Our Favorite Niche Fragrances

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. Enter Marian Bendeth. Marian, a fragrance expert and consultant who has worked with over a thousand brands, is based in Toronto, Ontario. She writes about scent, teaches about it, argues about it, collects it, and lives for it. She only wears vintage fragrances, but wouldn’t reveal them to me. I could have talked to her for hours about finding my signature--niche--perfume, but here’s the short version.
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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. Enter Marian Bendeth. Marian, a fragrance expert and consultant who has worked with over a thousand brands, is based in Toronto, Ontario. She writes about scent, teaches about it, argues about it, collects it, and lives for it. She only wears vintage fragrances, but wouldn’t reveal them to me. I could have talked to her for hours about finding my signature--niche--perfume, but here’s the short version.
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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.

Enter

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.