In a year that saw the release of a film about the evils of sugar, mainstream scent compositions seemed to keep getting sweeter and sweeter. Perhaps that's not surprising: I guess if people can't eat the stuff, they want to walk around in a permanent fog of it. Jokes aside, the increased calorie content of our perfumes served as a useful symbol of the fragrance industry's behaviour across the whole of 2015. In a nutshell, it continued to play it safe and pander to the lowest common denominator.
A few other details and near-trends rose up from the sticky syrup of the last 12 months. One of these was the greater prominence of musks in mainstream scents. It goes without saying that they've been present in perfumes for decades (and that, surprise surprise, they're getting more sugary too). However, in several pieces of work (notably Clinique's Aromatics In White) they were pushed to the foreground with an insistence we hadn't seen for a while. In most western cultures their odour profile denotes safety and comfort, so perhaps their heightened presence is an artistic response to a political climate that's even more uncertain than it was a couple of years ago. Having said that, I'd love to know the socio-cultural reason for the interminable (and depressing!) use of synthetic sandalwoods and ambers in so many masculine scents. Maybe that's also about safety: the safety of keeping in with the crowd.