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Fragrance gone indie: a minimalist guide to niche perfumery

With the perfume industry facing a tectonic shift of customer’s interests moving from mainstream fashion houses to less commercial perfume creators, you might want to explore this parallel universe to find your next big love. Not only niche perfumes are perfectly capable to satisfy the most demanding and non-conventional needs (especially if you are looking for something truly unique and not just trendy fragrance from the department store that the downtown will be wearing next week). Besides, indie colognes bring a high dose of aesthetic pleasure to your self-care repertoire.

Niche perfumery seems to be a world of its own, starting with quirky designed or radically minimal bottle designs going to complex, bold and rare ingredients and complex notes pyramids, that tell intricate stories. Their creators would come from different paths of life, each eventually leaving a mundane routine behind to pursue a true passion. Some of them followed family tradition, some started from scratch and self-educated themselves. Every perfumer would say that their fragrances are not about fashion and trends, they are created to tell stories and launch the users into the olfactive adventures.

Finding your unique scent is a process similar to the treasure hunt, where you begin with seeking for the scent that resonates with your skin chemistry and proceed with digging deeper for a solid understanding about your personality. Unlike the standardized mass-market perfumes, created to be the crowd pleasers, your new indie friend will tell its own story and make people around you inevitably react, so you most likely want to choose which message you want it to convey and what ingredients are able to do so.

Here is are some new and well-established niche perfumery brands worth checking:

Frederic Malle

The living legend of contemporary niche perfumery, Frederic Malle is the mastermind behind “The Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle” and self-proclaimed “perfume publisher”. Grandson of Serge Heftler-Louiche, the founder of Parfums Christian Dior, he has inherited the passion to exclusive perfumery, which later allowed him to gather world’s finest perfumers to let each of them bring their olfactory dreams to life. Сheck L’Eau D’Hiver by Jean-Claude Ellena (Hermès house perfumer and pioneer in a minimalistic approach to perfumery) for the velvety and comforting haze of iris, hawthorn, and heliotrope. Available at Nordstrom.

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Unnamed Eau de Parfum Limited quantities Link in bio #byredo

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Jason’s Momoa doppelgänger and founder of Stockholm-based niche brand Ben Gorham loves to play around and conceptualize his love to minimalism by means of exquisite perfumery. The brand’s most recent launch, “Elevator music” scent was created to make the wearer outstand, serving as a clean outline of the personality. According to Byredo website, each fragrance bases on “simple composition of the highest quality raw materials” and acts as a perfect antidote to the hectic modern lifestyle. Get yours here.

DS & Durga

“I don’t know what”, “Burning Barbershop” and “ Mississippi Medicine” – the Brooklyn native couple David Moltz and his wife, Kavi handcraft their intricate fragrant concoctions, using premium-sourced ingredients as a medium to tell modern day pagan narratives of “half-remembered myths and imaginary landscapes. Each scent is designed to melt into your skin and incarnate a tale of choice, leaving behind a lingering trail without overpowering. The creative couple pays special attention to the packaging, seeking clarity in forms and functions. To be discovered in Barney’s.


  1. I researched the niche fragrance industry for the culminating project for my master’s. Such interesting stuff (scents) coming out of indie brands. Did you know that Byredo creates the story before the fragrance? That’s something I learned that’s stuck with me. – Karen <3

    1. Karen that is super cool. I didn’t know that. Can I add that bit into my post? Would love to know the source. If you freelance write and building an expertize on the niche fragrance industry would love to collaborate on a post with you! Feel free to reach out to me at anastasia@myminori.com

    1. I will be looking out for a new scent soon. There were a lot of fragrances I obsessed with when I was younger, but I feel like I need to revisit what is out there!

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