The steady rise in popularity of high end niche fragrances over the last 20 years has sent the traditional designer brands scrambling to reclaim their market shares. The game plan (whether it works or not) is obvious: continue putting out their regular mass market releases; also offer a separate more expensive collection to the clientele who shop in their luxury boutiques around the world.
A few of these lines have been around for awhile now, but most of them are only a few years old. No doubt an incomplete list, but here are the ones I could think of: Les Exclusifs de Chanel; La Collection Privée Christian Dior; Armani Prive Collection; Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire; Tom Ford Private Blends; Prada Exclusive Collection; Hugo Boss BOSS The Collection; Ermenegildo Zegna Essenze Collection; Hermes Collection Hermessence; Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Collection; Cartier Les Heures de Parfum; Pal Zileri Collezione Privata; Yves Saint Laurent Oriental Collection and La Collection YSL.
As you can see, the marketing teams for these brands are not very creative.
A few of these brands have, however, put together some really nice fragrance releases. Chanel, Dior, Hermes, and Tom Ford being the most successfully executed. They typically range in cost from $150-$300.
I have been fortunate enough to try most of these lines, and I do plan to eventually write about all of them.
The first of these I want to discuss is Hugo Boss – BOSS The Collection. I figure we might as well start with the worst.
BOSS explores the essence of finest fabrics through an exclusive fragrance by introducing the BOSS collection; five new elite fragrances for men. These rare scents are inspired by the feel, texture, mood and heritage of the luxurious fabrics that are intrinsically woven into their creation. A fresh take on a classic scent, it is inspired by the fine quality of BOSS tailoring and explores a world where fabric and scent are fused.
BOSS The Collection was launched in 2011 with five fragrances: Cashmere & Patchouli; Cotton & Verbena; Silk & Jasmine; Velvet & Amber; Wool & Musk.
They come in 50ml eau de toilette and the prices are $140 at the time of this writing.
I went specifically to a Hugo Boss boutique to try these. I went in with high hopes, but they quickly evaporated. No pun intended. The first thing I will mention is presentation. The bottles were all disorganized on the display; crooked and disheveled. Two of them were practically empty. I asked the sales associate if he had test strips to use. He said he did not. Grrreeeat. His remedy was to take receipt paper out of the cash register printer and tear it up into strips of paper for me to use. Classy!
I tried to put the experience up to this point out of my head and just smell the fragrances on my receipt paper. I had not read anything ahead of time about what to expect. In fact, I still haven’t looked up the note pyramids or what other people think of them. Why? Because they were horrible. Cheap and offensively synthetic chemical concoctions. I honestly couldn’t muster the strength to sit there and torture myself trying to pick out notes. I would never wear these.
Other thoughts…Would you be surprised if I told you they are adding an oud fragrance to the line this year? No, of course you wouldn’t be now. Also, in my research I couldn’t find a listed perfumer for BOSS The Collection. Heck, if I was commissioned to make these I wouldn’t want my name credited either. It’s like a dirty secret you never want let out.
I’m honestly offended Hugo Boss try to sell these.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions that you have.