Although organic perfumes are eco-friendly, they are first and foremost fine fragrances. At least, that's what Honore des Pres, Kibio, and Jo Wood Organics want consumers to remember. The three niche organic cosmetic lines recently released scents that are Green as well as natural. 'They're more for the 'thinking customer',' says Quentin Higham, general manager of Jo Wood Organics, which is reformulating its original Body Dews, Amka and Usika lines to become 95 per cent organic. 'In terms of chemicals, people are asking themselves, 'Do I need those?' The same [awareness] that has people buying organic foods, is starting with fragrances now,' Higham says. However, companies have difficulty in marketing their products as both 'green' and 'luxurious'. 'It's hard to associate luxury with green,' admits Honore des Pres founder Christian David. 'Our objective was not to create something organic, but to create a scent with lots of emotion,' he says. 'The perfumes are very different; you forget that they are organic.' Honore des Pres launched a collection of five high-end unisex eau de toilettes at the end of last year, while Kibio, part of the Clarins Group, released a 100 per cent organic eau de parfum as an addition to their skincare line. 'It has an olfactory structure similar to 'real', not organic, fragrances,' says Kibio marketing director Julie Wainberg, who compares the brand with fragrances such as Shalimar by Guerlain. Upmarket perfumer Patyka says it has tried to connect the luxury and organic niches for the past six yeas. It was a challenge at first, says the brand's spokeswoman, Clarisse Tupin. 'However, the organic element is a plus,' she says. 'People buy our products even if they're not into organic things.' Honore des Pres fuses two famous areas in Paris: the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, home to virtually every major global fashion house, and the existentialist hub, Saint-Germain-des-Pres, The brand engaged French perfumer Olivia Giacobetti, who has formulated scents for houses such as Guerlain and Hermes. 'When we pitched Olivia Giacobetti, we only explained what kinds of emotions we wanted for the perfumes,' David says. 'At the end, I told her, 'By the way, I just want to warn you that we also want them to be all natural'.' The new fragrances by Honore des Pres, as well as those by Jo Wood Organics and Kibio, have been approved by Ecocert, an internationally recognised certification organisation that ensures the ingredients, formulas, and even the packaging are organic. Certification usually takes between three to six months, says Ecocert cosmetics and eco-products manager, Valerie Lemaire. Ecocert's testing is designed to guarantee organic products, she says. 'We want people to know that when something is certified by Ecocert that it is pesticide-free, doesn't come from petrochemicals, has ecological packaging and that the labels clearly state the ingredients,' she says. The certification process 'can be laborious', says Higham. 'We had to back up every ingredient, list the supplier, make sure it comes from a renewable crop and has no chemicals,' he says. In 2008 only five perfume companies 'made it through' testing, says Lemaire. Organic perfumes have a different chemistry, she says. 'The larger molecules which come from petrochemistry [chemicals derived from petroleum or natural gas] are the ones that help a fragrance last throughout the day; organic perfumes use very light molecules, so they are less stable,' Lemaire says. This explains why consumers shouldn't expect classics such as Chanel No.5 or Shalimar to go green soon, she says. 'It's impossible,' Lemaire says. 'The traditional perfumes would not smell or be the same if they tried to replace the existing ingredients with organic ones.' However, Lemaire hopes that in one or two years, scent-extraction techniques will evolve and more organic fragrances can be created. 'The new organic luxury perfumes have fewer materials available to work with,' she says. David agrees. 'For regular perfumes, you have 2,000- up to 3,000 possible ingredients, but to pass Ecocert inspections you only have about 300 ingredients to choose from,' he says. The source of these ingredients must be vouched for to ensure their origins are plant-based and eco-friendly. Costs for organic essential oils can be 20 to 50 per cent higher than their synthetic counterparts, experts say. However, organic perfumers have already begun to develop extraction methods to lower costs. The effects of synthetic chemicals used in traditional fragrances are still being debated; some experts believe they're not harmful in small doses, while others advise pregnant women to forgo such fragrances for fear they will harm their unborn babies. Higham argues that women shouldn't take the risk. 'There isn't a reason to do so,' he says. 'People can have similar fragrances for similar prices and without the chemicals.' A nose for nature Jo Wood Organics Amka and Usiku eau de toilettes are available online at jowoodorganics.com. They retail for HK$385/50ml. Amka, which means 'to wake' in Swahili, has Iranian rose otto and Egyptian jasmine, top notes of neroli and bergamot, green mandarin and sweet orange blossom, and a base of cedarwood. Usiku or 'night,' includes natural vanillin, coriander and cloves, top notes of rosemary and pine needle, hints of cardamom and hot ginger, and a base of Moroccan cedarwood, patchouli, and vetiver. Honore des Pres Five unisex eau de toilettes are available online at honoredespres.com. They range in price from HK$1,290 to HK$1,490/100ml. Sexy Angelic (with notes of angelica seed and calisson candy) and Bonte's Bloom (sunflower and safe leaf accords), while unisex, skew towards feminine. Chaman's Party includes notes of Haitian vetiver root and Egyptian holy basil and, according to the brand, has aphrodisiac qualities. Nu Green incorporates hints of mint and tarragon to mimic the feeling of floating without clothing in the water. Honore's Trip's signature blend includes lemon, lime and orange. Kibio The eau de parfum is available online at kibio.com. It retails for HK$415/30ml. The scent's oriental chypre juice includes notes of ylang-ylang, vanilla, lemon, lavandin, benjoin, patchouli, tonka bean and geranium. Patyka The perfumes are available at the Island Shangri-La's health club, Hong Kong, and at patyka.com. They retail for HK$1,300/50ml. Hesperide incorporates lavender and citrus; Ambre (left) includes vanilla and bergamot; Boise has Virginia cedar and sapin baumier; and Chypre incorporates ylang-ylang and geranium.