Jun 26, 2013

Virginia Tech gets a new Scent

Virginia Tech (Wikipedia)

The vote is in.  Virginia Tech will be joining an exclusive group of colleges with their very own “signature scents” thanks to a promotion sponsored by Masik Collegiate Fragrances in which Tech students selected their favorite fragrances from among three specially-formulated women’s perfumes and three men’s colognes.

In a market dominated by sweatpants and t-shirts, Masik has taken logo wear to an all new level.  Since 2008, the high-end perfume manufacturer has been introducing a line of signature scents for some of the biggest names in higher education including Penn State, the University of North Carolina, Florida State, Auburn, and the University of Georgia.

And based on a “fragrance brief” describing elements of the school and its traditions, Masik’s expert team of perfumers, along with a little help from the Tech student body, has come up with two distinctive scents—one for men and one for women—designed to evoke memories of Blacksburg and its storied university.

"I think it's a great idea,” said David Wilson, associate director of the Tech bookstore, in a local TV interview. “Virginia Tech is a big brand. There's lots of merchandise. This is something that up till now hasn't been there."

To create just the right combination of fragrance and memory, Masik conducted campus visits, engaged in discussions with students and alums, and completed extensive independent research. 

And distinctive school-based characteristics that typically serve as inspiration for each university’s “signature scent” include:
  • School colors
  • Mascot spirit
  • Traditions and history
  • Landmarks and architectural style
  • Campus trees and flowers
  • Mission statements
  • College town character
  • Themes in the alma mater and fight songs
Sound familiar?  It appears that the perfume-making industry could easily provide a road map for prospective undergrads investigating college “fit.”

For Virginia Tech, Masik’s school-specific brief explored school colors described as Chicago maroon (red aromatics: apple, pomegranate) and burnt orange (mandarin citrus with smoky leather) and considered the HokieBird mascot, noted as one of the top college football mascots in the U.S.  Tech’s neo-Gothic architecture together with the traditions inspired by Skipper the Cannon and the annual Ring Dance were determined to add a backdrop of elegance and drama.

And so for men, the perfumers decided to test a blend of burnt orange aromatics (mandarin, orange blossom, ginger) and Virginia cedar or other wood aromatics.  The fragrance “feel” was designed to reflect the campus—dramatic architecture (bold aromatics such as peppercorn and patchouli), but also fresh aromatics for lightness of stone (crisp bergamot).

The women’s fragrances focused on a blend of soft wood and maroon inspired aromatics (sparkling red apple, pomegranate, rose, red hibiscus). In addition to bold aromatics (tamarind and jasmine) reflecting architecture and fresh aromatics for lightness of stone, a touch of elegance was added to honor the tradition of the ring ceremony (violet leaf or juicy white cherry).

And the winners as labeled in the bookstore competition were VT Strong (Virginia Tech for Him) and I Heart VT (Virginia Tech for Her).

In addition to Virginia Tech, Masik Collegiate Fragrances will be adding the University of South Carolina, Clemson, NC State, Ole Miss, Texas A and M, and the University of Kentucky to the line.  All will be launching on August 18 in campus bookstores—just in time for freshman move-in day.

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