Niche:Â A special area of demand for a product or service
Many people are familiar with perfumes from design houses.Â Guerlain created Shalimar.Â Michael Kors has several perfumes that bear his imprimatur.Â Chanel has No. 5, Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, and others.Â Marc Jacobs has Blush and Christian Dior has Dune.Â Givenchy, Donna Karan, and Bill Blass.Â Armani, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren.Â Big names, popularity and lots of sales.
Celebrity scents are a huge money-maker for perfume manufacturers.Â I read that Sarah Jessica Parker had a lot to do with the formulation and marketing of her perfume Lovely but I am willing to bet that many celebrities have very little input into the fragrance that bears their names.Â Britney Spears, Usher, Mariah Carey, the Beckhams...it seems that a new celebrity perfume is announced every week or so.
My tastes have changed as I have learned more about perfume.Â I bought some Britney Spears "Curious" but it smelled harsh to me.Â I can deal with unusual, with edgy, with totally weird but my nose is offended by harsh.Â Â It's kind of like learning to drink champagne.Â After trying the $200 a bottle kind, I could see why some bottles cost $15.
Now I long for Guerlain's Iris Ganache.Â Â Can you just imagine a perfume smelling composed of iris butter, cedar, vanilla, cinnamon and white chocolate?Â I feel like I could eat it if I didn't love the smell of it so much.Â I found a bottle on Ebay for $295.95 for 2.5 oz but I couldn't justify buying it.
Although Guerlain is a mainstream house, Guerlain is not what I would consider a mainstream perfume.Â It's in a niche for those who can spend a lot of money to smell really good.
Many niche fragrances are less well known and are also sometimes very expensive.Â You may never have heard of the company that creates them.Â Until I started to explore the world of fragrance in a concentrated way, I had never heard of L'Artisan, LesNez, Neil Morris, Serge Lutens, and Frederic Malle.Â I was missing so much!
I had, like many other women, worn Shalimar and Chanel No. 5.Â I own Coco and Angel and Red Door.Â Now my world has enlarged considerably.
I yearn for a bottle of L'Artisan's Mechant Loup.Â It is a men's fragrance that I would wear willingly.Â It is deep and rich and woodsy.Â It has elements of booze and smoke somehow, though the listed incredients are pepper, star anise (licorice smell), honey, myrrh, and tonka bean (vanilla smell).Â It smells of old stuff - a library with ancient books and a leather chair.Â It is so rich and fabulous that I can't even explain it.Â A niche fragrance for sure.Â Still too expensive for me at $135 for a 3.4 oz. bottle.Â Ah, well...
LesNez's Let Me Play the Lion (the name alone makes me want to own this one) is sweet and woodsy and musky all at the same time.Â I love it!
How do I get to smell and wear niche fragrances that often have limited availability and may cost several hundred dollars a bottle?Â I learned about fragrance samples.Â You can order samples of hundreds of niche fragrances from The Perfumed Court (theperfumedcourt.com)Â for approximately $3.00 each.Â Some designers sell sample sets that are very reasonably priced.Â I recently got eight little sprays from Neil Morris fragrances (neilmorrisfragrances.com) with a personal note from Neil himself.Â They cost very little and I'm having a great time wearing one of those each day and seeing how they develop with my skin and body chemistry.Â Â Thank you, Neil.
I've heard a lot about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab 's (blackphoenixalchemylab.com) fragrance oils and I bought elevenÂ "imps" (BPAL's name for their samples) for $1.00 each plus postage on a swap-and- sell website calledbpalmarketplace at livejournal.com.
Frequently niche fragrances smell quite different from mainstream perfume.Â One of my BPAL imps smells just like grass (not the smoking kind).Â It is quite earthy and nice.Â There are a lot of gender neutral fragrances.Â In fact, many people who buy and appreciate niche fragrances consider all fragrances gender neutral.
If you enjoy things that are unique, if smell brings back vivid memories, and if you just enjoy learning about something new, I urge you to investigate the world of niche perfume.Â It is an exciting and enlightening journey full of adventure and wonderful smells.