal note and it would take a perfume expert to soften it to a facet where it adds seduction, allure and mystique to the perfume,” says Kalsekar. “A good branded perfume symbolizes quality, trust and peace of mind. When you buy a product from a brand, you are buying a lot of the intangible benefits that define the brand. »
It is essential that you determine the best perfume for yourself. The method to find out is to test whether the perfume complements your natural body odor in person over a period of a day, advises Abdul Rahim Shaikh Shahid, head of research and development at Lattafa Perfumes. “To put it simply, any good perfume has three notes,” explains Shahid. “The top note is the initial, light scent of the perfume that hits the note immediately after application. The middle note consists of the main element of the perfume and the base note contains the bolder notes of the perfume which become noticeable later.The benefits of using a good perfume are that it ensures good body odor, builds confidence and improves mood.
To put it simply, any good perfume is composed of three notes. The top note is the initial, light scent of the perfume that hits the note immediately after application. The middle note consists of the main element of the perfume and the base note contains the bolder notes of the perfume which become noticeable later.
– Abdul Rahim Shaikh Shahid, Head of Research and Development at Lattafa Perfumes
All the intricacies that go into making a perfume make it a true work of art, as Ali Asgar Fakhruddin, CEO of Sterling Perfumes Industries, Premier Cosmetics and Premier Plastics says. “The way an artist would put colors together to create, the same way a perfumer creates using different ingredients,” he says. “Each fragrance is crafted with passion and sentiment. A perfumery is the perfect fusion of art and science. Layers are created with this in mind – top notes, middle notes and base notes should complement each other. but also have their own position, they must react with each other to produce perfect results.
Each fragrance is attached to a mood; it affects thoughts and creates memories. Some scents can trigger emotions or bring back memories of an event, time, or person. “A scent has the power to energize your senses or put you in a state of tranquility. The perfume you use has an emotional effect not only on you, but also on those around you,” says Fakhruddin. “A good branded fragrance is usually created with intense research and development, bringing together an end product that has an emotional connection while also being able to provide excellent silage and longevity.”
Abdulla Ajmal, Deputy COO, Ajmal Perfumes says that it is quality and trust that define the essence of a brand. However, perception matters too. “Ultimately it’s a matter of taste,” says Ajmal. “It’s very subjective. Some people buy perfumes in a supermarket and even if it costs 35 Dh, the product concerns them, because it is what they can afford. While others will spend large sums because they think that is what is needed. It’s about reading these different emotions for different people. If you’re into fragrances, then that’s the charm, but if you use it every day, then it’s just functional. On the one hand there is the quality and the confidence you have in the brand and on the other hand the relativity, it is not because a brand has a few good perfumes that it resonates with you.
Evolution of perfumes
For centuries, the scents of Arabic perfumes have fascinated the world with their distinct aromas. Arabic perfumes are rooted in the exotic and local traditions of the Middle East as an art form, a symbol of reverence and a token of beauty. It is an integral part of Arab culture and is a symbol of appreciation and hospitality.
“Over the past 50 years, the industry has changed dramatically,” says Kalsekar. “Perfume was sold as part of an assorted spice and leather wallet in the souks before Rasasi introduced the single-brand perfume store. It was the first brand in the Middle East to introduce stand-alone perfumeries, paving the way for a modern, streamlined perfumery industry.
Rasasi has come a long way since then, Kalsekar says. “We are constantly adding new stores, the latest being our flagship store in The Dubai Mall, where we have incorporated elements aimed at changing the way customers experience and purchase fragrances. The concept store achieves a balanced interface between immersive technology, freedom to explore, and skilled store associates, while setting us apart in our quest to foster long-term relationships, with existing customers and the next generation of customers.
Consumer behavior towards fragrances and fragrances has changed dramatically over time, Shahid observes. “Previously, consumers preferred strong aromatic fragrances, but lately they prefer fragrances with muted scents. Today, consumers want fragrances unique to their personality.
Each fragrance is crafted with passion and sentiment. A perfumery is the perfect fusion of art and science. The layers are created with this in mind – top notes, middle notes and base notes should complement each other but also have their own position, they should react with each other to produce perfect results.
– Ali Asgar Fakhruddin, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Perfumes Industries, Premier Cosmetics and Premier Plastics
Perfumery is a field that cannot survive without constant innovation in everything from fragrances to packaging, and this is where R&D comes in. “Extensive research is carried out to create new concepts adaptable to the global market,” says Shahid. “Over the years, Lattafa Perfume’s R&D department has developed fragrances to meet these market demands. The R&D department has taken advantage of the oriental element of French perfumery as well as Arabic fragrances to create the most unique fragrances for its customers. And the experts will vouch for the fact that discovering this unique scent can be a difficult task.
“Today there has been a surge in niche perfumery, the search for an individualistic signature scent,” says Fakhruddin. “People want to smell different, and that has given rise to niche fragrance brands that have become cult. There has also been an increase in the use of the art of perfumery in other categories such as cosmetics, personal care and home fragrances and even home care.
Technology has evolved considerably and has also influenced the way perfumes are made today. “At the turn of the 19th century, perfumers had very few raw materials. Today, there are thousands of raw materials,” says Ajmal. “About 100 years ago, if a perfumer wanted to put rose in his perfume, he would use rose oil from different regions and it was as simple as that. Today, when a perfumer wants to put the effect rose, it’s not just the rose — there’s the dewy part of the rose, the green part, the petal part or the fruity part.
About 100 years ago, if a perfumer wanted to put rose in their perfume, they would use rose oil from different regions and it was as simple as that. Today, when a perfumer wants to put on the rose effect, it’s not just the rose — there’s the rosy part of the rose, the green part, the petal part or the fruity part.
– Abdulla Ajmal, Deputy COO, Ajmal Perfumes
Fragrances are constantly evolving, as are its clientele, with Generation Y being a driving force behind current trends.
“An important trend that has formed the basis of our changing business direction is the growing demand for high-end fragrances,” says Kalsekar. “It doesn’t necessarily mean the price, but rather the fact that consumers are constantly looking for better quality products and, more importantly, a unique experience.
“Fueled by the heavy use of social media and a new generation of young beauty bloggers and social media influencers, millennials are completely redefining expectations for brands and products,” says Kalsekar. “Another big trend that millennials strongly endorsed was inclusiveness and gender neutrality.”
Experimentation and the need for freshness is another trend fueled by millennials, considering that they are open to novelty and often seek fresher experiences. “Unlike older customers, a brand has to earn their trust over and over again, which means brands have to work harder and innovate a lot more,” adds Kalsekar.
The segmentation originated because of millennials, as previous perfumers used to create one scent and then come up with another after five years, Ajmal says. “Now you have to launch at least one or two every year because of the millennial effect,” he says. “Loyalty depends on the brand, it is no longer a reference. But right now, the big global trend is about what I call the oud mania.