Not everyone happens to live near a niche perfumery (or even a department store with a diverse selection) – and even if you do, it’s sometimes overwhelming to work out where to even begin.
That’s why we like to highlight houses you might not yet have tried, or perhaps have been curious about but didn’t want to spring for a full bottle before you’ve even sniffed any of their fragrances. And this, dear friends, is why perfume samplesare essential to fragrance lovers with noses hungry for more, more, MORE! (Scroll down to find out how to get your hands on these).
Today we’re going to focus on our pick of favourite fragrances from three niche houses, all of which you are able to try in the just-launched Precious Perfumes Discovery Box – containing NINETEEN fragrances. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: which of this small selection of dazzling gems will your spotlight hit first…?
Jovoy Paris Amber Premier is a stunning evocation of velvety, swathing warmth, featuring rose, spices and (of course) the amber accord that gave the fragrance its name. Golden, glimmering it wraps your skin in deliciousness, and you’ll be sniffing your wrist all day long.
Jovoy Paris Touche Finale plunges you into a world of glamour, fluffy mimosa brushing fruity rose, batting its eyelashes provocatively with flirty heliotrope. A re-interpretation of the classic Poudré, Jovoy describe it as ‘…a tribute to the seductive souls who each have their own rituals of preparation.’ Think dressing rooms, swansdown powder puffs and vintage lipstick. Mwah!
Widian Black I is an Arabian adventure of the senses, starting with a cool/ hot juxtaposition of cardamom, vivid cinnamon and languid drifts of incense as creamy sandalwood and smoky cypress lead you deeper into the journey. The deep and sensual base notes of musk and cedarwood really round this out, a perfect balance that leaves a lasting trail…
Widian Black II invites you to explore a secret garden filled with memories, blue skies beckoning you forth with notes of citrusy mandarin and lush plums swagged with roses. Smooth as silk sandalwood and soft musk whisper to a mysterious base of vanilla and moss, for a scented walk you’ll never want to end.
Widian Black III The third iteration of this opulent house opens with sparkling bergamot and an unusually fruity spearmint before utterly seducing you with supple, aristocratic leather (the ultra expensive kind) and a most elegant dry woodiness, almost transparent in its sophistication. Sweet vanilla, moss, and patchouli then become increasingly addictive as it warms with a throb.
Widian Black IV If subtle is your key to seduction, you’ll definitely be reaching for this graceful little number. Bergamot cuts through the sweetness of blackcurrant and plump prune as delicate rose petals and white flowers flutter to a downy base of vanilla and white musk infused with creamy leather and snuggly sandalwood.
Widian Black V Travelling back to the roaring 1920’s and Bright Young Things, immerse yourself in the breezy freshness of lemon and succulent peach sprinkled with spicy cinnamon. A flower garden at the heart proffers bouquets of tuberose, heady orange blossom and a solar accord (so trending!) on a refined, more-ish base of cedar, caramel and vanilla.
Fragrance Du Bois Oud Jaune is one of their best-selling scents, and you’ll soon discover why. Opening with wafts of exotic blossoms, you’ll dream to a breeze of monoi, ylang-ylang and luscious fruits before swooning to a heart of jasmine, orange blossom and white flowers. And in Precious Perfumes you get aFULL SIZEPerfume Pen to try, worth £39 alone!
With the Precious Perfumes Discovery Box, you get an astounding NINETEEN niche fragrances in all, two of them alone worth £36 each, plus the full sizeFRAGRANCE DU BOIS PERFUME PENworth another £39.To be honest, we’re not sure how we managed to fit so many in, so it would be madness not to get it (and some extra for presents) frankly. Hit that link to find out more and grab yours today!
Florals, but absolutely not as you know them, were the driving passion that launched British niche house Floral Street in to the perfume world, and we’re thrilled they are now celebrating their second birthday (and the sweet smell of success!) So let’s take a look at exactly why we think they’re blooming…
When we first encountered Floral Street, suffice to say we were blown away by their concept – and oh boy did they deliver in the execution of the fabulous new spins on floral fragrances. Within their standalone Covent Garden store having expanded into several other department stores around the U.K. (including John Lewis and Liverpool’s Harvey Nichols), and now, completely thrillingly, recently having been stocked in the mighty Sephora internationally!
