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  1. #1

    Default Niche frags question

    Hi all,
    So I was probing into the world of niche frags lately ;D. Quite limited range of brands though, because only Creed, Lutens, L'artisan, Goutal and Diptyque are available at my local dealer. And I'm having confused initial thoughts about them. I see Creeds as higher quality juices of familiar scents, which I like and got myself a bottle of Himalaya. Lutens are very pretty and girly judging from Daim Blond & Chergui that I've tested. I might get a bottle of them one day but it would be not so wearable for me I think. But the L'artisans, man!..are they weird! I sniffed Tea for Two and there was a very prominent saliva-like note in it. I don't think I can wear that kind of thing .
    So anyway, the question is , generally what are the things to look out for in the world of niche? For designer frags, I normally stick to musculine orientals and gererally avoid too fresh or feminine scents. But for niche, I find that unisex and ladies scents dominates especially the Lutens line.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Niche frags question

    Quote Originally Posted by mugler
    Hi all,
    So I was probing into the world of niche frags lately ;D. Quite limited range of brands though, because only Creed, Lutens, L'artisan, Goutal and Diptyque are available at my local dealer. And I'm having confused initial thoughts about them. I see Creeds as higher quality juices of familiar scents, which I like and got myself a bottle of Himalaya.
    With few, if any, exceptions I'd agree with you here. I find Creed to be on the fence in terms of my considering it a niche frag or not. They're high quality, but still mainstream and wearable. I think that's why there's so much controversy here regarding Creed. They don't seem to push the envelope artistically/creatively, but rather make very good, quality, and marketable scents, which they charge a premium for.

    Quote Originally Posted by mugler
    Lutens are very pretty and girly judging from Daim Blond & Chergui that I've tested. I might get a bottle of them one day but it would be not so wearable for me I think.
    I see where you're coming from. I felt exactly the same way the first time I tried SL frags. Give them time and a few wearings, and I think they will redefine masculinity for you. (I hear the laughing out there!!) But, pick up some samples on ebay or from BN members. For the most "masculine" SL frags try Vetyver Oriental, Gris Clair, and Encens et Lavande. Also, Fumerie Turque, Cuir Mauresque, and Miel de Bois all strike me as more masculine than many other SL scents. MKK also seems masculine to me, maybe more masculine than feminine. Next on my list would be Chergui, just to give you a reference point. I haven't tried Daim Blonde, but judging from comments here, I think it's more to the traditionally "feminine" side of the scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by mugler
    But the L'artisans, man!..are they weird! I sniffed Tea for Two and there was a very prominent saliva-like note in it. I don't think I can wear that kind of thing .
    Well, I've never gotten saliva from that one! T42 is pretty thick, dense, smokey, and with a honey note. Maybe the thickness of it reminds you of saliva? There are many other L'Artisans to try, so I wouldn't judge the whole house on T42. Like SL, they will take some time to make sense (it's like learning anything, the first time you hear, taste, smell, or see something, it doesn't necessarily register as pleasant, even if later it will come to be so).

    Quote Originally Posted by mugler
    So anyway, the question is , generally what are the things to look out for in the world of niche? For designer frags, I normally stick to musculine orientals and gererally avoid too fresh or feminine scents. But for niche, I find that unisex and ladies scents dominates especially the Lutens line.
    Lots to respond to here. First, this is an interesting illustration regarding what is considered "masculine" and how that changes over time. Most oriental scents at one point in time would have been considered "feminine." I still think of many masculine orientals as leaning unisex to feminine (e.g., Pi, LeMale, Opium, etc.). (Interestingly, SL is generally considered to make oriental frags, and SL scents are the ones you find most traditionally feminine.)

