My First Niche Perfume: Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers


Ten years ago I knew nothing about the existence of a niche world in perfumery. When I got a sample of Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers among other samples with a perfume purchase, it was just that – another sample.

At the time I was arrogant enough to think that I knew most of the modern perfumes and could find online any of those for less than available from department stores. So I was a little surprised that I didn’t know the brand and never heard about that perfume.

The scent was very different from everything I knew and liked then but unlike many other fragrances  that left me indifferent or were resolutely classified “not for me” this one caught my attention and kept drawing me in.

Antonias Flowers Tiempe Passate

By the time I’d used up my Tiempe Passate sample I knew that I wanted more. That was when I found out that it could not be bought not only from those mass-market online discount sites but also from B&M stores.

Several years later I finally found Antonia’s Flowers website and ordered a set of samples. I was curious to try other perfumes from the line but the main purpose was to see if I still liked Tiempe Passate because $140 for 60 ml seemed totally unapproachable.

The minute I put Tiempe Passate on I felt an awful disappointment: not because it didn’t smell the way I remembered – it just didn’t smell at all! All other samples were fine but this one had just a faint smell of alcohol. I wrote to the company asking if it was possible that the sample just was off. They were surprised but sent me another one. This time it smelled great.

Three years ago my vSO got me a bottle of Tiempe Passate for my birthday. And it was the first niche perfume in my collection.

Rusty And Tiempe Passate

Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers – created by Norbert Bijaoui in 1999, notes include (I’ll go with NTS’s list) bergamot, clementine, sage, mimosa, cyclamen, Montauk rose, white orris, cedar, vetiver and amber.

Tiempe Passate starts really strong and almost unpleasant for the first minute. All I can smell is alcohol and something plastic-y or rubber-y. And then it settles and smells… just wonderful. For hours Tiempe Passate is a very pleasant skin scent with unexpected bursts of projection. I’ve got multiple compliments while wearing it.

In my two years anniversary post I mentioned that there were some personal posts that haven’t got as many readers as I’d want. One of such posts – Elusive Perfume – in addition to (hopefully) being entertaining, will explain what happened with me and the first Tiempe Passate sample vial.

Rusty and Tiempe Passate

I didn’t figure it out until today: though the list doesn’t mention Iso E Super, it is there, I’m sure. I tested two of my favorite perfumes in parallel – Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules and Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers and I have to concede that the latter is just a nicely embellished variation of the former. And Iso E Super is exactly what I was enjoying in both (on those occasions when I could smell it). And now I know why I was having a hard time trying to describe what Tiempe Passate smelled like. Well, at least I’m being consistent in my fragrant crushes.

Even though I’m slightly disappointed I still think Tiempe Passate is worth trying. Barney’s carries Antonia’s Flowers line. Or you can order samples from the brand’s website for a more than reasonable price.

Rusty and Tiempe Passate

There are not too many reviews for this perfume. I was surprised that Robin (NST) liked it (though it was many years ago).

Do you remember your first niche perfume?


Images: my own


83 thoughts on “My First Niche Perfume: Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers

  1. I must say Iso E Super is not nearly as romantic as I’d want a perfume called Tiempe Passate to smell…

    My first niche perfume was En Passant, still lovely, but I almost never wear it anymore.


    • Sorry about Iso E Super. I started writing thia as a story about my favorite perfume and I had no idea how it would end. But once I figured out what attracted me in this perfume I couldn’t keep silent.


      • It’s 2021 and Antonia’s “hiatus” is going on three years. I was in love with Tiempe Passat and can no longer get it. Do you have any information to share?


        • Sorry, I haven’t heard any news about the brand, but from all I know about the industry, I wouldn’t be hoping on the comeback: had they been popular enough, they would have been bought by a bigger brand.


  2. It seems everyone remembers their first niche perfume or how they got into the whole niche world, but I can’t.
    It just seems one day, it was suddenly there and samples through swaps started pouring in and I started smelling things in our 2 niche stores here. :)


  3. Hmm, first niche perfume. I think it was Une Rose by Frederic Malle which I got for a good price on ebay.

    I think Iso E Super works really well in the Ormonde Jayne line.


