Demeter Fragrance Library is putting a pedigree stamp on a line of new fragrances called Vintage Naturals 2009, to be launched exclusively at Sephora in North America next Thursday.
This story first appeared in the April 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The range comprises five scents — Rosebush, Geranium, Mimosa, Lavender and Patchouli — because Demeter deemed those ingredients to be of an above-average quality this year.
The production run was limited to 25,000 of each of the scents, for a total of 125,000 bottles, but Mark D. Crames, chief executive officer of Demeter, asserted the Vintage Naturals brand is not a limited edition concept. But — in the event there may not be particularly suitable crops next year — certain scents will not be recreated.
However, if there are high-quality ingredient yields and particular scents perform well in the marketplace, plans call for individual Vintage Naturals 2010 scents to be launched in spring next year.
“The whole analogy is drawn from wine,” said Crames, who added that “since people are familiar with wine, they’ll understand what we’re doing.
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“If consumers like mimosa, we’ll do a Mimosa 2010,” he continued. “But it’s possible we won’t be able to get a good enough [Mimosa], so we would pass. Last year, it would have been difficult to do patchouli.”
The Demeter project is not entirely dissimilar to an initiative by Parfums Givenchy in 2005. In that case, Givenchy took three existing scents and gave them a vintage bent by using above average quality mimosa, Indian jasmine and Bulgarian rose.
However, the Demeter initiative involves newly composed fragrances, and the firm is slated to launch between one and three more Vintage Naturals 2009 scents in fall of this year, which may result in a total Vintage Naturals 2009 assortment of six to eight scents.
Each 1.7-oz. eau de parfum is priced at $68.
“The biggest challenge is consistency,” said Crames. “Flower [crops] are different each year and we’re defining [each scent] as a moment in time.”
The word naturals in the names of the scents refers to the fact that the alcohol in the fragrances is “naturally distilled from corn,” noted Crames. “There are no artificial colors or preservatives,” he added, “and the essential oils are 100 percent natural.”
Demeter collaborated with fragrance supplier CPL Inc. to blend the scents. Rosebush is a blend of chamomile rose absolute and rose petals combined with soft woods, while Geranium is a mix of lavender, geranium, patchouli and cedar.
Mimosa combines mimosa absolute with notes of basil, ylang ylang, jasmine, vanilla and tonka bean, and Lavender is composed of natural lavender, orange, lemon, galbanum and rare woods. Rounding out the quintet is Patchouli, which employs notes of orange, cardamom, nutmeg, cedar, vetiver and natural patchouli.
“The vintage concept represents the most complex fragrances we’ve ever created,” said Crames, “This is our top end.” (There are about 250 Demeter scents, excluding the Vintage Naturals line, most of which are single-note fragrances priced at $20 for 1 oz.)
Industry sources estimate the Vintage Naturals collection could generate upward of $3 million in retail sales this year, while Demeter company revenues could reach $8 million at retail this year.