Exploring Perfume : Stepping into Niche

What are your favorite niche lines? What perfume houses would you recommend to someone who is new to fragrance?

Niche, artisanal, indie… These labels mean so much and so little, but let’s imagine that they mean a small fragrance house with a limited distribution (and yes, even though L’Artisan is now sold at Sephora, it’s still a niche fragrance house to me). I don’t think that niche connotes quality any more than does a designer label, especially when you factor in the luxurious prices. I also have a gripe or two about the explosion of overpriced lines that make inflated claims while selling juices that were picked from a reject pile on a perfumer’s desk. All of this aside, some of the most interesting launches today still take place in small houses, and I turn to niche when I want to find unusual compositions and memorable fragrances.

I credit Annick Goutal for making me want to explore the perfume world beyond the Macy’s counter. Even though I never grew to like Gardenia Passion, the first fragrance I had sampled, its surprisingly free form floral and bold character made a strong impression on me. It was different and less formal than Lancôme Trésor I wore at the time, and it prompted me to search further. Before long I was enchanted by the delicate vignette of L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse Aux Papillons, the elegant beauty of Guerlain Après l’Ondée and the radiance of Shiseido Féminité du Bois. But Annick Goutal remains the fragrance house I recommend to friends who want to explore something beyond department store best sellers. The fragrances are approachable, playful and well-crafted, and the collection is varied enough for everyone to find something to their liking.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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127 Comments

  • Anne: My favorite niche lines are Serge Lutens, Parfumerie Generale and Byredo. I agree with Annick Goutal, it’s a good one to start with. October 13, 2012 at 10:05am Reply

    • Victoria: I like that Goutal has variety and quality, both of which are important for someone who is starting it out. October 14, 2012 at 6:40am Reply

  • Cyndi: I have very little experience with niche lines. Annick Goutal’s Songes I loved, but the scent didn’t last long on my skin. I also have Odalisque by Parfums Nicolai, but I can’t say that I love it. I would like to try Serge Lutens or L’Artisan. Any suggestions for a fall perfume? October 13, 2012 at 10:20am Reply

    • nozknoz: SL Daim Blond (apricot leather) is great for fall, as is L’AP Traversee du Bosphore (apple loukhoum with a touch of leather). It would also be worth trying L’AP Premier Figuier (fig), Dzing! (light leather), and Vanille Absolutement (creme brulee). I’m in love with the new L’AP, Seville a l’Aube (orange blossom with touches of incense and beeswax), not specifically for fall. October 13, 2012 at 11:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Cyndi, what do you like–notes, other perfumes (not niche), types of scents? There are so many fall perfumes. Here are some of my personal fall favorites:
      http://boisdejasmin.com/2012/10/top-10-of-fall-favorite-perfumes.html October 14, 2012 at 6:41am Reply

  • Ralu: My favorite niche brands are L’artisan Parfumeur, Frederic Malle and Etat Libre D’Orage.
    I think L’Artisan Parfumeur would be a good one for someone new to perfumes to start with. There are many niche brands that I haven’t had a chance to try just because they aren’t available where I live. October 13, 2012 at 10:36am Reply

    • MB: Ralu and I think alike. October 13, 2012 at 2:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: L’Artisan came after Annick Goutal for me, and I still have a soft spot for the house. October 14, 2012 at 6:43am Reply

  • Ariadne: I have only been contemplating two niche perfume houses so far. They are Sonoma Scent Studio and Aftelier. I have thoroughly enjoyed the samples I have from each and highly recommend exploring each. Each studio gives in depth descriptions and generous samples to assist with understanding and choosing favorites, as well as sharing with friends. So far I only have a partial collection of samples from each studio but find they appear to offer something for everyone’s taste. I can definitely smell each line’s creator’s unique “nose” across the samples and for me this is what distinguishes niche perfumes and really personalizes the experience for me. October 13, 2012 at 10:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Those are unique, special houses too. I just wore SSS Incense Pure the other day, and I loved its outdoor, autumnal feel. October 14, 2012 at 6:55am Reply

  • Nikki: Strange coincidence! I just bought Gardenia Passion yesterday! I bought it because I remembered downtown Chicago 25 years ago and Annick Goutal’s boutiques were everywhere and everything smelled like Gardenia Passion….I never used it before as I am not crazy about the scent, having evensold my Carnal Flower….however, I really like Gardenia Passion! It is mainly the memory of those feminine and frilly corners in department stores, dressed up in tulle and lace and the gold organza Annick Goutal used in her boutiques…I am very fond of Sables although I don’t use it myself. I also bought the soap, wrapped in gold paper….as it is discontinued in the US. I love her soaps! October 13, 2012 at 10:49am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, Nikki, what a coincidence, because I also discovered Gardenia Passion downtown Chicago! It was at Neiman Marcus, which then seemed like the embodiment of elegance. And I remember the gold wrapped soap as well. October 14, 2012 at 6:56am Reply

      • MB: Hi, V. Do you have a handful of AG’s that you love as much now as you did the first time you were introduced to them? October 15, 2012 at 12:10pm Reply

        • Victoria: I have a few. Songes is still among top favorites, Heure Exquise, Grand Amour, Sables. I have a soft spot for L’Eau d’Hadrien, but I hardly ever wear it today anymore, because it smells different to me. October 15, 2012 at 4:26pm Reply

          • Rowanhill: It smells different to me as well. They have done something to it. Perhaps the new regulations? L’Eau d’Hadrien used to be my citrus favourite with Acqua di Parma Colonia, which unfortunately also has been tweaked, and not for the better in my opinion. Now I wear the body cream instead. October 17, 2012 at 8:33am Reply

            • Victoria: I read that they increase the proportion of bergamot, rather than reformulated it drastically, but it really does smell different. Somehow, I don’t find the same magic in it, but perhaps it’s because I know the old one so well. October 17, 2012 at 11:27am Reply

  • nozknoz: Victoria, Annick Goutal was also my introduction to niche perfumes, and one I’d still recommend.

    In the 1980s, I subscribed to the American edition of Connoisseur Magazine, which was edited in those days by Thomas Hoving, former Director of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Arts who had famously/figuratively “made the mummies dance” by introducing “blockbuster” exhibits. There was a wonderful article about Annick Goutal, and, as soon as possible, I tried all of the AGs and fell in love with Eau d’Hadrien, Heure Exquise and Passion.

