Scent Gourmand

sinless pleasure for the perfume glutton

Month: May 2016

On flankerization


In the world of mainstream, commercial perfumery, when a particular fragrance has seen huge success, a follow-up, a spin-off, a 2.0, or a sequel fragrance that capitalizes on the incredible results of its master brand will often make its way onto the market. These so-called flankers might be similar to the original or pillar fragrance, but with a variation of some sort, such as the addition of new notes, or the strengthening or weakening of some notes already present.

Additional adjectives, such as light, sport, veil, eau fraiche, eau tendre, noir, extreme, essence absolue, exotic, eau sensuelle, sheer, tendre, intense, and essenuelle are all examples of suffixes I have seen affixed to the original name to distinguish them as sequels. Flankers are usually presented in the same bottle as the original, but the flacon (bottle) might appear in a different colour, material, finish, or have different decorative embellishments. Different concentrations of perfumes, by the way, are not considered flankers.

If you are familiar with a particular fragrance, you’d unlikely have difficulty recognizing a 2.0 model as sharing the same DNA as the original. However, sometimes flankers appear on the market that are actually completely different, and this is where I really have a bone to pick with the marketers, as that’s just plain misleading. Much as I respect most of the juices in the collection of Dior Poison flankers, for example, I feel they should each have been designed as separate concepts. I firmly recall being almost pissed off when I first smelled Hypnotic Poison, not because I didn’t like it (I loved it, in fact), but because I thought it wasn’t anywhere near the original brew of danger I’d been expecting. (Even that flanker has a flanker, by the way – Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle.)

Companies known for flankerization include Calvin Klein, Dior, Kenzo, Armani, and Thierry Mugler, but there are many more, and I don’t feel that some of the companies that produce them are even huge international players, but I guess the stakes are high enough for them to participate in this game. I just confirmed on Fragrantica that Mugler boasts over 20 variations of Angel. Another big fragrance success milker is Issey Miyake, who has had produced a whopping 15 flankers based on L’Eau d’Issey, and that’s just the pour homme section.

Generally, my feelings toward flankerization are mixed. On the one hand, I respect the logic and ingenuity of the marketing, and fully understand why it is done. Here are the main rationalizations of flankerization business strategy:

Building on previous success

For big companies, launching a new fragrance is a huge risk. The success of a new fragrance is rarely predetermined, even after millions of dollars spent in marketing research. A failed attempt could then be very detrimental, and this is why you see so much imitation in the mass market. If a company already has a proven track record with a particular fragrance, however, it makes perfect sense that they would try to milk it further by creating a flanker. This only works, however, if the pillar fragrance was well and truly an amazing success. A flanker of a scent that fared averagely on the market will not generate results.

Expanding reach

Flankers can help companies expand market share, both horizontally and vertically. If a company’s market research shows that a certain scent sells well only in the winter, and is more popular with the over-30 crowd, and they have also found that youth are attracted to terms such as “light” or “sport” in fragrance names, they can create a summer flanker of the original employing those words. The logic is that they will keep their older, previous customers happy with a new release for the warmer season, and also gain a new market of younger consumers. Capturing young customers is key, as it is easier to keep an established customer than to attract a new one. This is probably one of the many reasons there is so much (annoying) youth used in advertising.

Appearing fresh

It’s sad, but in today’s scent-saturated market, big fragrance companies are forced to put out something new every year, lest they fall into oblivion, and ignoring the ability to appear trendy by simply releasing updates of their best sellers can be seen as idiocy. It’s worth noting, however, that flankers can and do also offer an opportunity to re-work an existing fragrance in a new and exciting way, and this has indeed been the case in certain instances.

While I accept all of the above, on the other hand, I find flankerization to be too omnipresent, and I sometimes see it as a cop-out. By tweaking and releasing a scent for a small outlay rather than developing something groundbreaking and risky, I think it is sad that houses choose to capitalize on former glories, and yes, it can make them look lazy, uncreative, and cheap – in more than one way. Flankerization is hardly a dignified practice, but hey, it makes great business scents (pun intended).

Back to the plus side, excessive flankerization may help explain the welcome emergence and increasing success of niche perfumery onto the scent scene. In any case, most of the time I find the original formulae of mainstream concoctions to be better. I must admit, however, that I have not bothered to take a sniff of many of them, mostly because I feel overwhelmed by them at times. The only house that I readily commend for surpassing its originals with quality flankers is that of Tierrry Mugler, but I am only referring to some of his limited edition spin offs of Angel, Alien, A*Men, and Womanity. I particularly prefer the leather versions of Womanity and Alien. I’ve heard that Hermès makes good flankers, but I’ve little experience with that house.

