By  on April 20, 2007

NEW YORK — With the unveiling this month of a $5,000 fragrance called Yu, Mane is taking another step into its new role as fragrance marketer.

Mane, which is on the supply side of the industry — a sector known for its traditional role of making essential oil blends for fragrance marketers like L'Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Coty, the Estée Lauder Cos. and Avon Products — has created Yu, and Gary Farn Ltd. is distributing the scent. Mane and Farn recently formed a venture to manufacture and distribute scents (see related story on this page).

No more than 500 bottles of Yu are being produced. And with the ultra-high-end price point, complete sell-through would translate to sales of $2.5 million.

The scent was launched last week at Bergdorf Goodman. According to Mane, four bottles of the scent have been sold so far, to the tune of $20,000. Yu is expected to be available starting this summer at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and at selected Nordstrom locations in the fall. It is expected that these retailers will make private presentations to potential buyers.

"This is a niche project," asserted Michel Mane, president of Mane Americas. "The idea is to give the perfumer total creative freedom with no restrictions on ingredients or cost [and] bring perfumery back to where it was [when] perfumers used what ingredients inspired them."

Yu ("rain" in Chinese) was created by Mane perfumer Cecile Krakower. Several ingredients were created using a process Mane calls "jungle essence," which employs a portable, pressurized canister and solvent to yield plant extracts in virtually any jungle, forest or field visited by Mane.

"As a perfumer, it was inspiring to work outside the usual boundaries of fragrance development," Krakower said in a statement.

The heart of Yu features accords like champaca and genet, both of which were collected using the jungle essence method. The same method was used to collect the scent's top notes of African freesia and Asian mandarin tree leaf. Other top notes include bergamot, tangerine, orange flower and ylang-ylang. Rosewood oil is included in the heart and base notes include vetiver, sandalwood and vanilla.Yu's bottle, a 500-gram crystal flacon produced by Brosse, was inspired by "forms and shapes found in nature," noted Lori Mariano, general manager of Mane's Perfect Sense division, the two-year-old business unit that produced Yu.

"The single most important message is to give back the leadership of creating fragrances to the perfumer," Mane remarked. "It's now time for perfumers to be given a stronger voice into what is created."

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