    Anyway, I think the key to "getting" niche frags is to understand that they don't necessarily hold themselves to the profit-generating standards that designer frags are held to. Many designer frag "houses" are owned by large companies, which in turn are owned by even larger companies, which have boards of directors, shareholders or at least many stakeholders. These people all want (or need) to make money, so designer frags have to appeal to lots of people to sell a lot of bottles. Niche frags it seems are usually smaller, privately owned, and therefore have more creative license to make things that don't necessarily sell a lot of bottles, since the number of people who need to profit from it, and the overhead, are smaller. They can spend more time and money developing a scent, and then charge more because of their luxury status. Please note, I see this as a rule of thumb, not applicable in every single case, but it helps to explain the unusual, or even bizarre, qualities of some niche frags.

    As far as what "to look out for," I'm not sure how to answer that one. Nothing to look out for really. They won't bite! Just keep trying them and keep an open mind. You may come to like things that you never thought you would have (I did).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Niche frags question

    Well, thanks for the great reply robyogi! I didn't know that at one point in time orientals were considered feminine, and here I am thinking they are the signature of musculinity or something. My ideas were formed by the vague conceptions that whatever scents with fruity/flowery notes that smells almost like flowers and lipstick and makeup(exactly what daim blond smelled like to me) with a light base to be fiminine. But I realize there are many out there who would label my favourite gourmands and M7 to be feminine.
    On a second thought for TfT, I remember also that it has a strong balm-like quality after a few minutes from beginnig. The saliva note I got could be the staleness of some strong natural ingridient, may be vanilla?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Niche frags question

    Well, I don't know if it's safe to say that at one point in time orientals were considered feminine. I just mean to say that when people like my dad or grandfather or uncles, etc. smell oriental scents, they say it smells "like a woman." I think if we were to take our orientals into the past and wear them in say the 50s, 60, or 70s, we'd be told we smell like women. I also think the category "oriental" is a more recent one than say fougere or chypre (if I'm wrong, then I'm sure someone will correct me!), and to my nose smells totally unisex. I actually thought about this some more after my reply and had a tough time coming up with "masculine" marketed orientals that I would consider to be traditionally masculine and unwearable by all but the most adventurous women. To me, the sweetness of many (or most) orientals makes them unisex.

    As for Daim Blonde, I think it's supposed to be a suede scent, which might account for the chemical/makeup smell you're getting. Again, you're not the only one who puts that one into the "feminine" camp. It's probably not the best SL starting point for a guy.

    M7 is a good example of one oriental that I would think tough for a woman to pull off. That said, I read a post the other day stating that someone got the scent and gave it to his mom because he thought it was for women! And ambre and agarwood are both certainly used in unisex scents.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Niche frags question

    Your thoughts are pretty much the conclusion I formed several years ago and, with the exception of Creed, MPG and some Villoresis and Etros, they haven't changed all that much with respect to the majority on offer.

    Oddly enough I sprayed Tea for Two for the first time on my hand an hour ago. I quite like the smell of it - but it doesn't say to anybody that there's a man attached to that smell - just some entity that smells "nice".

    There are good niche masculine orientals around (they're masculine because they're full of woods, and don't have much by way of flowers - typically, women sniff them and say they wouldn't wear them). Floris Santal or MPG Amber Precieux, for example, so they're certainly worth exploring - particularly if you're after something very refined and classy.
    Renato

  6. #6

    Default Re: Niche frags question

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato
    There are good niche masculine orientals around (they're masculine because they're full of woods, and don't have much by way of flowers - typically, women sniff them and say they wouldn't wear them). Floris Santal or MPG Amber Precieux, for example, so they're certainly worth exploring - particularly if you're after something very refined and classy.
    Renato
    Just another example of how individual "masculine" and "feminine" are when it comes to fragrances. When I first smelled Ambre Precieux (and most amber scents in fact), I thought it feminine, and could not figure out why it was marketed as a masculine scent. Amber has a sweet, plump, pungent, ripe smell that I somehow associate with women, or did, until I got used to smelling it. Now it's just neutral, another note in the mix. Santal smells pretty sweet to me and so fits as unisex IMO - especially with spicy, woodsy "women's" scents like Black Cashmere out there - though Santal probably leans to the masculine if I had to choose...fortunately I don't!

