Ici Paris XL Perfume Expert Blogging Session #1

Earlier this week I was invited to attend the ICI PARIS XL Perfume Expert Blogging session. Various Belgian bloggers who are passionate about beauty were gathered in a relaxed atmosphere to discuss the perfume business and the world of Ici Paris XL. The result was a lovely evening and a whole new way of looking at perfume. Let me share with you what I’ve learned..

Lovely group of beauty enthusiasts.


The first Ici Paris XL shop opened its doors in 1968 in Elsene (Ixelles in French). Most products were imported from Paris, which was considered a ‘fragrance paradise’ at the time. Therefore, the shop was named Ici Paris XL (Ici Paris à Ixelles). The purpose of the founders was to make luxury beauty products available for a broad audience. The concept was a success and now Ici Paris XL has over 200 stores in the Benelux. Typical about Ici Paris XL is their loyalty card, which gives clients a discount of 20% on almost all of their products each time they make a purchase. (I guard that card like a treasure by the way.)

Top 10 perfumes sold by Ici Paris XL in the Benelux:
1. Chanel: Coco Mademoiselle
2. Dior:  J’adore
3. Thierry Mugler: Angel
4. Chanel: °5
5. Issey Miyake
6. Thierry Mugler: Alien
7. Armani Code
8. Jean Paul Gaultier
9. Givenchy Ange où démon
10. Narciso Rodriguez

Ici Paris XL divides the perfumes into 5 segments:
1. Luxury & tradition (ex. Chanel, Dior)
2. Trendy (ex. Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss)
3. Casual (ex. Calvin Klein)
4. Romantic (ex. Nina Ricci)
5. Fun (ex. Puma, Mexx)

Facts about launching a perfume:
Each year, perfume houses worldwide release 500 – 1000 new fragrances. They mainly launch these in 2 periods: in September and May (around Mothers’ Day). In doing this they keep a balance in women’s and men’s fragrances. One year they’re mostly women’s fragrances (like this year), the other year they will mainly release men’s fragrances (which was the case in 2009 and will be the case in 2011).

Yours truly (under the left candle) taking notes like crazy while Muriel Hille from Ici Paris XL shares her world with us.

About Perfume

Dimitri Weber is a perfume specialist who worked with many famous perfume houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier and Narciso Rodriguez. He guided us through our journey of rediscovering what perfume really is. Even though I know quite a bit about the fragrance industry thanks to my internship at Coty, it really was nice to actually hear an expert talk who works at the source, say the actual initiating stage of which perfume is created. After hearing his words of wisdom, my perfume bottles will never look the same to me.. 

Now this is what I call a cool business card! It even smells great!

Some facts about perfume to keep in mind:

* The origin of perfume lies in Italy.

 * Everyone has a different skin pH level which can cause a perfume to have a different scent. Therefore it’s always better to test the fragrance on your skin when you go shopping for new fragrances.

 * If you spray the fragrance on your clothing (from a certain distance, so it won’t leave stains) instead of on your skin, the scent will last longer.

 * A scent consists of 3 raw materials: base notes, middle (or heart) notes and top (or head) notes. Top notes are the first to be perceived after application, but they’re also the first to disappear. They form a person’s initial impression of a perfume and thus are very important in the selling of a perfume.

 * A perfume can contain from 10 up to 100 raw materials. These can be natural or artificial.

* Thanks to a modern technology called the headspace technique, perfume experts can now artificially create every scent. They do this by manipulating the composition of the molecules of the ingredients. Some perfume houses still prefer to use natural ingredients though (Chanel for example), which makes the perfume more expensive.

 * The main advantage of using artificial scents is that a lot of allergies can be avoided. Everything about a scent that can be a risk for allergies can be removed. Especially citrus scents can be of a problem here.

 * Since the ’80s it is forbidden to use animal ingredients in perfumes. So when you see the word ‘musk’ on the packaging, it’s no longer originated from the anal glands of a mountain goat (it’s true!), but artificially recreated (thank god!).

 * 99% of the fragrances on the market contain vanilla extract (vanilla is a scent that lasts long).

* Because there are so many scents out there, the perfume experts divided them into categories: floral, citrus, fruity, oriental, wood, gourmand, etc. The scents can also be in multiple categories, for example: floral oriental.


Letting our noses do their job.

We had these delicious desserts afterwards..mmm..

Happy New Bear from Ici Paris XL!

Thanks to Oona, Ici Paris XL and Dimitri Weber.



1 Comment

  1. December 12, 2010 / 4:47 pm

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