What’s in a perfume? This question has probably crossed your mind every time you paid a lot of money to buy a favorite fragrance. There is no simple answer to the question about where the price of perfume comes from. Typically, extraordinarily pricey perfumes are expensive because their ingredients are rare, but others also involve branding and marketing costs.
When buying a fragrance, you might be paying for one of a few things:
- Very rare ingredients.
Some perfumes incorporate in their formula some rare flower petals or the essence of a rare root. For instance tuberose and jasmine are both very pricey ingredients. Others will include synthetic ingredients that are difficult to make.
But at the end of the day, ingredients are crucial. As we already established, all fragrances have a structure, sometimes called a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid you have the top notes and basis is built by the base notes, which last the longest and also help the middle and top notes last longer. They are also the most expensive part of the fragrance and at the end of the day are usually all that is remaining of a fragrance’s character. A well built scent uses this structure to develop and unveil new and surprising notes throughout a day. When creating it, the designer must take into account how the oils evaporate throughout the day and build the structure on high quality ingredients.
While not all expensive perfumes are built the same, know that designer houses like Chanel, Bvlgari, Givenchy or Yves Saint Laurent have an excellent reputation for using higher quality ingredients; spend some time with their fragrances and the difference shows. They are much better at evoking a mood rather than merely smelling good. They evolve throughout the day and surprise you with new notes and more complex arrangements of scents.
- Very expensive marketing.
Large companies will invest millions to market perfumes. And if you have been driven to buying a scent by its alluring ads, know that you are the one paying for that marketing in the end.
- Expensive packaging
While “you cannot judge a book by its covers” is still a valid saying, some perfume designers know that a bottle can sometimes make all the difference. So, packaging is also something that a lot of dollars are invested in.
Sadly, it’s hard to figure out if you’re paying for the marketing or the rare materials. Ingredients that are easier to come by or most synthetic fragrances cost a lot less. But this is not always the case. At the end of the day, what is most important is to know if your fragrance suits you best, agrees with who you are and what your general mood is.
Quality is always something subjective and if something smells good and makes you feel beautiful, fresh and happy, price can become irrelevant.