By  on July 1, 2005

NEW YORK — Amid fifth anniversary celebrations last month, men's grooming brand Jack Black unveiled a trio of scents called Liquid Magnetism, slated to be launched in October.

Executive vice president Emily Dalton, who cofounded Dallas-based Jack Black with president Curran Dandurand, reminisced about what she's seen in the business since 2000. "The men's market has really exploded," Dalton said, and "there has been a barrage of competition. We feel we were at the forefront of a trend that came to a head in the past five years."

Originally launched with 13 botanically based shaving and treatment items, the Jack Black assortment now features some 30 products. The firm's retail sales volume is expected to reach $15 million this year, according to industry sources, up more than 50 percent. The Jack Black brand was ranked number eight in men's skin care in U.S. department stores last year, according to NPD Beauty, a division of market information company The NPD Group Inc.

Jack Black launched its first fragrance, called Signature, four years ago. Liquid Magnetism includes a repackaged version of the original fragrance, which is now called Signature Silver Mark. The other two scents are called Signature Black Mark and Signature Blue Mark.

Industry sources estimated that first-year retail sales volume for the three scents combined could be between $5 million and $6 million.

The fragrances, which were developed over two years, were mixed by Quest International. Perfumer Yan Vasnier blended Signature Black Mark, which features olfactory accords of saffron and red cedar. Perfumer Claude Dir mixed Signature Silver Mark, which has notes of juniper and ginger, and Signature Blue Mark, which includes aromas of cardamom and cypress. Each eau de parfum comes in a 3.4-oz. bottle priced at $65.

The "gentlemanly heritage of liquor" served as inspiration for the scents, according to Dalton, hence the name Liquid Magnetism. She paralleled the names Black Mark, Silver Mark and Blue Mark with the Johnny Walker scotch brand's Red Label, Black Label and Blue Label products. Even the fragrances' labels, which highlight the scents' olfactory accords, are meant to emulate the labels on liquor bottles.

"We're establishing a new lexicon of talking about fragrance with our consumer," said Dalton. "We're talking about it in terms of a cocktail recipe rather than [in terms of fragrance] notes."At launch, there will be a four-paneled brochure at counter pairing a cocktail with each scent. For instance, opposite a picture of Signature Silver Mark and its ingredients there will be a picture of a so-called Silver Mark Martini and its ingredients. Liquid Magnetism's secondary packaging is inspired by "well-worn leather," said Dalton.

A sampling campaign featuring 200,000 vials on card will support Liquid Magnetism. A $49 holiday set, called The Well Stocked Bar Collection, will feature 1-oz. splash versions of all three scents.

Jack Black products are carried in about 700 doors, including upscale department stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's; spas; specialty boutiques, and resorts and country clubs. Dalton noted that Jack Black will be "opening eight Neiman Marcus doors in August."

She added, "We're continuing to expand and we're proud of our steady, repeat and loyal customer base."

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