• Tina Benitez-Eves

Scents for All Seasons

It’s no longer male v. female when it comes to home fragrance

Red CurrantRed Currant collection is a lush blend in tortoise shell, metallic, aged silver, ridged glass and other vessel designs. $13-$60. Votivo. 877.786.8486. votivo.com CIRCLE #824
Calvin Klein may have been on to something back in 1994. When CK One first hit market, it wasn’t just about men or women. It was a unisex perfume. Until then, most fragrances were predominantly designed for men or women—not both. There was little in between, specifically marketed to both sexes.

Today, those scent lines have blurred more as more fine fragrance houses like Tom Ford, Jo Malone and Hermes, continue to churn out androgynous scents. Complexity is key, and it is helping drive the fragrance category to better personalize scents by the individual. Like a fine wine, complex fragrances unravel note by note to reveal something that suits the more sophisticated scent palette.

Complexity has also trickled into home fragrance with gender neutral scents offering up masculine notes like tobacco, wood and leather blended with fruits and florals leaving behind more mingled scents. The demand for more masculine-forward scents has opened the door to something more unisex, and it’s spilling into home fragrance like candles, diffusers and room sprays.

Blurred Lines

Tonk Noir TalismanTonk Noir Talisman is a rich blend of mandarin, rose essence and jasmine with inky tonka bean, salted musk, creamy sandalwood and smoky Madagascar vanilla. In hammered metal vessel. $24.75. Illume. 866.480.4551. illumecandles.com CIRCLE #823
“The lines are blurring, and fragrances are becoming less masculine and more gender fluid in terms of its appeal,” said Liz Barrere, president and CEO, Illume. “These fragrances smell different on everyone, regardless of sex. The more gender neutral notes speak to this.”

Moving forward into 2016, the home fragrance category will continue to lean toward niche and complex scents similar to the growing category in fine fragrance, according to Adrienne Possien, fragrance evaluator at Grace Management Group, the parent company of Votivo, Bridgewater, Greenleaf and Fresh Scents brands. Now, there’s room for more experimentation with more traditional scents by adding more layers like the popular oud wood notes found in colognes.

“Trending notes that you see in colognes like oak moss, geranium, woods, boozy ambers, and mysterious spices are gaining popularity in home fragrance,” said Possien. “More masculine scents like tobacco, oud, or leather are being paired with unlikely combinations of sweeter notes that make the fragrance more gender neutral.”

Layered On

An emphasis on more masculine, rich and dark fragrances, according to Sally Woodyard, marketing and product development manager, Paddywax, evokes something woody and cozy that brings the outdoors in.

Urban RomanceUrban Romance is a collection of floral and fruity scents with a little edge. Paddywax. 866.723.3992. paddywax.com CIRCLE #822

These layers—herbs, spices, woods, exotic flowers and fruits—are key to attracting customers to some of the more unisex scents. “With fragrance’s unmatched ability to evoke memory, we have noticed that people are looking for their personal and unique stories in the fragrances that they use whether it be destinations or ingredients,” said Woodyard. For summer and spring there are tropical and exotic fragrances, while fall and winter spices, woods and Nordic notes come through.

It’s not all dark and lush. More uplifting, feel good scents are also popping up. “During spring and summer, we’re seeing masculine fragrances highlight fresh and lightly sweet notes of water, sea, air and sky, according to Woodyard. “In fall and winter, masculine scents seem to be best when they are cozy, warm and with sweet nuances.”

Homeward Bound

Amber MetalluxAmber Metallux is a modern metallicplated ceramic vessel collection inspired by Surrealism. Also available in Honey Bourbon and Rose Gold. DecoBreeze. 858.674.7591. decobreeze.com CIRCLE #825
When it comes to new scents, vessels are just as important as the blends inside. Metals, ceramics, woods, glass and more mixed materials will take shape, specifically for candles, in addition to greener and more sustainable materials in packaging in 2016.

Whether metallic-schemed, more vibrant pops of color, something more neutral or minimalist, vessels (as much as scent) are an important piece of one’s interior design. “Candle vessels that are popular this year are textured metals, unique geometric shapes, pearl, iridescent, or metallic surfaces, mirror smooth surfaces, and reusable vessels that continue the product’s life cycle,” said Possien, who adds that high contrast materials are also trending, including combinations of rough and smooth surfaces like concrete and wood or metal juxtaposed with stone.

Home fragrance is becoming more personalized to the individual, according to Woodyard. As there’s more emphasis on simplicity and minimalism in the home, people want to customize their own experience, including scents. “Our customers are pairing their personal style with their favorite home fragrance vessels as they search to find their signature scents,” said Woodyard. “There are so many formats to choose from on the market—diffusers, candles, wax melts, room sprays—that individuals can really make their experience unique and personal, and I think that is really fun for people.”

Barrere sees an even stronger connection now between home fragrance, its design and home decor. “Home fragrance will continue to be an important layer in decorating the home, in fact it may be the finishing touch,” she said. “People are looking for a connection with the things in their life, and home fragrance creates that connection in many ways.”

Scent Forecast

Adrienne Possien, fragrance evaluator at Grace Management Group, predicts some of the more complex fragrance blends ahead.

Scent ForecastStaying Currant: Adding artistic flare to everyday berry, black currant will be popular in 2016. Black currant will be used as a fruity top for winter, either paired with musky florals, or an edible praline note, and will have lighter sparkling floral nuances for spring.

Oriental Flowers: Oriental florals will become a major ingredient for both spring and fall, including oriental rose and mysterious oud types. Spring-like notes will continue into winter such as Orange Blossom being paired with praline or patchouli.

Wooded Areas: Tobacco, oud, rum, and leather notes will be paired with a modern twist of fruity, citrus, or floral notes for a sweeter composition that leans more toward gender neutral. Arabian Oud will continue to stay popular but with a modern take with light aromatic and uplifting versions or by taking other artistic directions.

Tea Time: Black tea or Matcha green tea notes are going to stick around for 2016 with sparkling fresh florals for spring or contrasting tangy or spicy tea interpretations for fall.

Stay Soft: Soft florals will play a key role in 2016 with notes such as freesia, lilac, sweet pea, magnolia, or lavender. Lavender is a classic that will be revisited for 2016 with fresh young woody combinations or paired with minty herbal notes. Lavender has already been emerging in men’s fine fragrance with a darker approach paired with oak moss, tobacco or sage.

Tina BenitezTina Benitez-Eves | Business Editor, Gifts and Decorative Accessories

Tina covers the business of the gift/home decor and toy industry for Gifts and Decorative Accessories and Playthings. Also published in Men's Fitness, amNewYork, Wine Spectator and other publications.

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