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Global Scent Trends

“Around the world in 80 Scents”: Roman Poquet, Senior Fragrance Development Manager at Firmenich in New York City is a rising star in the perfumery world. Having developed and launched luxe scents for Gucci, Escada, Michael Kors and Hugo Boss, the perfumer spends much of his days combining his passions of fragrance, travel and art. He, more than any executive, has the pulse of what consumers around the world look for in scents. Contrary to what you may think, countries have very specific tastes in perfumes. Who knew that both men and women in Dubai will layer two dozen scents at once? We sat down with the executive to learn more.


“It’s important to understand that fragrance has no gender. In North America and Europe, we tend to associate florals as feminine and woods as masculine. But the truth is, if you love a scent, wear it,” he says. “I’m seeing a trend to more fruity notes in men’s colognes and woody notes in women’s perfumes. But this is cultural. If you love it, wear it.”

summer perfumes

He says that the more you wear a signature scent, the less you’ll recognize it. That is because our noses become used to the fragrance and it doesn’t register as it does to others. “For that reason, I recommend you have six or seven scents you rotate regularly. That way, you’ll properly register each one.” Poquet has seven scents in his wardrobe. “I use one for work, one for classy events, and one for yoga – I don’t want to smell people around me when I’m doing yoga.”


Having earned a Masters in Perfume Formulation at a prestigious school in Versailles, France, he understands the nuances of fragrance around the world. Here are his latest observations on his global travels:


“South Koreans are uber-fashion enthusiasts. They love designer brands and edgy labels. And they love fragrance. I’d say they have similar tastes as the United States – bold fruity-white floral scents. Packaging and bottle design is very important to this consumer.”


“Asia is a very interesting market. They want to smell clean. The most popular shower gels and shampoos have a light peony note that I’d describe as transparent. They don’t use perfume often but they will buy scent for the bottle design. They use perfume bottles as home décor accessories and display them at work and in their homes.”


“Women and men in Dubai love to layer fragrance. They try everything and will mix and match. I often see them mix rose oil with Oud. In fact, these customers buy the most fragrances in the world. They will buy two dozen bottles at one time and then go home and mix them all at once. They layer scent throughout the day. I often see them line up all their fragrances on a tray and then spray every few hours. They are so passionate about perfume.”


“American women love bold fruity scents with strong white floral notes. Michael Kors is a good example. Florals are very popular with gourmand base notes.”


“Brazil is one of the fastest growing fragrance markets in the world. For many children, the first scent they smell is a local sun tan brand that has fresh lavender notes. So any scent with lavender is popular there. I’ve noticed that women also love woody notes. It is cultural. Woods are important to them.”


“Germany is a very competitive market for fragrance. Dark rounded scents with tobacco and vanilla notes do very well there.”


He says he’s noticing fresher fruity-gourmands with tart strawberry notes paired with blonde woods. But this isn’t the strawberry candy note you’d find in Gummy Bears. This is the scent of freshly picked strawberries at your local fruit market. “NaturePrint” allows us to go into nature with a syringe and capture the true scent in its natural environment. We can recreate the scent of a ripe strawberry on a summer morning with the dew still on the berry. We capture that smell in a syringe and take it back to the lab where a computer analyzes it at 99.9% of the original scent. It’s like a 3-D picture. We then create that note in the lab and use it in a perfume.”


“Whatever you choose, be sure to test it on your skin first,” he advises. “Perfumes interact with your own skin chemistry. What smells amazing on your best friend, may smell quite different on you. Allow it to sit on your skin for 20 minutes. If at that point you still love it, buy it. Regardless of the marketing. If you love it, buy it!”



  • Reply
    July 22, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Interesting read Dave..

  • Reply
    July 3, 2015 at 4:30 am

    What a great article. I can’t believe they can replicate scents so accurately in the lab. Wow! I’m partial to citrus and green scents, but recently started liking Neroli Oil and woodsy scents, too.

  • Reply
    September Dee
    July 1, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    This was very interesting. I’m fascinated by how perfumes are created and who knew that tastes were so different around the world?! I like the way this man thinks: Wear what you like regardless if it is meant for men or women and have several different scents depending on your mood and occasion. I’m glad I am doing things right. lol

  • Reply
    Muriel Michael
    July 1, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Great article…

  • Reply
    July 1, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I love ‘green and fresh’, see more “male” scents with those notes.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2015 at 8:02 am

    I think is necessery women and men have their specially parfum.mine is alien.i love it.it is in my skin!!!

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