  4. Gee, I never heard of Tiempe Passate! I have only recently heard of the Antonia’s Flowers line. I always enjoy your reviews since you include the context of your scent experience which makes for great storytelling.
    My first niche full bottle was actually a half bottle since my friend and I pooled together to purchase Serge Lutens’ Fleurs d’Oranger, a happy, spicy, dense orange blossom. I carried on a love affair with Serge for a long while :)


    • Thank you, Renee. Over the years I realized that my most loved perfumes came to me through a chain of events and the more involved I was into the process of making a decision, searching for them, etc. the more dear they are to me. So now I’m trying to share those stories and I’m glad they find their readers.


  5. My first niche sample was L’Artisan’s Safran Troublant (of which I still want a FB); but my first niche bottle was Strange Invisible Musc Botanique. It was passed on to me from a friend who couldn’t wear it. It gave her headaches. I was surprised and delighted, I adore the scent!


    • I haven’t tried yet any of the perfumes from Strange Invisible Perfumes’ line: I’m not a huge fan of natural perfumes so I’m hesitant to put any money into sampling those. But I’ll try at least a couple from the line at some point.


  6. I can’t quite remember which FB niche entered my life first, but I think it was Une flour de cassie by F. Malle–or maybe Le Temps d’une fête or Sacrébleu by parfums de Nicolaï.I fell for both lines at about the sane time.

    I’m a huge fan of Tiempe passate. I generally don’t care for “true” rose perfumes, I only now and then like a jammy, spicy rose. But iI can’t get enough of f Tiempe passate’s salty rose. After blasting through samples and two of the purse sprays, I finally bough a FB which I’m draining far too quickly.


    • It’s great to meet another Tiempe Passate’s fan! I have a question for you. If “two of the purse sprays” were the official AF’s sprays have you noticed any difference? I didn’t realize it at the time I had it but it’s an EdT (vs EdP in 2 oz bottle) and I have no recollection at all if it was just a lower concentration or if there were any other nuances.


      • Undina, I never compared them arm-to-arm, but I can they did not strike me as different. I moved from the edt to the edp. Now that could be due to my untrained nose–but I think if there had been a major difference I would have been disappointed. I still have an empty purse spray, totally drained, but the cap smells to me just like the edp cap.The edp seems to have better longevity–that I noticed. I love the packaging, too, BTW –and Rusty sets it off so nicely!


        • Ok, then it wasn’t just me. I didn’t notice much of a difference either. I use the EdT bottle now as my purse spray and decant EdP into it – I think it’s beautiful.

          Rusty will get an extra treat for being a good model.


  7. Undina, at the end of your review, when you say you’re slightly disappointed, I was wondering why. Is it because you think Tiempe Passate is too close in its resemblance to Molecule 01? I have not tried either fragrance, but I think there’s nothing wrong with having two similar fragrances, especially if one is a “nicely embellished” version of the other.

    My first niche fb purchase was Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentree, which I still love, even though I find I mostly wear it only in winter. I wore it just the other day, though, and thought, Mmm, good purchase, Suzanne. :) And I even bought that one unsniffed! :)

    Rusty has some exceptionally great photos here, btw. If I didn’t know how much you loved him, I would swear you were grooming that cat for Hollywood. ;)


    • Suzanne, Rusty thanks you for the treat he got :)

      I was disappointed because I was dismayed to learn that what I considred to be the best part of my favorite perfume (the drydown) was actually the essence of my other favorite perfume. There’s more to Tiempe Passate in the opening but by the time when I think “it’s such a wonderful skin scent!” – it’s an almost pure Molecule 01.

      I’m still glad I have it and I’ll be wearing it from time to time. But the magic is gone.


