By  on August 22, 2008

What began as a semiserious idea by two college students has turned into an in-demand fragrance with a unique backstory, and plans for a full body line.

Called Ageless Fantasy, the scent is billed by its creators as “the world’s first antiage perfume.” While there is nothing in the fragrance that can physically turn back the clock, it was developed on the principle that if a particular scent made a woman smell as if she were of a certain age, then other fragrances could do the reverse.

“We worked along the lines of, if you took a rose fragrance and went to a hundred men and asked them what comes to mind when they smell it, more likely than not the answer is, ‘old lady,’” said Kumar Ramani, president of New York-based Harvey Prince, maker of Ageless Fantasy. “So we figured that if a rose reminds you of someone old, and that scent is all about memory and triggers, what reminds you of youth?”

Ramani began considering this notion after his two sons, Raj and Shaan, both math majors at Princeton and Harvard, respectively, at the time and now working with hedge funds in Chicago, came to him with the idea. The boys were inspired after a school event where their mother was mistaken for their sister.

“My sons told me, ‘If she looks young and dresses young, and talks young, maybe she can smell young,’” recalled Ramani. They decided to try and create a Mother’s Day gift for her, beginning by studying the writings of Chandler Burr, author and scent critic for The New York Times, and Alan Hirsch, a Chicago-based neurologist and psychiatrist who has written numerous books about the sense of smell.

“For the point of arriving at this fragrance, we had to negate the body odor that comes with age,” said Ramani, adding that it was not enough to simply mask the smells of aging. “There are many fragrances that are sophisticated and classic, which men tend to associate with their mothers. Our goal was to find a fragrance that they would associate with youth.”

Ramani hired fragrance maker Ungerer & Company to create the perfume, which comprises youthful and playful tropical top notes, such as mango and pineapple, and includes other essences, including jasmine, cherry blossom and musk.

The product, which retails for $120 for a 100-ml. bottle of eau de toilette, is pale pink in color and comes in a transparent column-shaped bottle with white packaging. It is currently in niche, upscale apothecary-style environments, such as Clyde’s Pharmacy in New York, and White’s in East Hampton, N.Y. Ramani also is shipping to Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong and high-end stores in Dubai. He is now working on prototypes for hand and body creams, as well as an alcohol-free hair spray, all of which he says will have the same youth-reminiscent ingredients as the fragrance.

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