    There are so many worthy niche firms now; it’s overwhelming, really! It I had to pick one to recommend, it would be L’Artisan Parfumeur for both exceptional quality and range, without being the most expensive. Depending on the person, his/her budget, location or interests, I might recommend Diptyque (quirky), Tauer (reasonably priced, original and endearing Andy), Heeley (sophisticated UK), By Kilian (specifically the Calice Beckers – luxe), Sonoma Scent Studio (reasonably priced and original US) Via del Profumo (super natural), or Comme des Garcons (hipster but inexpensive). I adore Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle, too, but think they are more challenging. I remember my first encounter with SL and not liking them (too strong!). October 13, 2012 at 11:13am Reply

    • Victoria: Those are great recommendations, and I’m adding Via del Profumo to my own to try list, because I’m not familiar with that brand. Thank you.

      And I agree with you, there are so many (too many!) niche brands today. Many of them aren’t worth their luxury price tags. October 14, 2012 at 7:03am Reply

      • nozknoz: VdP is the only natural perfume line reviewed in The Guide (four stars!). My favorite so far is Mecca Balsam, which came out later. The perfumes are worth sampling, and he also sells interesting things like a kit of tinctures of real animal essences (hyraceum/African stone, ambergris, castoreum and civet). October 15, 2012 at 11:09pm Reply

  • Anna Minis: Niche perfume houses are coming up like mushrooms in the autumn rain. It is impossible for me to know them all, so it is difficult to name a favorite. From time to time I try niche perfumes; the star of my collection is Carnal Flower. Most of them are too expensive, I think. Although I love lavender, I would not buy the overprized Taste of Heaven: Pour un Homme, Héritage, Gris Clair are good enough for me. On my list to explore: Andy Tauer. My first experience with niche perfumery was MPG. I fell in love with Tubéreuse, Freesia d’Or, Eau de Mûre, Racine.. Not unusual, but very pleasant. To a beginner (with a big wallet) I would recommend the Malle collection: ample choice, excellent quality. As for me: I always return to Guerlain! October 13, 2012 at 11:27am Reply

    • Victoria: There was really an explosion of niche over the past few years, and I agree with you, it’s impossible to keep up with it all! October 14, 2012 at 10:58am Reply

  • Patt: Parfums de Nicolai is a favorite of mine because of the quality of the ingredients and diversity of the line. Also, it is relatively inexpensive for a niche line, and 30 ml bottles are offered! I own FBs of Eau d’Ete, L’Eau a la Folie, and Sacrebleu Intense and samples and small decants of many others in the line. October 13, 2012 at 11:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Parfums de Nicolai is definitely one of the best niche house in terms of price per value. Can’t think of another one that competes on this parameter! October 14, 2012 at 10:59am Reply

  • operaFan: I too can credit Annick Goutal as my introduction to niche, followed closely by Guerlain. To this day AG is the starting point I recommend to friends just starting their journey. I would also recommend L’Artisan. Prices can be daunting among specialty houses and pose a serious barrier. My first AG purchase was a sampler pack of 3minis in the signature pouch at Saks for all of $25. The SA generously threw in an extra mini for me. It was a mixed bag but enough to pique my curiosity to come back and try more. In those days the staff was well trained and helpfully guided me though their line and provided helpful usage advice. Of course they also carried 1oz sizes. If Nicolai were available at US counters I would also recommend the line. SSS I would recommend for both quality and affordability, a very rare combination these days. October 13, 2012 at 11:57am Reply

    • Victoria: My infatuation with by Kilian started thanks to a very passionate SA. Until then I thought that it was overpriced and hence I avoided it. But smelling with her and listening to her as she described what each perfume evoked to her made me think of the line differently. And then I discovered that it was actually really well-crafted and superb in terms of quality, and a few perfume really clicked with me.
      So, yes, I can’t agree more that a trained SA can make a huge difference. October 14, 2012 at 11:20am Reply

  • Nancy A.: Hi Victoria,

    I follow suit with Annick Goutal however her line came later on for me. It was Jean La Porte’s L’artisan, which ultimately became L’artisan Parfumeur that holds great nostalgia for me. I remember a small outpost stationed in the Bloomingdale’s 59th Street location and became fascinated by their line. The line was limited at that time and they showcased a fragrance Metamorphis comprimising many notes in a round frosted glass bottle with a butterfly stopper. It was unique however not as memorable as the other fragrances, however limited they were at the time. The price point was an added bonus. The scented oils for the room to perch on one’s light bulb holder had simple “color” names: bleu, jaune, rouge, verte with complementary notes to highlight their color-coded names were exceptional. That along with the discontinued Mousse Sous Bois Room & Linen Spray, also missed. Highly potent and long-lasting, it cut most foul odors with its lingering earthy drydown. Only recently I learned this is the third ownership of the L’artisan line when they experienced some financial woes, closing the NYC boutiques. Of late, some of their line can be purchased at Sephora For me, their appeal has remained consistent. October 13, 2012 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Jillie: Oh Nancy. how lovely to read memories of the old Artisan that I share! I used to love those lightbulb oils (L’Artisan introduced me to the whole concept), and in fact I still have half a bottle of a later version (Mimosa Marin).

      I fell in love with Jean la Porte’s “La Haie Fleurie du Hameau”, which came in a smokey bottle with a gold top like a Russian dome, and continued to buy it in its later reincarnation as La Haie Fleurie (now tragically discontinued).