Time-travelling backwards for a bit, our co-founder, Jo Fairley, has known Michelle Feeney for longer than either of them care to admit – back to Michelle’s time at the Estée Lauder Companies, and then at the helm of revolutionary tanning name St Tropez. So when she announced she was unveiling a fragrance line ‘built on the streets of London’, we were rather excited by the whole idea and the stunning reality…
Floral Street’s fragrances are as far from traditional (what some see as ‘old fashioned’) florals as it’s possible to get – each created by the star perfumer Jérôme Épinette, who is known for his mastery of natural ingredients. As Floral Street put it: ‘These are bunches – not bouquets. Ingredients, not notes. And it’s about ease, modernity and joy.’ Michelle adds: ‘My mission is to bring fine fragrance to the modern female – so that she might build an entire fragrance wardrobe, which can express the many facets of who she is.’
At the heart of each fragrance is a specific flower (sourced by the legendary fragrance house Robertet) – but each creation brings an unexpected twist, treated in a way that brilliantly ignites the senses.
The fragrance which most excited our editor, Jo, is Chypre Sublime: an utterly modern take on this sophisticated fragrance family, blending incense with Damask rose absolute, midnight violet, pink pepper and geranium, on a stunning base of benzoin, labdanum and olibanum which – as Floral Street nails it – ‘offers a resin-soaked wood table for the flowers to perch on. A fragrance for musicians, painters and poets.’ We absolutely knew this HAD to be included in our perfume pick for the Precious Perfumes Discovery Box.(Scroll down for more information and how to get your hands on the samples we chose!)
All of us in the office have recently been gravitating toward the daringly delicious Ylang Ylang Espresso: A strikingly modern and supremely wearable blend of red rose, ylang ylang and jasmine resting atop a soothing cloud of just-brewed coffee, fresh cream and Sichuan pepper – sustainably harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas. ‘A fragrance to get lost in’ they say, and oh how we love to do just that. There really isn’t anything to compare, you have to try it for yourself, among the myriad delights of the Precious Perfumes Discovery Box. (Scroll down to snag your scents today!)
Wild Vanilla Orchid (see main picture) is vanilla, yes, but definitely not as you know it – and we’ve ‘turned’ several previous nay-sayers with this one! A raw-edged confection of creamy vanilla beans, blossom, cassis and citrus, dressed in a bunch of just-plucked jasmine. Offsetting the lingering sweetness; bamboo and sandalwood bend and fold underneath. Laid-back but exquisite. White tulle and high top, in fragrance form. It’s such an unusual evocation of vanilla that we were untited in agreeing that it had to be the third pick for the Precious Perfumes Discovery Box…
Bursting with NINETEEN niche fragrances, many of them full-size or generous minis, prepare to be dazzled by each of the three Floral Street fragrances, and salivate over our curation of these fragrant gems for you to try at home…
Connock London have just won GOLD for Best Niche Fragrance at the Pure Beauty Awards, and what’s more, they’ve popped up with a perfumed treatment space at Westfield London – the perfect place to explore their range of award-winning niche fragrances, candles, body-care luxuries and more. But fear not if you can’t make it there in person, for we have a wonderful suggestion for you to try samples of their scents without even having to leave your sofa…
At the very heart of this wonderful British brand is family. Amanda Connock inherited her passion for scent through her father, mesmerised by the wonderfully exotic and natural essences he would bring from his travels as an ingredient supplier to the fragrance world. Today her brand, Connock London, is a best-kept perfume secret – but one that’s shared by those-in-the-know, inspired by the love of and respect for nature, native folklore and travels.
Connock London Vittaveli is the fragrance that won Gold for Best Niche Fragrance at the 2019 Pure Beauty Awards. And we can see why. Inspired by the tropical beauty of the Vittaveli island located in the sparkling turquoise waters of the Maldives, it’s another fragrant destination we’re dreaming of escapin to by wearing the perfume. Elegant top notes of frankincense, geranium, spicy pepper berries and bergamot blend into a leafy green note reminiscent of the fruit of the Banyan Tree. A radiant floral heart of jasmine, pink rose, frangipani and gibiscus is warmed by a sultry base of sandalwood, vanilla orchid and delicate oudh notes.
Kukui Eau de Parfum is the signature fragrance of Connock London – and with a fascinating story. When customers fell in love with the scent of Connock London’s bodycare, they pleaded for it to be offered as a perfume – and thus, Kukui Eau de Parfum was born, to keep them happy. (And they are, they are!)
