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Fragrance talk

The Three Types of Fragrance Brands and Why You Should Care About Them

The perfume landscape is full of unique scents that please a certain group of people. Some are lovers of fresh scents, others can’t stand oud and some simply couldn’t care less about wearing perfume at all. 

The fragrance industry has countless terms that describe notes and certain scent profiles such as Oriental or Fougere. All of this terminology can be overwhelming so today, I will be going over the three types of companies that release perfume. As well as giving you insight on what makes them unique and some scents to look out for in each category.

Designer companies

The first and easiest type of perfume company to learn about is designer. These companies produce fragrances, as well as clothing, shoes, accessories and other beauty products. 

Brands such as Chanel, Prada and YSL all would fall into the designer category due to their production of luxury clothing and accessories. These brands are household names and hold weight when thrown around in conversation.

Bleu De Chanel in front of a blue background
Bleu de Chanel, a critically acclaimed designer scent

The largest appeal of designer scents tends to be their overall ability to please the masses. Designers are looking to make the most money possible, which is why brands are oftentimes critiqued for releasing generic colognes.

But, owning a designer fragrance allows you to feel like you own a piece of the brand at a fraction of the price. Prada’s Saffiano mens wallet retails for $535 USD, whilst their newest release, Luna Rossa Ocean, costs a seventh of the price. 

If you’re looking for the king of all fragrances, head over to Dior and grab a bottle of Sauvage. At this point, any Sauvage is going to get the job done when it comes to mass appeal. 

But, for a fresh take on designer scents buy Paco Rabanne Phantom or Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Intense. Both fragrances are mass appealing yet unique to some degree. They won’t break the bank and are bound to draw in the people surrounding you

Niche houses

The term niche can be defined very loosely and often times we found ourselves debating which houses fit into the category. For example, Guerlain is often looked upon as a niche house although they create beauty products.

My definition of a niche perfume house is a company that solely sells fragrances, but can be owned or tied to a designer house or conglomerate. Brands such as Parfum de Marly, Creed and Amouage fit into this description.

Niche houses tend to be more outgoing when it comes to their scents, as it seems as if they are looking to please their fans as opposed to the masses. Although niche scents can be mass appealing, it is not done for the sole reason of making money.

Al Haramain Oud in its full presentation
Al Haramain Oud, a great example of Arabian Oud done well

Niche companies are in the business of standing out and creating their scents using only the best ingredients. Unfortunately, Creed is a niche house that has failed to hold its quality standard in recent years. The new batches of Aventus are a great example. 

But, niche houses tend to have something for everyone. I believe that in the grand scheme of things, I have enjoyed designer scents more than niche on average. But, niche and indie scents make up my top 15 fragrances with the exclusion of a couple of Tom Ford’s.

If you’re looking to get into niche perfumes, Parfum de Marly Layton, Herod and Greenley are superb starters. As well, Creed Aventus’ older formulations, Xerjoff Naxos and Amouage Reflection Man. 

But, the beauty of niche scents is most companies offer a discovery kit that features small sample-sized decants of their biggest hits. These are great options for people who want to smell the portfolio of a company without spending a hefty amount of money.

Indie houses

Indie and niche fragrances are very similar, yet subtle differences edge companies into the niche category. Indie is the short form of Independent, meaning perfumers single-handedly manage and control the company internally. As well, there are no outsiders influencing decisions due to their financial stake. 

In my experience, Indie companies certainly create one-of-a-kind scents that are difficult to fall in love with at times. Scents are created behind the mind of their owner and usually tell a story.

Zoologist Moth Edp in its full presentation
One of my favourites from the house, Zoologist Moth

Zoologist Perfumes is an ethically sourced indie house with a fascination with animals. Their scents are blended without animal-derived musks and are vegan with the exception of Hyrax. Their fragrances transform the animal kingdom into scents that are unusual and innovative.

Imaginary Authors is another terrific indie house with fragrances based on “scent as art and art as provocation.” Each bottle from Imaginary Authors follows the ebbs and flows of a gripping novel, written by select authors. Their scents are suitable for all fragrance lovers as they believe that genderizing scents is arbitrary.

Let’s wrap it up

Niche and indie scents deserve the same love that designers receive. In most cases, the scents are more unique, not linear and can spark conversation outside of “wow you smell nice today”.

Next time you are looking to purchase a fragrance, check out niche or indie websites and grab yourself a few discovery kits or samplers. I bet one of those fragrances will turn into your all-time favourite. 

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