      It was rather exciting for me to wear perfumes that I knew nobody else would recognise, and to be able to scent my house with gorgeous fragranced candles and oils. They used to send quirky little gifts with my purchases, and I still have a beautiful wraparound candle shade that has little stars cut out to reveal the glow of the flame. And a ceramic fig leaf imbued with Premier Figuier to put in with my linen. Magic. October 14, 2012 at 4:56am Reply

    • Victoria: It was so nice to read about the older L’Artisan through your comment, I agree with Jillie. Does anyone recall the beautiful earthy-green Jacinthe des Bois? October 14, 2012 at 11:21am Reply

  • cryptic: I envy you your friends that want to explore something beyond department store best sellers. Mine have no problem dropping a bundle on clothing but balk at niche perfume prices. October 13, 2012 at 12:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: Goutal is only slightly more expensive than an average department store fragrance, so I start with that. But to tell you the truth, the niche prices scare me too. $500 or whatever for Xerjoff! No way! October 14, 2012 at 11:25am Reply

  • solanace: I would recommend Parfums de Nicolai and Serge Lutens. Both houses offer a wide range of distinguished, good quality, carefully crafted perfumes. I would also reccomend investing on samples and decants, these are available anywhere, and are so much fun, specially or a beginner, who has the world to smell! October 13, 2012 at 12:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: I had a lot of fun exploring those two when I first started discovering niche, and they are still among the best to me. October 14, 2012 at 11:26am Reply

  • Apollonia: Cyndi, I have very limited experience with niche lines, but I love Serge Lutens. For Fall, you might like his Feminite du Bois which is not flowery but woodsy and fruity (plummy I think) at the same time, and lasts for hours on me. Also if you like amber scents, his Ambre Sultan is fabulous and literally one spray on the neck and one on each wrist will last all day. Hope this is helpful. October 13, 2012 at 1:16pm Reply

    • solanace: That’s what I like about SL as well. The perfumes are really good, and they are strong enough to be dabbed, which is important if you are living on samples and decants. Also, they last all day. As a contrast, I love Bois des Iles, Cuir the Russie and other Chanel exclusifs, but I’d never buy a full bottle of any of them instead of a Lutens, a Nicolai or a Guerlain. The Chanel exclusifs are just too fleeting, and I need something that keeps me some company through the day. October 14, 2012 at 5:24am Reply

      • Victoria: I think that the new versions of Les Exclusifs are really fleeting, because I have the older Bois de Iles EDT and it lasts for hours. October 14, 2012 at 11:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Feminite du Bois is definitely one of the best. That combination of cedarwood and ripe plums is so sensual and elegant at the same time. October 14, 2012 at 11:27am Reply

  • Lucas: I agree with you Victoria that Annick Goutal fragrances are a good start into the adventure in niche perfumery.
    L’Artisan Parfumeur though being one of the most known niche brands didn’t work for me almost in every case. Those fragrances smell on me like they were made for different era.
    Parfum d’Empire line is something I would recomment to someone who wants to discover niche. They’re really well made, offer wide variety of moods and their pricing is really reasonable. I could have almost every one of them October 13, 2012 at 1:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Parfums d’Empire is a very good line, and it has some variety too. I’m now enjoying their new Musc Tonkin. October 14, 2012 at 11:28am Reply

      • Lucas: Heard of it and have no access to it (as always…) October 14, 2012 at 12:57pm Reply

  • Merlynn Diana Edelstein: Not that many niche brands are available where I live – or perhaps I should rather say that there are many that are not available where I live. Of the brands I have tried I think Parfum d’ Empire stands out as being both interesting and solid. Solid in terms of not being faddish or gimmicky. On the other hand, I also really like Comme des Garcons which is somehow alternative and counter-culture, while at the same time Haute Couture – that is – high culture! October 13, 2012 at 1:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad to see you mention Comme des Garcons, which is still interesting and unusual. I love Comme des Garcons original, White and the Incense series. Kyoto is one of my favorite incenses for fall. October 14, 2012 at 11:30am Reply

  • Cyndi: Apollonia and Nozknoz, thank you for your suggestions! I will seriously look into each of them. October 13, 2012 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Tomate Farcie: I really like discovery sets. I just purchased the Ann Gerard set for US $65 and is three beautiful fragrances (9 ml each). Ormonde Jayne does a nice one with free shipping from UK. Lucky scents often does seasonal new release sample packs. I think these are a great way to start building a scent foundation. October 13, 2012 at 2:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: OJ discovery set was my favorite acquisition a while ago, and I still have it. A good value too. October 14, 2012 at 11:32am Reply

  • allgirlmafia: Victoria, you’ve done some reviews of a niche house I am very interested in, Delrae. I didn’t see a review of the Mythique fragrance tho, have you tried it? If so what was your impression? October 13, 2012 at 2:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s an oversight on my part, because I love Mythique and wear it more than the others from DelRae. It’s such a warm, rich iris + leather, and it really feels like suede. October 14, 2012 at 11:31am Reply

  • MB: Although I love FM, SL, and someone has already mentioned Sonoma Scent Studio which I love, my favorite would have to be L’Artisan. Timbuktu and Dzongkha are the scents I’m currently addicted to. With Passage D’enfer and Poivre Piquant close behind. I was really bummed out to hear that Tea for Two was discontinued b/c I had only just discovered it. Curiously, the only time I’ve ever gagged in public was when I sampled Havana Vanille for the first (and only) time at Fred Segal in Santa Monica. I might have cried on the way home, convinced as I was that I would never escape the odiferous cloud I was trapped in. But that’s the only exception. I’m crazy about the L’Artisan scents I don’t wear. A woman passed me in a restaurant once leaving the most intoxicating trail of Voleur de Roses in her wake. Later, as I was leaving, I was compelled to confirm my suspicions – and Iwas correct. It’s not really my personal style but I gave it to my sister in North Carolina for her birthday in February. It was a success! October 13, 2012 at 2:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Voleur de Roses has a fantastic sillage, and it’s really recognizable. I’ve done a similar thing once–stopped a woman at a museum to ask about her perfume. It turned out to be VdR. October 14, 2012 at 11:33am Reply

  • Daisy: I’ve always gravitated towards “niche” lines. I think it was Carthusia brought me to the perfume department at Barney’s and my journey suddenly became even more expensive!

    But the line that weirdly enough moved me to really start thinking about what I was wearing was Annick Goutal. Her fragrances were so different from what I was wearing at the time and made me rethink why I was wearing what I was wearing, and how I got to that point in my journey to begin with.

    Plus, the bottles are just so darn tootin’ cute! October 13, 2012 at 2:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: And those moon bottles! Just irresistible! October 14, 2012 at 11:33am Reply

  • Domestic Goblin: I am really tempted by the Crow Water + Parfum range… October 13, 2012 at 3:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: That one is on my list to try. October 14, 2012 at 11:33am Reply

  • rosarita: My personal favorites are Parfums d’Empire, Commes des Garçons, Les Nereides, Tauer, Montale, Sonoma Scent Studio & Olympic Orchids. I have more decants than bottles, but these lines have provided me with many favorites. Oh, I forgot Parfums de Nicolai and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. I feel the quality and value of all these choices are good. Too many niche houses are too expensive, and several like Parfumerie Generale jumped prices very quickly. For PG it was first a $50 increase, and it’s gone higher yet. I’ve found that even small decants often are enough of a scent for me to enjoy. October 13, 2012 at 3:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m yet to smell anything from Olympic Orchids, but I love the name and some of the descriptions are so tempting.

