Exploring The Art of Perfumery

Scents & Sensibility - The World of Niche Fragrances 

By Jana Leonard

A fragrance takes you back to a memory so personal, it almost allows you to travel in time. A sunny day filled with laughter, a first dance as husband and wife, a dinner with friends. As the world moves towards a ‘less is more’ approach to goods, we are fortunate to experience the true concept of niche perfumes. It is simple - it is centered around the complexity of the product, focusing on the notes and scent profiles, as well as the use of natural ingredients.

“Niche fragrances are made by brands who care. They are smaller businesses (not global players) who are closely connected to their customers and their needs and are looking at every single detail of the product.” says Plain Tiger vendor - Jarryd Burns, co-founder of Narrative Lab in Melbourne, Australia. 

With more consumers moving away from mass-buying, preferring smaller, ethical and sustainable brands, niche fragrance designers are seeing exciting growth within their specialised space of luxury. Niche perfumes have become increasingly popular in the last decade, and it's safe to say that the growing demand has sparked an interest in the fashion and fragrance industries. Without the pressure of needing to produce thousands of the product, many niche fragrance designers are coming out with alluring names and unconventional bottles that are soothing for the eye and exciting for the nose. The demand from consumers has tripled in the last 10 years and will continue to grow.  

Founder of niche perfume brand, Floratropia, Karine Torrent’s aim is to keep it simple. “The idea is simply to add a wild touch to perfumery by reconnecting it to Nature’s beauty and to materials grounded in the Earth.” she says. “I evolved with the idea that what actually makes a beautiful perfume is beautiful raw materials,” she explains. “I want to add to the positive impact on the planet, the biodiversity of perfume plants, and the communities that cultivate them,” she recalls.

People today are looking for fragrances that are really unique. Gone are the days of everyone wanting to smell the same. The shift to smaller batch artisan fragrances also allows consumers to gain transparency around where the fragrances are made, what ingredients are included (and not included), what sustainability measures are in place and what the brand believes in. Importantly, the stories behind these Niche Perfumeries are what sets them apart. An important aspect of the conscious shopper, understanding the who, where and how of a brand and product offering elevates their impact in our lives.

French brand, Voyages Imaginaires Parfums, (meaning Imaginary Journeys) is a collection of five beautiful natural perfumes launched in 2020 that call upon sensations, dreams and travel. Voyages Imaginaires is 100% committed to being “green”, to sustainability and to respecting the environment in all the perfume compositions, and in everything that goes with it from packaging to marketing materials. Evidently, we live in an era where we must, now more than ever, protect our environment - a lifelong goal of founders, Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen.  

The choice of exclusively using natural raw materials inevitably reduces the perfumer’s palette, “ Unfortunately, you have to do without woods, or even ambroxan, musk, hedione”, adds, co-founder, Isabelle Doyen. “Voyages Imaginaires will resonate with perfume lovers and consumers who are showing increased interest in natural products. While the sillage may not always be as intense as in so-called “classic” perfumes, the notes develop, evolve, grow stronger and then soften - they simply reveal themselves on the skin. You have to stop believing that a good perfume lasts for a long time.” she says.

TIL Is a range founded by three sisters, Odile, Sylvie, and Dominique - one in cosmetics, another in perfumes, and the third is a painter. It is a range of holistic beauty and wellbeing products, formulated around the linden tree and its exceptional powers for the skin, body and mind. Calming, regenerating, detoxifying and deliciously scented, it is at the heart of all our products. Their natural cosmetic care, made with our exclusive active ingredient extracted from their Dordogne family estate’s linden trees, and their perfume is by star perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. 

“Our cosmetic production facility is in Dordogne, as are the headquarters and offices of TiL which are very close to our domain in Saint Pierre de Frugie, a beautiful old village and one of France’s first organic villages. Very committed to the cause, it owes its renaissance to its ecological commitment, which is regularly held up as an example.” says Odile.

House of Gozdawa was conceived in deference to nature, the beguiling African continent and all of its glorious smells. The story starts many moons ago, with one little girl and her fierce-spirited, parachuting, aristocratic grandmother. Precious knowledge was passed down from one generation to the next, and out of this a strong desire to share African realities, stories and scents with the world was born. Our quest for unique and indigenous natural ingredients has led to the most intrepid adventures both on our doorstep and in faraway foreign lands: scaling intimidatingly high mountains, hurtling across the driest of dry deserts and diving headfirst into shiver-inducing seas. We are obsessed with stories, with individuals from past to present, and of course, with scent. We wish humans could teleport or time travel, that smell-o-vision was real, but whilst we patiently wait for such capabilities (counting on you Elon), we invite you to join our olfactory ride.” says founder, Agata Karolina. “We believe You are the curator of your own scent.” she adds. 

All of these unique characteristics that form part of this luxury category allows for consumers to make conscious choices, bringing the hands of the creator to the forefront, which is what today’s discerning shopper is all about.