a little bit of everything and a whole lot of film

3 Feb 2015

Feed the Obsession | Niche Perfumes

So I get into phases of beauty obsessions and at the moment I am really loving niche perfumes.

Niche perfumes, as opposed to mainstream perfumes (i.e. Designer perfumes), are produced on a much smaller scale by artisanal pefumers and lesser known perfume houses - although by smaller I do not mean far less superior but those that take perfumery to another level and in my honest opinion, a more personal one. 

Niche perfumery is an art form. The ingredients used are much more difficult to source and take a longer time to be produced, hence the higher price tags. They also cannot be found in your usual department stores but are mostly sold in high end stores and perfume specialist boutiques. As examples there are Le Labo, Serge Lutens, Caron and Frederic Malle, to name a few. 

They are, dare I say it, more exclusive. And the fact remains that more exclusive always means more desirable. 

With that said, I got these as my birthday presents this year...






Now I have tried Diptyque before. 

When I was working in the beauty industry and making my rounds in Harvey Nichols and Areej,  every time I passed the Diptyque counter I would always douse myself with a mixture of Philosykos and their Figuier room spray. Room spray as a perfume, you ask? Heck yeah! Don't knock it 'til you try it. I first heard about Philosykos reading about what perfumes celebrities wear and this always comes up as a firm favourite. When I tried it the first time, it put me off a quite a bit as I was (in my heyday as a beauty advisor) more drawn to stronger, muskier, come-tumble-me-now sort of scents like Chanel No 5 (still a favourite) and Guerlain Shalimar but as time wore on, cleaner, fresher (but without that telling citrus note) fragrances grew on me. Now, I don't consider myself a fragrance expert in any way and although I am a trained fragrance specialist (years ago with Paris Gallery), the only way I used to sell perfumes was describing what it reminded me of, what it made me feel - there were a lot of food analogies -  and what I wanted it for. I always thought about how I would feel if I took it for myself, even when I was selling it to someone else. Fragrance is a very, very personal thing and I hated pushing a product solely for the sake of selling. I wanted them to come away from the experience of purchasing a perfume (with and from me) with a sense of having found a piece of themselves, no matter how small. A piece that completes their personality even in some little way. I am digressing, sorry. 

Back to Philosykos - it reminds me of freshly snapped green twigs, crushed fig leaves and the tiniest hint of coconuts. Twigs and leaves don't sound very appealing I know but for some reason, it just works. It's a clean,  just stepped out on a sunny morning after a bit of a drizzle and you just happen to stand under a fig tree sort of scent. There is no assaulting of the senses with Philosykos, making it very office appropriate (especially if you are working in an office where proximity to colleagues is almost uncomfortably close, like mine). It also comes highly recommended by  Laura of BuyNowBlogLater and that for me is reason enough. I have never been to a fig orchard or to Tuscany but I can imagine Philosykos as akin to being in a fig orchard in Tuscany, standing in the midst of it all, at dawn, just as the sun rises. Now I really want to try Tam Dao next.



If Philosykos smelt of twigs and leaves, Byredo's La Tulipe is sweet and floral but still retains a soft muskiness. Now, Tulips do not really have a distinct scent. It smells - quite frankly - like a plant. But La Tulipe was apparently inspired by tulips blooming on a spring morning. Its' top notes are Freesia, Cyclamen and Rhubarb with Tulip as a middle note and Vetyver and wood as its base. On my skin, the freesia notes were the most dominant but I don't mind. I had initially wanted Flowerhead but it was too reminiscent of a perfume I already had - Jo Malone's Peony and Blush Suede. When I tried La Tulipe however, it was love at first sniff. There's a soft and soapy scent that's left on the skin a few minutes after application. Again, not very appealing to some but I love it. Smells comforting, somewhat familiar - like something I've smelt before and loved. It reminds me of something in my childhood  that I can't quite put my finger on, but it feels soothing all the same. Like freshly washed linen, sun dried and folded up in a closet that also housed vintage floral perfumes.

If you are a fragrance loony like I am,  I would definitely recommend Philosykos and La Tulipe. These two would definitely complement any perfume collection and round it out quite nicely.

What are your favourite scents as of the moment?


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