£2M Investment in R&D Centres for the world’s leading ‘Fragrance-Only’ Fragrance House


The world’s leading fragrance-only fragrance house, CPL Aromas, has launched a £1 million scientific research centre in Northamptonshire. The CPL Aromas Research & Development (R&D) Centre is situated in Ironstone Way, Brixworth, near Northampton. In addition to the Brixworth facility, the Group has created a similar R&D Centre in Indonesia, as part of a recent £2 million scientific investment programme by the company.


These new testing and development sites for fragrance materials are centres of excellence for product performance and original research. The Northamptonshire site is a state-of-the-art facility which further strengthens the company’s world-class research capabilities via its existing centres around the world. CPL Aromas has opened R&D Centres with similar test facilities in Dubai; at the Group’s global UK headquarters in Bishop’s Stortford; and in Malaysia, all of which were completed in the last 18 months. The company also has similarly sophisticated R&D facilities in Hong Kong and in Colombia.


The new Northamptonshire facility is a dedicated R&D function.  Mr Tim Whiteley, Global Research & Development Director for CPL Aromas, explains: “The important aspect of these investments for our clients is that the R&D department now has facilities dedicated solely to R&D. The R&D Division was previously sharing facilities with other divisions. Now, with this dedicated facility on-site for use by the analytical and R&D teams, we can plan and develop testing programmes to our own timelines”.

The facility is equipped to ensure that the site is completely controllable in terms of the odour of the environment – a factor that is further supported by being a separate and dedicated facility.  “Because there is only testing and not manufacturing, there is no tainting from the odours produced by a manufacturing facility,” said Tim Whiteley.  


The new facility has the very latest ‘odour scrubbers’ which means that fragrances can be assessed in the same space within a couple of hours of another scent being tested, as the odour scrubbers are able to quickly remove any odours from the initial testing. This makes the team more efficient and effective: the ability to remove taint swiftly and completely makes this akin to a ‘clean room’. It provides a ‘blank canvas’ within which fragrances can be evaluated for smell and performance, an essential requirement for scientists and perfumers.

The Centre enables testing and development across an array of product sectors as it comprises testing facilities for household care products, air care, fine fragrance and personal care, and headspace analysis as well as gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis can be conducted there.


The R&D team has at its disposal the following facilities:  

  • Five auto-flushing toilet rooms with sinks: allowing testing of rim-blocks, toilet cleaners & in cistern products. Sinks are used to test washing up liquids as well as foam bath and shower gel in-room fragrance performance.
  • Ten cubicles for air-care evaluation, mainly including testing of CPL Aromas’ own Aromaguard malodour counteractant fragrance technology;
  • There are three large identical bathrooms each fitted with a toilet, hair wash station and a bath with tiled floor. Tiled floors enable the team to evaluate the performance of floor cleaner & all-purpose cleaners in a controlled and comparable environment. Bathrooms are fitted with a fully controllable airflow system allowing the researchers to simulate variable air change scenarios over variable timeframes;
  • An Emanation Room is a specially designed room allowing the measurement of the emanation of air freshener products under controlled air flow and temperature conditions;
  • The Encapsulation Lab is a laboratory that has been fitted out with reactors for the creation of liquid encapsulated fragrances. A bench-top spray dryer also allows the scientists to transform liquid fragrances into various types of powders;
  • The centre’s R&D laboratory allows for the development of new formulations and formats;
  • Laundry and dish-wash products are assessed and developed with the help of the Laundry Room which is fitted with four washing machines, two dishwashers and dryers. It includes a Laundrometerwhich helps to test simultaneously up to 20 samples under controlled conditions. Because the Laundrometer enables washing and evaluation of very small product samples, this is efficient, not only in terms of time, but also use of water, energy and product. It also allows us to have fully controllable and comparable test conditions to better assess a fragrances true performance in use;
  • Finally, the Stability Room is fitted with various ovens and an accelerated Xenon Arc UV test machine.


All rooms, including the perfumers’ office and the conference room, are fitted with odour scrubbers and air conditioning for a good control of air flow, odour and temperature. The wall surfaces are also made of specialised material designed to minimise any odour retention.

Central to all of this are the highly trained teams – there are three people in the Analytical Department and six in the R&D team (with another to be recruited soon)  reporting to Mrs Veronique Bradbury, a research chemist who is the Group Technical Manager. A Senior Perfumer is also  based at the Centre.

Tim Whiteley said: “This significant investment across the Group’s facilities gives our development teams a new level of efficiency and flexibility enabling us to outperform many industry benchmarks. Importantly, our customers will benefit hugely and in turn so will the consumers of the products we help to fragrance”.

Mr Whiteley adds: “Whether we are responding to a brief from our clients, developing formulae and new technologies or undertaking basic stability testing of fragrances in products, the new facilities are already enabling us to perform smarter and faster. The other exciting part is the Encapsulation Lab – the first time we have had a dedicated space for this highly specialised scientific work”.




CPL Aromas is an international family-owned Fragrance House with 17 sites around the world*. Whereas many companies in the field develop flavours as well as fragrances, CPL Aromas, which is responsible for many of the world’s top fine fragrances, is the leading company creating only fragrances. These fragrance compounds are used not only in fine fragrances but also in household cleaning, laundry, air-care and personal care products. It employs some 500 people and serves customers in 100 countries. Earlier this year, the company refreshed its brand with a new logo and the strapline “Creating fragrances that ignite the imagination”.
*CPL Aromas has sites in: UK, US, France, Italy, Dubai, Germany, Turkey, Hong Kong, Colombia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.