Fabulous Fragrances of the World: a conversation with Jan Moran

Jan MoranJan Moran is the author of two volumes on fragrance, Fabulous Fragrances I and II, and the creator of her own fragrance, appropriately called Fabulous. Along with Michael Edwards, the author of Fragrances of the World, she is poised to launch a new online database, Fabulous Fragrances of the World, (see yesterday) designed to provide comprehensive fragrance information to retailers and journalists.

Please tell us how and when you first became interested in fragrance, and what were a few of your early favorites?
My grandmother and mother sparked my earliest interest in fragrance. We shared many favorites: Shalimar, Chanel No. 5, Vol du Nuit, Miss Dior, Nuit de Noël.

Your first book, Fabulous Fragrances I, appeared in 1994 and was followed by Fabulous Fragrances II in 2000. I understand that you were originally not able to find a publisher, so you founded your own publishing house. What convinced you that the book would be a success, and do you think you will ever publish a third volume?
Having spoken with many consumers before writing my book, I came to understand their questions and concerns, and enjoyed helping them find just the right fragrances. When I wrote my first book, I held firm to the belief that others would share my enthusiasm for perfume, and I am privileged that they do. As for a third book? Absolutely, but it might have a different format from Fabulous Fragrances I & II.

Your own fragrance, Fabulous, was released in 1997. Was the process of creating Fabulous easier or harder than you thought it would be, and do you think it changed the way you perceived the fragrance industry, or perhaps even altered the way you evaluated other fragrances?
Perfume creation is a fascinating journey. Though my background is in both business and the arts, I thrive most in the creative realm. Creating a perfume heightened my understanding of and appreciation for perfumers and fragrance entrepreneurs.

Anyone who has ever shopped at a perfume counter knows what a bewildering experience it can be, and how rarely salespeople are able to offer helpful advice. Why do you think it is so hard for retailers to recommend the right perfume to a customer, and how will Fabulous Fragrances of the World help?
Today, retailers simply have many more fragrances. To put it in perspective, in the decade of 1960 to 1970, 77 fragrances for women and men were introduced, according to The Fragrance Foundation. In 1994, the year my first book debuted, 90 new fragrances came to market. And in 2004? Based on our data in Fabulous Fragrances of the World.Info, 467 new fragrances were launched. We now have more than 4,600 fragrances in our database. Salespeople can’t possibly keep all of this information in their heads, however knowledgeable and well-read they might be. Besides our books, the new program that Michael Edwards and I created offers instant advice, reviews, and powerful search-and-sort features that are easy and fun to use. With this tool at their fingertips, any salesperson can be an instant expert. Quite simply, it’s designed to enhance the shopping experience, giving shoppers more information in an easy-to-use format.

Can you name five fragrances that you think every perfume fan should try at least once? And if you could bring back one discontinued fragrance, what would you choose?
Only five? I can’t possibly keep to a list that short! My advice: Perfume is like literature; begin with the classics. Then, sample the niche brands as well as the mega-brands. As to discontinued scents, the three contemporary fragrances I receive the most requests for—and would like to see revived for that reason—are: Anne Klein II, Deneuve, and Cher’s Uninhibited. Though, like Luca Turin, I’d love to revisit the original Dior perfumes. Still, times change, and we must change with them. Why cry over the past when there are so many lovely fragrances to enjoy…and that didn’t exist a few decades ago? Imagine how our ancestors would have loved the selection available today!

Fabulous Fragrances of the World will debut in New York on September 27, at the Health & Beauty America Expo. For those of you lucky enough to be in San Francisco during the upcoming Fragrance Week, Jan Moran will be holding a discussion and book signing at the Nordstrom near Union Square on October 18 from 12-3.

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38 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Great interview R! She sounds sensible.

    I have not read Ms. Moran's books and have not tried her fragrance. Shame on me! Can you tell me more about her perfume and the books? I have read elsewhere that people do like her books etc..

    Thanks!

    Hugs!

