Beyond the Message in a Bottle


Capturing New Revenue Streams Through  Innovative Scent Applications, Delivery Systems and Purpose
A frontliner panel discussion with leaders in the business of aroma

Moderator: Caroline Pieper-Vogt, President, Scent Marketing Institute

Panelists: Pamela Vaile, President, Pamela Vaile LLC
Karen Dubin, Founder and Director, Sniffapalooza
Kate Greene, Vice President, Marketing, Givaudan


Shh, Can You Keep A Secret?


I was attending one of those swanky wedding luncheons recently and happened to be sitting near a group of Gucci-clad ladies speaking in hushed tones about the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2012 Sunscreen Report. One lady whispered to another, “If you think sunscreen ingredients are dangerous, fragrances are even worse and the ingredients aren’t even listed on the package!”

If you are reading this, then you are a true blue fragrance lover. And being the fragrance connoisseur that you are, you are probably already aware of the fracas in our industry over the safety of fragrance ingredients. You may have even accidentally listened in on conversations similar to the one I heard.

In case you aren’t aware, back in 2010, EWG, a highly visible, seemingly science-averse activist group, posted a report on its website entitled “Not so Sexy: Hidden Ingredients in Perfumes and Colognes.” This report was not published in any peer-reviewed scientific journals but purported that fragrance ingredients are not safe. The report was touted by some media outlets as an exposé on the deadly secret ingredients found in the most popular fragrances on the market. It appears the ultimate goal behind the EWG Report was to misinform and scare consumers all the while spurring Congress to introduce “full disclosure” legislation. Full disclosure legislation would require fragrance manufacturers to reveal all ingredients contained in their proprietary fragrance compositions. This is in direct contradiction to intellectual property laws.

In its report, EWG denounced the fragrance industry by saying outright that manufacturers are deliberately hiding all kinds of dangerous, unpronounceable, synthetic chemicals by not listing them on labels. That not listing them is a “loophole” in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act that manufacturers love to take full advantage of.

EWG also says that these hidden ingredients cause anything from hormone disruption to cancer. EWG’s marker of danger is that if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, it must be bad for you. We all know that’s not true. All scientific disciplines contain difficult to pronounce terminology that has nothing to do with safety.

The truth is that there is nothing sinister or deceptive about not listing every single ingredient in a fragrance. In fact, in the US, no individual fragrance ingredient is required to be labeled. Perfumes and cologne labels are 100% compliant with just “fragrance” listed on the package. There is no tricky “loophole” here. It is important to note too that the European Union is strengthening its current intellectual property laws to mirror the US.

Unfortunately, some activists groups are banking on, insultingly so, consumers’ lack of familiarity with intellectual property laws. A “fragrance” composition may be composed of just a handful or even several hundred ingredients. This is legal and is not a “red flag” that your favorite fragrance is destroying your health.

The real secret that EWG isn’t telling you is that fragrance compositions are trade secrets which are a protected form of intellectual property much like a patent, copyright or trademark. Many food and cosmetic products contain flavor and fragrance trade secret compositions which are legal. This is nothing new.

Under current law, a cosmetic manufacturer may file a a patent or a trade secret for its formula. The reason patenting a fragrance formula is not a good option for the industry is because unlike trade secrets, patents must be published and they expire after a specified time. Once published, the formula is there for the world to see. And copy. By knowing all ingredients in a fragrance composition, a competitor company can try to recreate it through reverse engineering. Reverse engineering works by dismantling a product formula, its ingredients and percentage of usage and then putting it back together in a similar or identical form and marketing as its own.

Perhaps the most famous trade secret of all is the Coca Cola® formula. It has been kept as a trade secret asset for over 100 years. That trade secret protection has shielded its competitors from attempting to reverse engineer, or copy its formula. If the owner had patented the famous formula, then intellectual property protection would have been lost forever upon the expiration of the patent. Coca Cola® may not have survived as a brand if competitors copied the formula after the patent expired.

This is a perfect example of why full disclosure legislation should be defeated. Activists say consumers have a “right-to-know” what is contained in those mysterious “fragrance” formulas. Actually, they don’t have a right to know. Because current trade secret law says they don’t.

What consumers do have a right to know is that fragrance formulas are safe. And they are safe. The Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) was formed in 1966, in an effort to provide research on commonly used fragrance materials. The organization performs toxicity tests, allergy testing, as well as phototoxicity testing. After testing, the results are sent to IFRA, the International Fragrance Association, for evaluation. IFRA then determines the safe use of the material and sets standards for it.

There is no cult of secrecy in the fragrance industry and activist groups like EWG know this. The fragrance industry is not operating through a sinister loophole or attempting to deceive the public. They have a legal right to label their proprietary blends simply as “fragrance” just as Coca-Cola labels its famous recipe as a “flavor”.

Trade secrets provide economic value as well as boost creativity in industries populated by small and medium-sized companies. Piracy of proprietary information eventually weakens the competitive advantage such information provides and dampens the incentive for innovation.

Contrary to what activist groups would have you believe, trade secrets are good for the fragrance industry, good for the economy and good for spurring innovation. The industry cannot and should not acquiesce to activist pressure as it would mean giving away our legally protected intellectual property rights and possibly losing our most beloved fragrances.

Ramón Monegal Barcelona Perfume Launch & A Very Special Giveaway!


