Sense of wonder

Smell is an essential part of life – our least-developed of our five senses, but one with a unique power.

Like music and art, fragrances speak a universal language - and one with the potential to stimulate the emotions and trigger memories.

They have the power to attract, to comfort, to excite.

They can alleviate stress, signify cleanliness and freshness, and attract, entice and charm.

They communicate beyond borders of nationality, language and culture.

The fragrance industry employs artists and innovators with rare skills. There are only around one thousand fully-qualified perfumers in the world.

These perfumers – known as ‘noses’ – train for more than seven years and have unique abilities to identify and combine ingredients.

As with music, fragrances are combinations of ‘notes’, with near-infinite possibilities; as with composers, it takes uncommon talent to combine these notes in a way that connects powerfully with the senses.

Fragrance is to the nose what music is to the ear

Beyond artistry, fragrances are also ‘problem-solvers’.

On a functional level, the complex properties of fragrances allow people to control or remove the bad smells that afflict the everyday lives of millions. Control of these smells, using fragrances embedded in household and personal care products, improves the physical quality of people’s lives.

The process of fragrance creation is based on a unique process of partnership between fragrance manufacturers – represented globally by IFRA and its network of National Associations – and owners of consumer goods, luxury, and retail brands.

Together, they combine their insights into markets and brands, their knowledge of science and ingredient functionality, and their creativity and innovation to develop the right fragrance.

And in a world of automation and change, the fragrance industry is increasingly complementing unique human knowledge and skills with artificial intelligence.