Fragrance is an invisible part of our images. From the first notes, they can say a lot about our character and worldview. That is why many seek to find something of their own, unusual, unlike the fragrances used by friends or colleagues. Niche perfume brands work for such people

Niche perfumery - what is it

Niche perfumery is the exact opposite of the mass fragrance industry: niche compositions find admirers, as a rule, in a narrow circle of connoisseurs.The reason is unusual combinations of notes, which often sound bold or even provocative. This does not mean that such fragrances are “not for everyone” and few people will like it - just that most of them bear little resemblance to a typically feminine or typically masculine perfume.

How is niche perfume made?

Niche fragrances are classified as "art for art's sake" : creating them, perfumers rarely think about the tastes and preferences of a wide audience - they do not limit themselves to anything.

For the creators of fragrances in the "niche" reigns a real flight of fancy. Generally accepted rules are not followed here. Therefore, many niche fragrances break stereotypes about perfumery. They turn out to be ambiguous: someone falls in love with the result of experiments carried out by famous “noses”, while someone, on the contrary, does not understand at all how one can “wear” such compositions and prefers popular perfumes for men.

History of niche perfumery

The first niche brands appeared in the 1970s, but the very concept of "niche perfumery" did not exist at that time. Versions about who exactly was the pioneer differ, especially since today there are niche brands whose history spans more than one century - this is, for example, the Creed brand, founded back in 1760. Among the representatives of the “niche” that appeared in the 70s of the last century are L’Artisan Parfumeur and Diptyque. And in the 90s, this direction in perfumery was clearly indicated - thanks to Serge Lutens, who unexpectedly created a woody fragrance for women and thereby laid the foundation for a new era.

Niche, luxury and mainstream fragrances: what's the difference?

Until recently, fragrances were divided into mass and luxury. The former are distinguished by the fact that they are produced in large quantities, they are affordable (in particular, because expensive ingredients are not used in them), and their formula itself is based on trends and is focused on the tastes of a wide audience.Luxe are fragrances of a higher rank: rare ingredients and exclusive packaging make them more expensive, but in terms of “content” they are still designed for the majority and are widely represented on sale. Not so with niche fragrances. They can be found far from everywhere, the circulation is limited. Stereotypical fruit and flower compositions for girls and colognes for men are not found in the “niche”. These fragrances are not for everyone, but they have a lot of fans.


The difference between selective perfumery and niche fragrances

Nice perfumery and selective perfumery are often spoken of as if they are the same thing. In fact, there are differences.

The creators of niche fragrances go against the tastes of the majority. When developing new compositions, they do not expect that the novelty will be to the taste of 8 out of 10 people. Most of the time they don't think about it at all. Otherwise, the experiment just won't work. The aromas are unusual and defy everything familiar.

Selective fragrances are a subspecies of niche perfumery. The name speaks for itself: sélectif in French means "special" . These are selected fragrances that perfumers literally collect by notes, trying to create a real masterpiece - unique, sophisticated, multifaceted. A selective fragrance is designed to surprise not with strangeness (there are many such examples in niche perfumery), but with quality, a subtle perception of the world of smells. As a rule, behind selective brands there is a perfumer with a name who releases his creations in very small quantities - even less than in the case of most niche fragrances.

Thus, not all niche fragrances are selective compositions, many of which can be called real exclusives without exaggeration.


Features of niche perfumery

To get started with niche perfumes, the first step is to learn the features that make niche perfumes stand out from the rest. These features apply both to the contents of niche perfume bottles and to many other external aspects, such as packaging and advertising.


Nice fragrances are mostly based on experimentation. Some are built on contrast and are a combination of notes that are usually not found next to each other, such as rough leathery accords in the base and a delicate sound of rose in the drydown.

The approach may be different. There are scents that convey the smell of paper in a new book, the scent of a baby's skin, the breath of a fresh breeze-familiar yet elusive. These art fragrances also include association perfumes, in which they try to convey emotions: joy, anger, fear.

Another type of niche fragrance is vintage. In this niche, famous fragrances of the past are recreated, reviving the legends of houses that used to be titans in the world of perfumery, but have practically sunk into oblivion.

In the artisan niche (artisan is translated as "master artisan" ), the emphasis is on natural ingredients and handicraft, including the manufacture of bottles for niche perfumes.