  2. Anonymous says:

    martha stewart is also having a book signing at BN at Union, completely off topic but its true. October 10th or something like that. She was in “camp cupcake” which fantasy by britney spears have cupcake accord so there I connected it to perfume

  3. Anonymous says:

    A wonderful interview with a gracious lady, Robin! Thanks for this nice surprise this morning! I have corresponded with Countess Jan several times, to ask her questions about perfumes or notes, and she always answers me with kindness and friendliness. Her own perfume is a true delight, in the classic Oriental style. I have used her books thousands of times.

    I find it fascinating that she recommends Deneuve! Everyone knows that's my HG.

    Thanks for this great interview!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I hold Jan Moran responsible for sparkling my interest in perfume. I read a couple of her descriptions on perfumart.com site and had to get her book. There was no looking back after that. Thank you for this interview, R.!

  5. Anonymous says:

    So interesting! Many thanks, NST.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wish them great success with their database endeavor. As she noted, there are just *so* many new perfumes out there, it's hard to keep track.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Shame on me too, N, as I haven't tried Fabulous either. The books are very helpful…not critical reviews, really, but more like an overview of each scent, often with interesting little backstories & the like, and she always has the complete list of notes which I find very helpful.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, I do wish I could be in San Fran that week!

  9. Anonymous says:

    P, she is very gracious and helpful. I will have to get my hands on that Deneuve one of these days!

  10. Anonymous says:

    M, it is good to have someone to blame, LOL!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks L!

  12. Anonymous says:

    A, if the pace of new releases increases much, I'll have to give up…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thanks R for this. I will look for them. I have many books on perfumes and perfumery and I checked her website and ironically I seem to have most of the other books listed on that site but not hers.

    Hugs!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Robin, our Kaufmann's is right now in the process of becoming a Macy's. They started in August. And this Fall, according to an SA there whom I know very well, no less than 21 new fragrances will appear at the counters. Some are already there. It is great! I may not have Malles or Serges within reach, but there is still plenty of good juice that is.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lucky, lucky you!! The closest store to me is a Strawbridges, and a small one at that. The selection is meagre.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Great interview, R! As always, you ask such great questions. I did not realize that the program has not debuted officially already, but it will interesting to see how it develops in the future.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I wore Fabulous today in honor of Jan! LOL I had the honor of meeting her while working at the fragrance company that created Fabulous. And have communicated with her since. I thought she was going to be a snobby, rich woman, but she is one of the most warm and giving people and so very kind.

    Now, let's get to Fabulous. Robin, I can send you some if you'd like to test it. It's a gorgeous oriental and I'm sure you've read about it in her book, FF. If you like Opium and Coco, you will more than likely LOVE Fabulous! It truly IS!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank you V. I will be waiting anxiously for the “personal” version geared towards the perfume fans rather than retailers :-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Interesting article. I would have thought she would pick 3 classics to revive. She sounds down to earth. Thanks R.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, R, for yet another great interview. And thanks for asking her what some early faves were – I always find that such an interesting question.

    I do hope she decides to offer a third volume soon. Paging through her books is a real treat. The temptation is to go ahead and look up your faves first, but then I find as I do that I end up reading about scents I would have never discovered.

    I found her ones to revive very interesting, as usually people mention ones that are much older, like those from the 20s and 30s. Deneuve, huh? I know this one has some devotees, but now I'm really curious.

  21. Anonymous says:

    P, You are so sweet to offer! I have to admit that while I admire both Opium and Coco, I don't wear either. Do you think that knocks me out of the running for Fabulous?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yes, actually I thought it was interesting that those were the 3 she gets the most requests for.

  23. Anonymous says:

    K, I am going to have to look up Deneuve myself. Can't imagine a celebrity more worthy of a fragrance — certainly more so than what we get these days!

  24. Anonymous says:

    The three she mentioned that she'd like to have revived are all on the LongLostPerfumes.com site. Anyone know if they're good representations?

