Ten years after the passing of superstar Whitney Houston, the singer’s estate has released a fragrance in her honor. Through executor Marion “Pat” Houston, the estate partnered with Scent Beauty and perfumer Firmenich to produce the Whitney Houston Signature Fragrance.
The new scent arrives in late October, just two months ahead of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” an estate-approved biopic about the singer’s life.
“Whitney Houston has been a pioneer in the entertainment space and a true inspiration to women, says Steve Mormoris, the founder and CEO of Scent Beauty, in a press release. “We wanted to continue to bring her legacy to life through a scent that encompasses all that she has accomplished.”
Houston was an accomplished performer, holding the honor of being the most-award female artist in history. She also set the still-standing record for the highest number of consecutive number ones on the Billboard Hot 100. Popular songs of hers include “Saving All My Love For You,” “The Greatest Love of All” and “How Will I Know.”
The vocalist had a deep love for fragrance, Pat Houston tells ESSENCE. “Whitney had a wardrobe of fragrances that she loved. Her favorite perfume was called Worth. But of course, with the wardrobe, fragrances like Bvlgari, Givenchy, Annick Goutal—she liked Petite Cherie..She was definitely a champion for aromatherapy, fragrances and her skin feeling soft. That was her.”
Of the upcoming scent, Pat says, “The fragrance notes are inspired by Whitney’s most beloved scents. “It’s a wonderful combination of fruity sparkling florals with the warm and woody dry down in this tall, elegant bottle.”
In addition to being available online through the Home Shopping Network, the fragrance will arrive on Scent Beauty’s site in November. An exclusive holiday gift set will be also launched at Walmart early November. The fragrance will then be available at Perfumania mid-November.
Ahead of the launch, ESSENCE spoke with Pat Houston about the special release.
ESSENCE: Walk me through the backstory of this upcoming fragrance. Did the estate contact Scent Beauty?
Pat Houston: It was actually our partner, Primary Wave. We partnered with Primary Wave back in 2019.
Whitney had never endorsed anything at all. The only thing she ever endorsed in her career of 30 years was the Marion P. Candles Inspired By Whitney Houston.
I’ve always known that she wanted to do fragrances. It was such a passion for both of us and we were so close to [the fragrance] project that I just didn’t have the energy or even think pursuing it because she was such a part of it [at the time of her passing]. But once we partnered with Primary Wave, we decided to build her brand beyond her music, which is something that she wanted to do. So with Scent Beauty along with their perfumer Firmenich, we created a fragrance that was close to all of the notes that Whitney loved.
Can you share more about the brand she was looking to build for herself?
Well, it was a brand away from music, which was fragrances. But she [also] loved sneakers. She loved trench coats. She had several conversations with Tim Snell, who was her stylist for about over 10 years or more. She spoke to him about stockings because she loved stockings. She talked about that a lot growing up, how going to church, her mother would always make her wear a pair of pantyhose.
There’s a lot of beautiful women out there in the world, but Whitney’s beauty was matchless, so was her voice, and she just wanted to take it to another level. I’m trying to make all of that come to fruition for her. That’s why we’re here.
How long has this fragrance line been in the works?
Actually, it was a very short period. I think it happened this year, 2022, when we decided, with CEO [of Scent Beauty], Steve Memorials, to review all the images of Whitney’s archives to inspire a creation.
It was very quick. Once we started going through all of the archives and discussing forms and colors, they observed the lavender, silver and the crystals [in her wardrobe], and Whitney’s love for being on stage. That’s where all the packaging inspiration came from. She loved the deep metallic purples because of her gospel roots. So it all started there with trying to create that inspiration, Whitney’s own personal style. So once that was done, it was just very easy to move forward with everything else.
What was the process of working with Firmenich?
It started with, like I said, going through the archives, trying to figure out what was her personal style. It actually starts with the notes, the fragrances. You have to put an A team together in order for that to happen. Just like with her music, how Clive Davis put the A team together and the end result was what you got with the seven number one hits and so forth and so on. The same as with Berman.
It was just having one of their leading perfumers create a signature scent that captured Whitney’s favorite notes. All of those notes came from those different perfumes I named earlier, which was very important. She loved pear leaves, herbs, kind of green notes, nuances of green. She also loved the fresh orange flavor. Gardenias were one of the favorites, too—the soft, floral, white notes in that particular scent. And of course, Jasmine, which was sweet. It’s like a bouquet. And of course the dry note is more or less cozy, warm. It’s rich—kind of a powdery type of feel. So once those notes were made, we captured her own signature scent.
What made 2022 the year to release this special fragrance?
We’ve been working on Whitney’s film since last year—the release of the film is this year. At this particular time, she’s extremely relevant. There’s a whole new generation out there that doesn’t know much about Whitney Houston beyond music. It’s kind of reintroducing her to a newer generation and just letting them know just how special she was.
The fragrance platform is very special because I know that she loved it. I can talk about our grandparents a little bit, how they used to make the old remedies for you when you were younger. I just think about her not using a typical store oil to go in the bathtub. She would use olive oil, just simple olive oil to go in the bathtub and she’d come out smelling very, very soft. And she would then lavish with a lotion or whatever. But she just loved having soft skin and smelling very nice.
What is the messaging behind this perfume?
I would tell anyone to wear Whitney Houston is to feel inspired and confident like Whitney. And she always loved to encourage women to embrace love within themselves, always.
I’m hopeful that when people, women, and when men buy it for their mothers or wives or sisters or whatever, actually they know they’re actually favoring one of Whitney’s favorite things: just loving yourself. Her favorite song was “The Greatest Love Of All.” And I always will attribute that line to this Scent Beauty product, her fragrance, Whitney, with her famous signature on the bottle.
That is so beautiful. This year marked 10 years since Whitney’s passing. In your words, what is her legacy?
Her legacy is her music always. Her brand is the bridge that connects to the newer generation. Whitney would always tell anyone, all I ever wanted to do was sing. And anything that she ever put her signature on, she believed in it. She totally, totally believed in it.
Shop the Whitney Houston Signature Fragrance on HSN here.