Beautifully blended to reflect the soul and beauty of the Hawaiian islands from which Connock London’s signature kukui oil is sourced, this elegant floriental is built around the gardenia flower and is complimented by ‘scent-sational’ floral notes of Moroccan rose, white jasmine and calla lily. The scent is further enriched with sandalwood, vetiver, white amber and layers of cashmere and sheer musks, completed with the rich bitter chocolate sweetness of vanilla absolute and tonka bean.
For further refreshing, you can’t do better than douse yourself lavishly in the gorgeously green Connock London Andiroba – here we travel to the mysterious natural beauty of the tropical Amazonian Rainforest. It opens with lush, leafy top notes which are enlivened with citrus accords of bergamot, lemon and Brazilian orange. A rich floral heart of iris and violet sits on a deep, earthy base of sandalwood, cedar and musk with a touch of lavender and Peruvian pink pepper.
We have a way for you to embrace the sunshine spirit of true luxury this house embodies – and no passport (or even train ticket) is required! Why not try for yourself at home, today?
The Niche Collection Three Discovery Box (£19 / £15 for V.I.P. Club Members) includes perhaps THE most raved about cult perfume: Kukui. Here, lavish amounts of that rose, jasmine, bergamot, lily and – most importantly – the waxy, dreamy magnificence of gardenia swirl into an immediate and bountiful floral bouquet that hits you as soon as you spray, seeking to to recreate the sense-delighting experience of visiting the island of Hawaii. We can practically feel the white sand between our toes when we wear this, so vivid is the sensation – and how wonderful to be able to wear something mood-lifting and life-enhancing in these often dark and dreary months.
Meanwhile, you can go to our page dedicated Connock London to read more about their history and inspirations, or pop along to their website to explore the full range. However you choose to try them, we feel sure you’ll fall under the scented spell, too, and will be joining those in the nose in your fragrant ravings!
Take your front row seat and get ready to smell-along with our very own Suzy Nightingale and Carson Parkin-Fairley in our #FROW Discovery Box unboxing extravaganza!
In this fashion-forward box, timed to launch alongside our Couture edition of The Scented Letter Magazine, we explore each fragrance in-depth, and there are so many samples in the box – THIRTEEN fragrances in all – that we had to split the video into three parts.
Banana Republic Neroli Woods 1.5ml eau de parfum (full size £55 for 75ml) Ermanno Scervino Ermanno Scervino for Women 2ml eau de parfum (£52 for 30ml) Hugo Boss BOSS The Scent for Her 1.5ml eau de parfum (£49 for 30ml) Kenzo World Power 1ml eau de parfum (£46 for 30ml) Les Eaux Primordiales Couleur Primaire 2.5ml eau de parfum (£180 for 100ml) Michael Kors Wonderlust Sublime 1.5ml eau de parfum (£46 for 30ml) Mihan Aromatics Mikado Bark 3ml eau de parfum ($190 AUD for 100ml) Mihan Aromatics Sienna Brume 3ml eau de parfum ($190 AUD for 100ml) Molton Brown Bizare Brandy 1.5ml eau de toilette (£85 for 100ml) Narciso Rodriguez Pure Musc 1ml eau de parfum (£45 for 30ml) Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary Pétale 2ml eau de parfum (£85 for 90ml) Paco Rabanne Lady Million Empire 1.5ml eau de parfum (£47.50 for 30ml) Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina Ribelle 1.5ml eau de parfum (£50 for 30ml)
Ermanno Scervino is one of the hottest fashion houses around, and with the catwalks of the world having been freshly strutted, we wanted to pay tribute to the house currently wowing the perfume world, too, with their just-launched first fragrance…
‘As a boy, I was immediately attracted to the world of beauty and aesthetics,’ Ermanno Daelli admits, and even his childhood was full of fashion fantasies, as he reminisces spending the summer ‘…in Forte dei Marmi and the Cote d’Azur and winter in Cortina. These places were always crowded with the great divas of Italian and Hollywood movies, such as Monica Vitti, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor or Kim Novak.’
Rather more fabulous-sounding than our own childhood holiday memories of wet weekends in Bognor, we have to say! Among such glamorous icons, he ‘…dreamed, one day, to be the one who dresses such beautiful, talented and inimitable women.’ That dream came wonderfully true, as his clothes have been worn by Amal Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie to name but three.
