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New fragrance launches with upcycled ingredients + sustainable perfumery
October 2, 2022
Sustainable Ingredients in perfumery and fragrance creation
The idea of upcycling and upcycled ingredients isn’t actually new to the fragrance and beauty sector. There have been many brands around for a while now that have taken their niche idea of ‘recycled ingredients’ to the masses, but for the most part the focus has been on personal care.
UpCircle – for example, are a UK brand who upcycle and repurpose by-product raw materials into all kinds of personal care products using ingredients such as fruit waters; a by-product of the juicing industry, maple bark extract; a by-product from the wood industry and coffee grounds collected from artisan cafes.
Then you have clean skin care label Farmacy’s (now owned by P&G) who have a ‘farm to face’ strategy and use upcycled apple in their cult Green Clean Cleansing Balm. In 2022 they launched a limited edition Peaches ‘N Clean Cleansing Balm version infused with a fragrant peach scent and formulated with upcycled peach kernel oil.
Fine Fragrance breaks new barriers with upcycled ingredients
Upcycled ingredients however, are newer to the world of fine fragrance, driven by consumer demand, which accelerated during the pandemic, as consumers move towards more natural and sustainable products.
For the noses of the fragrance world the excitement is around both the chance to be more sustainable and more creative.
Perfumer Emilie Bouge says the industry is finding ‘exciting’ new aromas from materials they have already used and Bérengère Bourgarel a perfumer at TechnicoFlor in a recent interview said that “upcycled materials bring new, different and sometimes surprising olfactory facets to the perfumes.
The industry moves toward sustainable perfumery
In 2021, Firmenich reported that 65% of consumers would have liked to see more environmentally responsible fragrances.
Firmenich is driving circularity and reducing waste with their Circular Collection: a unique set of 100% Upcycled Fragrances created only with upcycled ingredients crafted into exceptional conscious fragrances that not only smell good but also reuse nature’s discarded elements by giving them a second life.
Givaudan’s successful results in upcycling ingredients include rose petals, patchouli, cedarwood and vetiver to name a few.
The very well known, and pioneering, fragrance release ‘I am Trash, Les Fleurs du Dechet’ from designer perfume brand Etat Libre d’Orange uses Givaudan’s upcycled ingredients including Rose NeoAbolute™, Akigalawood® and Apple Oil, an exclusive ingredient created from the exhausted pulp of juiced apples.
The same innovative ingredient methodology was also used to create sustainable beauty ingredient, Vetivyne™, made from the exhausted Haitian vetiver roots which are a side-stream of the production of vetiver oil for fragrances.
From cauliflower to artichokes Symrise’s Garden Lab collection highlighted five vegetable ingredients which add to the Perfumers palette and the mission towards a more natural and sustainable future. The cauliflower was used in a new 2022 launch from L’Artisan Perfumeur; Tonka Blanc – the very first fragrance on the market to feature a natural vegetable extract.
Symrise’s patented SymTrap™ upcycling technology, also gives new olfactory life to disregarded food industry by-products.
Recapping the new launches with sustainable ingredients
2022 has definitely seen the rise of eco-consciousness in perfumery. We have see the launch of Polo Earth – a fragrance made of 97% natural-origin ingredients – seven of which are sustainably sourced.
We have seen the previously mention L’Artisan Perfumeur Tonka Blanc with its upcycled cauliflower note, plus the original luxury from trash scent from Etat Libre D’orange and the newest vegetable on the block is used in recently launched Loewe Earth – inspired by truffles aka mushrooms.
Looking back, Avon launched its Far away fragrance in 2021 using an innovative double distillation process and revealing new vanilla notes – sensual, smoky and woody with an addictive salty-sweetness, whilst Thierry Mugler’s Nova launched in 2020 included upcycled Damask Rose and Nina by Nina Ricci back from 2006 now includes upcycled lemons.
Belinda Smith founder of fragrance brand St. Rose, developed the perfume “Vigilante,” in 2020 (which ended up a Fragrance Foundation Indie Fragrance of the Year Awards finalist) incorporating upcycled ingredients, including wood shavings from Moroccan cabinetry and already-pressed rose petals.
In September 2022 Miller Harris used upcycled Rose and Patchouli in the heart of its new launch; Myrica Muse.
The fragrance description reads; Bayberry (Myrica) combines with energetic natural tangerine and pink pepper in a fruity but alluring opening. A blend of spices and a nuanced boozy character give Myrica Muse a seductive, sophisticated finish with retro charm. Upcycled Rose and Patchouli combine in the heart to envelop the wearer in a timeless floral musk heart. The glamour is brought to the fragrance with a confident but subtle natural rum from Reunion, perfectly fused with a creamy natural vanilla infusion and resinous Benzoin.
Cedarwood seems to be a big favourite in upcycled scents at the moment and Firmenich used an upcycled cedarwood extracted from wood pulp in North America in its redesigns of Eau d’Issey – Issey Miyake Eau & Magnolia and Eau & Cedre Pour Homme which launched in 2022.
Boy Smells Tantrum’s 2021 launch description reads; intoxicating mix of peppercorn, mint, bergamot and vetiver sits atop cedarwood atlas essential oil that’s been distilled from by-products of the furniture industry. It’s the sort of bold, boozy, sexy fragrance that’ll give you moves like Jagger on the dance floor.
Functional fragrance brand The Nue Co. launched Forest Lungs in 2020; a crisp, woody scent smells exactly like a misty forest at dawn. For that, you can thank the upcycled cedarwood, pine, earthy vetiver and tart citrus notes. It also has science on its side and bottles phytoncides, airborne substances naturally produced by trees, that have been shown to melt away stress.
The Body Shop’s new Winter 2022 launch Wild Pine EDT with notes of mint and sandalwood, is made with 95% natural-origin ingredients and includes pine essential oil which scent is renowned for its uplifting and clarifying properties. The fragrance is infused with cypress extract, upcycled from discarded cypress leaves leftover from the fragrance industry, which would otherwise have gone to waste.
Mindfully crafted fragrances have become a signature for Issey Miyake. In a Drop d’Issey launched in 2021 sustainable notes include an extract of vanilla, obtained using renewable carbon from plastic recycling, and a cedarwood note distilled after more than six hours from the sawdust left over from cabinet making.
Ellis Brooklyn founder Bee Shapiro attempted to bottle summer in her 2020 sun warmed and aquatic launch; Salt EDP. Here sea salt, musk and warm cedarwood oil extracted from sawdust combine with heady jasmine repurposed from religious ceremonies in India.
Sana Jardin went even further with their commitment to sustainability. After launching Incense Water in 2021 which includes orange blossom, rose, sandalwood and patchouli the brand set up a co-operative for its pickers. Here they upcycle the surplus wax for candles and create orange flower water, which they then sell independently at local markets. Given that 900 tonnes of orange blossom by-product is typically sent to landfill in Morocco each year, that’s a definite tick for eco- conscious perfumery taken a step further!
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