We interviewed Associate Fragrance Buyer Ashley R. to learn more about our newest American Eagle Outfitters fragrances, Vintage for Her and 1977 for Him. Read on to learn more about each scent and the process that goes into developing a fragrance for AEO.
Where did you pull inspiration from to create the newest fragrances (Vintage and 1977)?
We pull inspiration from all over. Often times we pull ideas straight from the runway to help guide color or print. Other times it could be a really amazing one-off item found at a thrift store. I think the best inspiration is where it is unexpected. The camouflage for 1977 came from the runway and the print on the Vintage bottle was actually inspired by the yoke of a beautiful top.
What part do “noses”—people who have an elevated sense of smell and often work in perfuming—play in the development of AEO fragrances?
We work with some of the best fragrance houses and “noses” in the world. The process starts with perfumers from different fragrance houses creating scents based on the concepts/direction provided. Our fragrance vendor, another “nose,” narrows down the scents provided by the fragrance houses and presents the top 15-30+ scents to us. Next, Katherine and I review, wear and spray everyone around us until we have 3-4 per gender we love. Those favorite fragrances then move forward to in-store testing where the winning scent is determined.
How many people test the fragrance before it is finished? Explain the process a little bit!
Normally, there are about 2-3 people involved in narrowing 30+ fragrances down to three scents. Once we have 3-4 fragrances that we feel really strongly about, we put it in our customers’ hands to make the final choice. We typically survey around 200 customers in AEO stores to pick our fragrances.
What are the base notes used in the fragrance?
Each fragrance has notes separated into three groups: top notes, middle notes and base notes. The top notes are the initial impression, the mid notes are the “heart” of the fragrance and the base notes are the longest lasting, normally not perceived until 30 minutes after application.
Women’s Vintage – Base Notes: Praline, Musk, Blonde Woods
Men’s 1977 – Base Notes: Precious Woods, Patchouli, Warm Musk
What are the middle notes in the fragrance?
Women’s Vintage – Mid Notes: White Flowers, Lotus Flower, Rose
Men’s 1977 – Mid Notes: Cedarleaf, Clary Sage, Flowering Basil
What are the unique top notes in the fragrance?
Women’s Vintage – Top Notes: Mandarin, Juicy Apple, Red Mango
Men’s 1977 – Top Notes: Dewy Greens, Ozone, Bergamot
Describe the newest scents with one adjective.
Women’s Vintage: Glamorous
Men’s 1977: Masculine
What kind of situations are the fragrances best suited for (day, night, summer, winter, special occasion, etc.)?
All of our fragrances are created with everyday wear in mind; however, I love having different fragrances for different occasions. I think scent should be treated like a shoe and no shoe goes with everything (I honestly have a beach scent, a night scent, a date scent, etc.). Vintage is really glamorous so I think it is perfect for special occasions. 1977 is a man’s fragrance—it’s very masculine and great for a night out with the guys (plus the ladies will love it)!
How do you design a fragrance bottle? What special details are included in these bottle?
Creating a fragrance bottle is a very detailed process. We have established a bottle shape that is unique to American Eagle, so our challenge is making new launches look and feel special on the same bottle shape. A good example of this is Women’s Me—this bottle was inspired by mercury glass. We worked with our vendor for months to achieve the beautiful metallic finish. There are so many techniques and processes that can be done so it is really trial and error until you have the perfect bottle.
Can you explain the best places to spray fragrance and why?
“Where should one use perfume?” a young woman asked. “Wherever one wants to be kissed.” – Coco Chanel
Fragrance creation is thousands of years old. What do you think is the allure of fragrance?
Scent is very personal and a driving force behind attraction. It has also evolved greatly over time but has always been an item of prestige. I think the allure is a combination of both attraction and prestige.
How do you develop fragrances that are fresh and current?
Fragrance houses are always on top of scent trend and they help guide us. They will tell us what notes are trending, like rose or black pepper. Then we incorporate those notes when we deem appropriate for our customer.