There’s an airiness of the materials the designer favours in his collections and an insouciance in the way they are styled: exquisitely gauzy gowns worn with precisely (yet so-relaxed looking) Italian tailoring. Now, this refined but playful aesthetic is translated perfectly in the first perfume from the house. And with his love of strong, brilliant women, Ermanno chose a trio of female perfumers – Julie Massé, Véronique Nyberg and Mathilde Bijaouo – to compose it.
Ermanno Scervino for Womenencapsulates the frothy frivolity of a couture dress, opening with an irresistible gourmand Giaduia (chocolate and hazelnut) accord shot through with the sunshine of neroli and the sharpness of green mandarin, balanced against a fluff of white flowers.
The trio of perfumers visited the Ermanno Scervino boutique to get closer to the couture while creating the fragrance together, and you can see a video of that trip, below…
Julie Massé notes that ‘…composing a fragrance is like tailoring: mixing and matching raw materials, readjusting the formula, until it’s the right fit.’ Véronique Nyberg adds that Ermanno’s juxtaposition of fabrics, ‘…inspired us to create a multi-textured fragrance.’ Agrees Mathilde Bijaoui: ‘Giving texture to a fragrance is key,’ explaining: ‘In this creation, we created it from the top to the dry-down.’
That white heart simply billows with hushed, velvety tuberose absolute, a transparent jasmine and the coconut-water like Jungle Essence extraction™ – an exclusive formula from the fragrance house MANE. Set against the creamy vanilla, cashmere wood and white musk of the base, the overall effect is of white tulle on a backdrop of sunshine: sparkling, refined, and simply beautiful.
There are THIRTEEN fragrances to sample at home, from the chic and uplifting Banana Republic Neroli Woods to dazzling Oscar de la Renta Extraordinary Pétale via creations by the hot new niche brands Mihan Aromatics and Les Eaux Primordiales. There’s a fragrance for every look with Michael Kors, that fabulous Ermanno Scervino, Kenzo – and so many more...
The box also includes a FULL SIZEINC.redible Semi Matte Lip Click (worth £10 alone) and an invitation to wind down into colder nights with the shimmering, decadent new Molton Brown Muddled Plum Bath & Shower Gel.
The entire box is only £19 + P&P (£15 for VIP Club members), so if you want to get front row to be in the know – and make sure you’re dressed in the best that fragrance has to offer – you can get your hands on the box right here…
As part of our continuing series exploring the differing Fragrance Families – the ways that scents are classified – today we’re getting up close and personal with Woody…
Many fragrances contain wood in some aspect, but what exactly designates a fragrance as ‘Woody’?
The clue, quite simply, is in the name – although some of these fragrances do smell like they’re closely related to the chypre family. It’s true: they share some characteristics, but generally without the floral flourishes of the chypres.
Perfumers have so a fabulous palette of woody elements to weave into their creations: sandalwood, cedar, agarwood (a.k.a. oud), guiaiacwood, as well as patchouli and vetiver. (These last two aren’t woods: they’re roots and leaves, respectively – but you’d never guess, from their intensely earthy, woody character.)
Woody fragrances can be given a spin by adding spices/fruity notes, or herbs – so if you like woods (or you’re simply interested in learning what they smell like), do explore the other members of this family, too.
In the meantime, why not try some samples of this Fragrance Family at home? We can’t think of a better introduction than to plunge into the exotic delights of Fragrance Du Bois…
A perfect marriage of bergamot and cardamom blends smoothly into floral, woody notes of rose, jasmine, amber, sandalwood, vanilla and musk, stimulating the senses with its complexity, while the oudh base adds to its strength and depth.
Fragrance Du Bois Sahraa Oud
FAMILY: WOODY TOP NOTES: grapefruit HEART NOTES: rose absolute, geranium, jasmine, patchouli BASE NOTES: black pepper, sandalwood, saffron, vanilla, amber, 100% organic oudh oil
Sahraa Our immediately invokes the mystery and majesty of the desert, and has been crafted for the sophisticated palates of both Middle Eastern connoisseurs and aficionados of fine perfumes. Beautiful floral top and heart notes of grapefruit, rose absolute, geranium and jasmine, create a symphony that blends softly into base notes of patchouli, sandalwood, saffron, vanilla, amber and oudh.
Fragrance Du Bois are, quite unashamedly, so oudh-obsessed. And are we surprised? Derived from the dark resinous wood of the Aquilaria tree, oudh (often spelled ‘oud’) is an utterly fascinating material – a resin that occurs in less than 7% of trees, in the wild. Which explains why the material is so precious – and, sought-after. And not all oudh, it transpires, is harvested with the focus on sustainability that Fragrance Du Bois are renowned for.