  8. If the Antonia’s Flowers line is considered niche then I guess my first niche would have been the original Antonia’s Flowers perfume from the 1980s (and that was the time I wore it). In the early 90s I was obsessed with Annick Goutal and had just about every one of her fragrances (BOGO at SFA in NYC allowed that to happen). When I moved out of NYC I lost touch with all that was new and innovative in perfume as I could not sample freely anymore. Nowadays I cannot afford to pay the exhorbitant prices of some of the niche brands. I guess I gravitate more toward the artisanal lines (Ineke, 1000 Flowers, SSS), with my all time favorite perfumer being Laurie Erickson.


    • In my opinion, Antonia’s Flowers is definitely a niche line (not an indie but niche): it has an extremely limited distribution and just 5 fragrances in the line (I haven’t tried the most recent one yet).

      Annick Goutal is one of my favorite lines still and I’d have had more of her perfumes if they were more accessible: most stores in the area carry just 4-5 of her perfumes. Petite Cherie is one of my all-time favorites.


      • Did you ever try the original Antonia’s Flowers? A gorgeous freesia! You already know that my favorite AG is Eau de Camille (which sadly I had to gift away but kept a sample vial for posterity sake). Have you gotten to try it yet? If not I can send you half of my vial. Just let me know (I know you were interested in other things as well….)


        • I even had a bottle of the original Antonia’s Flowers (bought it on eBay used and in a while it went off). It’s nice but a little too flower-y for me. I think I like Floret more.

          I’ll send you an e-mail on the weekend (should I use the address you used for this comment above? If no, send me an e-mail from the right address.)


  9. What a lovely sotry of a first niche perfume of a lifetime. I feel weird when I talk about my first niche perfume because I discovered niche perfumery for the first time las year and my first niche perfume happens to be a 2012 release which doesn’t make a start to a good, poetic story as yours.

    BTW, You didn’t appear in my wordpress reader! Could it be becuae of the domain change?


    • Thank you, Lucas. You still have to share the name of your first niche bottle!

      E-mail subscriptions went fine but for the reader you might need to re-follow me (or, if you use RSS subscription, you need a new address).


  10. Oh, look at Rusty!!! That second photo in particular where he’s reaching out gently to stroke the bottle…. how the hell did you manage that?! It’s adorable, though I don’t know how you managed it. He’s such a fluffy boy, I just want to stroke him.

    Ooops, forgot that this was a perfume post. lol. I really enjoyed reading about the very first niche perfume that resulted in a full bottle. And congratulations on your first post on the official site!


    • Rusty is very pleasant to touch and, what’s important, he usually doesn’t mind to be touched :) I’ll give him a treat for your compliments.

      Thank you, Kafka! I think it’s nice that this perfume got to be in the first post on the “official” site :)

      So, what was your first niche bottle?

      Oh, and I didn’t have to do anything to make Rusty to play with the bottle: it’s hard to make him not to touch anything new (and usually he doesn’t get to touch my perfumes so whenever I bring them out to take a picture I know he will be all over them).


      • Honestly, no full bottle as of yet. As samples or even large decants, tons, but the full-price purchase…. nothing has swept me off my feet yet. Ormonde Jayne’s Tolu will probably be my first but I didn’t buy that myself. (If it had been available in the US, I probably would have though.)

        Honestly, between my tendency towards being a slight cheapskate and the vast, vast number of things I have as samples and need to test, there always seems time. And, with the exception of Tolu, nothing has completely swept me off my feet in a way that I simply put aside all cost considerations. Alahine by Teo Cabanel really, really tempted me, as did Lutens’ Chergui. And, given how much I spend on samples for my blog, I could easily have bought a full bottle of something expensive. But, something always stops me.

        The last time I lost all control and bought something almost IMMEDIATELY upon just a few sniffs was the Hermès’ Elixir de Merveilles, but that’s not really niche. Generally, I hesitate and just wait. I think I would be much less cautious if Zola didn’t have a $5,000 hip replacement operation coming in the next few months. (And you don’t want to know about my vet bills as a whole in the last year!)


