LONDON — When Harvey Nichols launched its debut women’s scent, HN Women, last November, it was only a matter of time before a men’s scent would follow.
This story first appeared in the August 8, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It turns out that the men had to wait just 10 months — HN Men is set to bow in September.
“The launch of Own Brand perfumery was to reflect the brand values of our business,” said Nicolette Coulson, buyer for Beyond Beauty and Own Brand at Harvey Nichols. “Therefore, HN Men was a natural progression, given that we offer both men’s and women’s fashion.”
The scent, exclusive to Harvey Nichols, is all about luxury and took around 18 months to develop. “To be honest, we thought as we had a women’s scent it would be easier to develop the men’s,” said Coulson. “In reality, this wasn’t the case. It was harder as we needed them to have a synergy, but still be unique in their own way.”
Inspired by a dark forest, romance and all things mystical, HN Men is intended to partner the HN Women’s scent.
In fact, to ensure scent similarities, Harvey Nichols assigned the job of formulating HN Men to Christophe Laudimiel of International Flavors and Fragrances. Laudimiel also developed HN Women, as well as Ralph Lauren’s Polo Blue and Clinique’s Happy Heart.
“Christophe advised [us that] an olfactory connection between a men’s and a women’s scent is quite rare in the industry,” said Coulson. “But we left it in the hands of the perfumers to be as creative as possible.”
The scent’s top notes include bergamot and grapefruit oil (extracted from the juice, not the rind, giving a more recognizable grapefruit scent), cinnamon, Guatemalan cardamom, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg and cognac. The heart is of cinnamon bark, absinthe and leather accord, while the base notes are a blend of patchouli essence and patchouli coeur — the bottom part of the oil, making the scent less pine and “clean” and more sensual. Other base notes include cedar wood, vanilla, white musk, incense and oudh from Morocco, which is so rare it costs around $11,000 per 100 grams, said Coulson.
In comparison, HN Men is reasonably priced and is available in a 100-ml. eau de toilette for $64, or 40 pounds; 250-ml. shower gel priced at $29, or 18 pounds, and a 50-ml. aftershave balm at $35, or 22 pounds. All dollar figures have been converted from the British pound at current exchange.
The similarities to the women’s scent don’t stop at the juice. Michael Nash, the designer of HN Women, also designed the look of HN Men. The outer packaging for the 100-ml. eau de toilette is a square mocha brown leather box, embossed with the HN logo. The bottle, which is made from glass etched with a large HN logo, is shaped like a hip flask and is silver capped.
HN Men will launch exclusively at all Harvey Nichols stores including Knightsbridge, Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester in September. In addition to space on the perfumery floor, the scent will also be on sale near cash registers on all floors. To mark the launch there will be window displays and in-store promotional sites. Although Coulson wouldn’t comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the men’s scent could do upwards of $325,000, or 200,000 pounds, in its first year on counter.
Coulson said there are currently no plans to roll out the brand to Europe or the U.S. An HN Home collection is also on the docket, although a launch date hasn’t yet been confirmed.