In fact, so Fragrance Du Bois tell us: ‘Due to illegal logging, wild resources have been severely depleted. So, since 2004, all species of the Aquilaria tree have been protected under CITES [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species].’
Created by some of the best noses in the world, each fragrance expresses true mastery of this unique ‘liquid gold’ (as oudh oil is known). You’ll fall in love, we guarantee it – even you oudh naysayers!
Be transported to exotic fragrant lands, happy in the knowledge that Fragrance Du Bois is also looking after caring for the environment, planting a tree for every full size fragrance purchased.
If your appetiete for Woody fragrances has been whetted, you can try a Fragrance Du Bois Discovery Set including these two we’ve reviewed above, along with three other of their fabulous creations, exploring the other fragrance families through oudh, for only £20!
As part of our continuing feature, Fragrance Family Friday, today we’re burrowing knee-deep in shady ferns for Fougère…
For anyone who’s wondering, you say it ‘foo-jair’ (with the ‘j’ a little soft – almost ‘foo-shair’…) – we thought we’d start with that, because not only can some of the fragrance families be a bit confusing, even pronouncing them can get the better of us at times!
Now that’s out the way, let’s go deep into the shady undergrowth of this fabulous – and still-evolving – fragrance category.
Although there are many modern variations cropping up, a fougère will invariably feature lavender, geranium, vetiver, bergamot, oakmoss and coumarin in the blend. Fougère Royale as the first of them, from Houbigant in 1882. Fougère takes its name from the French for ‘fern’ – and to understand what these ferny, green fragrances smell like, here is an absolute classic, now thankfully revived in a heart-warming way, by Milano Centro…
Milano Centro HIM was showcased first at the Beauty International show at Olympia in June 1989, by business partners and interior designers Dean Tatum and the late Matthew Bright. Inspired by ‘the classic sophistication of all things Italian’, they launched with just one fragrance – Milano Cento HIM – a fabulous evocation of a fougère that smells like a cool, shady walk through a forest.
What does it smell like? Imagine citrus luminescence sparkling in the tops notes with bergamot and peititgrain, giving way to a herbaceously dappled breeze of rosemary, lavender and basil. As it warms, you’re swathed in the musky warmth of smooth sandalwood and suavely sprinkled spicy notes of clove, cinnamon and amber atop a darkly glimmering patchouli base.
When Milano Cento – the perfect, drop-dead sexy man smell – later disappeared from the shelves (as many fragrances do, alas…) it could have been a mere scent memory, if it wasn’t for Dean Tatum’s wife Valissa and son, Jasper. They had the idea to recreate a single bottle for Dean’s 50th birthday: the ultimate journey back in time. As any perfume world insider knows, however: it’s not that simple. ‘Trying to find someone to produce for us, in the small quantities we were after, was quite a challenge. It was only after we called a few stockists, who said they remembered the brand and asked when it was coming back, that we had the idea to relaunch it.’
We’re so glad they did. This is a fougère fragrance that smells classic in a timeless way, rather than simply reminiscent of the era it originates from – it’s grown-up, insouciant, perfect for any occasion.
When David and Julia Bridger decided to combine the ruling passions of their lives – art, gardens, travel and perfume – and gather a team of experts (literally) in their field, they set in motion a series of events that is poised to change the face of British fragrance forever. And put Parterre on the map…
Embracing the concept of ‘from seed to bottle’, David and Julia not only set out to to grow, harvest and distil many of their own ingredients – but they also had a longing to try growing crops that had never before been grown on British soil. Even including – astonishingly – vetiver.
FAMILY: Fougère TOP NOTES: ginger, lemon, bergamot HEART NOTES: clary sage, hyssop, blue hyssop BASE NOTES: vetiver, leather accords, amber
Those craving warmth should look no further than Parterre’s golden elixir, an evocative blend of all things radiant. Even the top notes of bergamot and lemon have been enriched with the tingle of ginger, softly melding into the hazy heart of camphorous hyssop and herbaceous clary sage.
To continue the story of this garen-centric house, the work that has gone into this project is nothing short of astounding. It begins with finding and restoring Keyneston Mill in the Dorset’s Tarrant Valley, bordered by the River Stour. There, a series of botanical gardens has been designed – hence the name, ‘Parterre’ – divided into ‘The Fougère Garden’ (with its ferns, lavender and mosses), the Padua Garden (roses, jasmine, geranium), and so on.
