It's a contradiction when you consider the fact that fragrance is such a deeply individual thing, yet a few bottles are some of the most recognised scents in the world (we're looking at you Issey Miyake, Acqua Di Gio and Michael Kors).
And it's true that scents smell different on various people depending on their body chemistry (namely heritage and diet), but we still witnessed periods of time in which you wouldn't be caught dead not wearing the scent of the minute -- be in CK One, Fahrenheit or Tommy Girl.
But things are different now. It's chic to wear a scent that's unknown, underground and uniquely 'yours' as if it further cements the notion that your style is not influenced by the herd but by your own personal tastes. It's better if anyone who asks doesn't know the name you offer rather than your fragrance announcing itself by identifiable scent alone. It's an undeniable extension of both normcore and bespoke, of which both trends are (still) doing the rounds in fashion right now.
So, with individuality in mind, we explored some lesser known fragrance brands. Sadly with no scratch-and-sniff functionality available on our website yet we cannot appeal to your olfactory senses -- so head in-store and get sniffing it find your new (relatively) unique scent.
This Swedish-born brand has a distinctly Scandinavian aesthetic. Having collaborated with some of the world's coolest fashion labels (including Acne and M/M Paris), Byredo aims to fuse luxury fragrance with design and style. Scroll any fashion bloggers feed and you'll spot a Byredo bottle in a flat lay or two. Gypsy Water (worn by Kate Bosworth) is probably the most coveted scent, though Mojave Ghost is another firm favourite. Watch out for a special collaboration with IKEA coming next year. Check it out at MECCA stores across the country.
Launched in 2014, Londoners Ash Huzenlaub and Konstantin Glasmacher call on artisans from around the globe to help formulate unique scent collections, promising to deliver a story behind every bottle. The name (formerly Commodity Goods) comes from the promise to use the world's finest commodities to create scents that are simple and elegant. Stands outs are the Tonka and Vetiver scents which are both unisex, from the new Platinum Collection. Better yet, try them all in a 'storybook' set. Find the brand in Sephora Australia.
TIP: It's true -- you shouldn't rub your wrists together after spraying. It actually 'bruises' the notes within the fragrance, which is a wanky term for meaning it alters what the scent actually smells like. Oh, and don't refer to it as 'perfume' -- it's called 'fragrance' now.
It doesn't get much more luxe than Amouage. Founded 33 years ago, these high-end juices are stocked in the world's fanciest stores (we're talking Selfridges in London, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Tangs in Singapore) and the brand prides itself on the use of rare ingredients that are often used in the heart and base notes. The result is truly unique fragrances; don't be surprised if you get stopped and asked what you're wearing. Take a sniff at some David Jones stores or selected boutiques.
The fragrance brand borne from one of the fashion labels of Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Elizabeth and James is not your ordinary celebrity fragrance brand. Launched in 2013, the scents are complex and sophisticated -- each new launch more impressive that the last -- showing a clear distinction from the sugary florals we've come to expect from a celeb juice. Stand out scents are Nirvana White and Nirvana Bourbon. At Sephora in Australia.
TIP: Go easy. You can't smell the scent you're wearing after a while because your nose actually 'cuts off'. But we still can, so please, don't marinade in it. Wearing too much fragrance is actually rude and can cause others around you to get headaches.
Founded by Romano Ricci, grandson of fashion couturier Nina Ricci, Juliette (as it's fondly shortened to) takes pride on being a contradiction. The Gun is a metaphor for fragrance, a weapon of seduction, and each scent is a delicate mix of innocence and sexiness. Not A Perfume is the standout and is made out of a single element called 'Cetalox' rather than the traditional base, heart and top notes. Smell the range at some David Jones and Myer stores and some boutiques.
The incredible success of Kai is down to a single scent. The original Kai gardenia fragrance now has a bona fide cult following with the likes of Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Garner, Charlize Theron, Mila Kunis, Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett, Renee Zellweger, Khloe Kardashian and Pink, all naming it as a fave. There are other winners in the range aside from the hero scent and all products are vegan and free of gluten, microbeads, sulfates, parabens, phosphates, and phthalates. Stocked at MECCA.
TIP: As intuitive as it is, don't store your fragrances in the bathroom with your other beauty products. They need to be in a dark, dry space so that they don't go off (you'll know when that has happened as it will smell strongly of alcohol). That means on display near the window is off limits, too. In a dark cupboard works, and in the fridge is ideal.
You don't get much more English than Penhaligon's. The quintessential traditional perfume house dates back to 1870, the Victorian era of decadence, and that's apparent in the somehow unique yet traditional scents. The founder, William Penhaligon, was actually appointed official Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court, being granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Alexandra. The brand has remained true to its foundations, creating new fragrances while the bottles keep to Williams's original design -- clear glass with a distinctive ribbon wrapped stopper. Sniff the collection at select Myer and David Jones stores.
You can tell this brand is out of NYC from just looking at the bottles. The creator of the iconic Rose 31 Perfume wanted to offer a truly unique experience and as such, each bottle is finished with a customised label whilst the number beside the names of the scents represent the number of notes used to created that particular blend. Close your eyes, take a whiff and you're transported to the area of Nolita without having to go anywhere. You can find the brand at MECCA.
TIP: You want to spritz your scent on pulse points -- think collarbone, behind the ears, wrists and behind your knees. You only need a few squirts, and even less if it's an Eau De Parfum. Keep it away from exposed skin if you're going in the sun.
Odds are you've smelt a Robert Piguet fragrance without even knowing. Fracas, worn by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and Linda Evangelista, is the underground scent you know by nose but not by name. The elegant French brand founded in 1947 has remained somewhat indie despite its deep roots in European Haute Couture. Christian Dior personally credits Piguet for teaching him the "virtues of simplicity through which true elegance must come". Aside from Fracas, try Bandit or L'Insomniut, and you can try them at select David Jones stores and some boutiques.
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Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to perfume brand Le Babo. It is, in fact, Le Labo.