Forget sneakers, Gen Z kids are now buying $500 fragrances


When it comes to luxury fragrances, few brands capture the essence of Italian elegance like Xerjoff. Established in 2006 by Sergio Momo, the lineup has quickly risen to prominence in the world of haute perfumery, so much so it’s now pulling in a whole new (and rather unexpected) target audience – teenage boys.
Image: Shayben Moussa

It seems gone are the days of Lynx Africa assaulting the nostrils of unsuspecting teachers around the country. Australian high schoolers have instead been swept up in a growing social media trend of acquiring high end fragrances, seemingly with no expense spared. This new generation of fragrance aficionados isn’t just about smelling good either, they’re about understanding and appreciating the art of perfumery, according to Xerjoff’s Global Commercial Director Alberto Pasquarelli.

“In the past, we were targeting 30 to 60 year old’s – but thanks to TikTok and other social media, we see kids as young as 12 that come in to buy our perfumes,” he tells Forbes Australia.

Sitting in the dining room at Bondi Icebergs, Pasquarelli hands over a bottle of Xerjoff Erba Pura Eau De Perfume that he says teenagers all over the world are now infatuated with. A 100ml bottle retails for $499.

“It’s a very cool moment in time that kids now think niche perfumes are just as cool as sneakers.”

Xerjoff’s Alberto Pasquarelli

And despite the hefty price tags, it seems these boys are willing to spend big on their scent portfolios.

“It’s a worldwide trend, not only in Australia, but everywhere. After 10 minutes standing in a store, a kid comes in looking for a very specific fragrance. Kids these days know nearly everything about perfumes, it’s incredible to witness.”

While it might be hard to get your head around the idea of a group of teenage boys trading sprays of everything from Creed to Tom Ford, the proof is in the numbers. According to a 2024 survey by Piper Sandler, there has been a 26% increase in fragrance spending among teenage boys in the US over the past year.

Image: Shayben Moussa
A nose for quality

The origins of Xerjoff are deeply rooted in founder Sergio Momo’s passion for perfumes, inspired by his father’s extensive travels and perfume collection.

Since its founding in 2007, Xerjoff Group has transformed from a niche brand into a formidable player in the luxury perfumery market. Starting with a singular vision by Sergio Momo and Domenica Salvo in Turin, Italy, the company expanded its offerings to include the revered brands Casamorati and Kemi.

Today, the brand’s fragrances are available in over 100 countries and 650 selected stores, including seven monobrand boutiques in luxury hubs like Monaco, Milan, Lisboa, Dubai, London, and Torino.

Xerjoff Global Commercial Director Alberto Pasquarelli. Image: Shayben Moussa

The history and quality was there. But for Pasquarelli and Xerjoff, it was a chance conversation with Nick Smart, the owner of distribution company Agence de Parfum, that saw the brand start to gain traction in Australia.

“Not so many years ago we had only one single customer here in Australia. One single store,” Pasquarelli said. “And then someone made me meet with Nick Smart and we started talking together, this was during COVID, and now after three years, here we are.”

Smart’s entrepreneurial journey began with the establishment of Libertine Parfumerie in 2008, initially launched in his former legal office in Brisbane. The brand quickly distinguished itself by offering high-end, niche fragrances that were otherwise unavailable in Australia.

In October last year, Smart opened the doors to his flagship store in Paddington, which houses some of the world’s most exotic fragrances.

Smart recently launched the Libertine Parfumerie flagship boutique located at The Intersection Paddington. Image: Supplied

Xerjoff Signature Collections

Xerjoff’s portfolio is rich with collections that cater to a variety of preferences, each with its unique narrative:

XJ 17/17 Collection: Known for its complexity and luxurious presentation, this collection features fragrances housed in handcrafted stone bottles. Each scent is a carefully curated blend of rare ingredients, reflecting the brand’s commitment to excellence.

Shooting Stars Collection: Inspired by the beauty of celestial events, this collection captures the essence of meteorites. Each fragrance is named after a famous comet, offering a diverse range of olfactory experiences from vibrant and fresh to deep and mysterious.

Join The Club Collection: This series of fragrances encapsulates the essence of exclusive social clubs, with each scent representing different themes such as sailing, theatre, and horse racing. It aims to immerse the wearer in a unique and sophisticated atmosphere.

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