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Survival, Love and Food: Cracking the “Perfume Code”

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This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine. The full content is not currently available online.

The head of the program, Syed Shamil (director of innovation marketing, fine fragrance), is a PhD whose background is in the flavor side of the business. Fragrance houses have long been employing food notes in fragrances. So how is this program different? “Many times, when the fragrance description talks about a food note, it’s not using a flavor,” says Shamil. “It’s an abstract interpretation of a food note. Our work includes a real flavor that has been adapted for perfumery use.” Because of the collaboration with flavorists, he says, these scents incorporate all dimensions of flavor: taste, smell and texture.

Origins of Smell the Taste

The fragrance industry has struggled in recent years, suffering from an excess of launches (~600 per year), lack of consumer motivation and blurring of product categories. In response, Firmenich sought a new way to inspire creativity, to “create products that touch the consumer instinctually and intimately.” Debra Butler, vice president of creative marketing, worked closely with the well-known anthropologist/psychologist turned marketing guru Clotaire Rapailleb (Archetype Discovery Worldwide) to uncover the unconscious mind and, as Shamil puts it, “reveal the hidden instinctual and emotional drivers of fragrance attitudes.”

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