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In recent times, you find so many perfumes stacked up in designer stores. With the abundantly increasing number of choices, it has become so difficult to find your signature scent. While most people love to indulge in perfumes available in department stores; those that make headlines, there are also some, like me, that like to indulge in what we call ‘niche’ perfumes. Yes, I get that J’adore, Angel and Chanel No 5 are very much sought after and have topped the bestseller charts. But, do you really want to smell like everyone else?
Niche perfumes are perfumes made by independent perfume houses to cater to clients who seek something different. Why niche? Because niche scents are rare, unique and adds a sense of individuality to the scent. I also feel that niche perfumes are designed to be more creative due to fact that they are made by houses that focus solely on perfumes and perfumery products. Most niche brands have a history tied to it and as in recent times, have an artistic edge to them. Something else that distinguishes niche brands from your regular perfume brand is the store concept. Walking into a niche perfume store is an experience. One that you may be willing to pay hundreds for.
Another interesting aspect is that almost all niche brands create perfumes that are unisex. For me, this is ideal because it promotes equality. Niche perfumes cater to all kinds of people and prevent labelling a perfume, enabling each one to use what they desire. You may notice how different niche packaging is as compared to designer or mass market perfume brands. You may also notice the price tag that comes with such a bottle. Add up a fancy bottle, unique scent and a not so common name and you get a niche perfume. The question you need to ask your self is, ‘Is it really worth paying so much for a perfume that will eventually get over?’ I’d say yes. If you can afford it, why not? For me, people who use perfumes are like those who indulge in art. Nobody wants to buy the same art piece as everyone else. You buy something that you feel is different and has character. It is the same with perfumes.
Apparently, a lot of people think like me, because niche brands are becoming increasingly popular. As a result, Jo Malone, a brand that was once classified as niche, is now not so niche. Everybody wants to have their own scent. It is the feeling of smelling different, standing out and the mystery that comes along with it.
Today’s post is a list of 6 of my favourite niche perfume brands. These may not be the most popular; they are brands that I have personally smelled and visited stores of. These are on the list because I admire their concept and exclusivity.
1. Maison Francis Kurkdijan
Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian was born in Paris in 1969, to a family of Armenian descent. Francis Kurkdjian studied at the prestigious perfumery school in Versailles, France called ISIPCA. He first gained popularity with his perfume Le Male for Jean Paul Gaultier, which is, till date a best-seller. Since then, he has recieved various prestigious awards for his contribution to perfumery. In 2009, Francis Kurkdjian launched his own line, Maison Francis Kurkdjian. In a span of just seven years, MFK has become a popular couture name. As a current student at ISIPCA, I know well of Francis Kurkdijans success story and he is such a huge inspiration for me. What I love about his perfumes is the intensity in the composition. One whiff lets you in on so many scents, all at once.
Personal Favorites : Le Beau Parfum, A la Rose (one of the best rose scents I have ever smelled), APOM
The Byredo company was founded by Ben Gorham in Stockholm in 2006. Byredo products are made in Sweden, focusing on utmost quality. Ben Gorham comes from a non-perfumery background and uses his childhood experiences and memories as inspiration for his perfumes. Pierre Wulff is the perfumer who gave fumes to Gorham’s ideas. Fun fact : Ben Gorhams mother is of Indian origin. What I love about this brand are the interesting scents and minimalist packaging. Their scents are not overpowering, but suble and beautiful in their own way.
Personal Favorites : Bullion, Mojave Water, Pulp, Baudelaire
You may have read my previous review of Do Son by Diptyque. I am a huge fan of the brand and love all of their perfumes and candles. Diptyque is a French perfume house which was founded in 1961. This is another successful perfume brand that was founded by people who are not perfumers by profession. As of now, the brands scented candles and home fragrances division is more popular than their fine fragrance counterpart. Diptyque too, like Byredo, has minimalist black and white simple and elegant packaging. What I love about their perfumes is that they are super affordable, each of their scents are unique and that even their Eau de Toilette has amazing longevity and sillage.
Personal Favourites: Do Son, Philosykos, Olene, Ofresia
4. Editions De Parfum Frederic Malle
I cannot begin to express my love for this brand. This is my current favourite brand in terms of brand concept. Frederic Malle is brand that promotes and credits not the brand, but the perfumer and the perfume itself. The niche fragrance house Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle was founded by Frederic Malle in 2000. He belongs to a fragrance oriented family. His grandfather founded Christian Dior Perfumes, and mother worked as an Art Director for Dior. This brand is very special as the perfumes are packed in bottles that markets the name of the perfumer. This is a concept that no other brand in the industry has done so far. Most perfumes sold in the market today feature a celebrity or model to promote the scent. Frederic Malle has broken norms and managed to stand out creating its own unique trend.
Personal Favourites : Carnal Flower, Lipstick Rose, En Passant, Musc Ravageur
5. Atelier Cologne
Don’t be fooled by the name. This is not a brand that sells colognes. The idea behind the name is to express that all of the scents by Atelier Cologne have fresh, citrus and herbal notes as of cologne, sold as pure perfume. The concentration is far stronger than that of cologne. Atelier Cologne was founded in 2009 by Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel. The packaging is bottles of French glass with hand-made leather stoppers. What I love about the brand is the packaging and the gift options. Atelier Cologne offers personalized packaging which is not a common feature amongst mainstream fragrance brands. There is an option to engrave on their special leather case, intended for the 30ml bottle. I love the gift options. If I were gifting something, it would be a personalized Atelier Cologne set. Do check out their website to know more.
Personal Favourites : Pomelo Paradis, Orange Sanguine, Figuier Ardent
6. Parfum Beaute Serge Lutens
Serge Lutens started his career as a photographer and did various other jobs before he became known as a renownwed perfumer. He got his huge break when Shiseido hired him to design their packaging. After that, Shiseido also gave him his start to the perfumery industry. You may all have heard of the perfume Feminite Du Bois known to be a fruity and woody scent, one of its kind back in 1992. This was his first huge success.The brand Serge Lutens was founded in 2000, when Serge Lutens decided to go out on his own and create his own brand. He collaborated with perfumer Christopher Sheldrake at the time. Serge Lutens bottles are a blend of innovation and history. My favourite bottle is this particular type of bottle in their exclusive bottles collection.
I find it so special because it has such a vintage feel to it. The bottle does not have a spray ; instead the cap itself is used to apply on your body- in particular, your neck, wrists and the back of your ears. Love the feeling of using such a perfume. Something else I love about the brand is the creativity in the scent concepts. I love that there are so many varieties of scents available and they are all unique in the name and idea. For example, there is a perfume called Jeux de Peau, which means Game of Skin. It smells of food like French baguettes and of skin. Not that I want to smell of baguettes, but different is good. Serge Lutens is probably the most versatile brand I know in terms of variety of scents.
Personal Favourites: Chergui, Chypre Rouge, Feminite du Bois
I wanted to include other noted brands like L’artisan Parfumeur, By Kilian, Penhaligons, Acqua di Parma and Le Labo. But, having smelled almost all these brands, knowing the market needs and a little bit about perfumes, I’d say the six brands are the top niche brands of the moment. For me, what matters in perfumes is the presentation of the bottle, history behind the creation and beauty of the scent; complete these three qualities and you have a perfect fragrance. I definitely encourage you all to check out the websites of these brands. It’s very interesting. Hope you enjoyed reading the post!
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