Coco Chanel famously remarked that "a woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." What she really meant by that is anyone's guess, but one man quite qualified to take a stab at is Dr. Joachim Mensing. "Fragrance and perfumes are offers for personal transformation, intended to bring us from our ACTUAL SELF – how we feel, closer to our IDEAL SELF – how we would like to feel," explains the former professor of psychology at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where he researched & authored scholarly articles about how fragrance, personality & mood are related. Synthesized into his signature Moodform system, he's been responsible for top-selling fragrances, including Davidoff's Cool Water. "Behind them is a secret wish to transform ourselves unconsciously, to give off a more feminine, more sensual, more dynamic or self-confident appearance than how we really feel. They also create a certain atmosphere and emotional setting."
Emotions, in particular, resonate strongly with our choices in fragrance because of the association with memories long tucked away in the deep-storage area of the brain, particularly those connected with feelings we want to re-experience again. "The fascination for a certain fragrance is hidden in our subconscious and linked with desires and moods that are difficult to articulate," continues Mensing."“To choose a perfume is a very complex situation that we can only explain to a certain degree."
In attempting to plumb the depths of this aromatic mystery, those in the know started by dividing fragrances into six main types or families: Oriental, Chypre, Citrus Green, Floriental, Fruity-Floral & Floral-Aldehydic, the last of which dominates with a hefty market share of almost 30%, thanks to bestsellers including Chanel's No.5 Eau Premier, J'adore (Dior) & Caleche by Hermés. (image)
When the nights are long and dark, we tend to reach for the romantic sensuality cozy comfort of Florientals. While they only constitute a market share of about 10-12%, this figure belies the degree to which we remain mesmerized by the intoxicating musks, vanilla, exotic resins & wood that characterizes spicy cold-weather staples such as YSL's Opium, Shalimar (Guerlain), Jasmine Noir (Bvlgari), Euphoria (Calvin Klein) & Prada's L'Eau Ambree. But, come spring, fresh-fruity florals like Clinique's Happy, Tresor (Lancome) & Calyx (Prescriptives) tend to bloom. "The wish for change, for spontaneity and to enjoy oneself are overwhelming," continues Mensing. "We want to live a more playful and frivolous life, we want to live our fantasies, be creative and also be provocative. Because we are more open to all environmental stimuli and more curious, our awareness is more differentiated and our nose reacts more sensitive. We smell with our emotional centre in the brain, which is the circuit of hormone production."
Hormones = thoughts of procreation = the focus of the fertility-centric holidays of Easter (bunnies, anyone?), Passover & Mother's Day. "Fragrances that express a joy of life and new beginning fit (spring) perfectly. Most people are surprised about their feelings and discover a new joy of life. They want to live more intensely and cherish life." Not to mention spritz on something Citrus-Green. "The combination with hesperidic notes like grapefruit, lemon, orange, lime and modern aqua notes creates a sensation of fresh, ozone and southern which our long-term memory associates pre-dominantly with Mediterranean climate sensation." (It's interesting to note that while citrus-greens have about 15% market share stateside & a much higher 18-25% share in Latin countries like Italy, Spain & Brazil.)
Some Citrus-Greens with a refreshing aqua note to consider:
Dr. Mensing's other picks for perfumes that sing of spring:
Orange Tonic, Azzaro
Daisy, Marc Jacobs
Pretty Nina, Nina Ricci
Cherie, Miss Dior
- Lesley Scott
interview source: beautypress.com