BERLIN — Forget lust, desire or envy — Clemency, a new women’s scent from German niche fragrance marketer Humiecki & Graef, is inspired by something even more primal — maternal pride.
This story first appeared in the November 16, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Humiecki & Graef co-owner Sebastian Fischenich intended to evoke this strong relationship, with its elements of connection and tension, in the olfactive structure of Clemency, the firm’s sixth fragrance.
He started out by seeking a metallic note, which in this case comes from a “deconstructed rose.” Feminine linden blossom, with its sticky nature, hints at an unbreakable bond; the scent also has cassie absolute and is balanced by more masculine leather and wood notes. There’s even a touch of milk.
“Clemency displays a complex of contrasting characteristics as only a mother can: it is at once tender, generous, glowing and forgiving, proud, serious, stern and inscrutable,” the firm stated.
With Clemency, Fischenich and Humiecki & Graef co-owner Tobias Müksch continue their pursuit of using the medium of fragrance to express concepts often based on human relationships, like a woman with a young lover, or a single mother and her relationship with a growing child.
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“Every perfume is like a little play — you could do a film, a book or a story, but what we do is transform it into a product,” said Müksch.
Clemency, a 100-ml. eau de toilette concentrée spray (149 euros, or $222 at current exchange), will be available in stores starting this month.
Each perfume in Humiecki & Graef’s full six-item assortment features the same simple 100-ml. bottle, with a varying cap and label. Clemency has a yellow metallic foil label, and a custom-made cap of fired pottery with a silver-bronze glaze — a detail that took 18 months to perfect.
Humiecki & Graef’s five existing unisex fragrances, all based on complex emotions like melancholy and fury, were composed by perfumer Christophe Laudamiel while he was at International Flavors & Fragrances. He has since joined Firmenich, where he created Clemency along with perfumer Christoph Hornetz, in a partnership known as “Les Christophs.”
Industry sources estimate Clemency could generate upward of $800,000 in retail sales. Initially, 3,500 bottles of the fragrance will be produced.
So far, the top seller for Humiecki & Graef has been Eau Radieuse, which blends notes of green banana, rhubarb juice and bamboo sap.
Strategically, the brand, working with distribution firm Aroma Company, plans to manage the business in emerging markets such as Scandinavia and Austria. At the same time, the company intends to limit distribution of the scents to one or two stores per city in Eastern and Western Europe, in a plan to keep the line selective and maintain loyalty to existing retailers.
The scents are carried in stores like GUM in Moscow, Departmentstore Quartier 206 in Berlin, Osswald in Zurich, and 52 different shops in Italy. In the U.S., the brand is only available online through luckyscent.com as brick-and-mortar distribution plans have been delayed due to current economic conditions.
Still, since the original quintet of scents was launched less than a year ago, the company sold out of its first production run of approximately 3,500 bottles of each of the scents. It is estimated the firm’s total revenues will reach about $5.4 million in 2010.
The line’s seventh scent, called Bosque, is meant to evoke contentment with notes of primrose and sweetgrass, and is scheduled to launch in February.