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  1. #1

    Default Niche where to begin?

    For the last 2 months I have been getting into fragrances. I did not know how addicting this could be...... So where the heck dose one start with niche? How can u tell a cheap crappy ones sold for its name, and not the juice in its bottle from the good stuff? Thanks! Sorry I am still new to this site If there is a another thread that asks this same thing I am sorry.

  2. #2
    neal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    Go crazy with samples at The Perfumed Court and LuckyScent!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    Ebay is also worth your time for certain niche samples like Creed and Bond no. 9

  4. #4
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Berkeley, California
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    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    I personally just picked a company and tried as many as I could, then picked another one and another one until I kind of "got" it.

    I started with L'Artisan, not because of anything, except they're generous with the samples and a few stores around me carried them so it was easy to get the samples for free.

    If you have a Neiman Marcus or a Saks or a Barneys around you, just go in and strike up a conversation with the Creed salesman or the Frederic Malle salesman or the Tom Ford guy or whoever. Just explain that you've been collecting scents for a while and heard that they had great stuff. Let them spray a bunch for you, then pick your favorite couple and ask for samples because you like to try them on for a whole day or two before you buy anything. Unless you're a 13-year-old kid or you look homeless, this should work. When you decide to buy something, be sure to buy it from the person who gave you the samples and mention how much you liked the sample. And so the endless cycle of free stuff begins, and so does your education. Most of the big name niche companies only hire people who have been in the business for years - At least in SF, we have dozens of specialist SA's who know way more than most BNers and really do love to talk about perfumes with newbies.

    If you don't have access to stores, everything's going to be more expensive, but just go though Luckyscent or the Perfumed Court and order samples of whatever sounds good. I'd also recommend Aedes de Venustas, who have the best sample prices at 8 for $15 but a more limited selection (though it's because they're pickier - you're less likely to get duds with them because they don't bother trying to carry *everything*).

    Try starting with the bigger companies: L'Artisan, Creed, Tom Ford, Guerlain, Diptyque, Malle, Lutens, etc. Some will be more challenging than others (frankly, just making the leap, you'll probably find a hell of a lot more Creeds and Bond No 9's that you like than Diptyques or Lutens), but once you've sampled more and developed a taste for more challenging scents, the ones you disliked early on may end up being favorites.

    Good Luck and have fun!
    Has everyone checked out my Top 100 Blog??

  5. #5

    lightgreen22's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    I would start at a high end department store (such as Neimans, Saks)
    while they do carry a great array of mainstream frags they also
    have what I like to call "gateway" niche brands such as Creed, Bond,
    Tom Ford and
    I am not afraid... I was born to do this.

    -Joan of Arc

  6. #6
    StylinLA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Los Angeles, CA

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    Well, we don't know your location so it's hard to point you at a brick and mortar store.

    Lucky Scent is probably the largest selection of niche scents in one place. They also sell samples too. Go to their site and poke around. Read their descriptions. But be forewarned- they do a fantastic job writing up scents. You'll want to purchase them all. Use their site as a place to see what might interest you. THEN, come back here and look through the Directory and these forums to see what others here think.

    If you're in a large US city, Nieman Marcus, Saks, Barneys have the best selection of niche scents in the retail department store world.

    As to your question about how to tell the "cheap crappy ones sold for its name"....

    One mans cheap crappy one is another man's masterpiece. Within the niche world, few are cheap or crappy. But, there are some you would not like and not think worth the money.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    All of the above but there is a wealth of information right here if you spend a bit of time looking and cross referencing . . . there are plenty of comparisons so if you find something you like you can use the collective wisdom as a springboard to check out other stuff that might also work for you.

  8. #8
    volley2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Shanghai, China

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    I guess your safest choice would be the L'artisan Parfumeur. Not as expensive as the other niche perfumes.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    I would say check out, creed, serge lutens, frederic malle, and tom ford.

  10. #10

    Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Spiritually, Kansas
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    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    All good suggestions.

    My first niche houses that I really "got" were L'Artisan Parfumeur and The Different Company, a.k.a. TDC. Both of them come close to designer in many aspects, thereby making more sense to somebody starting out in niche. TDC is also rather unisex, and has a nice sample program on their website that sends you 4 mL of each fragrance for a decent price. Otherwise, TDC is hard to find in brick and mortar stores.
    * * * *

  11. #11

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    I would e-mail some random niche companies and ask politely for samples. That's what I did!
    “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
    Karl, age 5


  12. #12

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by BradW View Post
    Ebay is also worth your time for certain niche samples like Creed and Bond no. 9
    yes run to ebay for creeds if you want to buy a fake. ebay is so flooded with fake creeds that its nearly impossible to get an authentic bottle.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    You've gotten a lot of good advice thus far. Here's what I did when I was beginning my niche exploration. I would do as much reading as I could. Knowledge is power. See what other basenoters are discussing and starting threads about. All the superlative threads, like "best oriental" or "best gourmand"...lurk through those threads. Do searches on the word "niche". You'll find threads about best niche fragrances. After enough lurking, you'll notice that some fragrances are more commonly referenced than others, such as Creeds (especially green irish tweed), lately Amouage, Serge Lutens, Caron, etc. Carons (though some say it isn't niche, but it ain't exactly easily accessible, so I consider it to be) was the first line that I really began to explore, because of the numerous mentions on here. I've only tried their most popular offerings, but not all of them. But I digress. Like I said though, read, search, and take notes. If you see a particular fragrance getting a lot of praise, read the reviews on the fragrance and save it in your wardrobe (lemme know if you don't know what that it) so you can possibly sample it in the future.