The planting expands into surrounding fields, with crop-scale ingredients, including rose geranium, mint, yarrow and the aforementioned vetiver. (Which we can report is incredibly smooth and pure: a vetiver lover’s dream!). For Julia and David, this is about ‘reinventing perfumery by taking it back to its roots.’ Parterre‘s motto: ‘Where creative botany meets artistry and the wild spirit of adventure.’
We think you’re going to want to explore this garden of fragrances quite thoroughly… You can vist Parterre’s Keyneston Mill gardens for a small £3 entry charge, and of course explore the Root of All Goodness in your own home, – along with twelve other fragrances – in our Niche Collection II Discovery Box!
Well we told you it was limited, but we had no idea they’d sell this quickly! If you’re wanting to try a superb selection of truly intriguing Limited Edition Niche fragrances, you’d best act fast as this could be your last chance…
For a deep-dive in to the wonderful world of the Limited Edition Niche Discovery Box, we’ve put together our iconic Smelling Notes online – exclusive to The Perfume Society – in which we take you through the notes you can expect to smell, an evocative description of each fragrance we’ve included in the box, a look at the history and inspiration behind each house, and a fun (but highly educational) list of questions to ask yourself while sniffing them.
But really, time is of the scented essence, here, so we’d best give you a shorter run-down so you can choose to buy before this box goes, forever!
P.S: Thank you, Sam, writer of the perfume blog I Scent You A Day for sharing this picture (we’re always thrilled when you send us pics of our perfume boxes ‘in the wild’ as it were!)
As you can see, it’s brimming over with a fab selection of scents to try at home, and here’s what you get:
Anima Vinci Sesame Chān 7.5ml eau de parfum (full size £150 for 100ml) Atkinsons Mint & Tonic 2ml eau de parfum (£130 for 100ml) BDK Parfums Rouge Smoking 2ml eau de parfum (£150 for 100ml) E. Coudray Musc et Freesia 1.5ml eau de toilette (£65 for 100ml) Fragrance du Bois Oud Vert Intense 2ml eau de parfum (£295 for 50ml) Juliette Has a Gun Liquid Illusion 1.7ml eau de parfum (£200 for 75ml) Kingdom Scotland Metamorphic 2ml eau de parfum (£110 for 50ml) Merchant of Venice Blue Tea 5ml eau de parfum (£180 for 100ml) Modernist Geist 2ml eau de parfum (£150 for 50ml) Parle Moi de Parfum Une Tonne de Roses / 8 2ml eau de parfum (£98 for 50ml) Parterre Run of the River 2ml eau de parfum (£95 for 50ml) Prosody Rose Rondeaux 2ml eau de parfum (£135 for 50ml) Serge Lutens Santal Blanc 1ml eau de parfum (£110 for 100ml) Tom Daxon Laconia 4.5ml eau de parfum (full size £105 for 50ml)
The Limited Edition Niche Discovery Box also contains two divinely fragrant extras…
Cochine White Jasmine & Gardenia Smoothing Hand Cream 5ml (full size £14 for 50ml) Cochine Tuberose & Wild Fig Smoothing Hand Cream 5ml (full size £14 for 50ml)
When we were curating the Limited Edition Niche Discovery Box, we wanted to include the most exciting niche fragrances we’ve come across lately. It can be really difficult to find these houses if you don’t happen to live in London or near an independent perfumery – and even if you do, it would take ages to seek out all these scents – FOURTEEN in all! – so we’ve saved your legs and done all the pre-sniffing to find the hottest niche brands right now…
Have a look here to read all about the fragraces, with three huge luxury size samples and the entire contents worth over £75, but costing you only £23 (or just £19 forVIP Club members ); but right now let’s focus on why we think you should be excited about exploring these niche houses, now.
One of the things that truly sets a ‘niche’ house apart is their founders hands-on approach – and the unique personalities they bring to their brand’s creation. At The Perfume Society, we truly believe perfume lovers want to know more than merely ‘this is new’ – it’s one of the reasons we started! – and that’s why we dedicate entire pages to houses’ histories, from tracing heritage and discovering why they’ve embraced niche, to finding out what makes their founders tick, and what drives their perfume passions…
Showcasing fragrances created by some of the world’s most renowned perfumers, Anima Vinci is the creative expression of one woman’s strong belief in the power of fragrance and the positive effect it can have on your heart, mind and spirit. With a background at the very first ‘niche’ perfumery house – and years at the creative helm of one of the UK’s most historic fragrance names – Nathalie Vinciguerra brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. But it’s her passion for authenticity and sustainability within the world of fragrance that finally drove her to create Anima Vinci.
