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Finding Your Niche: Navigating the World of Fragrance

Finding Your Niche: Navigating the World of Fragrance

It’s easy to get lost in the wide world of niche perfumery. Brands you’ve never heard of, with notes lists resembling the alchemical and the arcane over the olfactory. 

Fear not: niche is for everyone. And the way we classify our tastes in scent apply across the board - from designer perfumes to niche fragrances. There are a number of employable strategies when it comes to decoding our preferences, which can be used to find your next (niche) scent.

The Importance of Finding Your Fragrance Family

With a little bit of knowledge comes a great deal of power. We follow the durable advice of perfume taxonomist, Michael Edwards. Inventor of the Fragrance Wheel, he believes that there is a relationship between one’s fragrance preferences, and the fragrance families. Typically, one’s favourite perfumes tends to belong to one of four genres, thereby unlocking the secret to knowing one’s taste. These are: fresh, woody, floral, and ambery perfumes. Let’s break them down in turn:

 Fragrance Family

Fragrance Sample Pack

Fresh fragrances consist predominantly of refreshing aromatic, citrus, and aquatic accords. These notes are invigorating and enlivening, and call to mind generosity and lightness, as they burst off the body. Popular notes include fresh herbs, lavender, bergamot, lemon, and watery effects.

Floral fragrances range from the richest roses to the crispest white petals, and have an incredible intensity. Florals are inventive, intricate, textured, and nuanced – often with a pleasing sense of naturalness attached to them.

Woody fragrances consist of the notes most beloved by men, and can range from classic compositions rounded out with mosses, leather, tobacco, and patchouli for a gentlemanly feel, to modern iterations that have a discernible contemporary feel. Classic combinations of sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, pine, and oud lend confidence, virility, and strength.

Amber fragrances are sensual and mysterious on the nose, and rely on a combination of resins, vanilla, spices, and incense for its signature feeling of warmth, complexity, and smoulder. Often these scents are intoxicating and rich, evocatively charged with spices that linger in perfumed space.

  

Which family speaks to you? A considerable source of joy is the exploratory stages of perfume, as we test our preferences and define our tastes. This is a starting point, of course, and as one’s tastes develops in sophistication and variety, often it is the case that we find ourselves ranging across all the segments of the Fragrance Wheel.

The Fragrance Finder Tool

Walk before you run, and stick within familiar territory to begin. There are several ways to determine the category in which you belong. Our Fragrance Finder tool, for instance, relies on your personality traits and draws an inference to the best explanation based on your answers. Alternatively, you are free to pick a favourite fragrance from the dropdown list and it’ll provide a suggestion from within our range - you’ll know your genre of perfume in no time.

Try Our Fragrance Finder

Fragrance Samples: Where to Start (When You Don’t Know Where to Start)

Always trust your nose. At first, be guided by your sense of pleasure, allowing a repertoire of favourites to take form. Sample everything with patience and an open mind, appreciating that one of the greatest appeals of niche perfumery is the joy in sampling and testing fragrances, and being open to the pleasure of surprise.

To this end, we offer an extensive array of fragrance samples and sample packs, which preserve the joy of true discovery in a focussed and meaningful way. These have been organised according to a whole array of styles and genres - and so, whether you want to explore a family or a brand, or if you’re curious to know what everyone else is wearing, or what we’re wearing - we’ve got a sample pack that fits. 

Niche fragrances are often complex creations of many layers, or movements in musical terms, and need time on the skin to develop. Wearing a fragrance for a few days is essential before making it your new olfactory signature, coming to know its nuances and how it develops over the course of the day. Our sample vials contain enough fragrance for you to wear the scent several times at your leisure - in context, and away from the cacophony and distraction of department stores.

Why Niche? 

In niche perfumery, anything is possible. And no matter how specific your desires or your tastes, there is likely a perfume that satisfies. This is very much the appeal of niche perfumery, which enables the most unique and discerning expression of oneself. Perfumes inspired by the scent of Tiger Balm, the Maghreb, Jules Verne, a T-Rex, or dope – nothing is beyond the scope of niche perfumery. 

An essential part of wearing niche perfume is the idea that you are wearing a perfumer’s vision and allowing it to come alive on your skin. We treat the scent like wearable art, and the perfumer like an artist. It embraces the many voices and personalities of creative expression. The highest ideal of niche perfumery is to let the perfumer’s creative imagination run free, and the best examples preserve the perfumer’s freedom.

For example, Andy Tauer’s wildly popular woody amber fragrance L’Air du Desert Marocain speaks to everyone, but it cannot be classified according to a rule. Its combination of dry spices, resins, and woods feels like magic. But how? Tauer reports:

“You need absolute freedom to create beautiful fragrances. And you need time. And the best ingredients you can get. That is the true mystery of how to create thrilling fragrances.”

Bruno Fazzolari of FZOTIC echoes this sentiment:

“FZOTIC is an artistic playground where I can be true to my vision with a lot more freedom than I ever had in the artworld. It's also about serving my customers and bringing them something they can't find elsewhere.”

We believe most of all in independent, perfumer-oriented brands, convinced that this ensures the very best perfumes - filled with integrity, character, and merit. Niche perfumery begins with a discerning choice to wear better, to form a stronger relationship with artisans, and overall compels us to approach our fragrances with a mindset beyond smell alone. 

The experience of perfume is a multitude of pleasures. Of course, how it smells to you matters most. But what niche perfumery capitalises on is the experience of breaching the unknown; if art is defined by a sense of learning, then niche perfume is the highest art.