We have developed a simple, reliable and economical research method for testing a wide range of fragrances internationally. This system provides information on consumer preference but more importantly it provides diagnostic feedback to a perfumer on how fragrance submissions can be consistently improved in line with consumer needs.
We have developed a set of forty reference fragrances and we give perfumers briefs or re-briefs in terms of these reference fragrances.
Figure 2 is what we call a perceptual map of our reference fragrances. The most important point is to look at the relative locations of the fragrances. Over in the east of the map is a group of fragrances which are perceptually similar to each other (A) and the map indicates they are very different from fragrances in the extreme west (B), likewise north and south and so forth. What we have found from previous studies is that these perceptual similarities are constant across cultural boundaries. As an example if you were to assemble three fragrances--two citrus like a lime and a lemon, and one very different one, like a musk or an oil, then anywhere in the world you go people would recognise the musky one as being fundamentally different from the other two.