Frederic Malle, Estee Lauder & Perfume Industry Changes

Source: online.wsj.com

Source: online.wsj.com

As many of you know by now, Estee Lauder has purchased Les Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle after a two-month spending spree that included Le Labo and Rodin Olio Lusso. The sale of Le Labo — a niche brand seen as hip, edgy, and expensive — came as a shock, but it was nothing compared to the outcry which greeted the news concerning Frederic Malle. He was different, he was special, he was Frederic Malle! His Editions de Parfums was considered one of the leaders of niche perfumery, adulated for its elegance and class, and respected for its innovations. For example, it was Frederic Malle who truly made us all pay attention to the men or women who actually created the fragrances by featuring the name of the “nose” on the actual bottle, and giving them the recognition that they had heretofore been denied. Malle symbolized niche and sophisticated luxury to such an extent that the Estee Lauder news was greeted with cries of “Et tu, Brute” and claims of a sell-out.

My response was something else. The very first second, I was utterly astounded but my disbelief soon gave way to an inexplicable (and admittedly hard to explain), “I’m not surprised.” My real, main, and primary reaction, however, was to see the news through the lens of Estee Lauder as the flip-side of industry trends represented by Elizabeth Arden and Coty. Most of you will probably wonder what on earth they have to do with anything but, as I’ll explain here, the Frederic Malle acquisition symbolizes the way the industry leaders respond to market changes by diverging into two, very separate, polar opposite directions, and that may be telling for the future.

As a result, the focus of this piece will be as much on the perfume industry and its market changes as it will be on Frederic Malle himself. I’m afraid that means quite a lot of financial information and business figures from the middle section onwards, but I’ve noticed a definite trend over the last 8 months that I think is significant. The Malle acquisition accompanied by the latest Estee Lauder quarterly earnings report seems to underscore my theory, to my eyes at least.

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Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu

Source: ebay.uk.

Source: ebay.uk.

The latest Tom Ford fragrance is a personal love note to patchouli that seeks to reinvent the genre. In Patchouli Absolu, Tom Ford says he’s used a “breakthrough new material” and untraditional construction, in addition to piling on layers upon layers of patchouli, in order to create the ultimate soliflore that amplifies his “beloved” ingredient’s inherent characteristics in the most refined way possible.

Source: Brownthomas.com

Source: Brownthomas.com

To an extent, he succeeds quite well, which means that Patchouli Absolu is a scent that only a true “patch head” would love. I’m one of those people, and, yet, I’m not in love with the fragrance. I expected to be, because there are few ingredients that appeal to me more than true, brown, spicy patchouli. Unfortunately, I found the latest Private Blend to fall a little short. It’s a nice fragrance with some truly lovely parts, but it’s not a patchouli that I would wear myself. Continue reading

Tom Ford Costa Azzurra (Neroli Portofino Collection)

Source: Tom Ford Press Release PDF

Source: Tom Ford Press Release PDF

Tom Ford has added Costa Azzurra and Mandarino de Amalfi as two new, summer fragrances to join his extremely popular Neroli Portofino. The trio now comprise The Neroli Portofino Collection, but are also part of the higher priced Private Blend line. Both fragrances will be released in early July, and are not yet available in most stores. Yesterday, I took a look at Mandarino de Amalfi. Today is Costa Azzura‘s turn.

Costa Azzurra is an eau de parfum created by Yann Vasnier, and described in the Tom Ford press release as follows:

COSTA AZZURRA evokes the fragrant and sun-baked landscape of coastal and island Mediterranean woods, where pines and oaks mingle with wild-growing herbs and salty water. Continue reading

Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi (Neroli Portofino Collection)

Source: fulltimeford.com

Source: fulltimeford.com

Tom Ford has added Mandarino di Amalfi and Costa Azzurra as two new, summer fragrances to join his extremely popular Neroli Portofino. The trio now comprise The Neroli Portofino Collection, but are also part of the higher priced Private Blend line. Both fragrances will be released in early July, so they are not yet available in most stores. Today, I’ll look at Mandarino di Amalfi, and save Costa Azzurra for the next review.

Tom Ford new Neroli Portofino fragrances

Source: Tom Ford Press Release PDF

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