Fragrance flankers. I mean, what are they and do we really need them?
Did you know that thirty-three per cent of all new fragrance releases this year, 2018, have been flankers? Walk into any perfumery, fragrance store or shop online and you are hit with a barrage of similar fragrance bottles, similar names and similar notes!
To make matters worse there is a current trend among fragrance and design houses to release the pillar fragrance and the flanker simultaneously. Sometimes not just one flanker, but tow, three or four flankers.
If you venture out into the fragrance community, things get even more confusing. Views amongst the fragrance community are polarised. Some people love flankers, some people hate fragrance flankers. Some people think that flankers are an essential part of their fragrance or perfume collection. Others think that fragrance flankers are a complete waste of money!
So amidst all of this confusion, we really do run the risk of missing out on some absolutely fabulous fragrances. So in this video, I have so hints, tips and tools to help you navigate the fragrance flanker minefield.
The first fragrance flankers appeared on the market in the 1970’s. I think it was Nina Ricci who created the first fragrance flanker.
So what is a fragrance flanker? In the broadest sense, a ‘fragrance flanker is a newly created fragrance that shares some attributes in common with an existing fragrance’. But let’s add some detail to this definition of a fragrance flanker?
Essentially there are three kinds of fragrance flanker. The first is a ‘concentration fragrance flanker’. The concentration fragrance flanker is a fragrance where the perfumer has altered the potency of a fragrance by increasing or decreasing the dilution of the fragrance oils with the fragrance or perfume. Increasing the dilution will give you and Eau de Toilette or EDT fragrance. Decreasing the dilution will give you an Eau de Parfum or Parfum fragrance.
The perfumer can also add or subtract ingredients in order to boost various notes within the fragrance to boost the performance of the fragrance, cologne or perfume. All to keep within the basic smell of the fragrance yet to increase or decrease the potency of a fragrance.
Examples of the concentration flanker include Bleu de Chanel, which worked brilliantly or Dior Sauvage, which sadly didn’t work.
The second type of fragrance flanker is the note or accord fragrance flanker. As the name suggests, here the perfumer has altered a note or accord, added or subtracted an ingredient to create a new fragrance with the same fragrance DNA running through it as the original fragrance, but re-purposed for a different season or occasion. So for example adding a citrus twist to make a summer fragrance.
A good example of this is the Valentino Uomo, the Valentino Uomo Intense and the Valentino Uomo Acqua. Both flankers have the same DNA as the original fragrance running through them. All have a smooth leather note in common yet each has altered to serve a different purpose.
The final type of fragrance flanker is the marketing flanker. The marketing flanker is a fragrance that has nothing in common with the original fragrance other than the name or perhaps the bottle design.
When it comes to fragrance flankers there are no hard and fast rules. Fragrance and design houses will borrow elements from each type of fragrance flanker to create and market their new fragrance. So for example, Azarro’s Wanted and Wanted By Night fragrances. Cardamom is the common note that runs through both fragrances. They have similar names and similar bottles.
The most crucial tip when buying any fragrance be it a pillar fragrance or a flanker is to get your nose on it. In the case of a flanker fragrance, before you even consider the flanker fragrance, get your nose on the original pillar fragrance.
Never, ever, blind buy a fragrance. After all, you wouldn’t buy a car without taking a look under the hood first? The same applies to a fragrance. Try it before you buy it! Get yourself a sample of the pillar fragrance and you now have a baseline to work from. Now get your sample of the pillar fragrance and start to compare.
Is the new fragrance flanker a concentration, note or marketing fragrance flanker? If its a concentration flanker, how have they pumped up or turned down the potency of the fragrance? Is it stronger or weaker than the original? Is it supposed to be stronger or weaker than the pillar fragrance?
Is it a note or accord flanker? What notes have they changed and is it for the better? If it’s a marketing flanker, does the bottle fit in with the rest of your collection?