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Scents of Wonder

An inside look at Thymes fragrance development

Jun 14

How do you design a unique fragrance that balances familiarity and intrigue and is rooted in botanical perfumery? Thymes Fragrance Specialist, Stacy Brown, shares how nature, art and science come together to create the Thymes fragrances you know and love.

How do you come up with the ideas for Thymes fragrances?

Inspiration for new fragrances can come from anywhere. As part of the New Product team, it’s my job to stay on top of the trends in markets like fashion, flavor, food, color, and interior design. But sometimes the inspiration can come from our own personal experience—a hike through a forest, a fabulous dessert, childhood memories…This is the really exciting part of fragrance since the opportunity for creativity is pretty much endless.

How much of Thymes fragrance design is science, and how much is art and intuition?

The only part of fragrance that is a science is the combining of fragrance materials. Beyond that, it’s all instinct and intuition. I have an idea of what a Thymes fragrance should smell like, but it’s really hard to define in words. For example, we know we like fresh, clean—not perfumey. We also want it to be familiar yet somewhat challenging, but that’s always left up to interpretation and one’s own experience. There really is no tried and true formula for success.

We have a Fragrance Panel to help us gain more objective answers, but that’s not always a sure thing. Because many things can affect the success of a fragrance—the character, the packaging, the name, the color of the graphics, the launch timing, etc. Many times, if you have a fragrance that panels really well and has wide appeal, it could mean that your fragrance might have lost some uniqueness. So, it’s a fine line between what’s intriguing and what’s appealing, and again, that’s intuition and not definable.

What is the most popular Thymes fragrance?

Our most iconic fragrances Goldleaf, Lavender and Eucalyptus have stood the test of time and shifting trends—their fans are passionate! We also have cult fragrances— Fig Leaf & Cassis and Ginger Milk in our online Classics collection—that may not have wide distribution, but have crazy-loyal consumers.

You’re so close to the fragrances and play such a large role in their development. Do you have a favorite?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite fragrance! It really depends on my mood and the day. Also, I think there’s something to love about every fragrance we’ve launched. My father is a musician and he used to have a poster that said, “The more you love music, the more music you love,” which is true for fragrance as well. I love all different types of fragrance for different reasons—the structure, the character, the artistry, etc. For non-Thymes fragrances, I would go with Guerlain Samsara, which is a beautiful blend of sandalwood, jasmine and spicy notes. I tend to favor fragrances in the Oriental family.

I’m sure a lot of people out there would love your job. How did you become a fragrance specialist for Thymes?

Coming to Thymes was really serendipitous. I actually have a Bachelor of Science degree in ecology, evolution, and behavior. I always thought I was going to save the lions in Africa or do something magical in the natural world, but geography and family ties made that challenging. One day I saw an ad for a laboratory technician at Thymes. I recognized the name because I had been using Thymes Vetiver for a few years. I ended up getting the lab tech job and then when the fragrance consultant retired, I took over the position. It has been a natural fit ever since. I’ve always had a keen sense of smell—I just didn’t realize it. I also worked as a floral designer through college and that experience introduced me to and helped strengthen my passion for all kinds of beautiful aromas.

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Shari Wolfe May 19, 2017

I have all three favorites listed above - plus more! I totally agree with the panel, they are fabulous, and true. I have lotions, mists, perfumes and candles, my own Thymes collection! When ordering my Thymes products, I am never disappointed.

Tracy Timlin January 22, 2015

I ordered the bubble bath as gifts for my beach loving friends. It is such a beautiful bottle I kept one for myself to display with jars of seashells I have collected over the years, around my bathtub. Will be ordering more as with a natural sea sponge, it makes an amazing and unique gift!

Denise August 13, 2014

Please bring back Azure. Is there a reason why this scent was discontinued? Can you tell me where I can purchase Azure scented products? Or better yet, how about you include it in your classic collections! Please bring it back!!!!!

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