10 Best Niche Perfume Lines (small) 2016 Nobody Knows About

top 10 niche perfume lines 2016Finding 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)

10 Best Niche Perfume Lines (tiny)  2016 Not Enough People Know About (in no particular order).best perfumes best niche perfumes.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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. 
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10.  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.

  • I have only recently tried Zoologist and liked their ragrances. They are interesting (concept, bottles, scents) but I would need more time to test them. Bat was definitely something 😛

    A new and – as far as I know – organic perfume brand I discovered lately is Juniper Ridge. Their fragrances smell very natural, like the smell of woods and herbs, almost like aromatherapy.

  • katrin says:

    Zoologist, Papillon and Hiram Green have been on my sample wish list for a long time. From those listed above I’ve only tried Neele Vermeire creations and they are truly beautiful.

  • rickyrebarco says:

    I love Zoologist hummingbird and am looking forward to trying Dusita and Hiram Green. Too much perfume at the moment!

  • Amy says:

    This is a great list! I also love Naomi Goodsir and am embarrassed to say I have all four. And for naturals, Thorn & Bloom has some lovely unusual things with beautiful bottles.

  • tiffanie says:

    I’m delighted by Geisha Vanilla Hinoki, a very nice surprise this year. A sample came my way and I quickly turned it into a full bottle. Not to be missed.

  • Neva says:

    Ever since I’ve first heard of Zoologist I’m keen on trying the complete line. Nothing but praise for them so far. Hiram Green is also on my to-try list. I’m familiar with Papillon Perfumery and think that they are really great, particularly Salome. On the other hand, I’m not impressed with Orlov Perfumes. To me they are too generic and bring nothing new. If I had to pick my favourite, it would be Flame of Gold.

  • Kandice says:

    I love Hiram Green! Thanks for highlighting this brand. I haven’t tried all the fragrances in this line, but I’ve loved the ones I’ve tried so far. Thanks for the draw and the opportunity to try some of the others.

  • Olivia says:

    Uh oh, more fuel for my obsession! I’ve only tried one of these brands. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Tatiana says:

    Is Puredistance still considered a niche line? I’m still in love with Antonia. I need to explore Papillon, Masque Milano and Hiram Green.

    • Patty says:

      It is! I think I picked it for the last one of these I do, and they’ve been around for longer. It pained me not to include them this year. 🙁 I adore everything Puredistance, except the last on they did, which just didn’t work for me. Major sadness when that happend. My youngest son only wants his own bottle of Puredistance Black for Christmas, which, um, I cannot afford! 🙂

  • Maya says:

    Oh the bounty of TWO sample draws! 🙂 I enjoy exploring niche perfumes. I have sampled five of the lines you mentioned. I fell in love with HG Voyage and was finally able to buy a bottle. If I had the extra money, I would buy a backup bottle. Sigh. Papillon Tobacco Rose is one I want also and I keep waffling on MM Tango, so I probably won’t get it even though I found a good price on it.

    • Patty says:

      I know. Trying to track it and doing it different made my head hurt. It was easy to do two. I haven’t smelled Tobacco Rose, and I really should. I love everything in the Papillon line so far.

  • grizzlesnort says:

    The only Zoologist I have tried so far is BAT and I love it. Looking to try more.

    • Patty says:

      OMG, Bat is perfection. I hate to mention it, because not everyone appreciates Bat like you and I do, believe it or not. 😉

  • solanace says:

    This all sound so interesting. Thank you, Patty!

  • Musette says:

    DNEM but I just have to say this: without you I would wear 3 perfumes and That Would Be That. So….thanks! I’mo take a long look at your list here and maybe try a few. I still have the little Dilettante sample and I absolutely adore it! You really do know your perfume, honey. I bow to you.

    ps. I would still wear No5 to a Garden Wedding, though. I would wear No5 anywhere – especially vintage No5. 😉

    • Patty says:

      LOL. Dilettante is amazing and is deffo in my top ten for this year. those new Saufs have hit my Top Ten as well. I wasn’t expecting much, and they blew my sox off. But I’m such an incense whore, it’s ridiculous.

