The names and scents of the collection’s five fragrances are evocative of locales steeped in the tradition of incense, which for thousands of years has been used in rituals of purification and worship. Take Avignon, for instance, which is a spiritual center in France, or Kyoto, one in Japan. The collection also includes Jaisalmer, reminiscent of India; Ouarzazate for Morocco, and Zagorsk for Russia.
The juice of each Incense fragrance was created by Creations Aromatiques and contains a type of incense note — like the white incense made of pine in Zagorsk. These are mixed with other notes for an olfactory portrait of a particular milieu. Avignon, for example, includes Roman camomile, cistus oil and patchouli, and Kyoto includes vetiver, patchouli and amber.
Incense is the third installment after the Leaves and Red series, which were launched in 2000 and 2001, respectively. Incense will be introduced Jan. 10 at the company’s fragrance and fashion stores here and in Japan’s Comme des Garcons doors. The launch is set for its New York door and Barneys New York, plus Liberty’s in London, on Jan. 22, while the rest of the world is slated to get the series by February.
Joffe refused to talk figures, but industry sources estimate the scents could together ring up about $243,200 in wholesale sales in the first year worldwide. All figures are converted at current exchange rates.
The 50-ml. eau de toilette bottles created by Saint Gobain are made of black glass and sell for about $38 each. Their lettering is primarily white, save for the fragrances’ names, which are color-coded according to type. Jaisalmer, for instance, is in violet, while Ouarzazate is in orange.
Outer packaging, a deep grayish-black color, was fashioned to bring to mind the image of incense smoke.
Accompanying the Incense launch will be shrink-wrapped, black teddy bears selling for about $41 each.
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Comme des Garcons plans to bring out at least one fragrance series per year. The next one is scheduled for July.
The firm also is readying a worldwide April launch of a stand-alone fragrance fashioned after an imaginary flower, said Joffe. Comme des Garcons scents not part of the series include Odeur 53 and Odeur 71, among others.
The company’s fragrance store here, The Perfume Shop, rang up a daily average of $595 in retail sales last year, well surpassing the $405 it needed each day to break even, said Joffe.
At that boutique, the lion’s share of sales comes from Red, with 35 percent, and Leaves, with 13 percent, he added.