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Universal Scent Appeal

By: Rick Ruffolo
Posted: November 25, 2013, from the December 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Designer Tom Ford predicts one day all scents will be unisex, telling Allure magazine: “It may seem like a trend now, but eventually it will be as common as women wearing pants.”2

Another way to think about this trend is by considering the findings of food industry researchers. It turns out your olfactory sense (your nose) is responsible for more than 70% of your taste experience, so it would stand to reason that food preferences could be segmented as masculine or feminine. Steak for men and crème brulee for women? The truth is, both men and women enjoy savory, herb-seasoned meats and sweet, aromatic desserts. The same sensory organ that makes savory and sweet foods universally appealing is more than happy to indulge in a variety of fragrance experiences, too.

So, where do you begin? If I were to provide you with any guidance on your fragrance journey, I would quote my favorite bird, Toucan Sam, and say, “Follow your nose … it always knows!”


  1. (Accessed Oct. 16, 2013)
  2. (Accessed Oct. 16, 2013)

Rick Ruffolo is the president and CEO of H2O Plus. Ruffolo’s 20+ year career includes significant expertise in general management, marketing, strategic planning, innovation and multi-channel specialty retail experience. He started his career in brand management at Procter & Gamble, and has had extensive executive leadership roles in the beauty and home fragrance categories as president and CEO of R4 Innovations, executive vice president of Crabtree & Evelyn’s global business, senior vice president at Yankee Candle, vice president and general manager at Bath & Body Works, and category director at SC Johnson. He is also a member of the GCI editorial advisory board.