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Ingredients & formulation

Symrise: A glance into the scented world of the fragrance giant

Brazil Beauty News spoke to Luciana Knobel, Head of Fine Fragrances Latin America at Symrise, and uncovered a little about the creative process of one of the world’s largest fragrance manufacturers.

There is a Brazilian saying: ‘the best fragrances are found in the smallest bottles’ (loosely translated as ‘good things come in small packages’). For German-based Symrise, small or large doesn’t matter, as long as the raw materials and technologies used in their manufacture are of the highest quality.

Luciana Knobel, Head of Fine Fragrances Latin America at Symrise

Luciana Knobel, Head of Fine Fragrances Latin America at Symrise

Founded in 2003, through the merger of H&R and Dragoco – both of which are also the result of previous mergers and acquisitions – Symrise inherited the know-how of French company Lautier Fils, one of the pioneers in manufacturing raw materials for fragrances. Symrise’s roots also stem from other great icons of international fine perfumery, such as De Laire and Creations Aromatiques, the nose behind Dior’s Fahrenheit fragrance, which reached world fame in the 1990s. Today, Symrise’s headquarters are based in Holzminden, Germany, and the company operates in 40 countries worldwide.

The latest Euromonitor International report shows that the Brazilian fragrance market handled US$5.7 billion in 2016, consolidating the country as the fourth largest world market, according to data from the Brazilian Association of Toiletries, Perfumes and Cosmetics (ABIHPEC). But where do major manufacturers such as Symrise look for inspiration to keep up with the market and appeal to increasingly demanding consumers?

Luciana Knobel, Head of Fine Fragrances Latin America at Symrise, says inspiration can be found in every form of trend – from behavioral macro trends based on consumer needs, to fashion, food, beverages, culture and, most importantly, nature. “Our perfumers seek inspiration from art, architecture, personal tastes, and even hobbies. Sometimes inspiration can come from a good book or a trip to an exotic place. The world is the big stage that brings inspiration to life and allows us to create unique and memorable fragrances,” says Knobel.

Symrise also develops several internal and external studies to better understand the Brazilian consumer and local scent preferences. Being a country of continental proportions, Brazil is home to a variety of climates and consumer behaviors. These aspects are studied in the Consumer & Market Insights department, which analyzes everything from consumers’ daily routines and activities to the top sought-after scents per region, age group, gender and other demographics.

Among the most popular ingredients, Knobel mentions the citrus aromas, which are widely used in most formulas. Some examples are bergamot and mandarin, which add freshness to the top notes. Knobel says they are extremely important in our market throughout all product categories, from fine perfumery to personal care products. Madagascan vanilla is also a widely used aroma. “We have a project in Madagascar that provides full traceability of the supply chain, ensuring raw material quality and caring for the people involved in the manufacturing process,” says Knobel.

Technology also plays a key role in this complex production chain. For that reason, Symrise has made major investments in innovation, including the creation of new captives (exclusive raw materials), standards and evaluation methodologies that can provide an advantage over competitors. “In 2016, we relaunched the De Laire bases, combinations of captive and natural ingredients of high olfactory quality that add sophistication and creativity to our fragrances. We are always innovating – this is an ever-changing market and we must keep up with the pace,” she concludes.

Daniela Belli

© 2017 - Brazil Beauty News -

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