Niche Perfumery System: Minor Brands

As it often happens with attempts to classify anything, while some elements easily fit the chosen methodology, there are always those that stick out of any category one tries to assign them to. A perfect example of it is “niche perfume brand.” People have different opinion on whether By Kilian can be considered niche brand or it is a high-end mainstream. Is Tauer Perfumes niche or indie brand? Where does Caron stand?

Still intuitively each of us has a general definition of niche perfumery for ourselves and for the purpose of this discussion it should be enough: we won’t be voting any plutos off the niche island.

Major Perfume Brands

If niche perfumery were the solar system, such brands as Serge Lutens, Frederic Malle (at least until now), Amouage, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Ormonde Jayne and many others would clearly be considered major planets: all perfumistas know these brands’ perfumes; new releases are widely discussed and reviewed; those bottles are coveted and having them in one’s collection seems to be prestigious. All of that is never openly declared and there are always exceptions to that “rule” but it’s a feeling I got from participating in many online communities – on blogs, Facebook and Twitter. At the same time there are many brands that seem to be not as prestigious. Many of them are recognized, people like and wear some of the perfumes but those are treated with less admiration. Minor planets.

Among my personal minor planets there are such brands as, for example, Lush, Tokyo Milk and Royal Apothic. I’m not sure why I feel dismissive towards these brands I just know that I do not follow their releases, do not try to get those perfumes for testing and might even pass them by while at a store. A case of perfumista snobbery maybe?

Last May, while participating in Los Gatos Wine Walk (they organize it twice a year there and it’s a great way to spend a day: good food to snack on, wine from interesting small wineries to taste, small shops and boutiques to visit), I stopped at Antropologie. It was probably all that great wine and food but when I saw a beautiful dark blue bottle I couldn’t resist trying that perfume straight on skin… Half an hour later I was back to the store buying a travel bottle of Dogwood Blossom by Royal Apothic.

Royal Apothic Dogwood Blossom

Brand’s website describes Dogwood Blossom as “Night blooming dogwood flower is immersed in rich notes of ginger, coco, honey, and tonka bean. Top notes: tobacco flower, warm amber; middle notes: cocoa, ginger, honey; base notes: teakwood.” I’ve never smelled dogwood tree blossom so I have no idea if the perfume represents it in any way. What I smell is warm gingered amber, sweet and spicy. Dogwood Blossom attracts attention, it’s not just “nice” or “pleasant” but it has character. Is it my favorite amber? Probably not. But I enjoy wearing it and think it would have been my loss if I hadn’t decided to end that nice Wine Walk event with a perfume purchase.

Do “minor brands” exist in your universe? Have any of the perfumes from those brands landed in your collection or do they still orbiting it?

Images: my own.