Perfumery has been a nebulous genre. Often to the benefit of certain industry marketing practices, there has been confusion and myth perpetuation around the hows and whats of fragrance sourcing, ingredients, and creation. Puig, which recently has made efforts to bring about greater public interactions with scent through cross-industry mediums such as fragrance exhibitions—as well as the launch of AirParfum, an airborne sampling technology for retail use, in 2018—is taking all things olfactory one step further.
The Spanish fashion and fragrance conglomerate has launched WikiParfum, an ever-expanding digital database containing data on (at the time of writing) 21,017 scents, 1,430 ingredients, and 1,060 brands. Users can also browse the latest industry launches, and read up on the industry’s top noses and the fragrances which bear their creative signatures. The platform is accessible in seven languages, in a browser as well as a mobile app format. The latter app also features an EAN.Nose barcode reader which, upon scanning a fragrance’s label, directly shows information on the fragrance composition and its ingredients. Puig worked with the independent fragrance classification guide Fragrances of the World, founded by esteemed fragrance historian Michael Edwards, to compile the extensive system.
Ingredient breakdowns not only show extraction methods and famous iterations of said notes, but also display the material’s history and origins. Perfume product profiles display a visual weighting of dominant and more subtle notes of the composition through the image size of the materials in question, offering a more in-depth fragrance reading than traditional methods, which, while dividing a scent into top, heart, and base notes, fails to acknowledge how these shape the aromatic character of the creation. Puig Beauty and Fashion President José Manuel Albesa adds: “The purpose behind this ecosystem of technologies is to elevate the whole category of perfumes by creating a new common, easy-to-understand and visual language, which provides insight into the ‘métier’ of perfumery.”
Beyond researching fragrance notes and compositions, users can also receive objective, brand-agnostic perfume recommendations thanks to a bespoke search engine. They can create their own scent profiles simply by entering two favorite fragrances, receiving an olfactive family profile and a lengthy list of scent recommendations. Puig sees potential for this to also simplify fragrance gift shopping for others, as one would only need to enter previous fragrances the gift receiver has worn, instead of aimlessly choosing a creation which may or may not appeal to the recipient in question. “The starting point is trying to solve one of the main barriers our category has, which we call the paradox of choice,” Camila Tomas, Vice President of Innovation and Technology at Puig, tells WWD. “Consumers sometimes feel overwhelmed, so the miss rate is really high. Technologies we have developed solve that issue.”
Resources like Fragrantica and Basenotes have been immensely helpful for knowledge-hungry fragrance consumers since the early 2000s. These platforms offer not only ingredient breakdowns of fragrances, but also thriving online forums for consumers to comment on and critique releases. Puig’s large-scale operations and technology-backed search options show that the industry is continuing to adapt to the demand for transparency and clarity from a consumer perspective. With thousands of new releases annually, there is also a strong need for competent, impartial, and knowledge-based customer consultancy services. Whether one is a perfume nerd or newbie, WikiParfum is sure to offer exciting discoveries for all levels of fragrance consumers.
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