Sorting Hat: Perfume Categories

One of my New Year resolutions was to add a new option for classifying my perfumes. I got the idea a long ago after reading annemariec’s article on beauty on the outside blog.

There is no real purpose to that classification; I’m doing it just for amusement, so I’m not trying to be too precise.

Perfume CategoriesI think I can do it with the following categories:

Mall scents – this category will include drugstore, catalog and specialty shop perfumes (e.g. Yves Rocher, Body Shop, Pacifica, Crabtree & Evelyn, Demeter);

Mainstream – this category will include mass-market, designer and celebrity perfumes (e.g. Estee Lauder, Lancome, Prada, YSL, Thierry Mugler, Bvlgari);

High-end mainstream – e.g. Chanel, Guerlain, Hermes, Jo Malone;

Boutique – this category will include perfumes sold in brands’ boutiques and exclusive lines (e.g. Chanel, Guerlain, Dior, Tom Ford, Hermes);

Niche – e.g. L’Artisan, Annick Goutal , Atelier Cologne, Histoires de Parfums, Ineke;

High-end niche – e.g. Amouage, Serge Lutens,  Frederic Malle, By Kilian, Puredistance;

Indie – e.g. DSH Perfumes,  Sonoma Scent Studio, Tauer Perfumes, Aftelier Perfumes;

One of a kind – this category will include vintage, bespoke and other odds-and-ends perfumes that I cannot put in any other basket.


Can you think of any perfumes, lines or brands that won’t fit into these categories?


Image: my own


22 thoughts on “Sorting Hat: Perfume Categories

  1. Nice! I love your illustration too.

    Off-topic, but I am reminded of an Australian perfumery I won’t name which must be so fearful of people coming in and spritzing their testers away to nothing that they have squashed all the testers on to one bench guarded by a sign: ‘Do not touch’.


    • Thank you. I wish I could draw: I had a picture in my head to illustrate this post. But since both of my hands are left (Hmm… Is there such phrase in English? I know that both French and Russian languages have it but not sure about the English equivalent. Is it considered not PC since left-handed people are a minority? But I digress…), I had to make a collage.

      It’s a funny story about “Do not touch”. I wonder why would they even put those testers out if they don’t want people to test them?


      • The woman who owns the shop sits on a stool and asks you the sort of thing you are looking for, and then selects testers for the perfumes she thinks you might like. I know. It’s bizarre, but I guess it’s to protect her testers from people who wander in and use them but have no intention to buy. She is incredibly rude. Then again, she knows that people go into perfumeries and department stores, use the testers, and then go home and buy online where they can get a better deal.


  2. They seem good to me, too! Curious where something like Ormonde Jayne would go. Niche or Indie? (maybe if the “news” about Linda Pilkington not being the sole perfumer is true that is easier?)


    • When I read this “rumor” on twitter I started looking and found that one of the blogs (PST?) referred to the interview with Linda Pilkington where she mentioned that perfumer as a consultant on a project and attributed to him the final decision on [not] including some notes into one of the perfumes… So I decided not to read too much into that “news”.

      I wasn’t sure about OJ but then I put it into the “regular” Niche. Do you think it’s a “High-end Niche”?


  3. I was just going to say “high end niche” for OJ – from a distribution point of view it warrants that I’d say. Miller Harris has become a bit ubiquitous of late (if you can say that), popping up in airports and such like, so there is an argument for downgrading them to just niche, if they ever were high end to start with. Those kind of pigeonholing questions / debates make quite a fun game in fact! For me the indies also overlap quite a lot with natural perfumery, or that is my impression.

    I have another category – perfumes I made with my kit for fun when I was an associate of The Perfume Studio. “Self-made experiments”, that could be, though they could equally go in your ragbag category of “one of a kind”. You wouldn’t want two in most cases!


    • If I ever decide to go into perfume creation (which I’m not too inclined to after my childhood fiasco with rose petals steeping in water ;) ) I’ll think about adding another category.

      I’m sooo not into the “natural perfumery” that whatever small number made/will make into my collection will feel comfortable and not too crowded in the Indie category (and since I’m not planning on either going too much into vintage perfumes or spending money on a bespoke one, One of a kind won’t have that many “odds” in it as well).

      I’m not sure about the “High-end” for OJ’s creations… I don’t know why. I at least like most of her perfumes (and love some) but for whatever reason this brand doesn’t feel like it’s on the same level for me as those that I’ve put into that category. I might be wrong though.


      • Interesting about OJ – as well as the distribution I think the store ambience may play into it for me, so I may be giving things a British spin. But perhaps I should be judging the juice in isolation – interesting point, and possibly an idea for a whole other post! : – )


  4. For some reason when I saw that you’re posting about categorizing perfume I thought that it is your perfume genres you’re developing.

    I am awful at the designer/niche/etc. classifications, so I’m afraid I can’t contribute much.


  5. Pingback: Entertaining Statistics: January, 2012 « Undina's Looking Glass

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