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How did perfumes become treats?

February 27 2016

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Gourmet perfumes are leading sales. This family was born in 1992 with the creation ofAngel Thierry Mugler. Addictive and regressive fragrances that refer to the sweetest childhood memories. And besides, it does not make you fat. How to explain this craze? - Isabelle Cerboneschi.


hen Angel came out, it was like an air quake in the world of perfumery. A break. No one had dared add to patchouli notes used in the industry not perfumes, but aromas and create this note of chocolate caramel. It is Olivier Cresp who had the idea and who created, without knowing it and unwillingly, a new family of fragrances: greedy. Since then, these olfactory sweets prance at the top of the polls.

It's been twenty-four years - nothing by the yardstick of the history of perfumery - that perfumers do their little olfactory cooking, handling the aromas, sometimes with dexterity, sometimes with the hand a little too heavy. Do not become pastry chef who wants. All the ingredients are gone. Over the years, we loved to find tonka beans The male by Jean Paul Gaultier, created by Francis Kurkdjian and launched in 1995 (even if this perfume is officially part of the oriental-fern family), just like this note of coffee so pregnant in A Men Thierry Mugler, launched in 1996. The appearance of vanilla licorice in Lolita Lempicka in 1997 was a nice way to let emerge sweet memories: those late afternoon, at the exit of the school, where we rushed into the local tobacco shop to buy a licorice roll with a candy in its center.

The first milky notes, so regressive, appeared in the extraordinary Feu Issey Miyaké, written by Jacques Cavallier, launched in 1998 and unfortunately disappeared. This fragrance was both comforting as a hot milk in which one would have dropped a few drops of rose water and intriguing with notes of pepper and guaiac wood. The same year, we made olfactory orgies bitter almond discovered in Rahät Loukoum Serge Lutens for the Royal Palace Gardens. In 2005, Boom! An explosion of flowers and delicacies with the launch of Flowerbomb from Viktor & Rolf. Perfumers Carlos Banaïm, Domitille Bertier, and Olivier Polge wanted "a profusion of flowers, which is not only olfactory, but also tasty, a delight for all the senses". Hence the agreement around the rose, jasmine, patchouli, caramel, vanilla and white musks of this "floriental gourmand".

The rice steam in Kenzo Love 2006 contrasted its sweetness with a changing world. And what about this amazing accord of lactescent caviar and fig discovered in Womanity Thierry Mugler, launched in 2010? We had to dare ... Not to mention Life is Beautiful Lancôme, launched in 2012 with its greedy notes of orange blossom, jasmine, bitter almond, tonka bean, praline and vanilla, this olfactory dessert is a best seller: he would sell a bottle all the 5 seconds in the world, according to Lancôme.

How to explain this craze for gourmands? In the same way that we explain the children's passion for sweets. A genetic attraction to begin with: the sugar generating energy, the body is fond of it. A cultural attraction then: the sweet is the greed, but also the reward. Gourmet perfumes are regressive and reassuring smells. "Everyone loves sugar. When you put sugar in a perfume, it also makes things sweeter, says perfumer Dominique Ropion, co-author of Life is beautiful, from Lancôme. But done intelligently, one can use it in an aesthetic way and with a coherent construction. In Life is Beautiful or in Angel, the sweet notes have been used as an undeniable and indispensable building element, for a desired aesthetic finish. Gourmands are an extension of semi-oriental, semi-oriental flowers, it starts with Shalimar, Must, Obsession. But with Angelwe went much further with the Veltol notes, those famous caramel notes. "

These scented delicacies also appeal to the olfactory memory: the teenagers of the 70 years carried the eaux de toilette Town, first scents allowed. Playful and colorful juices that smelled of green apple, strawberry, bubble gum and had colors and smells of sour candy. Switch from these regressive scents to Angel it was easy for them. Their daughters, born in the 90 years, grew up with a nose in their mother's neck that smelled of patchouli and caramel. The greedy smell became symbolic of maternal love (lack of love, sometimes too). These children are now 24 years, have become young adults who buy their perfume, and naturally turn to these scents, for the sweetness of memory.

Gourmet perfumes speak to the heart. They are wrapped up in a soft blanket, they lower the anxiety rate and raise morale. Invisible blankets, reassuring, that can be carried everywhere with you.

A version of this article was published in the Hors-Série Beauté du Temps on February 27 2016