      I didn’t realize that PG’s prices went up quite so much. Ouch! October 14, 2012 at 11:34am Reply

      • Ann-Sofie: I have tried Olympic Orchids. They have priceworthy samples, and I ordered the 16 scents sample offer. However, and sadly, and in my opinion of course, I did not like them. A few of them, as Gujarat, have an interesting drydown, but most of them starts with shrill blasts of fire-in-the-woods-AND-explosion-in-the-chemical-plant that lasts for too long (hours). It might be a bit snarky to say this, but they kind of share a similarity to homemade perfume blendings of potent essential oils. There is for example this coconut note in the drydown of some of the scents that renders them some kind of…well….homemade quality, and not in the best sense. Golden Cattleya is perhaps the only one that conveys a perfumy impression – the rest have to much in common with the blends one can buy in the local herbal shop to pour in the scent lamp. They offer a myriad of scents – perhaps they should focus more on developing only a handful of these? In any case, I think that Olympic Orchids is a bit hyped for the moment. October 14, 2012 at 3:20pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you, Ann-Sofie! That’s a helpful perspective. October 15, 2012 at 9:56am Reply

        • Heather: Have to chime in here belatedly, since I recently bought some samples from them and have seldom been so disappointed. I had read a review on another blog of Kyphi that was writhing-orgasmic in its tone, and after three tries I have not smelled anything but cinnamon and a little frankincense and calamus. Pleasant enough if you care for cinnamon, but definitely in the headshop category. Some of the others were worse, and no real winners in the lot, although I do enjoy the enthusiastic, mildly awkward but sweet and irrepressible cascade of notes in Golden Cattleya. The rest of you, feel free to tell me if I’m missing something important, but for my money Sonoma Scent Studio and CB I Hate Perfume are the best homegrown American indie houses right now. December 9, 2012 at 8:20pm Reply

  • Austenfan: My introduction to niche was Goutal. Le Chèvrefeuille to be precise. Goutal is with De Nicolaï my favourite niche house. (And are probably my favourites overall). They both make the perfumes that I will actually wear. Other niche houses that I like, admire, have fragrances of are: Divine, which is really classical French perfumery, Frédéric Malle, Serge Lutens, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Histoires de Parfums, Parfums d’Empire, Etat Libre d’Orange and Tauer although he is I think considered indie rather than niche(?) October 13, 2012 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Austenfan: Oh and I forgot The Different Company and Diptyque. October 13, 2012 at 4:52pm Reply

      • Austenfan: And although not my favourite , which is a shame because I admire the house, is Ormonde Jayne. Very distinct. Ormonde Woman is stunning. October 13, 2012 at 4:59pm Reply

        • Divna Gogeva: I love Ormonde Jayne too…Ta’if is one of my all time favorites for example, and quite approachable too I’d think. The same goes for Frangipani. Ormonde Woman is stunning but I wouldn’t say immediately lovable. October 14, 2012 at 2:43am Reply

          • Austenfan: Well then I am the opposite as generally I don’t really like her scents. I adore Ormonde Woman though which is the only one of her line I wear regularly. October 14, 2012 at 2:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: I wear Annick Goutal Neroli more often than any other perfume in my collection, because it’s so simple and yet well-done. Smelling that fresh, green orange blossom on my skin throughout the day is such a pleasure. October 14, 2012 at 11:36am Reply

  • George: I would recommend the person samples Frederic Malle every time. Although the majority of them don’t hit that 5 star wow rating with me, they give the best perspective on the imaginative paucity and restrictions of cost that determine the results of many designer and non-niche lines, and would be most likely to open someone’s mind to the whole world of niche rather than just that one niche brand. I certainly don’t agree that expensive is always better, but the Malle line definitely shows that expensive can be most markedly different from what is more cheaply available. I believe that a lot of Serge Lutens’ perfumes (as most readily available) have too narrow an olfactory bandwidth to do this, and Annick Goutal is too conservative (although I love both ranges). The contrast and compare exercise between niche and non-niche would be the most important aspect of introducing someone to niche and, as examples, L’eau D’Hiver/Infusion D’Iris, Carnal Flower/a department store white floral, POAL/ a patchouli-rose, Noir Epices/Spicebomb, Lys Mediteranee/Baiser Vole etc. would all be a revelation, as contrasted pairs, and would show that there is world beyond designer brands, where perfume feels extremely different. October 13, 2012 at 3:55pm Reply

    • George: Alternatively, Parfums du Nicolai, because I just LOVE that shop, and it’s so much fun to get lots of samples and then sniff them around the V and A. October 13, 2012 at 3:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, I agree with you, George. For me, Frederic Malle doesn’t quite have the wow (except for Carnal Flower, but I’m biased, I love tuberose), because most ideas are very classical, but the quality is so excellent that I would not hesitate to recommend this house to anyone. And I ended up getting the sample set and I enjoy it very much. Every perfume is impeccably crafted. October 14, 2012 at 11:39am Reply

      • Austenfan: I think the Malles have a certain understatedness ( sorry for the incorrect English) about them, which makes them less likely to “wow” anyone. My favourite is Thérèse. October 14, 2012 at 2:58pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s true, although Parfum de Thérèse feels quite dramatic as does Une Rose (to me, at least). Their elegance and impeccable quality is what make Frederic Malle stand out. October 15, 2012 at 9:55am Reply

  • Caro: I think Goutal, Carthusia and L’Artisan are good gateways to niche perfumery. Eau d’Italie is very wearable too and so is Editions de Parfums.

