New Perfume Review Phlur Hepcat- Millennial Marketing 101

This year has seen all sorts of initiatives to try and attract Millennials to a fragrance brand; most have presumed if it is done right the audience will find them. The new brand Phlur has decided to go out and find them where they live; online. Erik Korman came up with a concept where the consumer visits the website clicks around a bit exploring what is written while also looking at specific visuals. The idea is the person will be intrigued enough to order two samples and try them at home; eventually making a sale of a full bottle. I must say it is an interesting concept but the grumpy Baby Boomer who writes this blog didn’t want to be treated like a neophyte. The PR people kept insisting I play along. I kept resisting. Finally, at Sniffapalooza Fall Ball I was able to put together a full set of samples to understand the fragrances behind Mr. Kormann’s concept.


Erik Korman

One thing I learned about the brand was Mr. Korman enlisted indie perfumer Anne Serrano-McClain while he was working with the perfumers at Symrise. All six fragrances are essentially a single perfume accord. Pared down to that it makes how one feels about them very clear-cut. Olmstead & Vaux was that very common citrus and ginger mixture. Hanami is a creamy sandalwood base accord. Greylocke is the smell of a pine tree sap and needles. Moab is spice and incense. Siano is one of two which actually had more than one distinctive phase as it segued from a floral opening into a boozy finish. The one I liked best was Hepcat because this was the only one which developed over a few hours and had three distinctive phases.

nathalie benareau

Nathalie Benareau

Nathalie Benareau was the perfumer behind Hepcat. Mme Benareau is still working on one level of the pyramid as she uses a lot of notes typically found in the base. What helps here is she is using ingredients which have mutable natures by themselves. When she mixes oud and vetiver as the core; saffron early on teases out exotic parts of those notes. They both shift completely when the leather accord arrives. Much later vanilla provides one more pivot to the central oud-vetiver pairing.

Hepcat has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

I am clearly not the target audience for Phlur. Throughout my experience with the brand I felt like the old man at the rave. I think this is an interesting way to market to millennials. It will be interesting to see if all the ancillary bells and whistles gets the young buyers to become fans. If it does this is probably the first installment of Millennial Marketing 101.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided at Sniffapalooza Fall Ball.

Mark Behnke

Sniffapalooza Fall Ball 2016 Wrap-Up- A Peek Behind the Curtain

Sniffapalooza has been putting on a biannual event in New York City for perfume lovers since 2004. This past October the aptly named Fall Ball 2016 was the twenty-fifth of these to take place. In the past editions, it has been the opportunity for attendees to be exposed to all the shopping delights NYC has to offer. For this landmark edition, the organizers Karen Dubin and Karen Adams decided to give those who would be spending the weekend the opportunity to see something special.


It was a chance for a consumer to peek behind the curtain to see how perfume is made, which is where Saturday of Fall Ball began. Symrise invited the group up to their Park Avenue offices where the perfumes they work on are composed. Over the course of two panels we were going to go “From Idea to Shelf”.

The first panel was comprised of Symrise employees as they would talk about how Symrise worked as a company in creating fine perfume. The second panel would bring in two of their clients who would interact with some of the same panelists as they gave us the background on their brands.


Symrise Panelists (l. to r.) Doreen Bucher, Dave Apel, Juilanne Pruett, Caroline Catherine, and Sophie Bensamou

The first panel was moderated by VP of Marketing Doreen Bucher. She introduced us to perfumer David Apel, Julianne Pruett VP of Fine Fragrance who represented sales, evaluator Caroline Catherine, and VP of Fine Fragrance Creation for North America Sophie Bensamou.

The panel was a fascinating look into how it takes an entire team to both land an account and eventually turn it into a fragrance to be sold. It starts at the beginning as all the panelists spoke about how when Ms. Pruett is vying for an account they will all learn as much as they can about that potential client. I learned that the cooperation that takes place in bringing a perfume to life occurs before the first raw material is chosen. Once the account is brought in each of the members of the panel do their jobs. Mr. Apel designs the fragrance, Ms. Bensamou and Ms. Catherine act as liaison between Mr. Apel and the client. That job of evaluator is often that of being the behind-the-scenes influencer. Hearing from both about their jobs is something rarely spoken of in the process of perfume making but it is a critical piece of the process. After the perfume is designed Ms. Bucher works on the marketing of it helping decide on the bottle.

For over 90 minutes this panel kept the entire room leaning in to absorb every word.

After the panel, we took a break to do some shopping at Bergdorf-Goodman on our way to the second panel at Brasserie 8 1/2.

Once again Ms. Bucher was moderating and was joined by Mr. Apel and Ms. Bensamou from the morning panel. The new additions were Eric Korman and Anne Serrano McClain of the brand Phlur along with Joseph Quartana of the new line Les Potions Fatales.

Throughout this panel we gained insight in to that give-and-take that happens during the creation of perfume which lives up to what the client wants. In the case of Les Potions Fatales Mr. Apel had been imaging an idea around the plant foxglove and the fairies who live in those flowers. As Mr. Quartana explained his concept Mr. Apel presented his idea to him. This would result in Digitalis becoming part of the initial collection.

I must thank the team at Symrise for being so willing to spend a Saturday with the group. For the rest of the weekend what we heard in these panels became starting points of discussions which took place as we spent our day walking around sniffing the new perfumes.

This made the twenty-fifth Sniffapalooza one of the most unique events I’ve been to.

Mark Behnke