Sooner or later, every perfume lover indulges in a Paris pilgrimage, clutching print-outs of the various itineraries posted by bloggers and in-the-know visitors. Now Osmoz has simplified the process by publishing an actual guide, Paris Parfum : The Fragrance Guide to Paris, now available on pre-order from their online shop.
A deluxe coffret including six original fragrances inspired by Paris, by Firmenich senior perfumer Jean-Pierre Bethouard (author of the seminal Parfum Sacré) and Ilias Ermenidis is also on sale – the fragrances are not recommended for actual wear, which hints at possible non-IFRAness…
Speaking of which, the mainstream press is finally adressing the regulatory crisis : Grain de Musc reader and freelance journalist Véronique Hayoun has just published an in-depth look at IFRA, REACH and their impact in the Swiss French-language newspaper Le Temps, with input from the very outspoken Francis Thibaudeau, deputy director of Robertet’s perfumery division, who states that you’d have to spray on your favorite cologne 400 times before getting the same amount of orange essential oil on your hands you get from simply peeling an orange, Bertrand Duchaufour and Andy Tauer (notice it’s always the indies who speak up – they don’t have bosses to answer to). If you can struggle through the French, the article neatly summarizes the whole debate and is an important step in divulging it to the general public. After all, both Givaudan and Firmenich are Swiss companies..
Industry publications are also sounding the alarm on the sorry state of the perfume industry. In an article published by the Beyond Beauty blog, Fragrances : something’s not right !, the veteran industry journalist Sabine Chabbert (who recently authored La Cuisine des Nez) reveals that a whopping 65 percent of French people either “avoid or refuse the experience of discovering a fragrance at sales outlets.” Ms. Chabbert examines the impact the online perfume culture is having – or should be having -- on the industry:
“Even though consumers take real pleasure in talking about fragrances and entering into a dialogue about them, they are not expressing an opinion simply to be noticed in an online forum. Consumers also expect to be listened to by the brands and don’t want websites and the media to be able to say absolutely anything about this fragrance or that scented product which is going to wind up on their skin. It takes years to build trust and it only takes one misstep to destroy it.”
One of the most intriguing aspects of the article, to me, is its considerations on the actual retail spaces, and this is where I’d be curious to have your input. We’ve all griped about ignorant, misguided S.A.s, but what about the actual stores?
“Completely rethinking the commercial architecture of the fragrance aisle, dividing it up into several “fragrance kiosks” surrounded by the skincare and makeup shelves, to limit the olfactory conflicts that make it so difficult to select a fragrance from a shelf?”
Presenting the perfumes, not by brand but by olfactory themes, as Victoria of Bois de Jasmin suggests in a recent post on a frustrating shopping experience?
Now on to you: apart from a better training for SAs, what would turn your jaunt to the perfume aisles into a pleasure?