The Perfumed Crystal Ball: Key Fragrance Trends for 2011

Each year hundreds of fragrances are released and 2011 will be no different. According to renowned perfume critic Chandler Burr, fragrance doesn’t easily fall into trend patterns. “There is no equivalent in the scent world to the yearly or bi-yearly trends in the fashion world,” he says. “Aesthetic schools of olfactory art just don’t turn over that fast.”

While Burr is correct, there are usually some trends that are popular and less nebulous than the rest. Rest assured if one perfume doesn’t suit you, you can find others you’ll be more partial to try, soon enough.

Celebrity Sniffers


We can’t get away from celebrity, it seems. Here is Rihanna’s new Reb’l Fleur, which really looks like a liquor bottle.

Celebrity will continue to thrive this year as it has in years past. Among new releases coming this year is Rihanna’s Reb’l Fleur, an as yet unnamed perfume from Taylor Swift. There may also be Coty’s launch of Lady Gaga’s first perfume as well.

Natural Fragrances

With more people looking to be eco- friendly and conscious of what goes on their skin, natural fragrances will continue to grow. I expect as the year goes on we will see more perfumes using organic essential oils or naturally- sourced ingredients including brands like Lavanila and Strange Invisible Perfumes.

Oud-based Perfumes


Oud is a resinous wood that has a magnificent smell when burned

My own personal prediction was that we will see more of Oud-based perfumes. Ouds have been niche for a while but mainstream brands like Bath and Body Works with their Twilight Woods scent are joining in. Amy Keller Laird, Beauty Director of Allure Magazine, agrees.

Harrods Oud

Bond No.9’s “Harrod’s Oud” fragrance is the store’s best seller. A new fragrance, New York Oud, will debut in time for Valentine’s Day 2011

“An oud—a tree resin from India and Southeast Asia—has a warm, slightly spicy scent that’s been popular in the Middle East and is now gaining traction in the States,” she says. “By Kilian has an entire oud collection—my favorite is Rose Oud. Dior and Bond No. 9 have new oud fragrances, too.”

Rose Blends

Other trends Keller Laird sees happening this year are rose blends and green scents. On rose blends, Keller Laird says, “Because these scents blend roses with non-floral notes, they aren’t too potent or grandma-y. They’re light, feminine, and quite chic.”

“Prada’s new Infusion de Rose mixes Bulgarian and Turkish roses with mandarin, mint leaves, and a smoky green note. Atelier Honey Blossom has rose and honey. And Frédéric Malle’s Portrait of a Lady has a big concentration of pure rose essence along with patchouli and raspberry.”

Green Scents

Maison Martin Margiela

We’ll also see a crop of green fragrances. According to Keller-Laird, “The new ones aren’t as stark or masculine as many green scents of the past. My top pick is from Maison Martin Margiela. It’s an elixir of green notes and white florals that’s neither hippie-dippie nor too girly—it’s just gorgeous. This seems impossible, but it’s edgy and soft at the same time.”

Digital Fragrances

We’ll see fragrance going digital too. No not digital sniffing, but with innovations like the iPerfumer app from Givaudan for the iPhone and iPad. Sid Shah of Givaudan (he is also the creator of iPerfumer) told the Fragrance Foundation that he “was challenged to give consumers the ability to find fragrances that were right for them by using familiar and user-friendly technology”

This is great way for consumers to connect with fragrance and get ideas and inspiration not only at any time, but on their own time. The app is currently available for free at the Apple store and a Droid version is said to be coming soon.

Rochelle Bloom, president of The Fragrance Foundation said in November of 2010 that not only is fragrance here to stay but also that “fragrance has been experiencing a comeback over the past 6-8 months.” In the future Bloom says, “We need to listen more to what the consumer says and to not only respond, but wow them.”

This hopefully means great things for the perfume-loving public.

One thing that’s certain is that people love to smell good and perfumers both big and small want to help you do just that.

Diane Artzberger, The Beauty Alchemist