For example, the palette of ACs and natural
fragrance materials is very broad for the creation
of an ethyl alcohol-based fine fragrance. Whereas
the palette is severely diminished when creating a
stable fragrance for a product employing sodium
hypochlorite bleach. The perfumer will use the
dependable “old reliables.” A study carried out by
a major fragrance house, which also created new
ACs, analyzed the “newness” of the constituents of
what were at the time, recent new major fragrance
adoptions created by its most successful perfumers. Of twenty-nine wins, eighteen could have been
made twelve years ago. In other words, the new ACs
derived from the hard work and expense of R&D
were not used in 62% of the wins.
What then leads to a broad acceptance and
usage of a product by the world’s perfumers?
A good example is the imaginative use of Iso E
Supera, which at the time was a patented captive
IFF specialty. Bernard Chant, IFF’s chief perfumer,
explored its attributes and then featured it when
he created a Halston fragrance. So successful was
the launch and the acclaim the fragrance received
that competitors analyzed the new introduction to
identify the fragrance’s important characteristics,
i.e. the isomers in Iso E Super. The company’s AC
sales department was then besieged by requests for
the product by its chemical nomenclature. Also,
the IFF perfumer-force worldwide was stimulated
and started to use Iso E Super in their own creative
work. Although conceived and subsequently patented
in the 1980s, the volume usage did not occur until
the ‘90s. Now with the patents long expired, many
process improvements and several competing manufacturers have resulted in a selling price under $10
per kilogram. Iso E Super has become a blockbuster
product selling in the thousands of tons per annum.
Currently, the world’s largest selling musk
Galaxolideb was first patented by IFF in the 1960s.
By 1970, only about 10 tons were made annually.
Initially its cost to produce was high and consequently, it was not immediately used by the in-house
perfumers unless its superior chemical and color
stability justified the higher expense. It was only in
the ‘80s that the volume use increased following the
commissioning of a dedicated plant, resulting in
significant cost reduction and the products’ subsequent use in major household product fragrances. A
tribute to its attributes is the fact that it is appreciated and used by virtually all of IFF’s competitors,
some of whom even manufacture their own musks.
Today, Galaxolide is one of the most used fragrance
materials at over 10,000 tons per year, being made
by several manufacturers.
So what is the fastest way to move a new AC from
its initial availability to being a profitable worthwhile
success? The reader is encouraged to consult the
“Development and Introduction…” article referred
below which includes many suggestions. In the case
of Iso E Super, persuading a specific friendly perfumer to work with the ingredient to then create the
first major win was the “catalyst” that unleashed the
enthusiasm, which was subsequently exploited by
all. But what if asking, begging and cajoling requests
to use it for the “corporate good” aren’t working?
Then AC manufacturers need to be more creative in
their marketing. Maybe offering perfumers a bonus,
where legal, who are successful using the new AC
in a winning fragrance for a major consumer brand
might do the trick.
It certainly would get their attention.
1. Fenn, R. S. (1982, June & July). The Development and
Introduction of a New Perfumery Chemical. Perfumer &
Flavorist, 7( 3), 39-44.
2. Objective: Self-Regulation by the Fragrance Creation Industry.
Ronald S. Fenn. Presented to the Kangaroo Group of the
European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, September 2000.
About the author: Ron Fenn retired from IFF Inc. as
corporate vice president and director of worldwide sales and
marketing fragrance ingredients. His trade association service
included president and vice president of IFRA, FMA US and
vice chairman of RIFM. He has since served as president of
Polarome International and his non-executive directorships
have included RC Treatt Co. Ltd.,U.K. and Phoenix Aromas
and Essential Oils in the U.S. a Iso E Super is a registered tradename of IFF
b Galaxolide is a registered tradename of IFF
As with art and music, an
infinite number of novel
paintings and songs,
perfumes can be created
with the existing portfolio
one also includes the
essential oils and other
naturally derived products.