The creators of niche perfumes don't keep in mind the "picture" of the audience they create for. Composing a new composition, the perfumer thinks only about it: he is hardly interested in how he will sell this fragrance, whether it is promising from the point of view of commercial success, whether buyers of perfume stores will like it.

In the first place is the perfume itself, and not the one to whom it is addressed. At the same time, the result can appeal to very different people with different tastes and lifestyles. How to understand which fragrance is right for you, you can find out here.

Raw materials

Representatives of the "niche" do not tend to use only expensive and hard-to-find components.The cost of raw materials is less important than its ability to create a particular flavor. What matters is what the ingredient can bring to the perfume. The high price of niche fragrances is often associated not so much with the addition of rare components, but with the amount of work that the perfumer does to create the next masterpiece.


Circulations of niche perfumes are small. This logically follows from the fact that such perfumes are not designed for a large audience. Selective perfumes can be produced in an extremely limited batch, which makes them exclusive. And desirable: their owners are pleased to realize that they and a couple of hundred or even tens of people in the world have such a perfume.


In niche perfumery, content is more important than form. Therefore, many fragrances from this segment are sold in very easy-to-design bottles without unnecessary details.

However, not all perfumers who create fragrances for the “niche” profess this philosophy. Someone, on the contrary, pays a lot of attention to the bottles and strives to turn them into a work of art too. Fragrances in such packaging are usually found in selective perfumery.


You don't see ads for a niche fragrance on TV. Such perfumes do not need to be “hyped” so that as many people as possible know about them. Admirers of unusual aromas, as a rule, find rare novelties themselves. This doesn't mean that niche brands don't promote at all, but they understand that their fans won't be impressed by a standard celebrity advertising campaign. They prefer to invest in the quality of the product instead of spending on a famous face for a new perfume.


Determining by price whether a niche perfume is in front of you or not will not work. Some of them are really expensive (for example, in selective perfumery there are super-luxury fragrances that are available only to a few), and some receive a price tag comparable to the cost of mass-market fragrances. This is a stereotype that few people can afford “niche” fragrances – there are also budget options in this category.

Niche fragrances overview

If you're just starting out in niche perfumery or looking for a new hero to add to your collection, check out these fragrances. According to the editors, they will definitely impress you.

Fragrances from the collection of Le Vestiaire des Parfums, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté

The niche collection Le Vestiaire des Parfums is inspired by the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent. It includes a classic line, the fragrances of which are dedicated to iconic items from the history of Yves Saint Laurent.

This is, for example, Trench Le Vestiaire des Parfums with notes of citrus, dry cedar and white musk. Another fragrance, Blouse Le Vestiaire des Parfums, with the same white musk, cashmeran, notes of rose, angelica, galbanum and pink pepper, is a reference to Saint Laurent's couture blouses. And in the composition Le Vestiaire des Parfums collected notes of bergamot, magnolia, peony, jasmine, peach accord and sandalwood.

Another line of niche perfumes within the Les Vestiaire des Parfums collection is oriental: this is a memory of Saint Laurent's love for Morocco and his African-inspired creations from the 60s. This is how the fragrances Splendid Wood, Magnificent Gold, Supreme Bouquet, Atlas Garden and others appeared - with notes of spices and woody chords.

Lancôme selective fragrances

Lancôme has collected several exquisite bouquets in its collection of selective fragrances. The composition of Jasmins Marzipane combines notes of jasmine, almond, vanilla and wood in an unusual way.

Rôses Berberanza is an original combination of damask rose, chacran accord and tangerine essence. And Oranges Bigarades is a duo of bitter orange and Ceylon tea.

Fragrances from the Les Eaux (Armani/Privé) collection by Giorgio Armani

The niche collection Les Eaux is lightness and transparency in its purest form: these are exactly what the Armani/Privé perfumers wanted to embody in the new fragrances. The result is a wide range of perfumes, in each bottle - an image in which it was possible to capture the elusive: Orangerie Venice with notes of bitter orange, bergamot, neroli and white cedar is the luxury of Venetian greenhouses.

Rose Alexandrie With accords of mimosa, rose, vanilla and Italian mandarin, this is the splendor of the blooming gardens of Alexandria. And Thé Yulong is an invitation to walk through the tea plantations surrounded by the Yulong Mountains with notes of citrus, black and green tea, and woody accords.