  25. Anonymous says:

    I have two of these — Cannes (Deneuve) and Duality (Anne Klein II) — and I love them, but I can't say how close they are to the originals. I never smelled AKII and although I have a wee dab of Deneuve somewhere, I've never done a wrist-to-wrist comparison. I do know that some Deneuve devotees have compared them and consider Cannes quite a good dupe once it dries down; the slight difference is in the topnotes. And like the other LLP fragrances, Cannes seems to improve as it ages in the bottle.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I have a lovely little bottle of Fabulous. Its the first scent I ever bought on the internet. A nice oriental.

    I'm glad you interviewed Jan Moran. She's an interesting woman. Nice job R.

  27. Anonymous says:

    great interview, Robin! I wonder where the “Countess” comes from?

    • cardacisse says:

      I was curious about Jan Moran’s title (‘Countess of Lemnos’), as others have also queried this here in the past. I managed to find some information about her geneological background in Wikipedia (http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%A4%CE%B6%CE%BF%CE%BD_%CE%91%CE%BD%CF%84%CF%89%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%AC%CE%B4%CE%B7%CF%82). It seems she’s the great-grand-daughter of Sir John Antoniades, who was born in Lemnos in 1818 and became a successful merchant and banker in Egypt. He was also a great benefactor of the Greek community in Egypt as well as in his beloved Lemnos. However, apart from this association, there is no indication of a ‘Count(ess) of Lemnos’ title given to the family and passing down to Mrs Moran. Nevertheless, her books are great for all the perfume lovers out there!

  28. Anonymous says:

    She's an American girl with an MBA from Harvard — a lovely person and a very smart businesswoman, I think.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Thanks L. And wow, your first online scent :-)

  30. Anonymous says:

    Thanks! Jan Moran is the Countess of Lemnos, but that is all I know.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Regarding LongLostPerfumes and their dupes, I've tried Crepe De Chine side by side with my real parfum, and it's a dead ringer. Cannes is the best of the Deneuve dupes out there, but not right when you get the bottle. Let it sit for a few months. It gets closer to the real thing as it ages. I've heard that Anarchy is dead on for Chaos, too. They seem to do a good job in duping. I just wish they would offer those smaller bottles like they used to.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I just joined this list because I have been looking for Deneuve for 10-12 years. It was never sold in Canada, but I bought it in Seattle back in the '80s. Whenever I wore it, I constantly had glowing compliments. It is a wonderful warm, deeply feminine fragrance, without being too floral. I have been trying to find a way to get it brought back, and am hoping that Jan Moran can offer advice. I have just never found anything else like it.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi Susan, and welcome! I hope you saw the last comment in this list which offers some advice about dupes for Deneuve. Other than that, you might try asking your question on the forum at Jan Moran's website, http://www.fabulousfragrances.com. Good luck!

  34. MrLenny says:

    I must thank Mrs. Jan Moran for creating this book. She put my thoughts, my hopes, my loves into one book, and it is so true, I cannot get enough of these two fabulous fragrances books 1 & 2. I look forword to the new book, and Mrs. Moran perhaps you do and or don’t remember our conversation we had 4 years ago. I had spoken with you about me wanting to create my very own fragrance. Remember? It was a great talk and I found you to be such a lady, elegant, and refined, you helped me along so well, and you knew just how to answer my questions. You truly are a ” Class Act ” God bless you Mrs. Moran and I hope to one day talk again, your ” Fabulous Fragrant Fan ” Mr.Lenny……..

  35. MrLenny says:

    Mrs. Moran, could I ask you where can I locate a bottle of your Fabulous Parfum? My mother loved it, and we cannot find it anymore, so please help me, thank you, Mr. Lenny……

    • Robin says:

      It’s highly unlikely that Ms. Moran will see your comment here…you might want to try contacting her through her website.

  36. justawriter says:

    Hi Robin…just thought I’d reach through time to say to Mr Lenny, “of course I remember you!”. Contact me through my website, http://www.janmoran.com. Would love to hear from you–and others! Keep up the wonderful work, Robin. I’m a huge fan!

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