    Mugler: we've had some loooonnnggg threads on this issue, if you search them out.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Niche frags question

    Quote Originally Posted by robyogi
    [quote author=Renato link=1146794663/0#4 date=1146806234]There are good niche masculine orientals around (they're masculine because they're full of woods, and don't have much by way of flowers - typically, women sniff them and say they wouldn't wear them). Floris Santal or MPG Amber Precieux, for example, so they're certainly worth exploring - particularly if you're after something very refined and classy.
    Renato
    Just another example of how individual "masculine" and "feminine" are when it comes to fragrances. *When I first smelled Ambre Precieux (and most amber scents in fact), I thought it feminine, and could not figure out why it was marketed as a masculine scent. *Amber has a sweet, plump, pungent, ripe smell that I somehow associate with women, or did, until I got used to smelling it. *Now it's just neutral, another note in the mix. *Santal smells pretty sweet to me and so fits as unisex IMO - especially with spicy, woodsy "women's" scents like Black Cashmere out there - though Santal probably leans to the masculine if I had to choose...fortunately I don't! *

    Mugler: we've had some loooonnnggg threads on this issue, if you search them out. * [/quote]
    Actually, I won Black Cashmere on ebay last night for $11. I'll be very interested to get my ladyfriend's opinion on it when I give it to her.
    Renato

  8. #8

    Default Re: Niche frags question

    I agree with you about the Creeds. So far I'm really liking those, especially BdP. You HAVE to try that one! L'Artisans are really weird, but I still like them a lot. I see TfT as the one that I would must want to wear. A lot of the other ones are cool but I think would be hard to pull off. Lutens are definately a trip, and over all I don't really like them, with the exception of Chergui. I think that fragrance is beautiful and I think it smells good and appropriate on me, and girls seem to like it on me, so I wouldn't worry about it robbing your manhood or anything. As for Daim Blonde, forget about its feminine nature, I think this frag just plain sucks I don't get the appeal there. It's like ultra synthetic fruitiness mixed with leather. If I were you I'd skip the Diptyques, they're nothing special. There are some good Villoresis that are definately worth checking out. They are niche frags with masculiniy, and tend to pack a spicy punch if you're into that type of thing. Piper Nigrum, Spezie, and Incensi are all relatively similar as far as the feel goes but it's up to personal taste as to which one you'd like best. Renato mentioned the MPG's, which lots of people like. On the other hand, I and many others are turned off by the MPG "house note." You'll have to see for yourself. I dunno I just love trying new niche frags whether or not I end up liking them. My advice to you would be to not force anything. If they don't feel right to you then leave them alone for a while, try out some more designer frags, and come back to niches in a while and see if you feel any different.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Niche frags question

    I own bottles of many Creeds, Lutens, MPG's and L'Artisans. You'd probably like Serge Lutens Borneo 1834, although it's not great enough to spend the money on. Ambre Sultan is good. The MPG house note is a little different. *L'Artisan Mechant Loup is good. Tea for Two is good but not something I wear a lot. Voleur de Roses is fairly feminine I think, and not nearly as good as other rose fragrances. It's not something I even wear. Something like Diptyque Opone is similar but far better and is something I wear. Mure et Musc is very pleasant. Hard not to like it. *Dzing is interesting and pretty good but probably not something you want to spend money on.

    You must try the Creeds. They are fantastic but one often feels the need to carry an atomizer to reinvigorate the presence. See Hoodas on ebay. He has all of the Creeds. Try many of them. Bois du Portugal, Acier Aluminum, Millesime Imperial, Santal Imperial (1850), both Tabaromes, Himalaya, Silver Mountain Water, others. *No question that you will like a few of them. You need time with them. Months. I own ten bottles/flacons of them, and although they smell so wonderful, I don't wear them as much as other fragrances. They smell so good in the bottle and on the skin, yet there's something about them that often doesn't completely satisfy.
    *
    "You have to paint things black if you want to make future possibilities more vivid."
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