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  1. #1

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    Default My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Over the last 3 weeks I've received and tested about 50 niche samples from about 15 different manufacturers. Even though I've just scraped the surface, I can't convey how much I've enjoyed delving into this world.

    I can now understand the viewpoint of those who are 'niche-only'. That's not my view, but on average, the longevity, sillage, and care with which niche fragrances are crafted is far, far superior. This distinction is particularly evident between the most current offerings... designer fragrances tend to be all producing and marketing for the same market, and are thus producing similar fragrances (Exhibits A, B and C are Davidoff Adventure, Givenchy Pi Neo and Armani Diamonds for Men). Niche makers are producing for a different market segment and are more free to let their perfumers create. That said, I'm happy with the designers in my wardrobe and I don't think it's impossible for designer fragrances to be good, or that there's anything wrong with trying and buying them

    Anyway, the following fragrance are those I will probably purchase bottles of in the upcoming weeks (in no particular order). These are the ones I keep coming back to sniff over and over...

    Parfumerie Generale Cuir d'Iris
    Frederic Malle Iris Poudre
    Chanel (exclusif) Coromandel
    Serge Lutens (tie) Un Bois Vanille
    Escentric Molecules Escentric 01
    CdG Hinoki

    Honorable Mentions (the ones I'd buy right now if money was not a limiting factor)

    Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique
    Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist
    Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Vanille and Bois Rouge
    Montale Blue Amber
    Chanel (exclusif) 31 Rue Cambon
    Dior Bois d'Argent


    Of course I'm not stopping here... I have about 25 samples on route and plan to keep devouring all this knowledge.

    Special thanks to all of the great BN discussions and the SoTD thread for giving me suggestions and ideas.
    Last edited by bbBD; 25th August 2008 at 01:57 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2

    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Glad you're having fun, but I don't think your samples of niche scents are representative. Tom Ford and Chanel I have difficulty accepting as being niche.

    After I went through a similar immersion, I was shocked at how poor their longevity was compared to regular designer scents, not to mention the paucity of sillage. (Niche were about three quarters duds in the longevity department, compared to designer, which were about a quarter duds).

    Since that time, I've found that Serge Lutens, MPG and L.T.Piver are generally a lot better in the longevity department than many other niche scents. And the Tom Ford ones I've tested had very good longevity too.

    Also, a lot of the novelty of various niche offerings to first timers is their rawer, less refined components relative to the recent generations of highly refined designers scents. But if they had tried designer scents like Aqua di Selva or many of the Caron ones as I had, they wouldn't have seemed so novel.

    Where many of the niche scents are indeed novel, is the way they mix together components typically associated with masculine and feminine scents, and call them unisex. This is in sharp contrast to designer unisex scents which tend to shy away from using strongly masculine or feminine components.

    As you seem to value longevity and sillage, I'll be interested to see if you remain as enthused after you've properly tested more samples from different niche houses.
    Cheers,
    Renato

  3. #3

    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Good post bbBD, wish you would give more details of your impressions

  4. #4

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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Glad you're having fun, but I don't think your samples of niche scents are representative. Tom Ford and Chanel I have difficulty accepting as being niche.
    Tom Ford Private Blends and Chanel Exclusives could definitely be considered 'niche'. Limited production, expensive, focused...YEP.

    great review bbBD...

    i'm interested in Cuir D'Iris...any specific thoughts on it?

  5. #5

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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Quote Originally Posted by afraafra View Post
    Good post bbBD, wish you would give more details of your impressions
    I'd be glad to - I'm just pretty busy at work today! I'll post more later for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Glad you're having fun, but I don't think your samples of niche scents are representative. Tom Ford and Chanel I have difficulty accepting as being niche.

    After I went through a similar immersion, I was shocked at how poor their longevity was compared to regular designer scents, not to mention the paucity of sillage. (Niche were about three quarters duds in the longevity department, compared to designer, which were about a quarter duds).

    Since that time, I've found that Serge Lutens, MPG and L.T.Piver are generally a lot better in the longevity department than many other niche scents. And the Tom Ford ones I've tested had very good longevity too.
    I see what you mean, but please keep in mind I didn't post all the houses I sampled, just my favorites. I'd argue that the Chanel Exclusifs and Tom Ford Private Blends are on the fence of the 'niche' definition. While they also produce mass-marketed scents, the fragrances I sampled in particular are limited distribution and definitely equal to niche quality.

    Renato, while I value longevity and sillage, they are less important to me than the overall quality of the fragrance. I suppose longevity is important because to me, it's tied into quality. Sillage is less important to me. The best longevity was by far Perfumerie Generale - Un Crime Exotique lasted nearly 24 hours on my skin. Close behind were the Serge Lutens and Montales (12 hours average), the Frederic Malles (10-12 hours), and then the L'Artisans and Escentrics (8-10 hours)
    Last edited by bbBD; 25th August 2008 at 03:36 PM. Reason: add'l info

  6. #6

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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Quote Originally Posted by everso View Post
    Tom Ford Private Blends and Chanel Exclusives could definitely be considered 'niche'. Limited production, expensive, focused...YEP.

    great review bbBD...

    i'm interested in Cuir D'Iris...any specific thoughts on it?

    Cuir d'Iris starts off with a fierce, dark leather and incense accord that borders on almost being a little tar-ish. It took me a couple wears to get used to this. Iris is not necessarily a clearly distinguishable note, but it balances out the boldness of the leather/incense. The leather note mellows, but it persists for quite a while. The transition to the base, which to my nose is mostly a rich amber with a touch of vetiver, is imperceptibly smooth. This one in particular lasted around 12 hours, and I only used a drop or two of the sample. What makes Cuir d'Iris so bottle worthy is that a little goes a long way... more than 2 sprays would be overbearing.

