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What makes perfume so expensive are the rare ingredients, expensive marketing, lavish packaging, and markup.
“Why is perfume so expensive?” we ask – as the liquid in the small bottle gets lower and lower. Its not just one thing – let’s go through the list one by one.
The main factor driving up the price of perfumes is the ingredients. Some contain the essences of unusual roots or rare flower petals. Expensive fragrances have a more complex scent that includes top notes, heart notes, and base notes.
Scents are blended using a variety of ingredients, all of which add to the cost of the perfume.
Luxury perfumes contain various rare and sought-after essential oils and quality ingredients. These include everything from flowers to endangered animal parts.
It can take thousands of flowers to produce the oil used in perfumes. One ounce of essential oil, for example, requires approximately 240,000 handpicked jasmine flowers.
Finding this many flowers is a big ask, especially if they are seasonal blossoms. Some flowers are seasonal and will only be in bloom for a month out of the year, and if seasonality is not an issue, picking these flowers must be perfectly timed.
Here are some of the most expensive ingredients used in perfume:
One pound of rose oil requires 10,000 pounds of rose petals to be distilled. Bulgaria’s Rose Valley produces 70% of the world’s rose oil.
This valley’s picking season dates back more than 300 years and is extremely short. Workers have only a few weeks from May to June to pick the flowers, and they must do so in the dark before sunrise.
Every flower must be cut individually, placed in willow baskets, and immediately transported to a distillery.
Oud is derived from the wood of the agar, a wild tropical tree. The wood must be infected with a mold called “Phialophora parasitica,” which causes the wood to create oud, which is a dark, fragrant resin.
According to reports, only 2% of agar trees create oud, making it extremely valuable.
Oud oil is one of the most expensive oils in the world due to its scarcity, high demand, and difficulty in harvesting. Its value was once estimated to be 1.5 times that of gold, and it is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold.”
Natural musk is among the most expensive animal products on the market, the majority of musk made and sold nowadays is synthetic. This is due to the fact that in order to obtain genuine, authentic, musk, you need to kill an endangered species – the male musk deer.
Natural musk was commonly used until the late nineteenth century when ethics began to play a role and people stopped slaughtering these deer, which live in Nepal and the surrounding region.
Some companies spend millions of dollars on perfume marketing. They lavishly fund A-list celebrity spokespersons and extravagant ad campaigns.
Some brands market their perfumes similarly to fine wines or fine art, even producing a limited number of bottles to sell. The exclusivity creates buzz, and wealthy buyers are consistently willing to pay the price.
The most expensive advertisement ever created was for perfume. The Chanel No. 5 commercial from 2004 cost $33 million to produce and starred actress Nicole Kidman.
That year saw record sales for the iconic perfume, and the advertisement is still remembered today. All of this serves to emphasize the importance of marketing in the fragrance industry.
When it comes to scent, packaging is crucial. The bottle must be safe and airtight in order to protect the perfume’s quality and integrity. The box should shield it from light, allowing it to last until it is purchased.
However, from the standpoint of a perfume company, these are far from the most important considerations.
The most expensive perfume in the world is DKNY Golden Delicious which costs $1 million. This big price tag is largely due to the packaging itself.
The bottle is made from 14-carat white and yellow gold. It is also encrusted with nearly 3,000 precious stones which have been sourced from all around the world before being arranged on the bottle to represent the skyline of New York.
Retail markups can be significant. Department stores and specialty perfume shops must cover expenses such as employee salaries and commissions, in-store marketing and displays, overhead, and, of course, profit.
Reports vary, but it appears that a markup of 20 to 80 percent is to be expected at the retail stage.
Is It Worth It?
The ingredients are not the only things included in the price of the luxury perfume. You are charged for the entire experience. It’s a designer scent, and you’ll have to pay for it.
This experience is about more than just the smell; it is about the entire purchase.
When you buy a high-end perfume, for example, you also get a custom-made box with it. The box is a stunning piece that comes with a cushion and is neatly wrapped in a tight package.
Even if the fragrance itself is less expensive to produce, the overall experience of purchasing a high-end item is truly unique.
The average consumer is unconcerned whether their perfume came from a fancy bottle or a cheap fragrance – as long as it smells good. Someone who is used to low prices will not appreciate going over budget.
As a result, expensive, high-end perfumes are less appealing to the general public. So, if someone is looking for a fancy perfume just to get a lot of compliments, it is doubtful that high-end perfumes are worth the money – for them.
Those who appreciate artistic creation, natural ingredients, and unique scents, on the other hand, will find expensive perfumes to be well worth their money.
It’s all down to personal preference and your feelings about the overall experience.