Finding the best niche perfume lines is tough if you aren’t following all the perfume blogs or Facebook fragrance groups. The mainstream perfume industry has no problem making sure you know about their newest flanker – they spend millions (billions?) every year to get their perfumes in front of your nose and eyeballs – on the side of buses, terrible little samples dropping out of your magazines, large beauty magazines that pump them up in their “Ten best of” articles. I read those articles and cringe so hard. Recommending Chanel No. 5 for a garden wedding, Brides Magazine?
Niche perfume lines (tiny) have done amazing work, putting out concept perfumes that large perfume lines just won’t touch because they won’t appeal to a large swath of the perfume-buying public. Many of them started out tiny and have grown into large’ish companies or been bought out by huge corporations. Serge Lutens was so perfume bleeding edge for years, and now they have over 70 perfumes (yes, I know this because I went through all of them for my Serge Lutens Review Month). We are going to cover the newer niche perfume lines here, ones in business for a few years with less than 10 perfumes in their line (maybe some exceptions because I wanted to include them)
- Zoologist – innovative, with the cutest bottle packaging I’ve ever seen. Centered on animals/birds, it has perfumes like Beaver, Hummingbird, Macaque. Charming, innovative, clever and incredibly interesting to smell and wear.
- Hiram Green – This line has been sheer brilliance – Dilettante (orange blossom) and Moon Bloom (tuberose) are some of the prettiest perfumes I’ve ever worn. This year’s release, Arbole Arbole, is green, vanilla and tonka. Creative beauty is a hard thing to pull off, but Hiram Green does it over and over and over again.
- Parfums Dusita – very classical French, it took people who love old-school perfumes by storm last year. The tobacco-hay Issara and the rich Oudh Infini are spectacular, but I loved the gardenia-centered Melodie. More perfumes due to release soon in an EDP.
- Atelier des Ors – Lune Feline has notes of cinnamon, cardamom, ambergris, styrax,vanilla, Peru Balsam and musk. It is rich and lovely and my favorite in the line. Now we all wait very impatiently the much-lauded in early reviews Iris Fauve due to be released early 2017.
- Masque Milano – their Russian Tea was the perfume in this line that made me pay attention, then they followed it up with the narcissus-centric Romanza this year. Make sure not to miss L’Atessa, a beautiful iris.
- Papillon – Salome is the smutty little devil that pushed this niche perfume line into the spotlight, and it is still the perfume that makes me laugh every time I smell it. But don’t skip over the rest in the line. Angelique is iris, osmanthus and mimosa. Anubis is leather, jasmine and yummy incense!
- Neela Vermeire – This isn’t as new, but any time I can heap some love on Neela’s perfumes, I will. Due out in early 2017 with a osmanthus perfume, this makes it a must on the list. Creating her perfumes in collaboration with Bertrand Duchaufour, based on childhood smell memories and are just gorgeous creations.
- Orlov – Star of the Season, a smutty gourmand from Dominique Ropion. Perfect, and the others in the line are also beautiful, I just never got very far past this one.
- Nabucco – yeah, I know, they are impossible to hunt down, but they had to go on the list because they are amazing, even in light of how many hurdles I had to leap over for the shipping to the United States. Parfum oils that are rich, resinous. Amatys has notes of coriander, heliotrope, almond, jasmine, vanilla, honey, velvet flower, violet, woods, gourmand notes and musk. There, now you have heard of a great niche brand absolutely nobody knows about.
- La Curie – Incendo burst into our awareness this year winning an Art and Olfaction Award. And for good reason – smoldering smoke and ashes, it was one of my favorite releases this year. Until I tried the rest of the line, and they are all great.
What are your favorite 2016 small niche perfume lines and why? I’m doing a Facebook giveaway on STC for a sample set of one each of these. To be entered, just jump over there and like, comment or share to be entered. Oh, wait, this isn’t ready yet! I’ve got another giveaway running right now. This one for this sample set will run starting late tomorrow night (12/7/16), then run for like two days before I draw. I’m also going to include comments on this blog post as an entry as well and do a complete other sample set just for that. There, that makes it easy. You can enter in both places to win either sample set! Whew.
Winners of the two sample grabbags samples are – fabienne and Cathleen Newsham. Just click on Drop Us a Note at the top, send me an e-mail, remind me of what you won and get me your mailing address. I’ll send you a quick e-mail to let you know I got your e-mail and it didn’t land in a spam filter and then get it on the way to you. I only check Posse e-mail like once a week, so it can take a few days sometimes to respond there.
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