When the Essential perfumes brand appeared on the scene and one of the scents had two of my favorite ingredients (orange and sandalwood) in the name, it was immediately clear to me that at least I would have to try it. Thanks to a friend, this fragrance made my summer more pleasant and I was very delighted when perfumery Le Parfums Le Chic stocked it and provided me with samples to try out the entire collection.
And that led me to think about where the meaning of the term “niche” has moved over the years I’ve been dealing with perfumes.
The word “niche” in the sense of alcove, “borrowed” from architecture, originally referred to perfumes, whose originality did not fit into the common idea of perfumes. From the beginning, they were very different, of course, each trying to fill a different “niche”, but in some interesting and unusual way. Sometimes it fits, sometimes not of course, as everything that tries to distinguish itself from the ordinary, although not always necessarily boring, but still the mainstream. For various reasons, among which the higher price was caused – mainly by higher costs and a smaller market, but also by significantly lower availability, they gradually gained a tinge of exclusivity. And as they came to prominence, brands that could be called more luxurious began to join them, even though their only difference from the mainstream was, in fact, quality, exclusivity, and price. But the market for ordinary fragrances also did not remain the same and, unfortunately, moved in exactly the opposite direction. Originally, it was a selection of relatively predictable, but still quite good scents, not to mention that it was really a selection of scents – they had their characteristics and diversity. Today, when you enter a regular perfumery, you are overwhelmed by many pompous flacons, but mostly (with only minor occasional exceptions) filled with more or less similar variations of aroma chemicals – something sweet, something “fresh”, something girly fruit-flowered and usually that’s all.
Géraldine Archambault chose really prestigious perfumers.
Olivier Pescheux (Eau Capitale, Amber Sky, Herod…), Bruno Jovanovic (Dries Van Noten, I-IV Times Square, Idole d’Armani…), Antoine Maisondieu (Métallique, Jasmin et Cigarette, Armani Code….), Nathalie Gracia -Cetto (Signature Montblanc, Eau de Soleil Blanc, The Iceberg Fragrance…), Sophie Labbé (Cologne du 68, Jasmin Noir, Organza…), Calice Becker (Back to Black Aphrodisiac, Mandarino di Amalfi, J’adore…), Quentin Bitch (Delina, Narcotic Flower, Chloe Nomade…)
And they were given a free hand, limited by only one requirement: that, in line with the brand concept, at least one of the perfume ingredients should be environmentally sustainable. Finally, it evolved that there are more of these ingredients in perfumes, including alcohol from organic production, approximately 90% of the fragrance content is natural. Colorants are not added to the scents either, the color is given by the pure fragrance materials.
Packaging explicitly captured my attention. When you see it, it is clear that the company is serious about sustainability. In the first place, they use as little plastic as possible. The flacons themselves are very simple, made of glass supplied by a manufacturer that uses environmentally friendly technologies. And the box, it’s very elaborate. FSC-certified cardboard is used, but what catches the eye right away is the design. It is made of layers of corrugated cardboard, it is firm, but at the same time it doesn’t need to cover the entire bottle, there is only a thin paper tape. And of course, no plastic film on the surface.
Simple minimalism and functionalism in practice. Both the content and packaging.
Price is another thing that Géraldine Archambault tried to minimize. She argues that not investing in fancy packaging and trying to deliver products directly to individual shops without intermediaries, allows one to enjoy a truly high-quality perfume at a lower price than is in the field of niche perfumes usual. It may sound a bit like a dupe perfume oil retailer, but in this case, it sounds much more credible. In any case, the pricing policy, which makes it possible to obtain a quality product (and here it is indeed quality products) at a reasonable price, is extremely pleasant.
Summary: So, if you are simply not looking for originality at all costs, exclusivity at first sight, or a blow to the nose, which will ensure social distancing even without dramatic sneezing, but you are looking for a nice, high-quality scent, pleasant, socially trouble-free, a safe choice which talks about quality – something like a middle-class car or a quality cotton shirt – I can’t think of a better choice than this brand at the moment.
And don’t forget the observations about individual scents:
( Olivier Pescheux)
Pleasant, rather light, easy vanilla with a fruity, slightly plum note. A little bit of cinnamon. The soft, gentle, subdued tobacco note means that, despite the previous description, the scent is far from the Christmas candle, rather reminiscent of the warm autumn atmosphere, while remaining somewhat lightly restrained.
Green. That scent is green. And I don’t mean now the scent of greenery (even though it’s there too), or the green forest, or the perfume category, it’s just that the scent evokes me a deep green paint. Rather oil than tempera, absolutely not some faint watercolor. Basically, it is quite classic, rather a men’s fragrance with vetiver, which, although it is leading, is not in some extra great predominance, there are also other men’s classic notes, such as juniper, lavender… interesting is the use of gentian. Despite its timelessness (one might point to a slight old-fashionedness but in my opinion nice), the scent does not feel cumbersome.
Adorable fresh scent. One would expect from the composition something heavy, maybe with the potential of headache, but bergamot, which can sometimes be rough, is here wonderfully lemon-like, jasmine is cute cheerful and playful, then just a pinch of fruity ylang, and overall everything together creates a very pleasant, joyful, optimistic atmosphere.
Orange X Santal
A beautiful orange, slightly bitter, fresh, just peeled, even with droplets sizzling from the bark. Add a few green notes and wood. However, not the classic “sweet” sandalwood, but Australian, significantly more woody. In a way, a very simple scent, but beautiful, it will be great in summer. Definitely unisex.
A rose that was from the beginning incredibly familiar to me. So I immersed myself in my perfume notebooks and found that I had tried so many roses that I probably wouldn’t find it anymore.
Well. In any case, that rose scent may not be extra original, but very nice. I’m even almost convinced that it really contains the rose essence :). It is an explicit soliflor evoking a red rose, firstly fruity, then slightly oily.
An adorable light scent that lacks nothing but the musk it has in its name. Fruit notes definitely yes, milk notes I agree, but… musk? Together, the mixture, after an introduction like a non-sweet fruit ice cream, gives something that sticks to the skin and in a way has a bit of a powdery touch, but…. But after all, why look for it there. The result is nice, it’s pleasant, gentle, but in a unisex way, a little bit “introverted” – I don’t mean that it has no projection, but it doesn’t attract attention. It is in the style of Gucci’s Mémoire d’une Odeur but in a much more mature form. Just without the musk, LOL.
(Okay, Gaudí’s Garden of Warriors isn’t made of wood either, even though it looks like that, but even that perfume isn’t grated from wood, even though it smells like it. (pxhere.com))
Milky notes from The Musc, now also that lost musk, smooth, round and slightly transparent, very decent and cultivated, rather light woods. Once again, a relatively simple and at the same time relatively refined scent. It smells easy-going, lightly, naturally. I don’t like when a perfume is described as “sexy”, because, “sexy” is for everybody something different, and also marketers rams it into every description of every perfume, and if only the perfume, everything that needs to be sold (ok, I did not check the cat cans, and now I’m also afraid to look…), but this scent in my opinion (or rather for me?) has a very inconspicuous, mildly erotic effect. So I repeat – it’s just a matter of perception. At the same time, it is light and comfortable, definitely suitable for summer as well.