HOUSEHOLD PRODUCT PERFUMERY IS MORE COMPLEX THAN EVER, WITH A VARIETY OF NOTES
OBTAINED FROM MANY DIFFERENT SOURCES. AND YET, FRESH, CLEAN NOTES REMAIN KING.
IT’S BEEN described as having an overtly fruity, dark berry con- struction combined with signature cassis notes. No, that’s not Robert M. Parker Jr.’s take on a 2012 cabernet sauvignon, it’s
Mark Haward’s description of Gain Moonlight Breeze, the newest fragrance variant for P&G’s popular laundry detergent.
“Scent has become a much more intrinsic part of peoples’
lives, and we see a higher penetration of upscale niche retailers
providing consumers with the opportunity to try out a variety of
fragrances,” explained Haward, a perfumer at P&G. “The result is
that more and more consumers are‘scent literate’ enabling them
to more easily translate communication and artwork about scent
which then gets factored into their product choices.”
Though he may be just a wee bit biased, Bell Flavors &
Fragrances perfumer Marvel A. Fields insists that fragrance is
the deciding factor in the to-buy or not-to-buy decisions that go
into household cleaning product purchases. After all, who hasn’t
walked down the cleaner aisle in the supermarket, grabbed a
bottle off the shelf, twisted the cap and sniffed the formula before
dropping dish detergent into her cart?
“Many consumers smell products before they buy them,”
Formulators know that how a product smells goes a long way
in determining sales success. Now, consumers are able to experience scents in new ways, too.
“It’s all exploding in
fragrance,” noted Avery
Gilbert, a highly re-
garded “smell scientist”
based in Fort Collins,
CO. “Finally, the science
has connected with the
creative, artistic and ad-
vertising world and that’s
opened the floodgates.”
Sure, the ubiquitous
pine and lemon scents
can still be found in hard
surface cleaners, but as
consumers become more
adventurous, perfumers are
obliging them with exotic notes and new twists on classics. The
result, insists Gilbert, is that in many ways, fragrance houses have
an even more arduous task than ever before.
“Companies must try to cater to people who have no barri-
ers when it comes to fragrance,” he told Happi. “They expect a
sensory delight in large-scale commercial products where cost
Method fragrance director Suzanne McCormick certainly
“At Method, we develop fragrances that are inspired by nature with a modern twist,” she told Happi. “It is our intention to
add an element of delight to the task of cleaning.”
The move toward more sophisticated scents has been going on
for years, agreed Jennifer Powderly, VP-marketing, Robertet. Now
Millennials have even more stringent requirements about their
“Millennials, especially those with children, are very con-
cerned about chemicals,” she explained. “They want simple for-
mulas with fewer ingredients.”
As a result, they respond to products that feature labels with
words such as fresh-cut mint and sage; something that brands
like Method and Mrs. Meyer’s have been promoting for years.
“These names and
notes resonate with younger consumers who want a
fresh and clean fragrance,”
Cultural bias can play
a key role in what makes
for a successful scent.
During the past six months,
Robertet conducted a lot of
research into what fragrances work with different consumer groups. For example,
Hispanics prefer big, bold
scents such as lavender
that have staying power.
Tom Branna • Editorial Director
P&G’s Gain fabric care range is big on scent.