There’s a whole section of the perfume loving community who’ve found themselves in the cold in recent years: barred from the majority of what brands are pumping out based on the current overwhelming trend for fruitchouli fragrances, you can do one of two things: go with it and have a headache every day, or go niche.
That’s what most people who love scent tend to do. Put off by endless iterations of the same pink peppercorn notes in big name juices, they look to smaller indie brands for a point of difference. The issue with that tends to be availability and price.
I love niche scent and smelling different to everyone else, but there’s got to be a middle ground, so I decided to look for it. In among all my Tom Ford Private Blend, Escentric Molecule and Annick Goutal flacons, I also have a lot of commercial sniffers I’ve deemed to be acceptably nice.
Inspired by last week’s Estee Lauder Modern Muse post, the criteria for this post is that the scent is not a fruitichouli, so you will not find anything here with honey, vanilla or sweet-fruity notes and that it has to be in the mass market; i.e. you have to be able to buy it at a large pharmacy or department store. For that reason I’ve left out brands like Jo Malone, which, while very lovely, are not widely available.
1. Chloe Eau de Parfum and L’Eau de Chloe (top pic)
Chloe EDP, from €51, is one of my favourite rose scents ever. It’s gorgeous; deliciously full-bodied and floral, it’s almost syrupy it’s so richly scented. Lasts amazingly well on the skin too. By contrast, L’Eau, from €47, is a totally different beast. Green and very light, it’s a nice day scent that’s very delicate. Doesn’t last that well.
2. Balenciaga Florabotanica
One of my favourite launches of last year – or in fact of any year ever. I adore this stuff. I can’t overstate that actually, it’s beautiful. I’ve never not gotten a compliment when wearing it and its floral, rose-based ways need to be smelled to be loved. From €51.
3. Clarins Eau Dynamisante
An old-school classic, Eau Dynamisante, €41.50, is designed to be a feel-good scent and it is: zesty zingers like citrus notes are uplifting and this is a really great-smelling spritz. I didn’t currently have a botle to hand, so had to resort to a press pic, soz!
4. Narciso Rodriguez Essence
A fairly sexy scent, Essence, from €78, comes in a bit of a stunner of a bottle. This juice is quite unusual for a department store fragrance in a way, it’s musky, floral with lots of rose and a little bit powdery too. Yum yum.
5. Roger & Gallet Eaux de Cologne
I’m addicted to Roger & Gallet’s eaux de cologne and nearly always have at least two or three on the go. These are the current ones I’ve been spraying: Eau de Bienfaits, a blood orange juice, Fleur d’Osmanthus, which is green and sharp and Fleur de Figuier, the latest sweet figgy delight. Such a great pricepoint too at about €39.75 for a 100ml bottle.
6. Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte
I appear to have left my bottle of this in the office (aiiee) so once again have to resort to a press shot. Cristalle Eau Verte, from €59.50, is the only Chanel scent I have ever liked but boy howdy do I love it. Zesty and sharp, you could drink it in. It is a beautiful scent. There’s magnolia in there too but it’s very sparkling and bright and refreshing. I always get compliments on this.
7. Balenciaga L’Essence
Without fail, I like all the Balenciaga scents. L’Essence is quite green and there’s a really nice almond note in there too. It’s not a very shouty fragrance by any manner of means but is definitely one I’d wear for day. I’ve got hardly any left, so am rationing my last half centimetre with care.
8. Orla Kiely eau de parfum
Apparently this has notes of green tea and bergamot but I smell fig and lots of it. There’s actually nothing left in this bottle now but I take the cap off and have a schniff every now and then because the delicious smell lingers. Scrumptious. From €40.65.
So, these are my recommendations for decent perfume you can buy and douse yourself in today, without having to resort to an online purchase or a trek to a niche retailer. What do you like to spray?