Niche perfumeries in Bratislava

Ľ.Fulla – Bratislava in Winter, source of image:

When something unpleasant is happening, it is quite a nice escape to remember better times. So I decided to write how I see the advent of niche perfumes in my hometown.

My journey to the niche was gradual, but all the more permanent. I loved good scents since I was a kid, I got my first perfume, I could have been 9 years old. I always had about a dozen scents in my closet, it didn’t seem strange to me, because in the family it was a habit of using fragrances….

… .But I had no idea about the existence of anything beside perfumes coming from regular perfumeries, drugstores, or MLM catalogs (not counting generic perfume oils enthusiastically imported by vacationers from Turkey and various fakes or imitations)….

… and so much so that when they opened Eurovea mall with the first niche in Bratislava, Le Parfum & Le Chic, a branch of the now non-existent Viennese perfume Le Dix-Neuf, I passed around with a smirk because they had just clothes at the front with perfumes hidden at the back, so I assumed it was some kind of clothing store with perfumes in fancy flacons with contents “better but cheaper, made at night in factories that produce luxury brands in daytime” :)))

I|mage source:

But in the meantime, I got children.

And when I had children, I stayed at home in a typical maternity-holiday isolation and saved the remnants of common sense online through the maternity forums.

And to my own surprise I learned that there are people who do not own any perfumes, and on the other hand, there are perfume enthusiasts who even have their own forums and that I, with the number of perfumes owned and the ability to even distinguish them :)) ), although on a relatively simple level, I perhaps belong to the small crowd of those enthusiasts.

So I looked at those forums. And then I looked again. And then gradually registered. And my roughly a dozen perfumes collection gradually became … no, let’s not brag here.

But besides, I found out that we have a community of perfume enthusiasts right here in Bratislava, my friend took me to meet them, and I was exposed to the existence of exclusive collections, niches, pure perfumes, Guerlain decants from Prague … and was definitely lost.

I also started visits to Le Parfum & Le Chic, this time with such a religious respect, that usually I had to take a friend to support me if I could: -D.

They had a great selection at the time I used to go there, I remember M.Micallef, Il Profvmo, Les Parfums de Rosine, Love, The Key to Life, Amouage… .and completely shocking (which I didn’t know at the time, but totally fell in love with them) – Krigler perfumes.

And not only that, fascinating was that – what unfortunately is rare in current perfumery stores – they knew what they were selling, and a customer could learn a lot of things there.

I wanted to try everything, eeeverything, even though I wasn’t ready to spend that amount of money yet.

But that hesitation faded over time, so I finally bought my very first niche Rose d’Été from Les Parfums de Rosine, which I really liked very much (and I like the Rosine’s to this day) and on top of that it did not attack my psychological boundary concerning the price as much as the above mentioned Kriglers.

I still have to have one on my shelf today.

The panic, when – probably because of the high facility rental costs in the Eurovea mall – they closed the store!

At first it seemed to be forever, sometimes the rumors were spread, that they would run at least an e-shop, which eventually happened – it is in fact active to this day, even though the perfumery brick and mortar store has been reopened – – but it took quite a long time and tension was so dense you could slice it.)

Another discovery was the option to buy perfume samples. I would never say that I would be willing to spend so much money for tiny glass vials with a little fragrant liquid inside, but after discovering I thought that when I am locked more or less at home all the time, a little distraction I deserve. So I tried the first Ford, Piguet, Lutens, Montale, Annick Goutal, discovered Parfums MDCI. And as they expanded the offer and the lady owner fell in love with oriental fragrances I had to try the first oriental too.

It is a great pity in my view, that orientals took over the Parfémy Exclusive at cost of the niche fragrances, even the point that they offer above badmouthed generic oils. In any case, they definitely had one of the decisive influences on bringing the niches to Slovakia. And to this day, they have probably remained the only source of Indian Nemat oils for me, which, as one of the few oriental oils, are willing to cooperate with me.

