Welcome to Part Two of the World Perfumery Congress Report. In the first instalment you can read about the purpose of the conference in addition to the talks I attended. For the last day in Nice I was keen to smell some new materials and take a look at the stands at the show. So read on for more, plus there are a few videos too.
Day Three : This was the day that I set aside for seeing some of the exhibitors. I bumped into Pissara Umavijani from Parfums Dusita again and we toured some of the stands together. We started off with Givaudan where we smelled the Delight range of fragrance bases that bring food and fragrance together, triggering intense happiness. They used body language and facial expressions to decode 250 physical signs in order to create the collection.
Here’s what Pissara had to say about the Congress on the final day. She also talks about the opening of her new store in Paris.
Now if you ever want to smell a variety of natural materials then this is your happy place. As well as the large fragrance houses that showed their wares there were many smaller companies exhibiting too. Generally it was fairly easy to spot the big companies as their stands were huge spaces with no expense spared. They also had many team members on hand to take you through their new developments. I smelt some incredible materials at Van Aroma including kaffir lime oil and some new materials I hadn’t heard of before including kunzea oil and green patchouli.
IFF had new materials on show and these were Pepper Sichuan Absolute, Lavandin Absolute, Patchouli Oil and Oakwood Extrait that no doubt will be present in perfumes coming your way sometime soon. The Oakwood extract in particular was right up my alley with a woody, oakwood and rum with a little vanilla and a smoky facet too.
Photos : Symrise excerpts from the Symrise exhibition, Pissara Umavijani at Van Aroma, Pepper Sichuan from IFF.
The Symrise area was really interesting, housing an art house style exhibit – A World Tour Through Scent with an Olfactive Travel Portfolio. This project utilised a team of photographers, perfumers and journalists to showcase perfume in a more creative way. Texts from two of the exhibits are shown here (Dubai and Paris). The artists they worked with included violin makers, a piano repairer, microbreweries and other artisans to create an artistic link with perfume. I had to say that when I saw this I realised that the big brands can do these sorts of shows with a bigger budget and higher production values than what I’ve seen before, and in some ways it also highlighted the fact that they can create their own perfume brands too with some creative direction thrown in. I suppose they may not want to cannibalise their oils business so would set up businesses separately under their perfumers.
Patricia Nicolai was at the Osmotheque stand and took some time out to talk about Vent Vert from Germaine Cellier, one of the most well-known female perfumers in the 1940s. Other creations that you will likely know are Fracas and Bandit. Celiier really pumped out some kick ass perfumes with an absolute stellar run.
To be honest I could have spent a great deal more time looking around these stands but the hours and minutes were ticking away and I wanted to catch the last conference sessions on offer.
I caught the end of a talk on Tide, the laundry detergent. The scent in this product has been changed numerous times over the years and is a mainstay in many households across the world. This apparently was a great session, according to a few I spoke with after. If you want to know how Americans conceptualise ‘clean’ then Tide is your answer.
Next up on the agenda was Miguel Alemany, Head of Research and Development from Proctor & Gamble on the 4 Threats to the Perfume Industry :
- Excessive regulation – working together should get there
- Lack of innovation – we’re creating new molecules, but not continuous innovation
- Perfume phobia / driven by the fear of chemicals
- Lack of unity between organisations and companies to take on the challenges
P&G are working to counteract the anti chemical brigade by promoting ways that scent can help to stimulate our brains, whether that be with autistic children or also around strengthening our brains as we age. You can think of using scent as a workout tool like doing puzzles to strengthen the brain. Behind the scenes they are researching the effect of scent on improving behaviours on children with autism.
There is a lot of money to be made in scent free products and the opportunity is there for the fragrance industry to create scent free products before everybody else gets in on the act.
The closing talk was by Christophe Laudamiel who we have spoken with here on the blog. He was on the main stage at Nice while his Instagram partner Josiah Ryan from CNN dialled in from the States. The topic was New Power and Transparency In An Open Age. They talked about the power of Instagram in particular as a platform that is changing how people can learn about perfume. Christophe conducts smelling lessons on Instagram and acts in a totally transparent manner that is a welcome change from the ivory tower scenario. Instagram has become a perfume hotline where there is always someone available to help or to discuss perfume with. One of their points was that perfumery will never be the same. This trend to interconnectivity will lead to innovation and new business models while the learnings will be incorporated into new fields. He also demonstrated that perfumers and the large companies have been on the slow side at embracing what social media has to offer when he showed a chart with the number of followers of perfumers and companies. It was simple but quite effective.
Overall I was surprised by the lack of focus on where technology is taking the world of fragrance at the WPC and how this will be harnessed. There was one mention of using the blockchain that I noticed by IFF, although I’m sure all of the larger companies have things in the pipeline in this area and I see a lot of AI innovation when I read fragrance and beauty industry newsletters, but this was obviously not the forum for these discussions which was a shame but perhaps this was mentioned in the talks I didn’t get to.
Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to any of the perfumer sessions although I did hear that the session with Carlos Benaim was particularly good. All up the congress was a brain expanding experience and it was a real treat to meet other like-minded folks there too.
I caught up with Christophe Laudamiel after the conference and he had a great sum up of the congress that you can see here. And that dear readers is a wrap.
Notes // All photos and videos Megan In Sainte Maxime.