    My favorite brand is probably Amouage. But I love stuff from Tauer Perfumes, Neela Vermeire and Arquiste. October 13, 2012 at 3:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: Arquiste is one of my own recently discoveries too, so I agree, a wonderful new niche line that has originality and quality. October 14, 2012 at 11:40am Reply

    • solanace: I love Amouage too. The quality of the ingredients is a bit addictive. Totally worth the extravagant price. October 14, 2012 at 2:46pm Reply

  • iodine: L’Artisan Parfumeur and Diptyque have been my introduction to niche perfumery, though my very first niche perfume was Pamplemousse by Comptoir Sud Pacifique.
    Then, I’d second Perfumes d’Empire an Malle lines. October 13, 2012 at 4:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried Pamplemousse, but I remember being taken briefly with Vanille Abricot (I got tired of it pretty quickly though). October 14, 2012 at 11:41am Reply

  • Anna Minis: Austenfan, what does ”indie” mean? (not in my oxford dictionary) October 13, 2012 at 4:26pm Reply

    • Austenfan: Independent, as I understand. October 13, 2012 at 4:50pm Reply

      • Anna Minis: thank you! October 13, 2012 at 4:54pm Reply

  • Elle: Niche/indie brands I love are: OLO Fragrance (especially Lightning Paw and Cedar Rose), MCMC Fragrance, A Lab on Fire (especially L’Anonyme) and Le Labo. October 13, 2012 at 4:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Adding OLO to my list. Another line to explore. October 14, 2012 at 11:41am Reply

  • Emma: Annick Goutal was big in the late 90s, I remember the Goutal counter at Bloomingdales next to Jean Patou perfumes (Bloomingdales no longer carries Patou and Caron). After that Goutal made it to the shelves of Sephora for a couple of years and then nothing. I think people seriously interested in niche perfumery turned to Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle instead. As you said, Goutal is more like an introductory niche line. My best introductory niche line was Caron – En Avion, Alpona, Narcisse Noir just to mention a few at the now defunct Madison Avenue boutique.

    Have you been to the new Lutens counter at Barneys? I visited it again last Thursday but didn’t buy perfume or makeup. Niche fragrances tend to bore me at this point with a hundred amber this and oud that, the whole niche thing is getting too predictable, nothing truly exciting anymore which means more money to spend on clothes and shoes! I bought a cute Carven dress at Barneys (I always buy one or two Carven pieces of each collection). Just before leaving the store, I was looking at a Rochas pouch style handbag when I found myself next to Marcia Cross trying Lanvin handbags in front of the same mirror.
    By the way, the new Barneys windows are stunning, there’s russian hills with shoe-like cars and a giant aquarium with fishes swimming around Louboutin shoes, Simon Doonan is a genius! I could live without niche fragrances but I couldn’t live without Barneys New York! October 13, 2012 at 4:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re making me miss NYC even more, Emma! But I will enjoy Barney’s vicariously through you. 🙂 October 14, 2012 at 11:43am Reply

  • annemariec: I would recommend in terms of ease and cost of sampling rather than my taste or preference for a particular house. As a starting point I’d want my friend to see how DIFFERENT niche smells from much mainstream stuff. That can be a very strange experience!

    If I was recommending to a friend here in Australia I would be considering how hassle-free it is to order samples online and that means Sonoma Scent Studio, Tauer, Olympic Orchids, Parfum d’Empire. Of course I’d also mention the decant services, where there are endless possibilities, but suggesting to my friend that they especially try Nicolai, as the follow-up cost of FBs is so low.

    Over the counter brands that are sold relatively widely here are Annick Goutal and Diptyque, so you can test for free.

    Brands that are sold in relatively few places here and which are expensive even to sample are Malle and L’Artisan, which is why I haven’t explored those house much myself. October 13, 2012 at 5:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: The reason I introduce my friends to something a bit different is that often I hear, “oh, I don’t like perfume,” or “perfume smells synthetic.” Then they smell Annick Goutal or something from L’Artisan, and the next thing you know, they are reading blogs, ordering samples from Luckyscent, and, best of all, inviting themselves over to play with my perfume samples. I love sharing my scents with others. 🙂 October 14, 2012 at 11:45am Reply

  • Cybele: Although I find it more difficult to recommend a house than a fragrance and I would rather suggest to sniff around in a store that carries many lines, as an introduction I’d say Frederick Malle, Le Labo, By Kilian, Les Nez. October 13, 2012 at 7:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a good point–having a store with a wide selection, even a well-stocked Sephora, can help tremendously as one starts to explore. October 14, 2012 at 11:46am Reply

  • Lori Olthoff: Frederic Malle is by far my favorite niche fragrance house. All of the fragrances from Malle are approachable and so thoughtfully crafted. It also pleases me that world renowned Noses, who are responsible for many of the department store brands, are introduced to us through this line.
    LeLabo, Caron, Comme des Garcons are also on my list. October 13, 2012 at 8:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: Lori, I can’t agree more. “approachable and so thoughtfully crafted” is how I think of Frederic Malle as well. And very elegant! October 14, 2012 at 11:46am Reply

  • Sabbath: Annick Goutal are niche fragrances that smell almost like they would not be niche. Accept from Eau du Fier, which is smasching amazing.
    If you want your friends to know different faces of niche – recomend to them Comme des Garcons perfumes.
    If you want them to know elegant and exclusive niche, try with Royal Crown, Amouage, Clive Christian, Ramon Molvizar, Cuarzo Signature or Micallef.
    If you want them to know niche fragrances that are really original, let it be Sonoma Scent Studio, D.S. & Durga, Blood Concept, Henrik Vibskov, I Hate Perfume, Norma Kamali (especially Incense) Smell Bent or even the Lisa Kirk project.
    If you want them to know just niche, I recomend Olivier Durbano, SoOud, Slumberhouse, Santa Maria Novella, Regina Harris, ProFumum Roma, Parfumerie Generale, Le Labo… Oh gosh, there are hundrets of them. 🙂
    One I can tell you from my own experience. If You once fall into niche, you will probably never go back to using only selective perfumes. 🙂
    Victoria, do you agree? October 14, 2012 at 12:47am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree that exploring niche fragrances definitely opens up one’s horizons, because the mainstream/prestige brands tend to do the same ol’ thing today–lavender on steroids colognes for men and fruitchoulis for women. With some notable exceptions, of course. But I don’t know if I would able to wear only niche and nothing but. I would miss the classics and even some excellent mainstream perfumes like Bottega Veneta, J’Adore, Angel, Light Blue, Black. October 14, 2012 at 11:49am Reply

