Consumers’ search for individuality is continually driving product development in the fine fragrance segment and designer fragrances in particular. The niche or designer segment is so different to the prestige and mass segments yet it influences them in a big way.
Fabienne Bourhis, perfumer at Mane South Africa explains: ‘The price point, distribution and, most interesting of all, their fragrance profiles differ. Niche fragrance brands take risks and have the freedom to explore interesting olfactive aspects. They have been around for many years, though in recent times their prevalence and popularity have grown.’
South African makes it big in Paris
Bourhis says Etat Libre d'Orange (meaning Orange Free State) is a perfect example. This bold avant-garde niche perfumery is located in Paris, France. The company is owned by Etienne de Swart, a South African born in the Free State, who named his perfumery after this place of freedom which he says ‘shaped him into who he is today’.
She adds: ‘The brand is all about freedom, in fragrance development, product packaging and the overall brand. It explores the risky side of perfumery, capitalising on the edginess of a concept, which may not please everyone.’ But that is exactly what niche fragrances are all about, creating unique luxury perfumes for a specific consumer group, and why Mane France has been proud to collaborate with Etat Libre d'Orange in the past.
Niche inspires mainstream brands
Given the popularity among consumers, the niche movement is becoming all the more prevalent in the luxury fine fragrance market with mainstream labels like Armani, Hermes, Chanel and Dior launching collections that are almost niche. ‘This is again distinguished by price point, distribution – in that they are sold in a limited number of stores – and the particular adjectives used in the product names which convey exclusivity. The Armani Privé Collection is an excellent example,’ says Bourhis.
Mane France was instrumental in developing Armani/ Privé Figuier Eden, a limited edition fine fragrance that showcases the innovation of the fragrance and flavour manufacturer in creatively harnessing the perfumed secrets of the fig tree.
Technology for new and unexpected scents
Creativity in perfumery is a core focus of Mane worldwide. The manufacturer invests heavily in R&D to develop new fragrance molecules using innovative extraction methods, ultimately providing its customers with ingredients characterised by interesting facets. Jungle Essence, Mane France’s patented breakthrough technology, captures the scent of a fruit or the taste of a candy using environmentally friendly gas extraction. It was developed at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Le Bar-sur-Loup, in Grasse, France.
According to a demonstration of the extraction technology posted on the Mane website, Jungle Essence allows for the creation of new materials for perfumers and flavourists. ‘It combines simplicity and advanced technology, and can be applied to a wide range of objects, either natural or synthetic. The only requirement is the object must have an odour’.
The technology presents a variety of three extracts: Pure Jungle Essence, which can be used directly in a blend; Neo Jungle Essence, which is an optimised extraction with no olfactive distortion; and DNA Jungle Essence – a pure extract reproduced molecule for molecule by a perfumer.