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P&F Magazine Preview: Building a Better Molecule

Posted: June 3, 2014

In this exclusive preview of the August edition of Perfumer & Flavorist Magazine, Pierre-Yves Cariou (IFF) discusses how price, performance, regulatory compliance and olfactive novelty factor into the addition of a new fragrance ingredient to the perfumer’s palette. The full version will appear in the print and digital editions of the August 2014 issue

The company will debut fragrance materials at the 2014 World Perfumery Congress, June 10-12, in Deauville, France.

“With Franc Schiet, senior perfumer VP, we receive all the new molecules synthesized by our research team of chemists in Union Beach [New Jersey] so we can assess their potential for future use in fragrance,” Pierre-Yves Cariou, senior research perfumer, IFF, tells P&F.

The perfumers in charge of this research come from the creation side of perfumery. Cariou, for example, spent 20 years in fragrance creation in categories like beauty care and fine fragrance before taking a research role. 

“The idea is to bring somebody with experience on projects and formulation in order to quickly put our ingredients into realistic situations,” he explains. “We [do this] to review price, regulatory and performance, which are the key factors that our customers and consumers are looking for. We really improved the connection between research and creation to have the molecules that are the correct answers.”

The Search
Cariou and Schiet collect parameters for the ingredients and measure them against the needs of the creative teams, customers and, ultimately, consumers. Only when they identify a fit will a molecule be commercialized by the company.

Cariou explains, “Along the process we select ingredients and look at them in detail, using them in different accords, trying to see if they have some clear differentiation compared with what we already have in our perfumer catalog. We then engage other key perfumers representing various categories to narrow down the selection.”

These perfumers then assess the molecules, pared down from an original batch of about 1,000, for use in personal wash, fabric care, beauty care, hair care, home care, etc.

Cariou says, “As a team, we review all the information we’ve collected, and the first experience we had with the ingredients to make a final decision on whether we go or don’t go with [each] ingredient for commercialization”.

Along the way, Cariou, Schiet and their colleagues keep a close eye on any regulatory red flags.

“Throughout the process, our regulatory department evaluates the material against a variety of regulatory constraints," Cariou says. "In some cases, we have decided to stop work on specific molecules because of the regulatory hurdles."

This process, he notes, can take three to five years to complete, from the first lab trial to an ingredient’s introduction into the perfumers’ palette.

Read more in the August edition of P&F Magazine.