        • I understand your approach. If I had known about splits earlier I would have had much less full bottles ;) But there are still bottles that I want to have as bottles (a post on the topic is coming soon), not just multiple samples or even decants – though I realize I’d never probably use them up (but it allows me to share).

          I like Alahine as well. But I have a decant that I touched once this season… so I probably do not need a bottle.

          (I don’t want to even think about vets – let alone hear about bills :( My sympathies to you and Zola.)


          • Thank you, sweetie. He was diagnosed with Bilateral Hip Dysplasia when he was just 4 months old. He’s 3 now and I’ve been trying to get him to have this bloody THR/Total Hip Replacement surgery for the last year but he’s had skin conditions which have prevented the surgeons from proceeding. I’ve had SIX cancelled surgical dates — three of them cancelled 10 minutes in with him under anaesthesia and on the operating table. Between his regular vet, his two (!) orthopedic surgeons, and his skin specialist, it’s been a frustrating 18 months. :( Not to mention, extremely expensive (even with pet insurance)!

            Sorry, didn’t mean to go quite so Off-Topic. As for perfume, I swear I’m going to venture into the world of splits soon! ;)


  11. My first niche was By Kilian’s Beyond Love. I don’t particularly love the fragrance, but I keep a large stash of samples of it around for some reason. I was initially lured into niche because I was looking for a coconut fragrance that smelled truer than most mainstream offerings. Beyond Love wasn’t what I wanted, but it was nice in its own way.


  12. I liked reading about how you found Tiempe Passate. Perfume providence, perhaps? :) This one is definitely not for me, even though I have tried to make it be a few times. It doesn’t like my skin. It smells nice from the spray nozzle, but then no (which is kind of the opposite of your experience).

    Embarassingly, I don’t think I can remember my first niche full bottle. Maybe Chasse aux Papillons or New Haarlem.


  13. My first niche? Like niche niche? Well, I had made forays into Barneys for Acqua di Parma Colonia and Carthusia Io di Capri to round out my pile of Kiehl’s Original Musk. But my first dive into niche niche was Molecule 01 — which remains imbedded in my friends’ memories as how I smell even though I smell like all kinds of everything now.

    For this reason, I think that I will love Tiempe Passate. Going on the list now!


  14. What a great read (and Rusty is looking stunningly dapper, as ever). My first niche was SL’s Iris Silver Mist, purchased during a summer in Paris during college. For some reason (I seriously have no memory of why), I got it into my head that I needed to visit the Lutens shop there (I think it was listed in a guidebook?), and that I needed to find ‘my’ perfume while there. I narrowed it down to ISM and Tubereuse Criminelle…in retrospect very intense, odd choices. I ended up going with ISM because I didn’t think I could pull off TC (I was a mousy English major…now I’ve blossomed into a mousy English grad student :-) So ISM was my only perfume for about five years, until I started wondering what other people thought of it, and discovered the wonderful world of ‘fume blogging :-) Now ISM smells comforting (go figure), I have waaay too many bottles and decants, and I’ve just gotten a decant of TC and have fallen in love with it all over again.


    • What a great story, Heather! Iris Silver Mist as an independent choice – it’s impressive! You were bound to become a perfumista.

      I like ISM and will see if I need a bottle once I finish my small decant. As to TC… nope, not for me – I can’t do any tuberose.


  15. I have been completely confused as to what is considered niche anymore; but I will say that the first FB bottle I bought since I fell down the rabbit hole of perfume was Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, which was bought totally unsniffed and still one of my absolute favorite perfumes of all time.


    • Yeah… Niche and even indie categories are a complete blur (especially after the recent Fifi awards results).

      I tried L’Air de Rien yesterday for the first time and I can see how it might be one’s favorite. Once I’m done with my small decant I’ll be thinking hard on how much of it I will need.


