If you love to smell really, really good—like, strangers-chase-you-down-the-street-to-ask-what-you’re-wearing good—you’ve come to the right place. Especially if you want that status of olfactory charm without sharing it with the rest of the perfume-wearing masses. Don’t get us wrong. We love the well-known, largely worn signature scents from designers like Dior, Gucci, and Tom Ford, and we stand by our statement that every single person who wears perfume should own at least one bottle of Chanel in their life (pick your poison here), but there is just nothing chicer than finding the ultimate niche perfume that doesn’t hail from a super-famous designer label. If you’re truly looking for a unique, signature scent, you’re far better off trolling the niche perfume market to find your fragrance soul mate.
Unlike more mainstream perfumes, niche fragrances are produced on a much smaller scale, are not available in the popular retailers you might spot at the mall, and aren’t household names. (Although, a few on our list may well get there.) Instead, you’ll typically find the best niche perfumes at a fancy fragrance boutique, a perfume specialist, or exclusively through their own websites. That said, some might offer limited selections at super-upscale retailers like Saks, Neiman Marcus, or Bergdorfs. These types of scents are rare, *usually* expensive, and sometimes even a little bizarre in their inspiration. For example, one brand on our list, Serge Lutens, offers a fragrance inspired by the scent of teeth called Dent de Lait. Yes, really.
If you’re like us and in the mood to find a new signature scent to debut as the world starts to open up again, you’re in luck. Below, we’re sharing 10 of the best niche fragrances (in our opinion, at least) in addition to a selection of runners-up you might be into as well. Keep scrolling! Your next new perfume obsession is waiting to be discovered just below.
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