I Love Your Perfume, Is that Lemon Haze or Purple Passion?
The scent of cannabis, once considered unappealing, is now embraced by beauty influencers as they explore high-end fragrances. One such fragrance is Dirty Grass, a premium $185 scent infused with 500 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD oil, created by Douglas Little of Heretic Parfum, the mastermind behind Goop’s all-natural fragrances. Another option is Chronic, a $175 scent from Swedish brand 19-69, which combines grapefruit and moss notes. Both of these fragrances can be found at Barneys, New York.
They join an elite group of fragrances such as Maison Margiela’s Replica, a $126 fragrance that pays homage to the Woodstock music festival, with its distinct aroma of “fresh bud and patchouli,” and Malin + Goetz’s Cannabis Eau De Parfum, a $165 scent that blends white floral notes with spicy herbs.
As cannabis continues to gain mainstream acceptance, fragrance makers are breaking away from negative stereotypes and exploring new ways to incorporate the scent into their products. Additionally, incorporating CBD oil, a popular trend in various consumer industries, such as personal care products, beauty products, and even pet treats, is also being utilized in the fragrance industry.
Experts predict that the demand for CBD in the United States alone could reach a staggering $24 billion by 2023. Meanwhile, the fragrance industry is also booming, with a market value of $52.7 billion in 2018 and expected growth to reach $72.3 billion by 2024, as per Mordor Intelligence.
The co-founder of Malin + Goetz, Andrew Goetz, shared that even five years ago, the name of their Cannabis Eau de Parfum was a bold move, as recreational marijuana was still primarily illegal at the time. However, as the perception of marijuana shifts and becomes more accepted, he notes that many companies are now trying to find ways to incorporate it into their products. The candle version of the scent, which costs $55, continues to be a bestseller.
According to the President of the Fragrance Foundation, Linda Levy, cannabis-inspired scents are currently experiencing a surge in popularity and are considered very trendy. The Fragrance Foundation comprises notable members such as Macy’s, Sephora, and LVMH.
Although major players in the industry like Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, and Chanel haven’t yet released cannabis-themed products, it is not a matter of if but when. According to Linda Levy, cannabis became one of those authentic conversation pieces in the past two years in the beauty category.
Skunky But Subtle Scent
Demeter Fragrance Library was one of the pioneers in the cannabis-themed fragrances industry with its release of Cannabis Flower in 2006. Mark Crames, CEO of Demeter Fragrance Library, designed it to evoke the essence of a “skunky cannabis smell” in a more subtle way.
According to Mark Crames, the scent of Cannabis Flower has been “modified enough, so it’s wearable” and does not pose a risk of getting pulled over for driving under the influence. Though mostly popular among women aged 35 and below, the scent is now one of Demeter’s bestsellers and featured in about 100 stores. It is more versatile and can be worn by both men and women. As per Linda Levy, unlike the Cannabis Flower, newer fragrances emphasize woodsy and smoky notes such as sandalwood and cedar.
In May, Heretic’s perfumer Douglas Little, who has also formulated candles for Lady Gaga, and scents for Dita von Teese, released the unisex fragrance Dirty Grass. The scent features notes of lemon zest and pink pepper, and the 50-milliliter bottle contains 500 milligrams of CBD oil. This gives it a slightly sweet and herbaceous aroma. Although the extent of CBD’s calming effects on the fragrance is uncertain, Little claims that breathing in the fragrance can deliver it directly to the bloodstream.
A Brooklyn-based CBD producer, Lily offers a convenient roll-on option for travel and on-the-go use at $65. The roll-on features a blend of smoky oud wood notes, with an added benefit of 200 milligrams of its high-quality, full-spectrum CBD.
Both Lily and Little are targeting a more refined clientele by using sleek glass bottles for their packaging, a departure from the packaging of marijuana products in the past. Little notes that these customers may not be smoking cannabis on their lunch break but may enjoy having a bottle of cannabis fragrance in their bathroom.
Johan Bergelin, the creator of 19-69’s Chronic, emphasizes that his main priority was to create a perfume, not just a scent that smells like weed. He describes it as a vibrant, green, leafy fragrance that eventually mellows into a cashmere wood scent. He also mentions that since cannabis is currently a part of counterculture and society, this can be an excellent opportunity to incorporate it into their fragrance.
Chandler Burr, the founder of the Olfactory art department at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, highly recommends the Cannabis Santal fragrance, which costs $50. He commends the perfume for its impeccable construction and technical and structural precision, calling it “ridiculously well-constructed and perfectly calibrated.” The fragrance boasts a unique blend of bergamot, black plum notes, and Brazilian orange.
The Talk of Fragrance Industry
A professor of bioengineering at Harvard University, David Edwards, who has researched scent digitization, commented on the attractiveness of cannabis-scented perfumes. David explained that the allure of cannabis-scented perfumes might stem from their capacity to evoke nostalgia and fond memories from the past.
The professor explains that the olfactory nerves are linked directly to the brain, close to the hippocampus. As a result, we perceive scent similarly to memories, which remain in our minds like a memory. Linda Levy, President of the Fragrance Foundation, adds that brands capitalize on the interest in CBD by incorporating it into their products.
As the world continues to evolve and cannabis gains more acceptance, the fragrance industry is also adapting and embracing the unique scent of marijuana. From the earthy and herbaceous scent of Dirty Grass to the woodsy and smoky notes of Chronic, these fragrances are breaking away from negative stereotypes and targeting a more refined clientele.
Incorporating CBD oil in these fragrances reflects the trend in various consumer industries, adding an extra layer of benefits to these fragrances. As the market for CBD and fragrances continues to grow, it will be exciting to see how the industry innovates and integrates cannabis into its products.