Fragrances are onto itself, a whole different branch in beauty. While we look for tangible effects such as moisturised skin, diminished fine lines, and fading of dark spots when we apply skincare or go for aesthetic treatments, much of selecting a perfume is about what speaks to the individual.
It’s very much an intangible feeling that not only tickles your olfactory senses, but your heart too, when you catch a whiff of the fragrance on that strip of paper blotter. That’s why people spend hours deciding on their next fragrance, or have that one scent that they’ve emptied bottle after bottle of.
It’s a fact that the market is saturated with more perfumes than you can count, and the era of wanting to smell like your favourite stars (yes, we’re talking about the earlier half of this decade when every other celebrity – Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and more – seemed to be coming up with their own “signature” fragrances) is over.
It’s also a fact that many consumers prefer to go for safer, more generic scents because they are more palatable to have on the entire day. But if you’re looking to expand your fragrance library, here are seven unique perfume brands you can try.
Created by perfumer Douglas Little, who is the nose behind Goop’s (yes, Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop) fragrances, Heretic Parfum uses 100 per cent naturally derived ingredients in its perfumes and doesn’t test on animals. The fragrances are produced in small batches and handcrafted with organic, non-GMO sugarcane alcohol using a traditional technique used by perfumers from hundreds of years ago.
This means the scents are never of the cookie-cutter variety due to variations in the natural ingredients – and with provocative names such as Dirty Fig and Poltergeist (apparently inspired by the fearless energy of the “noisy” spirits), it’s hard to peg them as yet another floral/citrusy/woody scent.
$225 – $295 for a 50ml bottle, from Siri House, 8D Dempsey Rd, #01-02.
Photo: Instagram: @/hereticparfum
This brand of alcohol-free perfumes is created by husband-and-wife team John and Clara Molly (who are incidentally founders of Memo Paris and Floraiku, another two lines of niche fragrances) and draws inspiration from the ancient art of alchemy (the medieval ancestor of chemistry).
What sets this range apart is its use of a first-of-its-kind hybrid formula and patented technology that combines natural ingredients with synthetic molecules to create the fragrances and ensure their longevity. And unlike perfumes which have top, middle and base notes, Hermetica scents reveal immediately the heart of the fragrance once it’s sprayed on, and can be layered over your existing fragrance to create your individual scent signature.
From $175 for a 50ml bottle to $305 for a 100ml bottle, and $167 – $207 for a 100ml refill, from Robinsons Heeren.
Photo: Instagram @/hermeticaofficial
Floraiku may share the same parents (John and Clara Molly) as Hermetica and Memo Paris, but its philosophy and scents cannot be more different. Inspired by Japanese haiku poetry and Asian traditions, ceremonies and culture, the brand has three colour-coded lines that are distinguished by different guiding notes – blue is floral, white is tea, and black is wood.
There’s another complementary line called Shadows (in red) with two scents that are made to be layered over your existing fragrance to either “lighten” or “intensify” it. The scents are complex and layered, and quite distinctive compared to your usual floral, tea and woody perfumes.
$475 for a 50ml bottle and a 10ml purse spray that comes in a bento box set, and $100 for the 10ml purse spray refill, from Escentials.
Photo: Instagram @/floraiku
Based in Palais Royal in Paris, this independent perfume house produces creative fragrances inspired by characters, movements and silhouettes. Its creator David Benedek grew up with grandparents who were perfumers themselves, who distributed fragrances from brands such as Christian Dior in the 1950s. The creations of the scents are led by nose, instead of a scientific formula, leading to scents that come with their own narratives. So you can pick your preferred fragrance from the story it tells, rather than the notes that it carries.
$225 for a 100ml bottle, from Amaris, #03-11 Paragon.
Photo: Instagram @/bdkparfumsparis
Like BDK Parfums, Histoiries de Parfum is a perfume house that aims to be an olfactive library that collects stories of famous people, myths, poems and music. Founded in 2000 by perfumer Gerald Ghislain, who has only ever worked on perfumes under this brand and Budapest Bud (another fragrance line created by him), it’s unlikely you’ll find any of the scents familiar.
From $47 for a 15ml bottle to $142 for a 60ml bottle, from Amaris, #03-11 Paragon and Sephora.
Photo: Instagram: @/histoiresdeparfums
This Swedish brand of luxury fragrances has garnered a huge cult following since its inception in 2006. It was founded by native Swede Ben Gorham, who wanted to transform memories and emotions into products and experiences. This approach, together with Ben’s creativity, makes Byredo fragrances unique even though the fragrance notes are kept simple.
And with names like Gypsy Water (a forest/nature-inspired scent) and Elevator Music (a scent that evokes the perception of passive listening, and part of a limited-edition collaboration), the perfumes not only captivate your olfactory senses, but inspire different moods too.
Besides perfumes, the brand has also expanded its offerings to include eyewear, leather goods and body care products too.
From $232 for a 50ml bottle to $332 for a 100ml bottle, from Escentials.