Luxury vs Function in Perfumery

Victoria Frolova in Bois de Jasmin:

Vf-2s-207x300Although the word “perfume” is likely to conjure up a vision of luxurious glass bottles, the reality is that most of us come across perfumes in much more prosaic ways–whenever we do our laundry, wash dishes or brush our teeth. Functional perfumery, as this branch of fragrance is called, is a vibrant field that affects our daily lives much more than designer brand fragrances. It is often at the forefront of development in fragrance chemistry, exploring ideas that eventually make an impact on fine fragrance. Companies like Tide, Colgate, P&G, and Unilever devote much effort to the research and development of detergents, fabric softeners, soaps, beauty care products and other daily necessities. In developing countries, functional scents are the only commercial perfumes people are likely to encounter in their day-to-day lives. Therefore, while functional perfumery does not have the glamour of its fine perfumery counterpart, it is an important aspect of our fragrance experience.

For a perfumer, functional perfumery is a challenging area: the tricky product bases, raw material restrictions, intricate IFRA policies, and complex client demands. Add an extremely tight budget and you have an area of perfumery in which it takes a lot of effort to make a winning scent. It is common for fine fragrance perfumers to start out working in functional fragrances and today all perfumery school curricula include functional perfumery as a mandatory subject. Learning to work with functional fragrance restrictions can give an edge to a perfumer. If one is able to make a memorable, strong and diffusive fragrance on a pitifully small budget, then fine fragrance, with its more flexible parameters, can be an exciting transition.

More here. [Thanks to Alia Raza.]