The word niche in the fragrance world holds a certain level of status when thrown around in conversation. For some, niche fragrances are the reincarnation of Jesus Christ himself and for others, well, they’re about as good as the bottles off the shelf of a TJ Maxx clearout section.
Niche perfumeries are known for producing fragrances for a specific consumer and not the general population. The latter is why designer houses are often looked down upon yet continuously lead the pack in sales each quarter. Take Dior Sauvage. Everyone knows that it is overworn, played out and many better alternatives exist. Yet you still have some variation of it in your collection, don’t you?
Whilst designer houses are selling in order to create a profit margin, niche perfumeries tend to create scents that are met with backlash stemming from a lack of mass appeal. Their scents are challenging and don’t please the general population. But at the end of the day, that’s their MO.
Niche companies produce fragrances that fit a certain season, time of day and most importantly, story. Creed is arguably the king of niche at the moment, with Parfum de Marly being a close second. When the cult-followed company released Viking, the fragrance community exploded with excitement.
This Wood and Citrus scent is the companies first major release since Aventus in 2010. The inspiration behind it? Handcrafted longships from the Viking Age. The boats were designed for skilled seamen who were determined to conquer as they symbol voyage and perseverance.
After hearing the story about a scent, it is easier to fall in love with it. You’re able to pick apart nuances of the fragrance and relate it back to the description. For this reason, niche perfumery gets an intimidating reputation.
If you’re smelling fragrances for the first time and looking to purchase your first bottle, designer fragrances tend to be the first choice. They are affordable and generally easy to pick apart as note breakdowns tend not to be creative and are easily found elsewhere. At the end of the day, you are going to be pleasing yourself and those around you.
But, once you’ve smelled the same combination of four notes with the additional fifth random one for years upon years, it is easy to get sick of what you are smelling. This is why fragrances lovers begin to move to niche houses. What you get from a niche house will always be different. It’s going to be challenging and relatively expensive but odds are you’re going to fall in love with a certain bottle.
Whilst niche perfumeries are in the business of making money along with designer powerhouses, their focus is on creating a cult following of brand lovers. I never knew a consumer could be so picky and specific until I met Aventus collectors. Individuals who chase Aventus like its bigfoot are in the market for certain batch variations.
A batch variation is fairly self-explanatory. It is when a certain batch of a scent was not blended perfectly enough to match previous bottles. The initial release of Aventus had a batch code number of 19S01 and is still highly sought after as it is said to be one of the highest concentrated Aventus batches.
Nonetheless, there is a certain mystic and level of fun that is had when enjoying niche fragrances. Some scents are going to be duds and honestly, you may wish you never even laid your nose on it. But in regards to mainstream classics like Parfum de Marly Layton, Creed Aventus as mentioned above and Xerjoff Naxos, you may be transformed to a new dimension.
And I think that’s the most important aspect of scents. They’re supposed to evoke some type of emotion. I believe that niche houses do the best job of placing an individual in an environment that is foreign to them. I have absolutely no chance of ever landing myself in a bee’s nest but I can happily say that Montale Honey Aoud sends me directly there.
If you take anything from this article as a beginner, I suggest you start with designer scents. I know it sounds contradictory but it is good to set a solid base when experimenting with something new. Just don’t be afraid to expand your horizons early and get your nose on a few decants from niche houses. I’m sure they will change your life.