Below is a report from the Orlando Sentinel
October 10, 2013|By Victor Ocasio, Orlando Sentinel It's not every day that one can attend a master class taught by a perfumer so prominent he's known simply as "The Nose.'' "Every day I have to wear a perfume," said Beatrice Schindler of Orlando, a collector of perfumes. "I know a lot of brands, but for a perfumer to explain the process — it's like an artist about to do a painting. "She and about 30 people attended an invitation-only seminar by Parisian Francis Kurkdjian held at the Neiman Marcus at Orlando's Mall at Millenia.In fact, Kurkdjian's process is like that of many artists. A spark of inspiration soon leads to a product that not only smells good, but more importantly, tells a story, he told the champagne-sipping group. After his lecture, the attendees sniffed individual scents from one of his creations. Kurkdjian, 44, who started his perfuming career when he was 20 years old, is one of the biggest names in the industry. Having created dozens of best-selling fragrances, including a commission to re-create the favorite perfume of Marie Antoinette, his work has earned him numerous awards and an exclusive partnership with Neiman Marcus. "I have a nose like everyone here," Kurkdjian said. "There's only one difference: My head is capable of envisioning smells and scents that don't exist." The master perfumer says that the entire process of creating a new scent takes roughly 18 months from conception to sale and distribution. Kurkdjian rejects the idea that fragrance making is a haphazard process of mixing random scents. "I create a perfume because I have an idea," he said. "There is real thinking that goes into it and without a story, there is no perfume." That comes at a price — signature scents made at the perfumer's Paris-based boutique, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, range anywhere from $150 for off the shelf products to $15,000 for custom-made perfumes. That might be out of most people's price range. But in general, as the U.S. economy has healed, the sales of fragrances have perked up. U.S. sales of personal-fragrance products went from about $2.7 billion in 2008 down to $2.4 billion in 2009, according to market-research company the NDP Group. Industry sales bounced back to $2.9 billion in 2012. "During the recession the fragrance industry took a big hit," said Karen Grant, vice president and Global Beauty Industry Analyst for NDP. "Since the recession, the growth has been very strong. This year we're seeing even more designers coming into the marketplace."
Francis Kurkdjian discribing the three cords that build a great perfume.