China: Fragrance Culture, Fragrance History, & Oud (沉香)

Photo: Don Daniele at 500px.com (Direct website link embedded within.)

Photo: Don Daniele at 500px.com (Direct website link embedded within.)

I read a fascinating article the other day on China and fragrances which set off my curiosity on a few issues, got me digging into others, and made me ponder a few impenetrable questions that only time will tell. The article is called, “Sweet smell of success: Foreign fragrances dominate China’s perfume market,” and it’s written by David Dodwell for the South China Morning Post. Mr. Dodwell is the Executive Director of the Hong Kong-APEC Trade Policy Group and appears to write extensively on China. This time, he turned his attention to perfume after spending a day in Heathrow’s Duty Free section in Terminal 5 and seeing “a flock of fashionable mainland Chinese women scenting their way through the Jo Malone part of the fragrance section.”

That led him to the following question: given China’s global manufacturing process and the emergence of so many Chinese brands, why couldn’t he think of a single Chinese-made perfume? I have my own personal theories on that issue, but what interested me more were other points he made in passing, like Mao‘s Cultural Revolution or the role of oud (chen xiang (沉香)). I’ll be talking about all of that today, in addition to China’s fragrance history, fragrance culture, and its changing attitudes to scent over time.

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Masque Milano Price and Size Changes

Masque Milano will be changing its pricing structure in the months to come, in addition to offering its fragrances in a new bottle size.

Masque Milano's upcoming L'Attesa. Source: Masque Milano's FB page.

Masque Milano’s upcoming L’Attesa. Source: Masque Milano’s FB page.

This morning, Alessandro Brun, one of Masque’s co-owners/co-founders shared that information on the blog’s Facebook page following yesterday’s review on the company’s upcoming release, Romanza. His comments were in response to a discussion in regarding the new Romanza bottle, its size, its price, and the difference as compared to Masque’s existing fragrances.

Romanza costs €138 for 35 ml of eau de parfum. (I don’t know its American price yet.) It will be released on or around April 26th, which is when I think Masque will be launching L’Attesa, a new iris eau de parfum, as well. It, too, will be in the new 35 ml bottle for €138.

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Update: LVMH & Monsieur Guerlain

I have a few updates to share with you regarding LVMH’s shutdown of the Monsieur Guerlain website and his associated social media accounts. Monsieur Guerlain has clarified a few points about the matter, I was given some information on Guerlain, and I’ve done some digging into the law. To me, those new facts indicate a very different situation both legally and factually than what I had initially thought. In my opinion, they demonstrate that the issue is not the trademark/copyright issue of using the Guerlain brand name that everyone had thought. There is much more going on.

[ADDITIONAL UPDATES regarding developments on 2/10 and 2/11 are posted in new sections at the end.] 

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Super-Luxury Fragrances & The Issue of Price

Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty via bornrich.com

Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty via bornrich.com

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the price of fragrances. Specifically, the question of astronomical pricing in the super-luxury niche market, and people’s reactions to it. It is something that comes up whenever I review fragrances from certain brands or luxury collections, most recently the newest Serge Lutens Section d’Or parfums. For me, it’s not as cut-and-dry an issue as it seems to be for others. The “tl;dr” summation for those who want the bottom-line is that, for all my eye-rolling, $600, $800, $1000-and-up price tags don’t really offend me, I refuse to instantly, automatically condemn fragrances bearing them, and I think it’s important both to keep an open mind and to judge things on the particulars. The rest of this post will explain my thoughts and personal reasons why.

Source: global-customer.com

Source: global-customer.com

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