THE MAN

Michael Edwards:

“The perfume
experts’ expert”

EVELYN LAUDER

Fragrance expert, author and industry ambassador Michael Edwards has made many significant contributions to the fragrance industry over the past three decades.

From the Fragrances of the World® guidebook (also known as “The Fragrance Bible”) to the unique encyclopaedic online database Fragrancesoftheworld.Info, to the industry respected Fragrance Wheel—he offers such a wealthy source of information that the fragrance industry did not hesitate to recognise him twice with a highly prestigious FiFi award.

Edwards is uncompromising in his desire to retain the impartiality of his classifications and accepts no sponsorship or fees for listing or classifying new fragrances.

Fragrances of the World Fragrances of the World
Fragrances of the World

THE EARLY YEARS

Michael Edwards: Innovator, author, industry ambassador, evaluator, and in the words of Evelyn Lauder, “the perfume experts’ expert.”

In developing a guide for fragrance retailers in 1983, which categorised just 323 fragrances in total, Michael made his first leap into what would become the industries ‘go to’ reference guide.

His aim, “to make fragrance selection an exciting journey rather than a difficult chore,” changed fragrance vending forever.

Fragrances of the World® is now in its 32nd edition and considered an industry bible by perfumers, industry professionals, journalists and fragrance connoisseurs. This year, the annual classified over 8,000 fragrances including 900 new releases – making it the industry’s most comprehensive reference. It remains the only independent and impartial guide, with Michael accepting no advertising or fees for fragrance listings.

Edwards developed the Fragrance Wheel, an olfactory ‘map’ explaining relationships between 14 fragrance families. The wheel has since become a universal icon of perfume classification and essential selling tool.

"The stars of the fragrance world are many and varied. None, however, has shone more brilliantly for almost thirty years than Michael Edwards,” Annette Green, President Emeritus of The Fragrance Foundation.

THE WORK

“For me, Fragrances of the World® is more than a guide book...It is the reference book for our industry.”

Mark Behnke, Colognoisseur.com

Each year Michael and his team travel the world to collect a vast amount of information from the industry to include in the Fragrances of the World the guidebook and the online database.

In 2005 Edwards introduced FragrancesoftheWorld.Info - the only fragrance database that sorts and cross-references over 21,000 fragrances by classifications, pyramid and accord notes, perfumers and bottle designers, bottle images, house and corporate groups, gender, country, and year of launch. The online database offers such a wealthy source of information that the industry recognised Michael twice with the highly prestigious FiFi award for Technological Breakthrough.

It is “a monumental work, indispensable to any serious student of fragrance, whether professional or dilettante,” wrote critic Luca Turin. “It is quite simply the only comprehensive, historically accurate, factually reliable and artistically consistent database of fragrance in existence. Michael Edwards is the Linnaeus of perfume.”

Today, Edwards is a nomad by necessity. He divides his time between Sydney, Paris, London and New York in order to stay abreast of the market, keep in touch with the avalanche of new launches - from just 130 in 1993 to more than 1,600 in 2016 Edwards and his team evaluate and classify every new fragrance and cross-check their classifications with the brands and the perfumers to ensure the accuracy of the listings.

As Edwards chooses to cover new fragrance markets - Latin America, Middle East, and Asia - the scope of his work continues to expand, yet he is undeterred and is passion remains constant:

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"As a designer of perfume bottles since 1959, I frequently use Michael's bible to research dates of my own creations"

Pierre Dinand
© MICHAEL EDWARDS 2017