[Update] Firmenich Introduces Olfactive Vision for Post-COVID World

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Olfactive Vision gives Firmenich fine fragrance and beauty customers and consumers from around the world a glimpse into the future.

Firmenich has introduced Olfactive Vision, which outlines four distinct territories and a collection of unique fragrances that translate consumer attitudes into olfactive pathways for the post-COVID-19 world. 

Previously: Firmenich's Flavors of the Year 2021

Olfactive Vision gives Firmenich fine fragrance and beauty customers and consumers from around the world a glimpse into the future. It translates new and emerging global sentiments into emotionally-evocative themes and surprising fragrances that change our view of tomorrow. Customers can experience the program through custom olfactive kits and digital presentations during the months of January and February on the Firmenich website

As part of its Re|Generationmovement, Firmenich asked its fine fragrance perfumers to challenge the fragrance landscape of tomorrow and share their strongest olfactive convictions and predictions. Driven by their imagination and inspiration, Firmenich perfumers developed the following territories:

The first theme, Shift The Rules, highlights a shift in gender equality that impacts the way people express themselves. Perfumery is no longer about gender blurring or genderless scents, but rather creating a completely new inclusive model altogether. Consumers want to explore new fluid fragrances that are simpler, sleeker, and allow individual personality and character to shine through.

Playful Reconnection explores artistic experimentation, freedom, disruption and eccentricity. This requires breaking down timid perfectionism and replacing it with spontaneity and creativity. This territory shows reverence for the natural world in an imaginative tribute, using a vibrant, kaleidoscope of shades and natural elements to enrich the fragrance story. 

Previously: Firmenich Earns CDP Triple A Listing

As COVID-19 becomes our “new normal,” Post-Crisis Luxury reflects how our emotions are impacting our values and priorities. People look to the past as they journey forward. Consumers will aspire to something more real and palpable, wanting to reconnect with the tangible world. Time and space, simplicity and comfort will become the new luxury.

The final territory is Greater Good, a desire to create harmony in our lives moving forward. Peace and wellbeing are the new wealth, and home is a synonym for comfort. People will appreciate the simple pleasures more, seeking a collective balance and solidarity fueled by respect of oneself, others and the planet.

“Like any artistic movement, olfactive currents echo the socio-cultural environment of the era,” Jerry Vittoria, senior vice president, global fine fragrance explained “In our annual Olfactive Vision, we ask ourselves what the impact of today will be on the fragrances of tomorrow. We project ourselves into the next decade and dream of the olfactive future by developing singular fragrance ideas.”

“For perfumers, it is essential to take the time to consider the future of perfumery by translating the current consumer aspirations into olfactive pathways,” said Nathalie Lorson, master perfumer, fine fragrance. “The gender reboot, the quest for disruption, the birth of a new positive luxury and the desire for holistic well-being nurtured our collective creative vision.”

Perfumer & Flavorist+ was able to speak with Firmenich's David Suffit Reedman, senior director, fragrance development fine fragrance Europe, and Amandine Vépierre, marketing director, fine fragrance Europe, about the specifics of Olfactive Vision:

Perfumer & Flavorist+ [PF+]: How did your team settle on the themes for Olfactive Vision and what was the process for collaborating with perfumers to create fragrances around these themes?

Amandine Vépierre [AV]: It was a true collaborations and exchange between our perfumers and our development and marketing teams. In the Olfactive Vision, our approach is to understand and analyze the past and present situation to be able to interpret the future. Like artistic movements, olfactive currents echo the socio-cultural environment of the era, so as a first step we started by asking ourselves what the impact of our current environment will be on the decade to come. At the beginning of the project, we discussed context about the crisis impact and the changes likely to occur in the upcoming years. Then, we gave our perfumers carte blanche to create fragrances driven by their imagination and inspiration, to share their deepest olfactory convictions.

David Suffit Reedman [DSR]:For this project, we intentionally wanted as little influence on our perfumers as possible in order to nurture diversity and direction. We smelled their ideas, discussed their creative inspirations, and as our exchanges progressed, we began to outline four main clear olfactive paths: Shift The Rules, Playful Reconnection, Post-Crisis Luxury and Greater Good. These olfactive universes depict strong directions for the new world regarding consumers’ key aspirations.


PF+: What are the main impacts of gender fluidity, playfulness, redefined luxury and simple pleasures on fragrance directions? How do they manifest in the collection?

DSR: Concerning the gender reboot, we feel that if consumers still need gender codes as landmarks, it’s better to free themselves from them! It’s no longer about genderless, but a completely new model. More people are using perfumes they like and that make them feel good, regardless of their gender, which is no longer a subject. Whatever the gender, aesthetics come first. And we see two paths:

  • A more fluid masculinity, simpler and sleeker, one that explores new territories
  • A more maximalist femininity, asserting oneself more than ever, a far cry from old stereotypes

After months of confinement, we identified the aspiration to reconnect with nature and rediscover spontaneity and fun. The Playful Reconnection is about a reverence for the natural world, a vibrant tribute to a fantasized nature, sublimated in our imagination. We have identified two future trends:

  • Augmented nature, a true explosion of freshness through impactful, sparkling and fizzy notes, with a 3rd dimension of hyper-sensoriality
  • Collisions & Deconstructions where we juxtapose the shock of contrasting textures, on the confluence of clashing materials and boosters

AV: Besides this playful reconnection to nature, the COVID-19 crisis has brought into question our place as human beings, our way of consuming, our values and what we aspire to in the future.

The quest of well-being is omnipresent and todays conscious consumers are expecting a high degree of transparency to feel engaged, but also meaning and value through pleasurable positive sensorial experiences. Our mission is to reconcile commitment and hedonism, responsibility and pleasure to ensure a better way forward.

  • A trend called ‘regenerative nature’ emerged, that was a new way of treating freshness by getting closer to nature through green, citrus, floral and aromatic notes
  • We also expect a need for indulgence, and to find comfort in a nurturing and healthy way. This notion of ‘safe intoxication’ is a trend that goes beyond overdosing on sugary/edible sweet notes, and instead hits closer to home with ‘local’ becoming the new ‘exotic’. People want to re-explore the past and their heritage through ancient grains, nuts, spices or vegetables.

We also see a new luxury taking shape; less is more, and slow design emerges in reaction against overabundance and lack of time. Peoples’ focal points become history, memory, simplicity and authenticity. Consumers have new expectations: the minimum instead of maximum, slow instead of fast, without instead of overabundance, and local instead of exotic.

We have identified two themes:

  • Extreme simplicity: focus on simple messages, hero ingredients and rediscover treasures from the past
  • Future classics: we have identified classical codes which will come back in vogue