Nice, although shortlived was the Saffron Gallery in Zvolen, where they stocked M.Micallef perfumes and probably also some orientals (which I have never fallen for seriously, so I do not remember that), unfortunately did not last long, but still managed to get me my first Micallefs, Avant-Garde and Printemps (for the Royal Muska that has made my unbeatable star in this brand, I fell in love later). Unfortunately, the gallery existed only for a few months.

Meanwhile a buzz about the Silvermoon perfumerie started in the Bratislava perfume community. In the beginning they offered a few niche brands, such as Parfumerie Generale (or Pierre Guillaume? – I am frequently confusing the two), but mainly, they began producing the first local perfumes under the brand Gaudeas Perfumes. It was amazingly exciting when M., who had daily walk around, brought the vials laconically labeled 1,2,3,4… from there and we sniffed and commented on something that was actually a semi-finished product, something that could eventually, but it didn’t have to, become a real perfume. The brand itself has gradually transformed and is more dedicated to making custom made perfumes, but its owner and nose created fragrances for other Slovak fashion brands Donna Rossi (they sewed my wedding dresses, among other things!!!) and Mileva – Petra Tóth. And to this day, he makes custom perfumes, although in this unpleasant coronavirus time, it is problematic because of material shortages (I think more of us learned about the French postal services in times of crisis) and also he makes home perfumes. Nevertheless, his shop at least sells very interesting art jewelry, accessories, decorations and goodies. Perhaps it will be possible to order some perfume again when it is over.

Meanwhile, perfume dark ages came. Le Perfume & Le Chic Closed, Saffron Closed, Silvermoon also Nothing and Perfémy exclusive, occasionally active, was taken over by oriental fragrances.
But we’ve already got the taste. So came the era of discoveries how to order from abroad, girls from the Bratislava community went shopping to Vienna and split for Slovak and Czech perfume enthusiasts Chanel exclusives and more traveled gals brought various specialities from all over Europe.
And then came the time – however badly we swear at them – for large, especially Czech, Internet perfume stores that have started to offer and later even to sample niche perfumes, thereby significantly raising awareness and bringing them back to the market. Even with unfortunate negative aspects that persist to this day, for some time they became one of the few ways to get hold of a rare perfume, at least for those who had no language skills or were afraid to order from abroad, or hated the postage. Not to mention the inability to try perfumes before buying.

Fortunately, after a while Le Parfum & Le Chic finally reopened the brick and mortar store, first at the National Theater building (I still remember how excited we were there and then sat in the restaurant on the terrace and debated), later moved to Panská Street opposite the City Gallery. At that time, still as a branch of Vienna’s Le Dix-Neuf, with merchendise looking like that these were older fragrances not sold in Vienna any more.

And there was another breakthrough. A branch of perfumery 1907 from the Košice city opened in Bratislava, which also introduced its own fragrance line, and that was amazing. Here, a kind reader, I will point immensely at my own enthusiastic article that I wrote about it at the time: 1907.

And, since the capitalism is competitive, this deserved its own. The owner of the Le Dix-Neuf decided to quit the perfumery and opened a barbershop in Vienna instead and the Le Parfum store in Bratislava got a new owner. He gradually got rid of the old stock in sales and stocked the store with new, interesting and until then unavailable brands and raised the perfume offer to a completely new level.
Today, they offer brands such as Menditorossa, Zoologist, Ella K., hard to see elsewhere brands Kerosene, Dusita, Meo Fusciuni, the fragrant candles of the famous French macaroonmaker Ladurée and other delicacies. And they do not sell clothes any more, replaced by the Redline Paris jewelry collection. The change was also completed by the new visual:

No one knows what the future brings. A few businesses are endangered by the current crisis, as much as shops with luxury and accesory items such as perfumery. I very much hope that they will all somehow survive, dust themselves off and happily go on. And what can we do about it? If we want to make ourselves happy, perhaps with perfume, or something else they offer, let’s have another look:

Post Scriptum:

After the article was published, I received two great messages:

  1. Le Parfum & Le Chic will gladly send samples of fragrances to try, just write.
  2. The brand Gaudeas Perfumes has not disappeared, they only focus on custom perfumes and even in this situation it is possible to contact them through Silvermoon and comunicate about the creation of a perfume.

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