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Speaking the Fragrance Language
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: June 1, 2011, from the June 2011 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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Many animal notes important to this family have disappeared due to regulatory restrictions. These include civet, derived from a Somalian cat; castoreum, exuded from the castor sac of a beaver; musk, once taken from the glands of the musk deer—however, now synthetically manufactured; and ambergris, regurgitated by the sperm whale. Jarosz added, “[natural] musks do not exist anymore.” The use of resins has also dropped due to regulations, as these materials are often unidentifiable by gas chromatography analysis.
The chypre family has been challenged perhaps more than any other fragrance family, said Vern Murawski, a senior perfumer at Bell. Chypre is the French name for the island of Cyprus, and this term was used by François Coty in 1917 to describe a woodsy, mossy, citrusy perfume created by the company. Although this fragrance family has been around for nearly 100 years, the regulation of its main components has nearly eradicated it. The base notes of oakmoss and Cistus labdanum, which are both native to Cyprus and the Mediterranean climates, are highly regulated and difficult to find, respectively.
The chypre family includes two fragrance “parents,” heavy chypre and light chypre. While heavy chypre has an earthy base with citrus top notes and subtle floral notes, light chypre has a dry base note with a citrus, amber or woody emphasis. Murawski noted, “Some people want to [remove] this family because it is hard to describe but instead, perfumery has expanded it.” He added that oakmoss is making a comeback since it has been created by raw material manufacturers to pass regulation; the International Fragrance Association determined that moss extracts should contain less than 1 ppm atranol and chloroatranol. On the other hand, Murawski observed that throughout the years, “many fragrances have changed from chypre to other categories [due to] regulatory and sourcing problems.”
Application in Personal Care
The perfumers at the event agreed that trends in fine fragrance are often translated into personal care products. This “trickle down” effect is evident in recent product launches featuring scents such as passion fruit, Japanese cherry blossom, roses and honey, pomegranate and mango, and honeysuckle and lemon verbena. One special consideration Costa noted regarding fragrances for personal care is that they must be more singular due to potential interactions with other functional ingredients. However, she added that personal care fragrances should be “created for the experience,” meaning the fragrance should change depending on its use, i.e., while showering or left on the hair or body. She concluded that compared with fine fragrance, “There is not as much movement in personal care product fragrance.”