      • Sabbath: And Obsession and Opium and Black Cashmere and Theorema and old Feminite du Bois and M7 and classic Chanel No 5 and 19 and Loewe 7 and NU and Habanita and many others. I agree. But still there is a bigger choice in niche. Especialy if you are searching for some special notes.
        For me the point is, not to close for any fragrance. Just experience more and more of them. 🙂
        Best regards from Poland October 14, 2012 at 1:01pm Reply

        • Victoria: “Just experience more and more of them”–I can’t agree more! 🙂 October 15, 2012 at 9:51am Reply

  • Zazie: Oh, I started with Annick Goutal too!
    Not with a bottle, but by discovering that there were fragrances that smelled different, and that positioned themselves differently… I immediately liked l’eau d’Hadrien and marveled at Songes, though I thought they were not “me”. But I was so impressed and excited that I looked them up on internet and stumbled on what must have been Luca Turin’s blog. Then, I discovered l’artisan’s ananas fizz (so funny and so not me!), and yet again I wanted to know more…and happened on NST, and…the rest is history, as they say ;)…
    To me niche means this: interesting perfumes and unusual approach, so exciting that you want to know more and talk about it!!…Yet many niche brands are just pretenders…
    Ok, on to your question: depending on their tastes, I might suggest to a newbie l’artisan or Annick Goutal, while Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle to just about everyone. The discovery coffret from Ormonde Jayne is another good introduction to “different” perfumes… And I would not forget Exclusive Chanel and Guerlains (by which I mean also the classics, which don’t enjoy a wide distribution in Italy). Today, however, I am all about mainstream: guiltily enjoying la petite robe noire. So not me! But so much fun to wear! October 14, 2012 at 4:23am Reply

    • Victoria: La Petite Robe Noire is fun! I know that the new version is thinner than the original, but it’s still nicely done. And no need to feel guilty about enjoying it! 🙂 October 14, 2012 at 11:50am Reply

  • sara: Hi,

    I agree with Annick Goutal but I’m really thinking of Nez a Nez with some much interesting affordable compositions such as “Bouche Baie” or “Vanithé”. Juliette has a Gun is also a good niche brand to start dealing with niche.
    Regards October 14, 2012 at 5:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Vanithé sounds interesting based on the descriptions online. I’m definitely going to try it. October 14, 2012 at 11:51am Reply

  • renee: Hello!
    I started with Amouage,when there was only Gold in a beautiful,golden bottle.I remember i thought it will be an exotic scent and,then,it turned out to be a very elegant,french-like fragrance.Then I discovered Serge Lutens,Anick Goutal,Frederic Malle.
    Today it is very difficult to say which perfume house I prefer.I don’t think i like all the fragrances from a certain line.I love Musc Ravageur,Noir Epices,Carnal Flower,Une Rose but I don’t think i will ever buy Cologne Bigarade,for example.
    So,I think it is better to sample everything one finds.Maybe you like Manoumalia,but hate Le Chevrefeuille! October 14, 2012 at 8:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I remember those original Amouage bottles! They were so over the top and looked like mini palaces. 🙂 October 14, 2012 at 11:52am Reply

  • Lynne Marie: If I had to recommend just one niche house to start with, it would be Serge Lutens. When I first made the break from Department store fragrances, it was Un Bois Vanille that pushed me over the wall, so to speak. Since then I’ve developed an abiding love for Daim Blond, Santal Blanc, Ambre Sultan and more. After SL I would suggest Annick Goutal then Parfums de Nicolai or ELDO maybe – I adore Putain des Palaces and am still exploring their other fragrances. As others have mentioned, I really think you just have to sample everything you can get your hands on. You never know where your next great love is going to come from which is one of the things I love most about perfume! October 14, 2012 at 10:00am Reply

    • Victoria: I just remembered that when I started exploring more with my mom, I introduced her to Lutens. She fell so hard for it that these days she wears almost nothing else (and Annick Goutal La Violette). October 14, 2012 at 11:53am Reply

  • Dionne: If I was to recommend niche for someone looking to explore beyond mainstream, I’d pick Sonoma Scent Studio and Parfum d’Empire. Here’s my reasoning: 1) It needs to be an easy to sample line that’s reasonably priced 2) Related to that, the bottles need to be affordable – Amouage is for AFTER someone’s fallen down the rabbit hole 3) Not too many selections, because that’s overwhelming 4) Isn’t found in department stores, even high-end ones, for a feeling of wearing something unique 5) Has enough variety to showcase just what the possibilities are in niche. October 14, 2012 at 10:10am Reply

    • Jack Sullivan: I agree with you here, Dionne: to “hook” someone on niche brands, you first need to destroy the myth of niche. To a lot of people, niche perfumes are more or less equivalent to “hard to find, indecently expensive and using sophisticated formulations that only those in the know can possibly understand and love”.
      Ideally, to initiate someone (ha, the nerve! I’ve only stepped into niche four months ago), I’d stage a blind test (featuring samples from just everything I can get my hands on) to demonstrate that you can smell wonderful things from brands you don’t even know exist, as well as from those you believe have nothing in store for you.
      Wanting to explore a perfume house (niche and mainstream alike) is a lot about curiosity, but under the reign of King Marketing it’s a lot about thinking that the image of the brand agrees with your self-image. Hence the blind test: you don’t know where the scent comes from or for what kind of person it has been marketed, you just feel it, the variety, the beauty of it, and feel right (or wrong) wearing it. October 14, 2012 at 11:11am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a great explanation, Dionne, and I agree with you. The affordable price is important too. If I can’t justify Amouage to myself, I can’t imagine a non-perfume person/perfume newbie being able to. Unless money is totally not issue to them, but I personally don’t know many people like that. October 14, 2012 at 11:55am Reply

  • Annikky: Hi, Victoria & Co!

    I have been dithering for more than a day now, too nervous to post – it is my first time, you see. But as I am relatively new to perfume, I thought this is a topic where my ignorance actually might give me an advantage. It was just a few months ago when I was puzzling over the same questions (where to start? what to try?) myself. And I still am, of course.

    My own first niche fragrance was Fracas, I bought it before I developed a more serious interest in scent. I loved it and wore it exclusively, everywhere, until I run out. Then came Lutens and although there are so many fragrances from different houses that I like, if I had to choose only one line for myself, it would be Lutens. My FB collection is very small, but two of them are by Serge – I bought Fleurs d’Oranger for summer and Feminite du Bois for fall and if I squint, I can see Ambre Sultan in my not-so-distant future.

