I’d like to share a snippet from a fragrance brief I received this morning and it went like this. “NO-Captives” We’re re-launching a brand to improve the formulation. Is this possible?
Is this possible – Yes, & it has been for hundreds of years, however, it is a bit more difficult to re-create some of the hottest scents created in the past few years due to the hundreds albeit thousands of chemicals now used as captives in perfumes.
You don’t need captives, nor will you ever, to create amazing fragrance. What you need most is practical experience. It’s common that many top brands believe they cannot create great fragrances without captives. That’s what they’ve been told now for years. I’ve heard it myself, you can’t reach balance in accords, or strength, or diffusion, or tenacity without captives. This is propaganda and if true, is the sign of an inexperienced perfumer. In order to be great in any field, you need experience, and practice. Today, we have literally thousands of ingredients at our disposal. Adding hundreds of additional ingredients in the name of captives, doesn’t outweigh the drawbacks.
A majority of captives are just minor improvements so there is really nothing revolutionary to speak about. In many cases, the scent can be easily replicated, but the scent will vary in some aspects. This is important. We don’t want to step on the original perfumers toes here, so creating minor differences, using more sustainable ingredients, is the purpose.
In many cases, these captives, can be compared to the fashion market. The difference between a national brand and a store brand. The national brand or expensive one will make you feel great, but the overall difference isn’t very noteworthy. But for those, who are willing to pay the money for the “best”, the captive option is for them.
I’ve found some captives to be incredible, but this is rare and oftentimes depend on exactly what the captive is. Often, a readily source-able ingredient, is much cheaper, and often times smells better than the captive.
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Per Wiki: A captive odorant, or short captive, is an odorant or aroma chemical retained by the originating manufacturer for exclusive use in their own perfumes to protect them from imitation.
This leads to another question. Are consumers now viewing captives as weapons? Adding hundreds of additional chemicals to their body, skin, air, in the name of protecting fragrance formulas?