DSM-Firmenich Unveils New ‘Mind Nose Matter’ Olfactory Exhibition


DSM-Firmenich, the Swiss-Dutch fragrance maker, unveiled Tuesday the latest iteration of its Mind Nose Matter exhibition, a showcase of the company’s research, latest fragrance innovations and perfumers.

The showcase translated the company’s global insights consumer study, a survey that collected data from male and female consumers aged 18 to 65 from seven countries, into scent profiles, technologies and fragrances. The theme of this year’s exhibition, titled “Momentum,” focused on how sources of pain and pleasure coexist along a consumer’s journey. For example, the fragrance maker commissioned perfumer Alexis Grugeon to infuse a scent profile of body odour with that of melted chocolate to create a fragrance, Chisel Drip, that lived at the centre of the “olfactory friction,” said Justin Welch, global marketing director at DSM-Firmenich.

”Standard body odour is a smell we are always trying to hide, but this time round we are leaning into the discomfort because we recognise that the consumer wants us to,” said Welch.

The purpose of Mind Nose Matter is to identify key trends shaping consumer culture today and translate them for clients in the fine fragrance category, who in the past have included Maison Margiela, Gucci, Diptyque and Valentino. The exhibition emphasised how sport, especially women’s sports, will be a significant touchpoint and source of inspiration for new formulas, as will a sense of nostalgia among Gen-Z and Gen Alpha. The company translated the latter sentiment into a fragrance by perfumer Berenice Watteau called Nirvana No.5, with the scent profile similar to that of old clothes hanging in a thrift store and a fragrance inspired by the Chanel classic which has a “traditional clean feel,” Welch added.

The exhibition also sought to showcase the different formats, including oils, body butters, hand creams, candles and powders, brands could integrate fragrance into.

”Since the pandemic, mass markets brands really went in on lotions and body care as a way to push fragrance. For luxury brands, it’s been more of a second thought,” said Robin Mason, head of fine fragrance at DSM-Firmenich. “We’re now seeing more purposeful development around the fragrance in these other formats because people are realising its the extension of their lifestyle, especially Gen-Z, who want to play and try different things.”

The exhibition comes at a time when the fine fragrance industry is experiencing a boom with luxury brands dialling up their participation in the category: Kering announced it would launch Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga fragrances in the next few years, and L’Oréal recently won the licence to produce a Miu Miu perfume.

The fine fragrance consumer is also changing, gravitating less to aspirational, fantasy-like and highly gendered and sexualised imagery while being more open to experimental formulas thanks to their increased knowledge of ingredients.

The Mind Nose Matter exhibition is open until June 7.

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