What is your opinion of flankerization? Do you feel it is a necessary evil to create olfactory offspring that comes close to, much less outdoes, their parental perfume?

How to change your mood with perfume


Different fragrances can have lasting effects on your mood and well-being. Can you wear a scent if you want to lighten your mood, so to speak? You sure can! The sense of smell is perhaps on the best loved senses because it can invoke memories and create new ones. The right perfume can not only lift your spirit but also alter your mood completely. Yes, more empirical study is needed into the effect of fragrance on mood, but here is some of what testimonials and aromatherapists have to say thus far:

Feeling let down?

When you are feeling a little low or depressed, use a perfume with strong citrus scent to immediately boost your morale.

Want to be seductive?

If you are in a seduction mode, then musks and vanilla fragrances can help get the mood going. They are known aphrodisiacs and it enhances your libido. Jasmine, sandalwood, rose and gardenia scents are also a good way to go, as, of course, is chocolate.

Need to chill out?

Use scents that contain the gentle scents of lavender and chamomile to promote calmness. They can rejuvenate the senses and keep you serene all day. Sandalwood, bergamot, patchouli, vanilla, geranium and ylang ylang are other relaxing scents.

Already upbeat and want more? 

Complement your happy mood with a fragrance that has a hint of herbs. Mint, sage or pine scents do well. The perfume should be fresh but subtle.

Prefer to remain reserved?

Splash on some perfume that is billows in summer flowers. But here too, the smell should not be overwhelming.

Need energy?

Take a whiff of something with peppermint before a long workout or a day at the office for that extra push you need to excel. Scents having lime, orange or grapefruit are also thought to be energizing.

Nerd XX by Good Olfactory


Get a whiff of this:

You’re a bit of a ludite when in comes to technology, but you have to get that term paper in today, and as your home printer appears to be busted, you’ve had to venture on campus into the computer lab, which you’ve heard is populated by a plethora of certain unfashionables, the geek squad. You enter the room expecting to be blasted by braces and bottle cap-framed faces, and yes, you are, but to your surprise and delight it smells fresh and pleasant in the room, not at all like the BO, bad breath, or unwashed clothes you had obviously been expecting – shame on you. There is a huge vase of geraniums and jasmine on the front table, the room is neat and organized, the lighting is lovely (the flourescent lighting of yesteryear has been ditched) and the air is circulating perfectly, a draft coming in just behind the flowers. You realize you are potentially looking at cool pool of tomorrow’s leaders, and you think to yourself that you should start doing a little research for the next essay while you’re here, seeing as it’s so pleasant in this particular computer lab, and if you need any, there’s likely someone around to offer help.

Don’t expect a new scentsation from Nerd XX. This is an extremely simple, ordinary fragrance –  fresh, but highly creative. “Fragrance minus pretense” is the catch phrase of Eau de Nerd, and while the XX scent is indeed clean, refreshing, and uplifting, what’s heaps more refreshing than the scent itself is the concept for it. Clearly the creators are having a good laugh taking the piss out of the industry, but they are doing so lightheartedly, not in a smeary, demeaning way. To boot, in the process, because the scent is in fact so… well rather bland, to be honest, but in a pleasant sort of way, if Nerd XX and her brother Nerd XY become highly successful, it will be because of the marketing. I hope I’m not the only one to see the amusing irony in that.

There is little more to the scent that nothing more than carnations. I don’t get much of the jasmine or the spiciness it has, but it is clean, refreshing, and uplifting.

Canadian start-up company Good Olfactory Inc. launched the nerd line of fragrances to counteract the distorted messaging common in the beauty industry. All prices are in multiples of the number pi, 3.14. Cute! Spokesperson, Erin Posner says:

“You don’t need a pocket protector or advanced degree to smell good. Our message is more inclusive and self-affirming than what you typically see in fragrance advertising.”

“Society often views or portrays nerds as outsiders, excluded from the superficial realms of beauty and coolness, but this is all fantasy and fallacy. In that shallow light, our fragrances are les eaux pour les autres, but in reality, there is broad appeal, because everyone has some other-ness in them. Everyone is a nerd.”

Good Olfactory Inc. intends to donate 7% of profits to charities and causes that combat bullying. Excellent. The company also sells small decants of 3.3 ml ( 0.11 fl. oz.) to try. Eau de Nerd was launched in spring, 2013 with two scents – Nerd XX for the ladies, and Nerd XY for the dudes. Nerd XX can currently only be purchased from the company’s uber simple and clean website: Eau de Nerd (now just Good Olfactory).

From Fragrantica:

  • MAIN ACCORDS: white floral, floral, warm spicy, animalic, aromatic
  • TOP NOTES: —
  • MIDDLE NOTES: jasmine, carnation

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