    However, I think Lutens can be tricky as a first brand to try. I vividly remember sniffing the export line bottles in Tallinn department store when they became available and finding only Sa Majeste la Rose tolerable, probably because the rose smell was the only one I recognised. But by that time I was already smitten and didn’t give up on those strange concoctions.

    Which brings me to my main point (four paragraphs in!): I believe one should deploy different tactics, depending on whether the person is already interested in niche/perfume or not. If yes, I would simply go for something that is locally available (online samples are a good-send, but I think it helps to do some initial research in shops) and has a wide selection. Goutal, L’Artisan, Lutens have all been mentioned and would work well for someone who is interested and ready to work through lots of fragrances. While I am not the biggest fan of Goutal, their soliflores have played a crucial part in educating my nose (and if it remains depressingly un-educated, it is certainly not the fault of the Goutals).

    But in case one is trying to lure a more-or-less passive friend away from her Coco Mademoiselle (which I wore for years)/his Aqua di Gio, I would go for something else. To my mind, Ormonde Jayne is perfect for people who have otherwise good taste but simply have not put much thought into what fragrance they wear. The line is modern, good quality, reasonably priced, interesting, but not wierd. I think Luca Turin said OJ is what mainstream perfumes SHOULD smell like and I agree completely. There are nice florals that are difficult not to like. And Ta’if and Tolu, if one is more geared towards orientals, but doesn’t know it yet. And Champaca and Ormonde Woman/Man for those who might suddenly realise that they like a little  strangeness after all. And the selection is not too wide and overwhelming. In a way, Malle falls in a similar camp for me – elegant, not too esoteric, so well done. A little pricier and maybe not as accessible as OJ, but none of Malle’s fragrances will make the person think you are making fun of her/him.

    And in the end, of course, the recommendation depends on the person in question. But I realise this not helpful at all:) October 14, 2012 at 11:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and detailed comment, Annikky! This is so helpful.
      It really sounds like you have a great plan for exploring more. And I agree, the most important part is not really to smell niche vs non-niche, but just to smell. If all one has is a Sephora, it’s a good starting place. When I was living in a small college town, that was my main playing ground. These days the closest perfume store to me is a Sephora type shop, and that’s where I go to smell new and old perfumes. The more one smells, the more one figures out one’s taste. October 14, 2012 at 11:16am Reply

      • Annikky: Oh, got a little carried away there, apologies for being so wordy. Let me just add (my reputation as an introvert is ruined anyway) that I have been a regular reader of your blog for months now and it is beautiful, intelligent, entertaining and everything else good that has been said about it by others. What makes it even more special for me (being an Estonian) is your heritage – references to smetana, Pushkin or even wild strawberries are not that common in the English-language blogosphere. October 14, 2012 at 11:35am Reply

        • Victoria: Please don’t apologize! This was so well-explained and detailed, and I know that it’s going to be helpful to others too.

          Thank you for your kind words, Annikky! 🙂 You know, returning to Europe made me realize how much I’ve missed some of those things (wild strawberries, for instance!) And while I now miss US and NYC in particular, being closer to my old home is important in itself. October 14, 2012 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Austenfan: This is such a great post, thanks for telling us about your perfume travels!

      I think in a way the small French house Divine is in a similar niche as is Ormonde Jayne.
      They really just make good classical French perfumes. Probably slightly more old-fashioned than OJ. L.Turin made a similar observation in his review of L’Etre Aimé Femme about Divine. (in perfumes the A-Z guide) October 14, 2012 at 3:06pm Reply

      • Annikky: Thanks, Austenfan, this is so kind of you! As a commited lurker, I have been enjoying your posts a lot. Will check out Divine when I have a chance. October 15, 2012 at 8:39am Reply

  • Ann-Sofie: Perfumes is an exclusive and expensive hobby. I am glad that some of the comments raise this issue here, because even as one of my great interests is fragrance, I find it difficult to even aquire the aquired taste that this interest require (woah, that sentence…sorry). Simply put – I have to prioritise in my budget, and even if there is some room for the cost of niche perfumes, it is small. What to do? Well, I have solved this problem with the help of The Guide (Turin & Sanchez) and Bois de Jasmin – my two fragrance gurus as they do not discriminate between niche and departement store perfumes – they are all considered sniff worthy and sometimes FB worthy. They have given me a most pleasurable and knowledgeable sniff experience. For example, I blind bought Estee Lauder Knowing based on their recommendations – oh my what a high! Leather rose with glowing radiance. Exceptional. However, I don’t always agree – I found Calvin Klein Thruth blaha bland, and after the grass tennis lawn opening cloying and a bit bitter as bile in the drydrown. The Guide gives it four stars. Uh!?

    So, due to economy I keep to the department stores, and sometime I stray to niche. The department stores offer Guerlain, Chanel etc – this is good. L’Artisan is going departement store – also good. I see no value added in a fragrance that is hard to aquire.

    For the moment I have 26 perfumes in FB, and many more samples. I love all my FB (except for the ugly Thruth), but there is only one niche there: Coromandel. I am content with this, as I sometimes wonder if the time consuming process and the cost of buying samples from all over the world based on others recommendations is a wise thing to do?

    Next, I will probably buy Shalimar Initial (departement store) and Serge Lutens Feminité du Bois (niche).

