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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog
Beauty Notes: Transitioning into "niche" perfumes

Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, December 28, 2007 1:14 AM (Eastern)

I would like to remind our dear readers that we have covered some of the more obscure brands of fragrance on this site, with more to come.

Perfume Reviews
The Mnemonic Sense

You may also check individual brand labels, such as Serge Lutens, Annick Goutal, Montale and so forth.

Even as the choices in scent grow exponentially, still I would like to think we at The Lipstick Page Forums endeavor to refine...if not "what's good," at least what isn't particularly good. It's not all good. In fact that's something I always liked in Dain, that she didn't advocate indiscriminate collecting. There is a useful aspect to it, in having tried sheer masses of products, but then there is a tendency to become less perceptive of each product.

Before I go on, it's well to note I never bought any Diptyque perfume. I tried a bunch of them, but the one I liked best, Do Son, had this sort of pathetic staying power. It smelled otherworldly for about an hour; two, tops...I remember wearing it in Muir Woods, and trying to detangle what was Do Son and what was the scent of the park itself--no small potatoes, the latter looks like this:

But, eh, it's like that fantastic lipstick of the perfect shade, and zero staying power. Ultimately I won't be happy with it. I would choose a lipstick that's perhaps less in terms of the color, if it means I can put it on and forget about it, as long as possible.

Likewise, I tossed the idea of Annick Goutal's eau de toilettes. Yes, they're cute, they're easy to find, and reasonably priced, relatively speaking...the lasting power just sucks. I chased down the more elusive Annick Goutal eau de parfum and found it to last as well as any other EDP.

Etro was kind of a weird brand. I ended up with a full bottle of Heliotrope, which my kids love (always good to have a consultant or two).

Ultimately it is all about the samples: Where to get perfume,, and The Perfumed Court are the more popular sites for these. Though samples can become expensive in their own right, I've found them indispensable particularly for niche fragrances, because these tend to not be designed to smell good sprayed on a card, or tested on your hand in a department store. There is often a far less immediate appeal...some scents take hours to develop, days to comprehend, and months to be able to afford. :D

Anyhow, happy hunting! and do check back on this blog.

image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
3 comment(s)
December 28, 2007 2:30 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I've heard that the Chanel exclusifs are very good, but of course, they are a mass-market brand's version of niche. I haven't smelled any of them, but talented perfumers and highest quality ingredients sounds like a promising mix. Guerlain is very tricky for me, Guerlinade is musty on me, but I do like L'Heure Bleue. If I had a house, it would be Caron. Caron never cheapens.

You know, Annick Goutals have never agreed with me? They are somehow... too cute, too benign. I think I prefer perfumes very strong opinions. Diptyque, I've only tried two, one was a big hit, the other a big miss. ETRO has very wearable, but unoriginal perfumes, I think. Serge Lutens, I think, gives you a real appreciation for raw materials--those two really know how to bring out a flavor, it's never the thing itself, but in a lot of ways, it is often better. I'm dead curious about Montale--I guess we'll see!

December 28, 2007 11:43 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

The odd thing is it's probably harder to get hold of a Chanel "secret perfume"--dunno, do they keep it behind the counter? :D than a plain old niche fragrance. The niche people were smart enough to start up sample programs, which go hand-in-hand with decant services.

I've never had Guerlain work on me...have never tried Caron. Givenchy is my "mainstream house," since I'm allergic to the older, better Chanels.

Annick Goutal is weirder than Etro if you think about it. Etro, overall, struck me as masculine, where AG struck me as feminine--but wildly differing. Not all of their scents are nice-girl concoctions. It's as if someone goes crazy in the lab late at night, and pops out something no one else has, that is too perfect. And then it's business as usual the next day.

Lutens...mmmmm...I suspect he's more your guy than mine. You're more European in taste than I am. Montale to me has this slight French edge, but it's largely Middle Eastern in flavor. I sense SL is largely French with a slight Middle Eastern edge. (I could be entirely washed up here, it's more of a hunch.)

December 29, 2007 12:04 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Yeah, Guerlains are just tough, but very rich food for the mind. I guess that will just have to be my next perfume review. ; )

To be honest, there are only a very sparing number of SLs I'd consider FBW, indeed Tubereuse Criminelle is alone assured. They are magnificent to appreciate, as one might savor fine wine in a restaurant, but it is quite another thing to buy a case of the vintage (approximately the relationship between decant and full-bottle, no?).

However, I see what you mean, and I think your hunch is a good one. It is very French. But you know, Fleurs d'Oranger is one of the least impressive of the SLs, pretty but... And I have never tried Montale. We'll just have to see.


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