American Marketer


Baccarat honors past influences on fragrance industry with limited-edition scent

December 1, 2014

Baccarat's Rouge 540 fragrance Baccarat's Rouge 540 fragrance


French crystal maker Baccarat is extending the longevity of its 250th anniversary celebration with a limited-edition fragrance steeped in heritage.

Named Rouge 540, Baccarat’s fragrance links together different angles of its heritage such as a color, a number and a signature into one product. Baccarat created the fragrance to celebrate its anniversary milestone while honoring its codes, its role in the perfume industry and as a look toward the future.

"Baccarat crystal has long contributed to perfumery," said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami, FL. "So perhaps it is particularly appropriate to introduce their own scent to celebrate their 250th year of contributing to remarkable design and luxury.

"Luxury without heritage is heresy," he said. "The time and effort spent creating the bottle is of little importance; it’s expected by Baccarat’s affluent clients. It’s what makes Baccarat luxury."

Mr. Ramey is not affiliated with Baccarat, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Baccarat was unable to respond directly before press deadline.

Fired up
The brand introduced its Rouge 540 fragrance on social media with a creation video. In the video, Baccarat enthusiasts can watch the fragrance’s creator master perfumer Francis Kurkdjian working on the scent profile of Rouge 540 before the viewer is taken inside Baccarat’s glass studio.

While in the studio, the viewer witnesses the creation of Rouge 540’s bottle. Beginning as a bright yellow globe of melted glass, the glassworker forms the raw materials into a bottle using a torch and mold of the desired design.

baccarat.rouge540 video

Creation of Baccarat's Rouge 540 bottle

Another scene shows the creation of the bottle’s cap and the fragrance’s glass pipette applicator. In the following vignette, the viewer watches as the artisan adds gold coloring to the cap’s engraving.

The nearly three-minute video shows Baccarat artisans’ use of the baudruchage technique of wrapping thread around the bottle’s cap before concluding with a woman trying on the fragrance using the glass pipette.

Baccarat - Parfum Rouge 540 - Le film

On social media, Baccarat does not include a link to additional information regarding Rouge 540. For more details, the consumer must search Baccarat’s Web site but the brand does not provide a direct outlet to do so.

For consumers interested in finding out more, Baccarat’s anniversary section of its Web site includes an excerpt regarding Rouge 540. Here, consumers can rewatch the craftsmanship video and learn about the fragrance, the bottle designed by Georges Chevalier in the 1940s and its packaging.

baccarat.rouge540 sketch bottle

Georges Chevalier bottle design sketch

Rouge 540 not only marks Baccarat’s 250th anniversary, but it also signifies the brand’s overall know-how. For the fragrance “creative design expertise join[ed] forces, melding tradition and passion” to offer collectors the “essence of a timeless heritage.”

Additionally, Baccarat notes that for Rouge 540, “raw material, fire and centuries of experience come together to create a fragrance that dazzles like a blazing sun, casting the light of excellence on all its facets, from the olfactory notes to the bottle design to reflect the Baccarat spirit.”

The bottle’s design was inspired by Baccarat’s diamond cut and touts the brand’s modernity due to its pure lines, volume, transparency and damask waves. The flacon is also a testament to Baccarat’s glassmakers expertise, as Rouge 540 comprises 160 facets: 96 on the bottle and 64 on the stopper.

baccarat.rouge540 with box

Baccarat's Rouge 540 bottle and display packaging

Four of the craftsmen who worked on the 250 bottles of Rouge 540 are “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France,” meaning the best artisans in France, which adds value to the fragrance among collectors.

The name Rouge 540 also connects to Baccarat’s DNA. To achieve its signature red colored glass, the molten crystal must be heat to 540°C or 1,004°F. Developed in 1847, the recipe, which fuses crystal with 24-karat gold powder, is a well-guarded secret.

Baccarat’s molten crystal process inspired Mr. Kurkjian to create a “graphic fragrance...which bursts forth as a flash of blood orange, in a constellation of oak moss, lavender and sage.”

“The perfume suggests the heat of the furnace, the breath of the glass maker and the transparency of crystal through the association of ingredients that, in my mind, represent those ideas,” Mr. Kurkdjian said. “The result is luminous and dense, transparent and intense, with a texture that feels like a floating fabric."

Baccarat's Rouge 540 fragrance, limited to a series of 250 pieces, retails for $4,000.

Lets celebrate
Over the course of the year, Baccarat has celebrated its anniversary in different ways and locations to build awareness for its wares as well as introduce the brand to consumers who may be unfamiliar with its heritage.

For instance, Baccarat is continuing its 250th anniversary celebration with an upcoming exhibit at the Grande Galeries of the Petit Palais in Paris.

“Baccarat: Crystal Legend,” supported by Dior Parfums and Remy Martin, will run from Oct. 15 through Jan. 4, wrapping up the milestone year for the brand. This will be the first Baccarat retrospective held in France since the brand’s bicentennial exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1964, creating the potential to spread awareness for the brand’s heritage to a new set of consumers (see story).

Earlier, Baccarat feted its 250-year history at the Paris flagship of department store Printemps.

For the event, Baccarat had a window display, in-store pop-up and exclusive products for the department store. Printemps and Baccarat share a French heritage and a lengthy history, making this in-store event more meaningful (see story).

To build awareness stateside, Baccarat lit up Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills with chandeliers.

The chandeliers were lit with a flip of a switch at a public ceremony Nov. 23. Baccarat’s 16-chandelier display will help celebrate the last few weeks of the brand’s anniversary and the city’s holiday season (see story).

Through department store installations and out of home tactics Baccarat shared its heritage with the masses. By producing a limited-edition element of its anniversary celebration, Baccarat was able to maintain allure.

"Scarcity is a pillar of luxury," Mr. Ramey said. "It’s not meant for everyone.

"It’s human nature to desire what you can’t have," he said. "Limiting production creates demand and drives value upward."

Final Take
Jen King, lead reporter on Luxury Daily, New York