  16. I have heard of Antonia’s Flowers but have never tried anything from that line. This was such an enabling post I decided to order a sample set :-)

    Probably technically not niche but since the line only ever had 3 perfumes, I will consider this my first niche FB – Shu Uemura Fleur de Source which I often layered with Fleur de Terre.

    …and Rusty — such a handsome boy!


    • Thank you, hajusuuri (Rusty got not a treat but a piece of crab for your compliment)

      Until today I’ve never heard of Shu Uemura Fleur de Source – so, I think, we can consider it niche :)

      I will be really interested to hear what you think about Antonia’s Flowers.


  17. I just became interested in niche perfumes in the Spring of last year. First niche bottle was Musc Ravageur. I wore it just this week, and it smelled the best it has ever smelled on me. I think the temperature may have been perfect for it.


  18. My first niches were a bunch of samples from CB I Hate Perfume. I’d gotten into my head that I needed a perfume that smelled of soil and somehow I found him while googling the net. :)


  19. Niche as in niche, truly off the beaten track..?Then my first would have been PdN’s Vanille Tonka. But I’m glad you reviewed this scent. And Antonia’s Flowers is one of the few Freesia perfumes out there.


  20. I suspect I may be somewhat anosmic to Iso E Super. Isn’t that the main ingredient in Calvin Klein Eternity for Women? I can barely smell that one.

    My first niche full bottle… MPG’s Tubereuse, which I blogged about recently! :)


  21. For a minute there, with your cat doing some VOGUE cover modeling ( so cute, BTW) I thought you was going to say civet was in this perfume, so I scrolled down the page to read the notes. darn no civet. LOL Anyway my first niche perfume was Wall Street by Bond No. 9. It did not fare well with me at first, smelling more like Korean cucumber salad with bitter herbs, than a perfume that I’d wear, let alone purchase. Tables have turned or should I say my tastes have changes and I really like it now. I have not purchased a FB yet, but it’s definitely in my future.


    • Sorry for misleading, dkchocoman :) My cat plays with all perfumes’ bottles not discriminating by notes.

      I don’t remember ever doing a 180 degree turn on any perfume, usually it’s 45 at best. Maybe you should go through a decant of it first to make sure you still like it before committing to a full bottle?


  22. Now I must get my sample of this out, because I remember being disappointed that it didn’t really smell of anything either, and it has languished unsniffed for nigh on four years.

    My first niche perfume purchase – gosh, I am not sure I remember – but Roja Dove Scandal was very early into my hobby in 2008, so that might have been the one.

    Rusty is as cute as a button in modelling mode as ever!


  23. People, when Undina mentioned that you can order Antonia’s Flowers samples at a more than reasonable price, she really truly meant MORE than reasonable. You cannot beat 8 (yes, 8) .7mL samples for $5 including shipping. And, and, and they are FAST! I ordered last Sunday and got them on the 7th. What are you waiting for? Just do it :-)


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  26. I love TP and have worn it basically since it came out. Found it originally at Barneys in NYC. I’m so distraught that Antonia’s Flowers is on “hiatus”. And I didn’t realize until I had been out for weeks, and there was no way to order more. Any suggestions on where to get it or what else to try? I’ll try the Molecule 1 for sure. Thanks’


    • I was also sad to learn about their “hiatus.” With the modern state of perfume industry I doubt they are coming back.

      If you haven’t tried Molecule 01, definitely do it, it might be what you were looking for.
      One perfume that was extremely similar to Tiempe Passate, at least to my nose, is even harder to get – Guerlain Myrrhe et Délires. When I tested Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Essence Rare Collection Privee, I thought it had something in common with TP but, again, not the easiest to try or the cheapest alternative. One more affordable perfume to try – Lightscape by Ulrich Lang. On three separate occasions when I tested it I thought it had a strong resemblance to TP, but I haven’t tried it in several years.


    • Your story is the same as mine. I keep hoping simply because she used the hiatus word. I wonder if the ‘nose’ Norbert Bijaoui ever created anything like it. If it was a money issue, I’d pay more ! Maybe we need to find him!

      Liked by 1 person

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