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The 2014 fragrance forecast

Dec 27, 2013
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The end of the year is a time for looking back—think of all those "Best [Blank] Of 2013 ..." lists you've been seeing pop up on Facebook and in your Twitter feed (and on Fortune.com)—and also for looking forward in anticipation of what's to come.

Trend forecasting can be big business for companies with a lock on certain niche areas of focus; take Seven Scent, Ltd., for example. The company, which was established as a developer of fragrances 25 years ago as part of the PZ Cussons group, established itself as a standalone business in 2010. While its primary business is still centered on fragrance development, Seven has also established itself as a leader in fragrance forecasting and trend tracking.

According to the International Fragrance Association of North America, the global fragrance market is worth between $8-10 million, with fine fragrances accounting for 21% of sales, personal care products 25% and household goods at 49% of the market.

Given the scope of the industry, fragrance trend forecasting can have a major impact on the marketplace, driving perfume blending choices as well as informing the development of product lines. Seven Scent recently released its biannual fragrance forecast for Fall/Winter 2014-15; look—or sniff!—for these perfume notes in product releases ranging from shampoo to candles to dish soap.

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Return of the rose

Seven describes the next iteration of rose scents as "Offering a dark and dramatic interpretation of the rose, which appears for its third season, this rich, velvety and spicy fragrance is coupled with intense notes of saffron and oud."

Oud, or oudh, is a woody scent derived from the bark of the agar tree, that has both sweet and resiny notes to it.

Where to find it: In Bond No. 9's Oud New York ($330 for 100ml; $240 for 50ml)

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Very berry

Think blackberries, raspberries, currants—or as Seven puts it, "dark, rich, plump and juicy berries [that] add depth to fragrances." These berry scents learn more toward the autumnal than the summery, leaving fresher berry notes like strawberries aside for the moment.

Where to find it: In Jo Malone's Blackberry & Bay Cologne ($110 for 100ml)

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Scents of spirits

Bad news for teetotalers! Spirit-inspired scents inspired by the smell of whiskey, rum and gin will be big in 2014, with Seven noting that "[g]in-like notes of juniper berries and the smoky aromas of whiskey and rum, add complexity and a sophisticated edge."

Where to find it: In Tokyomilk's Gin & Rosewater ($30 for 29.5ml)

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Concentrated creations

The resurgence of spicier, denser scents are, as Seven describes it, "[a]n opulent take on popular fragrances, the darker and spicier compositions feature patchouli and amber." Adding a drop or two of these essential oils is one way to transform an existing lighter scent into something more on-trend.

Where to find it: In Penhaligon's Night Scented Stock ($150 for 100ml)

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Three distinct fragrance directions

In addition to the four scent-specific trends identified by Seven, the company has also put together what it terms "fragrance directions" which can be positioned for both masculine and feminine use. The first of these three fragrance directions is "Futuristic Folklore," which the company describes as "an eclectic, warm, rich and spicy fragrance, inspired by a vibrant, multi-cultural world."

In acknowledgment of the role that technology plays in our lives the second fragrance direction has been identified as "Augmented Authenticity," scents that appeal "to the digital generation, an energetic kaleidoscope of fruity berries, heady floral accents and warm base of sandalwood and musks."

The final fragrance direction trend for 2014 is "Engineered Evolution" which Seven describes as "a strong, bold construction where oil soaked leather and urban woods lead to a sculptured base of metallic musks and amber resin."

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Pantone Radiant Orchid

If all of this discussion of roses and berries puts you in mind of something else, you're not alone: these scents align quite tidily with Pantone's Color of the Year 2014, Radiant Orchid. Described as "an expressive, creative and embracing purple," Radiant Orchid has fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, making it the perfect color match for the on-trend rose and berry scents.

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