venerdì 27 dicembre 2013

Low-cost perfumes, anyone?

Raiders of the lost scent

So many, many discussions about it, just take a trip on Google to find a lot of infos. We are speaking about the famous-infamous "supermarket perfumes beating designer scents".
In summary, a well-known supermarket brand decided to produce their own scents, with only one rule: producing a perfume with a final price "less than five Euros" (4 UK pounds, or 7 US dollars), all inclusive, and on-par (same quality) with well-known designer scents.
The maximum of the trick was a sort of "blind tests" using original designer scents, asking a group of volunteers "what's the best perfume?". Well, the results was that at least 50 % of people said that best perfumes were the supermarket ones (the designer scents used for blind tests were Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, and Hugo Boss Bottled , both with a considerably higher price than "supermarket" ones). 

Well, let's make the same thing. 
In this test it was decided to repeat the same experiment: on the first side there are the two supermarket perfumes, namely Suddenly Madame Glamour and X -Bolt (total cost: less than ten Euros), on the other side there are samples of Chanel and Hugo Boss.

The results? "Supermarket perfumes" are not clones, because there are at least some difference. But, in one of ther two cases, it's a very slight difference.... 

With regard to female fragrances, Suddenly Madame Glamour is different from Coco Mademoiselle, it's not a clone, but (this is important) smells like a high-class perfume, fine, persistent, elegant. It could be a Chanel flanker, and no one would reasonably argue about it. .
Regarding the men fragrances , the comparison is almost embarrassing: X - Bolt is 90% identical to Hugo Boss Bottled , and it is difficult to find differences at first smell. Only after an hour you can detect some difference, whereas the longevity of X- Bolt is slightly lower than the Hugo Boss Bottled one.

What's the conclusion ? Let's put aside the discussion whether it is possible to produce perfect imitations at lower cost. The question, in my opinion, is another. It's about the price.
It's really embarrassing to have to admit that there are very good perfumes available at bargain prices, because this means that prices of traditional, designer scents are very (too ?) high, and the quality/price ratio is definitely unfavorable. 
It's obvious that  perfumes on sale at such a low price are entirely chemicals products, but it is obvious, at the same time, that a good perfume, "built" by experts hands, can be produced/sold/bought at affordable prices. There is no reason to pay big amounts of money for a perfume, unless you "buy" the brand, the marketing, the "glamour".
In any case, if a provocation had to be, the supermarket chain hit the target: today, it is possible to produce good products at low prices. 


Raiders of the lost scent

Raiders of the lost scent
on left: X-Bolt ("Hugo Boss Bottled" alleged clone)
on right: Suddenly Miss Glamorous ("Mademoiselle Coco Chanel" alleged clone)

Raiders of the lost scent

Se ne è già parlato estesamente, e basta fare un giro su Google per trovare info a non finire. Riassumendo, una celebre catena di supermercati ha deciso di produrre profumi in proprio, con la regola precisa del prezzo finale inferiore ai cinque euro, tutto compreso. Il colmo della provocazione è stato quello di fare test in cieco (blind tests) utilizzando profumi blasonati, e chiedendo a un gruppo di volontari quale fosse il profumo migliore. Ebbene, è venuto fuori che almeno il 50% degli intervistati ha affermato che i profumi migliori sono quelli del supermercato. I profumi "blasonati" in questione erano Coco Mademoiselle di Chanel, e Hugo Boss Bottled, ambedue di prezzo notevolmente superiore a quelli "da supermercato".
In questa prova pertanto si è voluto ripetere lo stesso esperimento: da una parte i profumi del supermercato Suddenly Madame Glamour e X-Bolt (spesa complessiva:inferiore ai dieci euro), dall'altra parte i sample di Chanel e Hugo Boss.
I risultati? Per quanto riguarda i profumi femminili, Suddenly Madame Glamour è diverso da Coco Mademoiselle, ma, e qui c'è d riflettere, sembra un profumo di alta classe, raffinato, persistente, elegante. Potrebbe benissimo essere un flanker della controparte blasonata, nessuno avrebbe ragionevolmente da ridire.
Per quanto riguarda i profumi maschili, il confronto è quasi impietoso: X-Bolt è al 90% identico a Hugo Boss Bottled, ed è onestamente difficile trovare differenze se non dopo un'ora, laddove la persistenza di X-Bolt è leggermente inferiore a quella di Hugo Boss.
La conclusione? Lasciamo da parte il discorso se sia possibile produrre imitazioni perfette a una frazione del costo. Il discorso a mio avviso è un altro. E' davvero imbarazzante dover ammettere che ci sono in giro profumi validi a prezzi stracciati, perchè di riflesso questo significa che i prezzi dei profumi tradizionali sono molto (troppo?) elevati, e il rapporto tra qualità e prezzo è decisamente sfavorevole. E' scontato che i profumi in vendita a un prezzo così basso siano prodotti di laboratorio interamente chimici, ma è altrettanto evidente che quando un prodotto viene "costruito" da mani capaci, è possibile ottenere buoni risultati a prezzi abbordabili.
In ogni caso, se provocazione doveva essere, la catena di supermercati ha colpito il bersaglio: oggi, è possibile produrre prodotti validi a prezzi popolari. Al contrario, è lecito domandarsi se le grandi case non stiano spostando l'ago del prezzo sempre più verso il marketing, il nome, il glamour, piuttosto che sull'elemento profumo stesso.

4 commenti:

  1. I love posts like these - esp given that I currently don't have a job!
    Vanessa (from Bonkers about Perfume) speaks highly of some of the LIDLs - great minds think alike!

  2. The answer to this apparent conundrum is simple: the designer houses are now pumping out abstract, reformulated "jus" no different in gross chemical composition from the disreputable low-brow juice factories!

    Designer perfumery in the twenty-first century is nothing like it was pre-Y2K! All of the houses now subsumed under multi-corporate conglomerates (LVMH, P&G, Coty, et al.) are riding on their early reputations as sources of good perfume. It's a slick marketing trick, no more and no less.

  3. When a kind perfume friend sent me a large sample of Suddenly a few months ago, I felt sad that I had spent money on Coco Mlle. I agree that they are very similar. BUT - if I don't want to apply more later in the day, I'd still go with the Chanel. The Chanel has huge lasting power, the Lidl does not. The price difference is so huge, though, that a person could easily afford to respray Suddenly every few hours!

  4. In my country the business of low cost / own brand fragrances is growing. They sell low cost of unnamed (just numbered) fragrances that are quite similar to designer ones (you can find even hard to find discontinued fragrances in their shelves).
    These fragrances are sold in 30/50/100ml sizes, in a generic bottle they fill for you at the store.
    Well, many of these fragrances are quite similar to the original ones, you couldn't tell them apart if you smelt them in the air. Others are similar but with noticiable differences, but still some of them smell great (par example they sell a 1 Million Absolutely Gold copycat that smells even better than the original, something I checked with some friends).
    My point is that these low cost perfumes, being or not an exact copy of the originals, are quite good fragrances on their own. This makes me wonder about what are prestige brands selling us if a low cost perfume can be equal or even better (in terms of smell and overall quality) than their established big name fragrances, with a much lower pricetag.


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