    Many thanks to Victoria and Suzanna – I appreciate you so very much, and truly admire your great knowledge as well as your way to initiate interesting perspective on fragrance. October 14, 2012 at 4:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: There is definitely a way to make your hobby affordable. I don’t think that spending a lot is necessary to enjoy perfumes, unless you’re seriously into collecting. In fact, I would go further and say that perfume is one of the least expensive hobbies you can have, if you manage it well. I say this because enjoying perfume to me is about smelling, rather buying perfumes. Overly expensive perfumes don’t interest me either. There is a price point beyond which the marginal returns on quality aren’t great anymore. I would rather wear Demeter Library scents (Whisky Tobacco is so good!) and Bath & Body Works Cotton Blossom (a cozy orange blossom). October 15, 2012 at 10:10am Reply

  • Wordbird: It’s interesting isn’t it? I have never been able to figure the fine line between ‘niche’, ‘superniche’ and ‘indy’…
    *sigh*

    Anyway, I’d send a friend to Frederic Malle for their first taste of niche, because the perfumes are special – beautiful and jewel-like, they look luxurious and smell different from anything you would find in a department store. But yet they are not so far out there that they would be too strange or difficult to understand or wear. I think that everyone could find at least one perfume they love in the Frederic Malle line. October 14, 2012 at 5:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m still struggling to figure it out! 🙂 October 15, 2012 at 10:11am Reply

  • Amer: I think the first niche I’ve ever smelled must have been a CdG but I don’t remember which one or how it smelled. It might have been “2”. I consider Diptyque to be my introduction to niche and it was the first time when my untrained nose begun to pick up notes that were rendered with full blown naturalness. Philosykos is the one I set apart from the first testing and it really changed my view of perfume ever since. It still stands as a golden example of originality in my mind. Tam Dao is another favorite and a reference for sandalwood.
    After Diptyque Artisan, Annick Goutal, Serge Lutens and Histoires de Parfum followed.
    One of my new favorites that I often suggest to anyone who wants to try something radically different than mainstream is Nasomato (alas extremely expensive).
    I must confess Victoria that among them the only one that never gave me a creation to really love is Annick Goutal. Somehow her creations refuse to take off on my skin. October 14, 2012 at 6:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: Annick Goutal has a very unusual development. A friend compared it to a broken string of pearls, and it makes sense. It’s a fun aspect, but a bit unpredictable. October 15, 2012 at 10:13am Reply

  • erry: Annick Goutal was also the first niche parfum for me. I bought Songes and Rose Absolue; they’re my fave esp since I love rose and big white floral scents. I also sniffed some SL in airport duty free shop, and I ended up buying FdO. It’s such a bombshell of BWF; I have to apply it with utmost care :D. I also tried Sa Majeste Lo Rose, which I love and will buy later if I have a chance to visit SL store or anyplace that sell it. October 14, 2012 at 9:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also apply Fleur d’Oranger with care, because overapplication means a headache for me for the rest of the day! October 15, 2012 at 10:15am Reply

  • Katherine: I bought “in” perfume right up until someone gave me a bottle of K. Hall Designs’ Cypress and Cassis edp; for the first time, people stopped me and asked what I was wearing and where they could buy it. Now I eagerly look for odd scents in odd places. Right now I’m crushing on the wonderful variety of long lasting green scents available from Roxana at Illuminated Perfume. October 15, 2012 at 12:18am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s such a nice compliment, isn’t it! October 15, 2012 at 10:15am Reply

  • Caroline: I wish I could wear Annick Goutal perfumes. I sampled a few years ago at Nordstom & everything I tried smelled the same — it had this strange “dirt” smell on me. I asked the sales person if it was supposed to smell that way & she was surprised & said no. She told me that AG used beet alcohol. That sort of explained the smell as beets smell like the earth they grow in. But it didn’t explain why it was all my body chemistry pulled out of the perfumes. Very odd! October 15, 2012 at 12:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s interesting, Caroline! I’m surprised about the beet alcohol explanation, I’ve never heard of something like that. October 15, 2012 at 4:12pm Reply

      • Caroline: I’ve thought recently of maybe trying the body creme instead. I’d much rather have a pretty bottle than a plastic tube, though. Years ago I was on a quest to collect most of the perfumes mentioned in the Bombshell Manual of Style and there were one or two AG perfumes mentioned — one being Gardenia Passion. But alas AG & I were not to be. October 15, 2012 at 9:45pm Reply

    • Jack Sullivan: Alcohol, or rather ethanol since it is the one molecule of the alcohol family that is used in perfumery, smells the same no matter what plant it is made from (I expect they use chemical-grade, high-purity ethanol, which means there are no remnants of aromatic compounds whatsoever). October 16, 2012 at 2:29am Reply

  • kat: Like a lot of people, I started with Annick Goutal, Diptyque and L’Artisan as my intro to the somewhat less mainstream side of perfumes, so I have a soft spot in my heart for those niche lines. These days I’m fond of Frederic Malle, Serge Lutens and, I admit, the Juliette Has a Gun line. (It appeals to my lost-long teen punk-goth!) I’ve also found beautiful perfumes in the Byredo line. All I can say is…thank god for samples, testers and decants!! October 15, 2012 at 5:43pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Serhe Lutens is a God as far as I am concerned,but very expensive. Tocca scents are lovely, not too expensive and available at Sephora. For something a little more obscure, check out Yosh or Keiko Meicheri. If you are in the Santa Monica area, check out Memoire Liquide at Fred Segal and experiment at their blending bar! I love their Nudite Absolu. Smell Bent has some fantastic scents at affordable prices and his website is so witty and clever. An older friend (she was in garuate school and as such the avatar of intellectualism and sophstication to me) introduced me to Annick Goutal- I didn’t like them at first because they didn’t smell like anything else I was used to, but now that is precisely why I wear them! Grand Amour and Heure Exquise are fantastic Fall and Holiday scents- rich, feminine, intoxicating. October 15, 2012 at 6:22pm Reply

  • Ariadne: http://www.indiescents.com/categories/fragrances/?sort=newest
    Shop Indie to your heart’s content! October 16, 2012 at 7:21pm Reply

  • ChrisinNY: Thank you for all the comments here. I have been desperately seeking replacement scents because all of my favorites have been reformulated to be just awful. Was able to pull out many of the recurring favorite lines and scents to order small samples- hopefully finding a few that will smell amazing on me. Unfortunately, weird body chemistry changes many, many scents to playdo or soap.
    Thanks for the lovely blog. October 19, 2012 at 9:42am Reply

  • Gentiana: Oh, My!
    Dear Victoria! The Annick Goutal line actually was the first niche line I started to smell!
    What a nice (and niche 🙂 ) coincidence!
    And, if I remember well… My first niche purchase was Nimfeo Mio…. 🙂
    And in my spring top 3 still rules Songes… January 17, 2014 at 2:18am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 It’s such a great line to be introduced to the smaller, off the beaten track perfumery. Of course, now it’s much more well-known and is sold at most department stores, but it’s till interesting. January 17, 2014 at 8:28am Reply

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