23 by Michael Jordan.

NEW YORK — While he may spend more time on the links rather than on the court these days, retired basketball phenomenon Michael Jordan is returning — to the fragrance game, that is.<BR><BR>A new men’s cologne, called 23 by Michael...

NEW YORK — While he may spend more time on the links rather than on the court these days, retired basketball phenomenon Michael Jordan is returning — to the fragrance game, that is.

A new men’s cologne, called 23 by Michael Jordan — a reference to the number he wore at his peak — will be introduced in mass, specialty and department store doors by Deer Park, N.Y.-based Five Star Fragrance Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quality King. The June launch is part of a two-pronged effort by Five Star to reinvigorate the nine-year-old Jordan brand. Also this year, Five Star will roll out to mass market doors Michael Jordan Grooming, an eight-stockkeeping-unit men’s hair care and shaving line that was first launched exclusively at Rite Aid in November.

The 23 by Michael Jordan introduction is Five Star’s first Jordan fragrance launch since it acquired the Jordan license from Bijan Fragrances Inc. in 2002. At that time, Five Star also acquired the license for Bijan fragrances, a property it expects to have until 2012. The Jordan license expires in 2009.

Jordan’s retirement from the National Basketball Association following the 2002-2003 season has not impacted sales of his fragrances, Five Star executives asserted. Ray Piergiorgi, chief operating officer of Five Star, claimed that sales of Jordan’s scents have risen 25 percent since Five Star acquired the license.

“We know the market for products that bear Michael Jordan’s name,” said Piergiorgi. “He is still one of the most widely known athletes worldwide. We’re taking advantage of that.”

By the end of last year, Michael Jordan fragrances generated between $12 million and $15 million in global wholesale sales volume and were backed by $1 million in advertising, according to industry sources. The brand is carried in 20 global markets, including the Middle East, Asia, Europe, South Africa and Latin America.

In addition to honing his golf swing at events such as the fourth annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational tournament last month, “Michael is involved in approving product and packaging for the new fragrance,” said Piergiorgi. “For the shaving and hair care line, he personally approved each.”

This story first appeared in the February 4, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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As Jordan’s third scent overall, 23 follows a signature scent the athlete introduced in 1996 and the subsequent launch of Jordan by Michael in 1999.

Five Star will launch 23 by Michael Jordan first at 242 Perfumania doors, then roll it out to about 13,500 mass, specialty and department store doors — including Walgreens, Ulta and Sears — in the second half. Simultaneously, Five Star will roll out Michael Jordan Grooming to about 7,500 doors.

“With the two new properties,” said Piergiorgi, pointing to 23 by Michael Jordan and Michael Jordan Grooming, “we’d like to increase [sales] 25 percent [this] year.”

While Five Star is trying to appeal to all males with 23 by Michael Jordan, according to Piergiorgi, the cologne has a more narrow target audience of active men 18  to 33 years old. The scent, blended by Mane USA, features olfactory accords of citrus, spice and musk. A 3.4-oz. version will be available for $45 and a 1.7-oz bottle is priced at $35. A 3.4-oz. aftershave is priced at $30.

Michael Jordan Grooming, which ranges in price from $6.95 to $7.99, includes conditioning and thickening shampoos; a pomade; Fiber Cream; Extreme Styling Gel; Easy Glide Shave Oil; After Shave Skin Toner, and Aloe Shave Gel.