Oh, what a wonderful fragrant story this is: a traditional British perfume house, restored to its glory in the 21st Century – with the 2013 niche-focused relaunch of Atkinsons fragrances. A sleeping beauty of a tale, actually, interwoven with the names of heroes and heroines, princes and dandies. And as if that wasn’t enough, a rags-to-riches story, too.In spring 1799, an enterprising young man named James Atkinson set forth from the wilds of Cumberland for London. In his suit pocket were recipes for fine fragrances and toiletries he’d created himself. And next to him sat a generous amount of rose-scented bear grease balm. (Yes, really.) Even more extraordinarily, next to the balm sat a real, live bear who – so the tale goes – was utterly devoted to James…
One of the city’s newest niche perfume house, BDK has its roots firmly in Paris’s perfumed history, while its design is even inspired by an iconic Parisian building. Unlike the names Guerlain, Creed or Dior, Benedek isn’t one you’d immediately associate with perfume. But in its own way, 29-year-old David Benedek‘s family has also played a pivotal role in sharing the love of French fragrance within France and beyond its shores.
There are few fragrance houses still as ‘relevant’ after almost 200 years as the wonderful Paris-based house of E. Coudray – which can trace its roots back to the reign of Louis XVIII, no less, and the year 1822. The Paris-born founder was a doctor-chemist, Edmond Coudray (the ‘E’ in E. Coudray), who went on to enjoy a spectacular career, creating eaux de Cologne, pomades, creams and soaps for the crowned heads of France, Italy and England – including Queen Victoria, for whom the perfume ‘Reine Victoria’ was made. Now enjoyed by niche fragrance-lovers who appreciate their unerring quality and dressing-table worthy bottles, no wonder this heritage house is proudly thriving.
Fragrance du Bois
With their headquarters in Paris and a number of privately owned sustainable plantations in Asia, Fragrance Du Bois are world experts in the protection and harvesting of oudh – sometimes known as ‘liquid gold’. And they have mastered the blending of this fabled ingredient, using some of the best ‘noses’ in the world. Fragrance Du Bois are, quite unashamedly, so oudh-obsessed. And are we surprised? Derived from the dark resinous wood of the Aquilaria tree, oudh (often spelled ‘oud’) is an utterly fascinating material – a resin that occurs in less than 7% of trees, in the wild. Which explains why the material is so precious – and, sought-after. And not all oudh, it transpires, is harvested with the focus on sustainability that Fragrance Du Bois are renowned for.
Juliette Has a Gun Romano Ricci has perfume in his DNA. His great-grandmother was the legendary couturier Nina Ricci and his grandfather Robert was creator of the equally iconic L’Air du Temps. He launched Juliette Has A Gun in December 2006: a brand devoted to women, offering a new type of elegance within niche perfumery: ‘The innocent Juliet of Shakespeare is transposed to the 21st Century with a gun… Metaphor for the perfume, weapon of seduction, or simple accessory of bluff. “Gun” essentially symbolises the liberation of women towards men… And sometimes with an aftertaste of revenge.’
Kingdom Scotland Imogen Russon-Taylor has created the very first Scottish fragrance house – capturing the history and majestic landscapes of her home country in a portfolio of utterly contemporary fragrances…The worlds of whisky and fragrance have much in common, believes Imogen Russon-Taylor. And she should know: after a distinguished career in the aromatic world of Scotch whisky, Imogen has now gone on to create her own fragrance house – the very first to be based north of the border. ‘Both whisky and perfume are produced by traditional distillation methods,’ she explains. Both evoke a complex sensory experience and both rely upon the innovative use of ingredients or flavours to distinguish themselves from competitors.’
Merchant of Venice
When the princess Teodora Ducas – daughter of the Emperor of Byzantium – married the Doge Domenico Selvo in 1060, it can be said the grand Venetian tradition of perfumery (and the accompanying products with which the royal court liked to adorn themselves) truly began. Later centuries would come to see Venice as a centre for the art of European perfumery – a vibrant city that never shied away from revelling in the finer things life has to offer. Surrounded by such beauty, it seems only natural the aristocrats would wish to look – and smell – just as fabulous. Skip forward several centuries to 2011, and the Vidal family – already renowned in the world of perfumery for more than a century – decided to pay homage to this glorious cultural tradition.
