Just like Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice', the fragrance brand by the same name has always brought something unique and rare to the table. The Merchant of Venice is a brand of exquisite fragrances for those with refined tastes
By: Nikita Vivek Pawar
Posted on: April 2, 2019
In 2012, out of the new 1,330 fragrance launches, 331 were niche fragrances, and in 10 years the number has tripled according to “Fragrances of the World” writer Micheal Edwards. With over 600 new fragrances entering the niche luxury market in 2018, it is a rather tough job to create a name and space in the industry. But when it comes to The Merchant of Venice (TMV), it’s a different story.
“The inspiration came from my family – perfume is something that has always been a part of my family, and more specifically, part of my life from a very young age. The name of our family – Vidal – has been associated with the production of soaps and other bath products for many generations. In fact, my family was one of the original 12 apostolic families who ruled Venice,” said Mr. Marco Vidal, CEO of TMV. Mr Vidal had been a part of his father’s company along with eight of his siblings. It would not be wrong to say that Mr. Vidal comes from a legacy of perfumery and luxury.
The global perfume industry is estimated to be worth US $92 billion by 2024. With the rapid 6% to 8% annual growth of the industry, brands are constantly in search of newer and better aromas. Perfumers are challenged to make one-of-a-kind fragrances to carve space for themselves, as well as make the perfume industry more versatile and diverse by combining and complimenting different tones and accords.
Finding rare and never-used-before scents is a task with such a saturated industry. “Over time, I have built up a priceless network of “noses” and researchers who regularly present me with new ideas – sometimes leading to something entirely unexpected in a fragrance, such as our unprecedented use of blue tea leaves in our latest fragrance, called Blue Tea,” said Mr. Vidal.
The Blue Tea is a delicate day fragrance with blue tea and nutmeg as the top notes. The middle notes of Rose, Magnolia and Neroli fuse with base notes of Vetiver and Musk. Blue Tea is the first fragrance alchemy made according to the Asian clientele preferences. The brand previously launched the Murano Exclusive line, specifically for Middle Eastern customers. “In a way, I am a true Merchant of Venice, as I find scents, spices and raw materials for our perfumes on my travels,” says the very resourceful Mr. Vidal.
Not far from the roots
With more and more brands entering the niche fragrance industry, the test of time is stood by only those who have a distinctive identity. Incredibly, TMV has launched 73 uniquely identifiable perfumes to provide a choice for everyone, in its rather short life which began in 2014. Mr. Vidal talked about the importance of brand identity: “We are trying to bring back the notion of “The Merchant of Venice” to Venice – my home city, and the birth place of the spice routes to the Orient, where many of our fragrance ideas originate. We are keen to promote ancient arts and traditions while catering to a contemporary market with our products.”
Reinventing and rediscovering one such ancient ingredient is the Pink Venetian Rose, which was the centre note to make the La Rosa Moceniga in 2016. “Through a botanical project, we were able to capture the scent and bottle it as a precious perfume. La Rosa Moceniga is now part of our Murano Collection of perfumes, and it is already a best seller!” explained Mr. Vidal.
The scent story
Establishing a connection with consumers is vital to every brand. That sui generis quality that differentiates a brand is what makes it a legacy. “I think our USP is that we engage with true story-telling. Every fragrance in its own right becomes a personality through its packaging, its ingredients and its story,” says Mr Vidal.
The perfume industry contributes about 18% to the global luxury market. The young generation is more loyal to the brand they connect with the best, specially in fragrances. Apart from the scent, the bottle plays a pivotal role in decision-making as well. While some are standard and boring, some are uniquely designed and also help tell the story.
TMV has been quite experimental with their bottle designs, giving them a dramatic character. The brand uses the handmade Murano glass for its perfumes, but there is a threat of the natural pigments used to colour the glass reacting to the perfume. As a solution to the problem, Mr Vidal remembers, “We engaged the famous Murano glass designer Nason Moretti to design our bottles who inserted a clear glass flame within each vial, which cleverly isolates the concentrated Eau De Parfum.”
The niche fragrance sector focuses on natural-based fragrance rather than synthetic. With the rise in environmental consciousness and sustainability, the niche fragrance market has experienced a rise in their reception as well as sales. With consumer awareness and the effect of social media, one cannot disguise anything. While no brand would want to give its audience just about any product, developing a perfect fragrance is a lengthy procedure. The fragrances have to be tested meticulously to ensure there are no allergies or defects.
Some of the fragrances from the house of TMV took about two years to reach their final structure. “The process to develop a fragrance has always taken us a long time, as we like to select the very best raw materials, and you always have to keep sustainability in mind. We have to conduct many tests surrounding the main production process of each perfume, from the extraction of the essential oil to its final use in the fragrance, which we masterfully bottle through the alchemy of perfumery.”
The science. The art
Perfumery can be categorised as an art as the different scents of the fragrances can be related to a painter’s palette. Perfumes hold the power to transport the wearer into a completely different dimension or a world. They are the reality of our imagination. Mr. Vidal, however, also pointed out the scientific aspect of the art: “Perfumery is also a science because we have to secure all the different compounds of the perfumes in order to make the scent really last.”
How exciting would it be to make your own potion of fragrance? To select materials that fit the right bill according to your choices and preferences? The Merchant of Venice conducts workshops in their fragrance school in Palazzo Mocenigo in Venice, wherein you can make your own concoction of fragrance.
Along with creating an enchanting fragrance, the brand has much more to offer. The Merchant of Venice Spa is a place where you will be treated like royalty. With exclusive spa products like the Rosa Collection, patrons can indulge in a luxury experience at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Hotel in Venice.
What else makes the spa so special? It’s the gold leaf. Battiloro is the last gold-beater in Europe. They have been making gold leaf for the Vatican and St. Mark’s Basilica. “In our Spa, we are enormously privileged to work with this incredible gold leaf for our gold mask treatments. It’s a very luxurious experience, as well as a very beneficial one, involving 11 layers of gold applied directly onto the skin,” expressed Mr Vidal.
The next step
With a brand like The Merchant of Venice, we are always curious to sneak a peek into what is coming next. Inquisitive to know the next new fragrance from the house, Mr Vidal disclosed, “In the pipeline for 2019, we have two new fragrances. Firstly, Andalusian Soul, inspired by Le Mude di Barbaria, which is a refined and bright fragrance with a touch of vanilla and sensuous amber notes. Then, we have Mystic Incense, an elegant and persuasive interpretation of incense deriving from Le Mude di Siria, which combines woody notes with cocoa absolute, and warmed with a delicious hint of musk.”
Just like when a good movie hits the theatres, it’s exciting to wait for new fragrances to get added in a collection. “Next year, we plan to launch a couple of new fragrances – one in the Murano collection and the other in the Murano Exclusive collection – that should really appeal to the clientele.” Mr Vidal also divulged that they are opening their first boutique in The Dubai Mall, UAE which would be designed by Pier Luigi Pizzi, who also designed the brand’s store in Milan. TMV products are also available on Harrods.com. We are happy to see the fragrance spreading!