What happens when you combine food and fragrance? You get delectable gourmand scents that smell good enough to eat. The Perfume Society defines gourmand as “Think: caramel, chocolate, milk, candy floss, coffee, Cognac, toffee, almonds, even bubblegum – and almost always, a generous helping of vanilla.” This fragrance family rose to fame in the early 90s when French fashion designer Thierry Mugler launched his fragrance “Angel.” It is commonly credited as the first modern gourmand scent, with patchouli, praline, red berries, and vanilla notes.
The Connection Between Flavor and Scent
There’s an inextricable connection between flavor and scent. Neuroscientists have long studied the relation between smell and memory, but taste also plays an important role. Harvard’s Venkatesh Murthy, chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, wrote in the Harvard Gazette, “[Food molecules during chewing] make their way back retro-nasally to your nasal epithelium. All of what you consider flavor is smell. When you are eating all the beautiful, complicated flavors … they are all smell.”
Given the intimate physiological relationship between taste and smell, it’s only fitting that fragrance houses like OnScent strive to capture the emotions stirred up by flavors in scents that also tap into consumers’ ‘tastes’.
Rising Popularity of Gourmand Fragrances During the Pandemic
OnScent observed that gourmand fragrances were highly requested during the pandemic. Our senior evaluator Andrea Donohue explains that this trend increased during the midst of the pandemic because it was a very stressful time for everyone. “People were spending more time at home and were finding ways to create a good mood and possibly enjoy a delicious guilty pleasure without worrying about the calories,” she said.
She added that people were missing out on spending time with family, making memories and keeping traditions. “The simple smell of a homemade apple pie or chocolate chip-baked cookie was a reminder of a lovely childhood and maybe grandma’s house. A fun cotton candy or ice cream scent just made us smile and feel good. And chocolate scent brought comfort.”
OnScent’s Best-Selling Gourmand Scents and Categories
According to Donohue, more complex scents are a rising trend. Consumers are now requesting we customize gourmand fragrances to make them more unique and upscale. “Consumers are looking for twists to their gourmand fragrances such as hot and spicy, woody and even herbal notes which provide more facets to the fragrance,” said Donohue. “At OnScent, we work with brands both big and small to bring their customized briefs to fruition,” she added.
“For example, today’s customers don’t just want a vanilla fragrance. Instead, they’re requesting Vanilla Cupcake + Burnt Sugar, or instead of a creamy coconut they would rather see a Toasted Coconut + Dark Chocolate, just to name a few,” she stated.
However, she also added that single-note gourmand scents are still a classic choice, with the most popular being vanilla. “It’s such a timeless fragrance note that it is probably found in almost everything, either in the forefront or in the base notes, to add a creamy sweetness. It also balances a fruity or floral fragrance to a sweeter and more edible delight.”
She also observed that air care is the most popular category for gourmand scents, followed by personal care. “I have seen it requested most for candles, not just for fall/holiday briefs, but also as an ‘everyday’ option and moving to a more upscale and gender-neutral facet.”
The Future of Gourmand Fragrances
Donohue adds that the next wave of gourmand fragrances will be more unique blends of sweet, almost edible-like fragrance notes. “Gourmand fragrances will continue to expand to other product lines to appeal to a broader consumer base and drive product purchase and enjoyment. Furthermore, market studies also show that the global gourmand fragrance industry is set for steady growth in the coming years.
Speak to an OnScent fragrance expert today and learn how we can make all your gourmand fragrance desires come true.
 The Perfume Society, “Gourmand”, https://perfumesociety.org/fragrance-families/gourmand/
 Experimental Perfume Club, “History of Gourmand Fragrances”, 2020, https://experimentalperfumeclub.com/the-smell-of-gourmand-perfume-ingredients/#:~:text=In%201992%2C%20the%20first%20modern,have%20in%20most%20scent%20wardrobes
 Orlow, Emma, “The Transportive Power of Food Perfumes”, 2022, https://www.eater.com/23025132/food-scented-perfume-trend
 Future Market Insights, “Report – Gourmand Fragrance Market”, https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/gourmand-fragrance-market