In this age of globalization, corporate conglomerates, and big box stores, there’s something very comforting about finding a product that no one else has. You can get small-batch olive oil. There’s an entire cult on Twitter that is in search of unusual teas. And finding a new local fashion designer often feels like a delicious secret when everyone around you is wearing something from the mall.
So with everyone looking for a way to express individuality in a world that is becoming increasingly commercial, niche perfumes are the perfect antidote to conformity.
I’m a lazy fragrance user. I own and have used quite a few in my day, but never very regularly. Days will go by when deodorant and toothpaste are my signature scents. This is really sort of unacceptable.
Histoires de Parfum: Another French house. Most of the fragrances bear the names of years, and are dedicated to historical events and people. The company sent me a generous handful of samples. My favorite of all: 1804, which I later discovered is dedicated to George Sand, the pseudonym used by the first famous French female writer.
Serge Lutens: A make-up artist who worked at French Vogue in the 1960s and collaborated with major photographers of the time. He was later hired by Shiseido, created a fragrance for the company, then started his own company in the 1990s. Try Serge Noire for a truly unique experience. Words escape me. Ashy? Burned? These adjectives all came to mind. Like your scents a little, um, prettier? Try Daim Blond.
Acqua di Parma: Started in Parma, Italy in 1916, and re-born in the 1990s (acknowledged as the beginning of the era of modern niche perfumes). Do you like citrus fragrances? The Blu Mediterraneo Aranci di Capri is a slice of heaven.
Parfums DelRae: Produced in the south of France, but conceived by an American, DelRae Roth. She was a graphic designer and worked for Esprit before starting her fragrance company. Mythique is floral and pretty.