    Note that not everything everyone else loves is gonna have you head over heals. Patou PH for example...I think it's just BLAH, but some people on here swear by it. Look at the notes of the fragrances. Look at the other fragrances people compare a given niche fragrance to. If you hate Cool Waters, for example, and everyone tells you that GIT smells JUST LIKE it, then you may not want to sample GIT. It also helps to know what notes you like, and what category of fragrances you like. For example, if you don't like vanillas, it will benefit you to know if vanilla is dominant in the fragrance or not. That's how you can save yourself some money by not sampling fragrances that you know wont be to your liking. I am a fan of theperfumedcourt and lately, luckyscent. They are great places to sample from, and they both have different guides and top picks for you to consider. Like others said though-if you have a Macys, Sephoras, Neiman Marcus, Saks, or a perfume shop nearby, then see if they have your fragrances of interests available to try. If not, check out the two previously mentioned. Good luck!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    creed is always a good start to niche, they keep their compositions as simple as possible and have large variaties for scents, which makes them special.

    any creed smells in its own way good, just a matter whether it matches with your taste or not.... dont get too fanatic about it. good luck
    My signature scents:
    Current: GREEN IRISH TWEED (since June 2010)
    Past: BOIS DU PORTUGAL (Oct. 09 - May 10)
    Past Past: EAU SAUVAGE (good 15 years !!!)
    Past Past Past: LANVIN L'HOMME (2 years)
    Past Past Past Past: EAU SAUVAGE again (3 years or so)

  15. #15

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    I started with Serge Lutens. Some bigger stores carry them. So, it makes sense to try them in stores first, before you actually spend money on samples.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adesor View Post
    creed is always a good start to niche, they keep their compositions as simple as possible and have large variaties for scents, which makes them special.

    any creed smells in its own way good, just a matter whether it matches with your taste or not.... dont get too fanatic about it. good luck

  17. #17

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    Last edited by DeepSilence; 27th July 2010 at 08:28 AM. Reason: Sorry, I wrote in wrong thread

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    The initial/starting phase is always a little daunting, over-whelming, and sometimes uncomfortable because we're entering a territory we have less a clue about. There isn't a fixed way to go about it. All the above suggestions are great ones. You can try beginner sample sets at Better still if you have malls/shops within decent proximity, that carry niche/artisan fragrances. There will be a lot of hits and misses, so don't expect too much from something just because it is considered (or priced) as "niche".

    There are houses that are known for a certain style that may or may not suit your taste. You'll slowly be able to narrow down to your favorites, as you realise and understand your preferences more and more along the way.

    The whole "cheap vs expensive" idea is a debatable one. I'm just more inclined to believe that niche may not use more expensive ingredients, but they are created to smell a little more bold/specific/precise/provocative, and are a little more more well-executed than say a designer scent. Of course this is just a humble opinion of mine / a generalization, and there are many exceptions to that. Some niche houses actually use more expensive materials, and some designer scents actually smell more expensive than some niche ones, etc etc. It all depends.

    Hope this helps a little! Enjoy your journey and keep us updated.


    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    I personally just picked a company and tried as many as I could, then picked another one and another one until I kind of "got" it.
    This was a method I chose too. But I don't exhaust the entire profile of each house before moving on to another. I do tend to try as many as 5-10, then move on the another house, then along the way revisit and sample other offerings from the (first) house. But basically, I enjoy exploring/acquiring by house.

    Great advice and suggestions too, rogalal.
    Last edited by MFJ; 27th July 2010 at 04:34 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    Wow thanks all you guys, I appreciate your time! I got some research to do!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    My two favorite niche houses are Bond no9 and L'Artisan. But yeah, good advice about with hitting up a single house for a few samples and getting that house's vibe. You'll know pretty quick if it's for you or not. ie. Tom Ford = strong, most times heavy-in your face scents and Bond no9, not so loud, pretty safe scents across the board. Im just trying to do a quick generalization.

    Have fun!
    Kerosene fragrance samples and bottles here:

  21. #21

    Default Re: Niche where to begin?

    some companies like Czech & Speake will sell you a full lineup of samples for relatively cheap .
    Tom Ford Splits!!!! - Tobacco Vanille, Tuscan Leather, Oud Wood, Noir de Noir - PATCHOULI ABSOLU
    Plum Japonais, Italian Cypress, Neroli Portofino, Costa Azzura, Azure Lime, Champacca Absolute

    HARD TO FIND - Lavender Palm, Arabian Wood, and AMBER ABSOLUTE, etc...

    Most of the time I am very proud of the Basenotes community. Time after time I have witnessed the thoughtfulness, empathy & genuine friendship that members of this community extend to others - oldtimers & newcomers alike. There are other times, however, when egos get the upper hand and civility goes out the window. My philosophy is that I won't say anything here that I would not say if you were standing in front of me. Welcome to Basenotes, each and every one of us. ~ TwoRoads

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