Interview with Dr. Joachim Mensing, fragrance psychologist
Q: What is the reason for our wish to use fragrance?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Fragrance and perfumes are offers for personal transformation, indented to bring us from our ACTUAL SELF – how we feel, closer to our IDEAL SELF – how we would like to feel. Behind them is the secret wish to transform our selves unconsciously to give us for example, a more feminine, more sensual, more dynamic or self-confident appearance than what we really feel. They also create a certain atmosphere and emotional setting.”
Q: How do women select their perfumes and what are their preferences?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “To choose a perfume is a very complex situation that we can only explain to a certain degree. The reason is that we smell with our emotional centre in the brain and have associations with our long-term memory. I encounter this phenomenon everyday myself. The decision seems to be somehow irrational and is taken spontaneously and connected with the remembrances and feelings that we had and would like to re-experience again. They seem to appear out of the blue. The fascination for a certain fragrance is hidden in our subconscious and linked with desires and moods that are difficult to articulate. Of course there is no doubt that there are more and very important factors for the decision
￼￼to a certain fragrance like the image, the sympathy, the packaging, advertising but also recommendations and word of mouth. Exciting is, that certain wishes and moods come up more intense in spring, e.g. the wish for change, for spontaneity and to enjoy oneself are overwhelming. We want to live a more playful and frivolous life, we want to live our fantasies, be creative and also be provocative. In the U.S. there is a definitive higher preference for fruity floral fragrance family during this time of the year.
Perfumes that seem to express this spring-feeling are e.g.
Just me, Paris Hilton
Orange Tonic, Azzaro
Daisy, Marc Jacobs Chance, Chanel”
Q: To what kind of fragrance family do these typical spring fragrances belong?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “If you take all prestige perfumes of the U.S. market that are categorized into the six big international fragrance families:
the dominance of the Florals in the U.S. is clear to see.
The US market is characterized (like the English) by the spectrum of beautiful floral notes, which come in all kinds of facets and crossovers, ranging from fresh-fruity to Aldehyde-brilliant, to the cozy warm interpretations of the so called Florientals. Over 70% of all fragrances belong to one or the
￼￼other Floral family. Year around the Floral –Aldeydic fragrances are dominating with a market share of close to 30%, but every spring, the fresh-fruity floral become the favorites of all Florals. The refreshing, flowery fragrance Happy perfume by Clinique is a good example.”
Q: What are the differences between a spring and a winter fragrance?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “A typical spring fragrance smells mostly of fresh notes that belong to the type Citrus Green. Their market-share in the U.S. is about 15%. But in the latin countries like Italy, Spain and Brazil, they have around 18-25 % share. The citrus green fragrances reach out to a more extrovert personality who wants to feel more dynamic and energetic. They hate the idea of professional routine and don’t want to be bored. They set a signal with these refreshing and stimulating citrus- green-aqua notes like:
Eau de Lancôme, Lancôme
Escale à Portofino, Dior
Energizing Fragrance, Shiseido
Concentré d’Orange verte, Hermès
On the contrary, a typical autumn/winter-fragrance shows the longing for romantic sensuality. It is the wish for more emotion, tenderness and comfort. It is also the expectation to be spoiled and to be cosseted. This emotional setting is covered best by the Floriental fragrances that have a market share of about 10% in the U.S. for the whole year. Even more
￼￼important for this time of the year are the Orientals in the US, with a market share of over 12% for the whole year. The Orientals express with their depth, spiciness’, warmth and mystery (many of these fragrances are loaded with intoxicating and intensive ingredients such as musk, vanilla, exotic resins and wood), which we especially cherish in the winter month.”
Q: Do spring scents contain extracts of spring flowers?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Indeed, a lot of the citrus green family have the smell of young leaves and plants. The combination with hesperidic notes like grapefruit, lemon, orange, lime and modern aqua notes creates a sensation of fresh, ozone and southern which our long-term memory associates pre-dominantly with Mediterranean climate sensation.”
Q: Do we respectively to our nose smell different during spring time?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “This is also a fact, because we are more open to all environmental stimuli and more curious. Our awareness is more differentiated and our nose reacts more sensitive. We smell with our emotional centre in the brain, which is the circuit of hormone production.”
￼￼Q: Which fragrances would you recommend for Easter, Passover and what would be the best Mother’s Day choice?
Dr. Joachim Mensing: “Easter was in earlier times a celebration of fertility and in the Christian believes, it is a time for transformation. The same is true for Passover. So fragrances that express a joy of life and new beginning fit perfectly. Most of the people are surprised about their feelings and discover a new joy of life. They want to live more intense and cherish their way of life, Fruity Floral notes like
Pretty Nina, Nina Ricci
Cherie, Miss Dior
are just the perfect fit for this kind of mood. Mother’s Day on the contrary is thankfulness, honor and homage. To show this we instinctively search for most precious gifts. Here, the Floral Aldehydic notes are defined from elegant, sophisticated and expressive top notes that show a brilliance and pureness of petals. The loved ones will be honored by an aura of respect, confidence and utter appreciation. Examples of this classic, elegant fragrance family are:
No.5 Eau Premier, Chanel