      I’m glad that vintage No. 5 found a good home with you. I love it in theory, but it loves me not.

  • Jenbat says:

    Another good way to find out about small lines is to look at the Art and Olfaction winners and runners-up for the last few years, I discovered Monsillage and Auphorie that way. I would also add DSH and Jazmin Sarai to the list… but those might be considered indie/artisan lines vs niche

    • Patty says:

      yeah, Art and Olfaction have made some great discoveries the last few years. Love DSH, but she’s been around for quite a few years and has a lot of fragrances and a pretty impressive following. I still need to drive over to Boulder one day and visit her store. 🙂 Jazmin Sarai, is that the name of the brand?

      • jenbat says:

        Yeah, she only has five perfumes I think, all based on music, Neon Graffiti and Led IV are particularly good!

  • Audrey says:

    I enjoy Bruno Fazzolari scents. Especially the new Cadavre Exquis!

  • Connie says:

    I’m so proud to have heard of all of these, even if I haven’t had the chance to try many of them. My favorite niche- really more indie- line this year is Saint d’Ici, for many very biased reasons. It was created by a friend of mine in South Africa who I met through Salaam’s perfume course and I got to design one of the scents. Such a dream come true. My best friend from high school called me up crying when she heard about it because she knows how important perfume is to me and how I’m trying to work in the industry.
    It was a lot of fun working on it and I’m excited for it to continue.
    Thanks for the list Patty! I’ll have to try to find more of these, and maybe ask for some samples for Christmas. 🙂

  • Aelily says:

    I agonized over buying a full bottle of Hiram Green’s Voyage. I didn’t, and now it is sold out, and I’m not sure if I’m more relieved or disappointed.
    This post is adding quite a few to my sniff list.

    • Patty says:

      It took a while for me to realize that Voyage was a limited edition. 🙁 I have those feelings as well. As much as I enjoy the Nabuccos, realizing I may never have them again makes me sad, but I felt that way about the Gobin-Daudes, and then I keep running acorss a decant I had hidden from myself so I wouldn’t use it up. I finally got over realizing things may go away in perfumeland because it does.

  • HeidiC says:

    I love love LOVE Papillon, especially Salome — it’s just skanky fun! I drained a sample and bought a FB almost immediately! Also have enjoyed all the Neela Vermeires I’ve sniffed, though they tend to wear close to the skin on me. The only Hiram Green I’ve sampled is Dilettante, but I may get a FB of that one too. I’ve been meaning to try the Zoologist scents — every time they come up, I’m intrigued. I liked the Orlov scents — they were all beautiful — but my favorite of the set was Flame of Gold. I have never heard of the Parfums Dusita, but they sound amazing! I hope to try samples of those soon!

    • Patty says:

      Hiram Green stuff is great. His latest one is beautiful, it’s probably not made for me, though, and I feel left out with everyone else going all kerpluff over it. It is gorgeous, just not my thing. Orlov Flame of Gold is amazing, agree, but Star of the Season completely does it for me. The two together are even better. 🙂 Dusita is great, I can’t wait for the new releases coming soon!

  • eldarwen says:

    At this point in time, I am on a full bottle no buy and every couple months, I can buy no more than $30 on decants. Kind of broke the decant rule with the STC and TPC sales. Getting into heavy dental work and Christmas shopping makes for a really tight budget. One good thing is that I have almost used up a full bottle of perfume.

    • Patty says:

      After spending a small fortune on dental the last couple of years and a little bit more to go, I completely understand. It sucks to spend money that way. Worse than having to buy a fridge or do an electrical panel replacement.

  • Fabienne says:

    I purchased a sample of Amatys after reading your review of it. I believe you referred to it as the unicorn of fragrances. I absolutely adore it. I ended up buying another larger sample. It’s last a long time, a little goes a long way. My significant other nuzzles right into my neck when I wear it. I smell like a decadent vanilla cupcake of love.