Why are perfumes so expensive
Perfume has always been considered a luxury product but why are they so expensive?
Ingredients for perfume
There’s no question that some of the ingredients used in a fragrance can be expensive and will directly affect the price. Some of them contain rare and
sought after natural materials such as flower petals or the essences of unusual roots such as jasmine and tuberose.
Jean Patou Joy, the fragrance branded as “the world’s most expensive perfume” in the 1930’s, contained 10,600 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen roses to make a single bottle.
Natural or synthetic
It is often thought that the most expensive perfumes only contain natural ingredients but it’s important to acknowledge that they contain certain synthetic ingredients. For example Musk is now a synthetic ingredient, since it was banned from sourcing from the now endangered Tibetan or Musk Deer.
The quality of the ingredients can differ greatly in luxury and budget fragrances; however the perfume making process is essentially the same. Luxury perfumes are more likely to use natural ingredients instead of those that are synthetic, so naturally quality perfumes will cost more than cheaply made perfumes
Fragrance oils that are highly prized in the industry.
At around £10,000/kg, ambergris is one of the most valuable ingredients in perfumery, prized for its ability as a fixative to improve the durability of the perfume.
Ambergris is produced by the digestive system of sperm whales and has a unique marine odour that later ages into a sweet earthy scent.
Ambergris or ‘grey amber’ is not to be confused with ’amber. Nowadays, it is mostly substituted with synthetic musk’s which smell clean and are sperm whale friendly.
There are over 200 species of jasmine but the two that are most prized in perfumery are jasmine sambac and jasmine grandiflorum.
Jasmine sambac is from eastern India, southern Himalayas and China while
jasmine grandiflorum is from northern India. Today the jasmine flowers are cultivated in India, Egypt, Italy, Morocco and France.
It takes 1,000,000 jasmine flowers to produce 1kg of oil and 8,000 hand-picked blooms to produce just 1ml of the fragrance oil, which is why it’s so extraordinarily expensive.
Oud (or “oudh”)
Wood that costs £20,000/kg - and it's infected by mould! Also known as agarwood, this oud essential oil is extracted from fungus-effected resinous heartwood of the agar tree.
One reason oud oil is so expensive is its rarity; by some estimates, fewer than 2% of wild Agar trees produce it. Experts claim that the very best oud oils come from the oldest trees, which are even scarcer.
Sometimes referred to as liquid gold, the annual oud market is worth around £5 billion.
There are over 150 species of roses and many thousands of hybrids but Rosa
Damascena also known as Damask Rose is widely considered to have the best scent oils of any rose for perfume.
The Rose Valley in Bulgaria produces 70% of the world’s rose oil. The flowers have been hand-picked in this valley, from May to June, for more than three centuries.
Orris (or Iris root butter)
The scent is similar to the smell of violets which is soapy, sweet, powdery, floral and earthy which makes it a popular choice for unisex fragrances.
The most expensive perfumes come from exclusive high-end fashion brands, so it’s not surprising that a big part of the price for a perfume is the marketing.
The designer brands have substantial marketing budgets, spending millions on product launches, to enable them to capture their target audience. A budget allocated to marketing a perfume can take on a magnitude that is hard to imagine.
Despite being a household name, in 2004 Chanel made the most expensive advertisement ever made, featuring Nicole Kidman, at a cost of a cool $33 million.
The novelty has worn off with celebrity fragrances
Some designers’ create their lines through cooperation with celebrities. These celebrity endorsed fragrances will cost more than regular designer perfumes and may not be the best quality.
Celebrities take advantage of the fact that fans will buy the perfume for the name rather than the quality and perfume quotes from several articles in the industry have stated they may not be worth the price.
Perfumers know that everybody loves beautiful packaging which gives the brand
it represents, its image and elegance. When someone sprays themselves with a fragrance, the beauty of the bottle gives it all the more prestige.
Niche perfumes are the ultimate luxury fragrances and are much less readily available than designer and celebrity perfumes. .
These smaller perfume houses don’t have designer overheads, so the money they save means they can focus more on the quality and integrity of the ingredients.One of the main selling points of niche fragrances is you are paying for the liquid inside the bottle and its exclusivity, instead of the marketing.
Match Perfumes brand ethos