Ramón Monegal, one of Spain’s Master Perfumers, and fourth generation of the family that founded Myrurgia S.A., has created his own line of artistic niche fragrances. Soon to launch at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman (watch for their presentation at Sniffapalooza Fall Ball on October 13th!), the collection includes 14 exquisitely crafted eau de parfums. Each one of the fragrances is so beautiful, we’re finding it hard to choose favorites! Inspired by literature –  both the richness of prose,  the minimalism of poetry – the fragrances are bottled in special Inkwells, designed by Sr. Monegal himself.

We’re delighted to be able to share these unique fragrances with you! What’s your favorite? Leave a comment below and enter to win a Discovery Set – 2ml carded samples of each of the 14 EdP’s listed below. One winner will be chosen at random on August 5th. Good Luck!

Nature in its purest state. noble Sandalwood and Cedar, the texture of Cashmere in a mist of Amber molecules. Force and personality create a forthright and sociable attitude.
The essence: Cedar bark, Bay, Pepper, Mousse vert, Sarriete, Cedar, Cashmere, Norlimbanol.

The magic of the Orient, balanced with musk and Oud, the mythical Agar wood. A journey to the centre of Eden, between seductive oceans of Amber and exciting hints of Vetyver roots.
The essence: Arabian Agarwood, Essence of Leather, Nutmeg, Vetyveryle acetate, Musk cocktail.

Radiant and luminous. A vibrant presence of white Rose petals, silky texture, rooted in Iris and liquorice. An unforgettable and captivating romantic spirit.
The essence: Extract of Sambac jasmine, Rose extract, Liquorice extract, Iris on cedar, Soft ultrazor, Cassis.

The myth of seduction, extreme purity. A provocative aphrodisiac of white musk, Roses and Gardenia that seeps gently into the skin until becomes a part of it.
The essence: Rose Wardia, Gardenia Real, Olibanum, Vetyver, Vanille Madagascar, Musc Blanc.

Daring and insistent. Skin to skin, leather infused with musk. A bohemian attitude, honey from Labdanum and Sandalwood creating a free, flexible and adaptable spirit.
The essence: Cuir de Russie, Fleur d’Oranger, Labdaceme, Noix Muscade, Patchouly Indonesie, Musc. Santal Australie.

Fresh southern air, full of vitality and joy. Air imbued with dew from the Orange Blossom combined with the freshness of Orange Peel against a background of Orange wood and Amber.
The Essence: Tunisian orange flower extract, Orange, Petitgrain citronnier, Neroli, Amber, Indonesian patchouli.

Strength and texture. Not the essence of leather, but an interpretation of it. Cat-like flexibility and musk sublimated with shades of honey and incense and balanced with green Cedar and Vetyver grass.
The essence: Somali incense, Indonesian patchouli, Vetiver Bourbon, Green cedar wood, Cinnamon, Extract of beeswax.

Provocative and daring. Golden Amber with a hint of Vanilla, subtle but intense. The magic of Jasmine wrapped in Sandalwood dust, capable of bringing one’s most hidden feelings into the moonlight.
The essence: Amber, Ciste Oil Maroc, Extract of Egyptian Jasmine, Castoreum extract, Santal Mysore

Essence of the earth, capturing the bitter scent of Vetyver root, under the freshness of musk, the texture of Lichen and spruce balsam and that like a shadow define its soul and its perfume.
The essence:Haitian Vetyver Root, Yugoslavian Tree Moss, Madagascan Black Pepper, Bourbon Geranium Leaves, Canadian Fir Balsam, Tonka Haricot.

Mysterious and ambiguous, the legendary Iris root only gives off the extreme beauty of its perfume on rare occasions. It is only blended with the best Cedar in the presence of the exotic Ylang-Ylang flower with traces of with Violet and Jasmine that bring out all of its glamour such that it may become the most attractive perfume in the world.
The essence: Italian Iris, Egyptian Cassiopiae extract, Framboise, Ylang-Ylang, Comores. Egyptian Jasmine extract, Virgin Cedarwood

A troubling presence that blurs reason. Extravagance of the mythical Tuberose flower. It trails a soothing veil of Jasmine, Orange blossom and Neroli that leaves an unmistakable trace in the memory. Its nectar leaves no one unmoved and is its uniquely personal stamp.
The essence: Absolute Tuberose des Indes, Iris sur cedre, Absolute Jasmin Eqypte, Neroli Tunisie, Baume Tolu.

The unclassifiable essence of the overseas Patchouly, the emblem of “Flower Power”. Along with the Vanilla, Nutmeg and Amber flavors, it becomes an statement of claim.
The essence: Patchoyly Indonésien, Mousse de chêne Abs., Encens ess., Geranium Bourbon, Jasmin Egypte and vegetal Ambre.

Greedy awakening. Innocent talisman. Sudden, informal and shameless as a compliment, from the center of a heart of Cherries in bed of Coconut and Jasmine, which is founded on an aphrodisiac paradise of musks.
The essence: Musc Blanc, Musc de Fruit, Muscenone, Acord Cerise, Fraise, Mousse d’Arbre and Rose Chinoise.

Radiant caress. Idyll between drops of morning dew and velvet textures of petals of aromatic Roses. Captivating elixir with epilogue in the shape of adage of Musks between leaves of Patchouly.
The essence: Rose Ess, Rose Thé, Rose Wardia, Neroli Artessence, Mol. Ultrazur, Patchouly Indonésien, Coctail de Muscs.

Disclaimer: Sniffapalooza received fragrance samples from the company for this contest.