Niche perfumery has been known to mankind for hundreds of years. It can be said that niche brands date back to ancient times, while designer brands flourished in the 18th century. Think of all the nobles, kings and queens who have had their own perfume-makers, creating special and unique perfumes that have no analogues.
The Essence of Niche Perfumes
Niche perfumes are known for being produced in much smaller quantities than designer perfumes. The limited-edition, combined with the highest-quality ingredients, is what makes them so appealing.
The creative process behind niche perfumes is very long. Sometimes it can take up to 10 years or more, during which time the perfumer can modify and adjust his composition to perfection. Just like a work of art, in niche perfumes, they use only the finest ingredients and combine them with the craftsmanship of the most skilled perfumers to turn the finished product into a true masterpiece.
A specific feature of the production of niche perfumes is the use of higher concentrations of perfume extracts, which guarantees a unique sensual experience for the person who wears the niche fragrance.
Niche perfumes offer an exclusivity that mass perfumes will never reach. They are known for their unusual and unique scents that you cannot catch on every second person. They offer individuality, quality, higher class, the finest ingredients and exclusivity.
The Differences Between Designer and Niche Perfumes
According to The Fragrance Foundation (FiFi), perfumes can be divided into 2 main groups:
- Designer perfumes (also known as mainstream perfumes)
- Niche fragrances
The main factors that make perfume a niche are:
1. Difficult to find
Niche perfumes have no advertising face and can only be found in specially selected places. They do not use the popularity of celebrities. Unlike designer perfumes, they are manufactured on a much smaller scale and are very unlikely to be found in the most popular perfume and cosmetics stores.
If you are looking for a niche perfume, you should check in the highest-end perfume boutiques or online niche perfume shops.
2. The number of stores available
Generally, most of the perfumes you will find in big department stores for perfumery and cosmetics are designer perfumes. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, as some of the largest perfume brands have also recently started producing niche perfumes offering them in limited quantities or only for a limited period in selected shops.
Niche perfumes reveal whole stories, describe places and events with their unique scents. Designer perfumes can’t give you the sense of uniqueness of niche perfumes, but they also have their positives.
Niche perfume houses are known for using only the most expensive ingredients. They do not focus on the packaging and advertising of their products because what matters most is what is inside the bottle. That is why you are more likely to find valuable and difficult to find natural perfume ingredients in niche perfumes than in designer perfumes.
Designer perfumes can be found at more reasonable prices as opposed to niche perfumes that maintain high prices. Plus, you won’t have to search long to find your designer perfume as they are sold everywhere.
The trend of designer perfume houses to use more cost-effective ingredients and their constant struggle to reduce costs in the composition of mass perfumes is unthinkable for niche perfumes.
The Most Famous Niche Perfume Houses
Annick Goutal. This is one of the most famous French niche perfume houses that is just as unique as its founder. It not only gives the brand its name but also its extraordinary talent – a sense of smell that becomes a lifelong passion. Perfumers take care of every step of the process from creation to packaging, all done by hand in France.
The most famous perfumes: Eau d’Hadrien, Petite Chérie, Rose Pompon, L’Ile AC, Un Matin d’Orage.
Acqua di Parma. Since 1916, this famous Italian niche brand has cultivated its unique style by creating a collection of iconic perfumes and colognes symbolizing the Italian luxury. The first Colonia perfume was launched in 1916 in Parma, Italy. A true symbol of Italian elegance, the brand became extremely popular with many celebrities in the twentieth century.
The most famous perfumes: Colonia, Rosa Nobile, Blu Mediterraneo Mandorlo, Colonia Oud, Intensa.
Creed. It has a long history in the world of niche perfumery. Founded around 1700 in the UK, today Creed is still a family-owned company that produces all its perfumes by hand, creating extraordinary scents for royal families and sophisticated taste customers.
This is the perfume house that supplied perfumes to royal families, including Queen Victoria, as well as to Winston Churchill, President John F. Kennedy and many other historical celebrities.
The Creed brand is also interesting with the use of ancient techniques for processing the precious materials selected for the production of its incomparable perfumes. Creed favours natural ingredients of the highest quality over synthetic alternatives.
Most popular perfumes: Green Irish Tweed, Cedre Blanc, Citrus Bigarrade, Creed Aventus, Green Valley, Royal Service, Jasmal.
Comme des Garcons. The French fashion brand was created by Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo known for her fashion collections with “anti-fashion” items. The brand is famous for its controversial and unconventional scents. Their homonymous first perfume was launched in 1994.
Most popular fragrances: Amazingreen, Comme Des Garsons, Comme Des Garcons 2, Wonderwood, Odeur 71.
Arquiste. The founder of the brand is the architect Carlos Huber, who was an interior designer for Polo Ralph Lauren! His sense of niche perfumes prompts him to move to New York, where he founded his brand in 2011.
He began to study the production of perfumes and decided to join his greatest passion, which is architectural history. Its unique perfumes can perfectly recreate the atmosphere of exciting historic buildings.
Most popular fragrances: Aleksandr, Anima Dulcis, Boutonnière no.7, NANBAN, The Architects Club.
Amouage. The luxury brand of these niche perfumes is now based in London, but its roots extend far into the Middle East. It was established in 1983 in Oman by a member of a royal family.
It is dedicated to the mission of creating only exceptional luxury perfumes of the highest- quality and rare oils and aims to show the world the art and exclusivity of perfumes from the Arab world. The first niche perfume of the house is the famous Amouage Gold, created by the legendary perfumer Guy Robert, the creator of many classic fragrances in the twentieth century.
Amouage niche perfumes are composed in the southern French Gras, considered as the world’s capital of perfumes and offer the guarantee of the highest standards.
Most famous perfumes: Amouage Tribute, Amoyage Amouage Homage, Amouage Interlude, Amouage Amouage Epic, Amouage Interlude.
Clive Christian. The brand is named after its founder, who is a well-known British interior designer. The brand is best known for launching one of the world’s most expensive perfumes, Clive Christian No1. It contains 50-year-old sandalwood from India, ylang-ylang and Tahitian vanilla.
Clive Christian’s exclusive fragrances are featured in some of the most prestigious boutiques such as Harrods in London and Bergdorf Goodman. The brand will appeal to all who like to surround themselves with luxury and do not care about the price.
Most notable perfumes: Clive Christian No1, Clive Christian 1872, Clive Christian X, Clive Christian L, Clive Christian V.
P. S: No1 Imperial Majesty enters the Guinness Book of Records thanks to its extreme price of about $12,700 per one. Its vial is made of Baccarat crystal, eighteen-carat gold and inlaid with five-carat white diamond. There are only 5 bottles made per year.
Serge Lutens. Serge Lutens is a brand that was created in France in 2000 following series of successful partnerships by designer Serge Lutens with Vogue, Christian Dior and Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido.
Its niche fragrances were created with the help of the famous perfumer Christopher Sheldrake and are considered to be one of the best and most popular that the niche perfumery offers to its clients.
Most popular fragrances: Ambre Sultan, Iris Silver Mist, Fleurs de citronnier, Fille en Aiguilles, Gris Clair.
The Future of Niche Perfumes
Niche perfumes have been increasing significantly over the past few years. The tendency is that they will become more popular in the future. More and more stores have started offering niche perfumes in an attempt to satisfy the demanding taste of modern niche perfume fans. It has many surprises for individualists seeking their own solution.
In my next article, I will introduce you to the famous perfume design houses and their fragrances. Stay tuned!