  7. #7

    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Some very good scents lined up there... great post bbBD, do keep us posted on the proceedings


    PVC and Leather. A Chain and a feather




  8. #8

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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Quote Originally Posted by bbBD View Post
    Cuir d'Iris starts off with a fierce, dark leather and incense accord that borders on almost being a little tar-ish. It took me a couple wears to get used to this. Iris is not necessarily a clearly distinguishable note, but it balances out the boldness of the leather/incense. The leather note mellows, but it persists for quite a while. The transition to the base, which to my nose is mostly a rich amber with a touch of vetiver, is imperceptibly smooth. This one in particular lasted around 12 hours, and I only used a drop or two of the sample. What makes Cuir d'Iris so bottle worthy is that a little goes a long way... more than 2 sprays would be overbearing.
    very interesting. i'll DEFINITELY have to check this out...

    i also read this post from last year...which echoes what you say about longetivity...

    Cuir Ottoman VS. Cuir D'Iris:
    http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=203128

  9. #9
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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    bbBD did you sample Chanel's Sycomore? If so, what were your impressions of that one? How are the sillage and longevity?

  10. #10

    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    what did you think about Armani Prive Vetiver Babylone......certainly on the light side, but long lasting and a gorgeous take on a fresh, transparent vetiver.

    tom Ford Oud wood is a fav of mine as well.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    As Samplermike would have said, "you forgot to test Creed's"

  12. #12

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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mindbrain View Post
    As Samplermike would have said, "you forgot to test Creed's"
    LOL.

    Creed IS the ultimate niche brand.


  13. #13

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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Quote Originally Posted by NYCBoy View Post
    bbBD did you sample Chanel's Sycomore? If so, what were your impressions of that one? How are the sillage and longevity?
    I sampled all the Chanel Exclusifs... Sycomore was my #3 favorite after Coromandel and 31 Rue Cambon. Sycomore was a dark, damp, rich vetiver fragrance..it started off with incense and dried down into a woods/vetiver base. Definitely the most masculine of the line. In fact I couldn't really imagine them selling it as feminine.

    I was a bit sparing as I only had a 1.5ml sample, but the longevity was good/very good 6-8 hours. It's strong stuff, so I'm pretty sure a normal spray application would give off sillage.

  14. #14

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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mindbrain View Post
    As Samplermike would have said, "you forgot to test Creed's"
    LOL. I actually tested lots of Creeds (6 different ones, in addition to the 4 samples I already have), it's just that I didn't find any of them in my 'top 10' of what I'd put $140+/bottle down on.

  15. #15

    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    I agree with you on Coromandel and 31 Rue de Cambon being the best out the line. have you tried Patchouli Leaves by Montale. The resemblance between Coromandel and Patchouli leaves is huge. Coromandel is more subtle, refined than patchouli leaves.
    Great stuff.
    Last edited by NELSON29; 31st August 2008 at 04:49 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Where do you get your samples from?

    I got my first 150 or so from The Perfumed Court, which was very expensive.

    But then, I started getting them from Ebay and so far, the quality has been exactly the same, since I always made sure to get samples from reputed sellers.

    I received about 100 Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs samples, for about 1-2$ each (5$ on original website)

    About 60 designer scents for about 100$

    About 30 perfume oil notes for about 20$

    My deep drawer is FULL of samples now... I try 4-5 per day and I'm discovering new stuff to like every day. My latest favorites were: Comme des Garcons Rhubarb, Neil Morris Clear and Zephyr, Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey, Il Profumo Vanille Bourbon, and some CB I Hate Perfume Tea scents.

    Also I'm getting poorer every week. But I smell like a 100 dollar bill.


    Oh, also... I tried all Creeds currently available. These were my first niche scents so back then I was impressed, knowing that I was wearing 300$ perfumes. But now... they pale on comparison to other niche houses, with very few exceptions. And I have bought the whole lot twice (45 or so samples both times) from reputable sellers (Raffy and then Perfumed Court).
    Last edited by beltz; 31st August 2008 at 04:57 AM.

  17. #17

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    Default Re: My niche fragrance emersion - the winners are...

    Quote Originally Posted by NELSON29 View Post
    I agree with you on Coromandel and 31 Rue de Cambon being the best out the line. have you tried Patchouli Leaves by Montale. The resemblance between Coromandel and Patchouli leaves is huge. Coromandel is more subtle, refined than patchouli leaves.
    Great stuff.
    I have a Patchouli Leaves sample on its way (thanks Vijay!).

    To answer beltz, I've been getting samples from everywhere and anywhere. From the house if possible (L'Artisan and Bond send them for shipping costs) - Luckyscent, Beautyhabit, and Aedes are all fairly priced. I've picked some up on eBay, and I found a private decant seller totally by accident. I also use TPC for those I can't find elsewhere, or when I want more than 1ml. I've also been ordering second - larger - samples from TPC when I've already sampled something and want a bigger decant for wearing.

    ************************************************** *****************

    To update the topic, the samples continue to roll in. To add a couple to my 'really want to buy' list, I'd put:

    Parfums de Empire Cuir Ottoman - very rich leather that dries beautifully into a slighly fruity, dry leather accord

    MPG Fleur d'Iris - I love iris, and this iris/vanilla mix is the most unique take on iris I've tried yet. Also, the amber base persisted for over 24 hours.

    Honorable mentions to L'Artisan's Dzing! and Vanilia as well as SL Chypre Rouge (which I'm wearing today)

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