Behind the Scenes of a Fragrance House
Whether it’s the fresh clean scent of laundry or the cozy comfort that wafts from a scented candle, it’s very clear… fragrance has the power to influence us in mysterious ways. Peeking behind the curtain at a Fragrance House reveals how history, science, and art combine to make the magic we call scent.
Fragrance House – Where did it all begin?
Most ancient civilizations were also pioneers in the art of fragrance making. But it was during the 17th and 18th centuries that what many think of as “perfumery” emerged. Suddenly, scented baths, hair, gloves and such became the haute fashion trend in the royal courts, and “fragrance houses” found patrons allowing them to organize land, growers, and producers. Surprisingly, this marriage of growing and fragrance production, of fashion and trend, remains largely unchanged today as fragrance is still crafted from the raw materials and techniques used by forefathers over the last three centuries!
The heart of the fragrance house is the perfumery, and the perfumer (aka the ‘Nose’) is the soul. Most perfumers have trained as chemist or at the chemistry bench. Yet these demigods in the field of fragrance create magic from a mere concept, by using raw materials as building blocks to craft emotion. The ‘Nose’ is an artist and scientist melded into one creative being. Some perfumers say they are like musicians using notes to create a symphony. Others say they are like painters, who paint with the dewy green palette of water lily, or the golden mystery of amber, or the creamy white of sandalwood.
Yet the process of creating perfume starts long before the perfume producer begins composition.
What is the process for creating a product’s fragrance?
- Understanding the customerWhen a customer needs a fragrance for their scented product, it is the mandate of a fragrance house to fully understand the requirements of the client’s entire project. The client could be a large institutional and industrial manufacturer in need of several thousand pounds of fragrance. Or it could be an Indie brand that wants a few hundred pounds for handmade candles and soaps. Whatever be the case, the fragrance house should capture as much details as possible. The brand message, it’s purpose, the vision for the fragrance – all insight is important including inspirational images, marketing plans, and target markets. At times this information may need to be developed in partnership…that’s when the marketing team steps in!
- Combining customer requirements and latest trendsThe Marketing team is at the center of what’s happening in the market. They constantly search, and monitor, all things related to the fragrance industry, as well as fashion, home design, culinary and trends. Marketers keep perfumers and evaluators informed of these emerging insights as the inspiration for what’s hot…and what’s not! When a customer project comes in, the marketing team combines the requirements with the trends in the market and makes a comprehensive ‘Fragrance Portfolio’. This becomes the framework for the fragrance evaluator and the team will use to develop the many different scents to be submitted as choices.
- Creating the fragranceEvery customer is different, and the needs are different. Therefore each fragrance must be unique to each customer and not something picked from a library. Fragrance evaluators add even more olfactive insight within the brand framework and brief the perfumer on the essence of what is needed.Scent creation is unlike any other step in fragrance development as this is where the actual magic happens. Each note – the base note, the middle note and the top note – is carefully selected by the perfumer to match the customer’s unique needs. The formulation is given back to the evaluator who acts like a food critic, and the process undergoes as much iteration as needed until the desired fragrance embodies the concept and emotion of the project.
- Developing samplesOnly now, with the right fragrance in hand, the fragrance producers creates samples for the customer’s review.
- Checking for regulatory compliancesWhile all the fragrance creation goes on, the perfumer simultaneously makes sure that regulatory compliances are followed. Each raw material that goes needs to be within the regulatory, and chemistry, guidelines. For example, a citrus note used in a body care product would need to be different from one used in a candle.
- Fragrance Production and ShippingOnce the customer is 100% satisfied with the beauty and quality of the fragrance sample, approvals are given, fragrance is manufactured and the required volume is shipped to the customer… all in plenty of time for launch!
How Agilex Fragrances Can Help
Our customer-centric team of creative, marketing, perfumery and development experts are ready to help bring your brand concepts and products to life. The highly talented and passionate team will be your partner in a “start-to-finish” fragrance creation experience. Additionally, our automated manufacturing will provide you with an unprecedented speed to market, while our zero defect mission and on-time shipment rate greater than 99% ensure that you have best-in-class, beautiful fragrances ready to set you apart from your competition. We, at Agilex, are ready to share the fragrance magic that develops when agility meets excellence.