2017: The year of the milk notes

By Lauren Carbran

I’ll always remember the milk cartons at school (circa 1998). The straws were too weak to poke into the carton, the milk was warm, and the cow branding was NOT on point. Some kids downed their milk in the playground, while others went down the theft route and snuck a few in their gym bag. Me? Just the sight of those cartons made me want to gag. Fast-forward to today and I’m writing about milk as a trend (who would have thought?). Yes, that’s right. It’s coming back into fashion, in the form of fragrance. Just like the 80s catwalk trends, milk is making a comeback in 2017, big time…

And it’s funny, but although I loathe the taste of milk, I’m not adverse to the smell of it in perfume. Maybe it’s because I’m lactose intolerant, and I know a spritz isn’t going to leave me with inflamed sinuses and stomach cramps. But its sweet, gourmand smell really gives a scent more depth, character and addictiveness.

22This year we’ve seen the start of the ‘milk’ trend emerge, thanks to Michael Kors Wonderlust, which mixes almond notes with mandarin, and Thierry Mugler Angel Muse, combining hazelnut cream cocoa and red berries. What do I love most about them? The fruity notes are fresh for summer, while the creamy, nutty smells give a warm, winter undertone. Genius.

And it’s not the first time perfumes have been inspired by milk. In 2004, Clinique launched a perfume, Simply, which was inspired by the smell of breast milk. But fear not, people – it was re-created with notes of soya beans, wood and vanilla (phew).

While this might not quench your thirst, I’ve got to ask myself, is there a reason perfumers turn to milk? The answer is yes. ‘With the past few years being all about gourmand, foody fragrances, milk notes were inevitably going to become a trend,’ says Nick Gilbert, director of fragrance consultancy Olfiction. ‘Milky notes add a calming element to perfume, and perfumers are always looking at intriguing ingredients to add to their fragrances. They create the smell with materials called lactones, which are found in fruits and tend to smell like coconut or peach on their own, but when mixed with vanilla, they create a milky smell.’

It’s no wonder that consumers are drawn to the comforting smell of milk. With social media claiming that 2016 is the worst year in modern history (David Bowie, Brexit, Donald Trump), perhaps milk perfumes are here to save us all.

So what does 2017 have in store for milk perfumes? Well, Serge Lutens are launching a milk fragrance, Alaïa are combining almond milk and musk in Alaïa Blanche Eau de Parfum… oh, and former The Voice USA contestant Melanie Martinez is bringing out a strawberry milk perfume called Cry Baby Perfume Milk to complement her upcoming album, Cry Baby. You read that right.

The milk craze is coming, and I predict a riot. It’s time to wave goodbye to this year’s trend of rose (it was great getting to know you) because milk is taking over. And since I’ve got really friendly with milk scents this week, it’s time to admit that I may just be a convert. The world is well and truly changing, people – and whether you like it or not, milk scents will be a part of it…

Image: IStock

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