It’s easy to look back and think the timing was spot on,’ says John Evans, founder of Modernist Fragrance and (perhaps somewhat surprisingly) former financier. ‘That was true to a degree,’ he admits, ‘but the rest was like anything you’re passionate about: hard work, perseverance, some setbacks, a bit of luck.’ Through books, involvement with industry organisations, meetings with perfumers, as well as a research to Grasse – global epicentre of perfume creation – he immersed himself in the techniques of fine perfumery, painstakingly experimenting with building his own compositions. ‘Time and space change once compounding begins,’ John explains, ‘like being enthralled by something you’re writing or reading.’
Rising star fragrance house Prosody London believe that plants are more than just useful ingredients on which we rely, saying ‘they are the basis of human wellbeing, the silent friends without which our planet would be bare and our lives unthinkable…’ With a green ethos that flows through every fragrance, Prosody London take equal delight in their scents being so beautifully composed, so harmoniously sophisticated, that many people don’t even realise they are – gloriously, unashamedly – all natural and organic… Taking the beauty of plants – their stems, leaves, petals, and even the their cycle of growth and maturing beauty – as their guiding inspiration, Prosody London talk passionately about how ‘some of the earliest cultures saw plants as a grammar, a code and a cosmology.’
When David and Julia Bridger decided to combine the ruling passions of their lives – art, gardens, travel and perfume – and gather a team of experts (literally) in their field, they set in motion a series of events that is poised to change the face of British fragrance forever. And put Parterre on the map… Embracing the concept of ‘from seed to bottle’, David and Julia not only set out to to grow, harvest and distil many of their own ingredients – but they also had a longing to try growing crops that had never before been grown on British soil. (Even including – astonishingly – vetiver.) The fragrances, made by world-renowned perfumer Jacques Chabert, evoke the idyllic setting and, in strictly limited, hand-numbered bottles, are truly ‘niche’.
Parle Moi De Parfum Michel Almairac has created award-winning, world-renowned blockbusters for just about every perfume house you’ve ever heard of. And now, to the delight of perfume-lovers, he has launched his own fragrance house (with his family) – and opened a boutique in Paris’s Le Marais. His astounding CV encompassing a literal A-Z of perfumes from Dior Fahrenheit to Le Labo Ambrette 9, via Gucci Rush, Chloe Eau de Parfum (2007), Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum (2011), Burberry for Woman and Burberry for Men – and so the list of hundreds goes on. But Michel found that he was having literally to shelve his most treasured creations because they didn’t quite work for the corporate briefs. He could never forget about them, however – and sometimes would take a scent home for his family to smell. Now these ‘lost’ fragrances have been completed, and are available for you…
Enigmatic, talented and exceptionally creative – it’s no exaggeration to say that Serge Lutens helped pioneer ‘niche’ perfumery. He once told an interviewer that ‘Morocco gave me the taste of perfume. It is very difficult to detach the olfactory sense from the other senses; however, I can say that before my arrival in Morocco in 1968, this fifth sense was largely fallow for me… The aroma of Morocco is linked to a form of life that allows you to be an individual in a dense crowd. The crowd here is a movement, a sound, a laugh, a game. By the end, smell was united with the other senses…’ Today, he lives in Marrakech, Morocco: a city of colour, exotic fragrances and mystery – the place where he discovered the creative potential of the world of scents. And the rest of the world waits eagerly, always, for his next olfactory vision, his next scent ‘dream’.
I grew up in fragrant surroundings,’ Tom Daxon recalls. That’s something of an understatement, for Tom began sniffing around the business as a child, when his mother – creative director for a leading fragrance and cosmetics name for over 30 years – ‘would often give me new shower gels to try, fragrances to sniff.’ Where Tom’s story may diverge from most is that he was lucky enough to accompany his mother on many of her working trips to Grasse, the epicentre of perfumery – aged just four, on that first visit. Truly modern, other-worldly, imbued with texture, beautiful ingredients and a wealth of creativity, they’re modern luxury redifined.
Whichever of these fragrances you most enjoy exploring in your Limited Edition Niche Discovery Box, we defy you not to fall madly for at least one, and begin a life-long love affair with these niche houses that we feel everyone deserves to try…
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