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Sweet Smell of Success

Ken Maury has discovered the sweet smell of success that can happen on a pressroom floor. Mr. Maury is Vice President-Fragrance Development for Orlandi Laboratories. Orlandi works with many of the premier fragrance customers in the world to introduce new perfumes to the consumer. Mr. Maury's division is responsible for formulating the slurry that replicates the perfume's signature notes for use in fragrance strips, a cost-efficient medium to promote the product. He is used to working with some of the pickiest noses in the business - a scent on paper substrate can take up to a year to get approved.

A high-end leather goods retailer, along with the expertise of a well-known American fragrance customer of Orlandi, recently introduced a signature perfume for women called Poppy. It was Mr. Maury's responsibility as point man to make sure its sophisticated scent translated faithfully from perfume bottle to inline printing process.

The more complex the fragrance, the more challenging it is to replicate. His company utilizes microencapsulation: "little eggs," or capsules, that hold even tinier "yolks of perfume base oil," explains Mr. Maury. Too many capsules will rip the paper; too little and the minute capsules won't break and release their fragrant yolks. To top things off, the fragrance customer mandated a "miniscule" fragrance deposit window that was far from the norm. It is not unheard-of for Mr. Maury and his associates to spend many months making sure everything is perfect: from slurry, to slurry-on-special-paper, to final okay from a number of stakeholders. Luckily, the staff at the fragrance customer okayed the fragrance check (step 1) after the fifth try, less than half the usual.

Then, with input from Mr. Maury, the press team performed the delicate inline tinkering that converted the slurry and paper to four-color, full-page fragrance inserts. During this step Orlandi personnel visited the plant for a dual press check that included a color okay and a scent okay. After a smooth two-thumbs-up, the Poppy fragrance strips were printed in three separate runs totaling 15 million, and bound off-line into as many copies of seven major fashion magazines.

In a final step, fragrance time pulls occurred hourly throughout the 14-day print run. The pulls - actual samples taken from loaded palettes of inserts waiting to be shipped across the country - were sent in batches to the noses at the fragrance customer for one last, definitive sniff. Not one fragrance time pull was rejected, a feat that duly impressed Mr. Maury, a 26-year veteran in the industry. He recalls the pressroom staff "blew me away" with their grasp of the high standards that were expected throughout the project.

"Not just any printer can jump up and say 'We can do fragrance.' Quad can," says Mr. Maury.

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