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New To Niche Fragrances? Start Here!

May 13, 2024

Categories of Fragrance

Where Do I Start?


Picking out scent notes gets easier with time and experience, but for the beginner, think about scents you love that are naturally occurring around you. Some people love vanilla, bakery, and gourmand scent profiles, so looking for fragrances with prominent gourmand notes would be helpful. Some people prefer specific floral scents like roses, jasmine, or peonies – all distinct from one another. Others prefer fresh and uplifting scents, think dryer sheets, clean home smell, and fresh air scents. After you have an idea of which scent profiles you prefer, head to a website like Fragrantica to explore which niche perfumes contain these notes. 


Niche fragrance houses have been gaining popularity over the past 5 years, but these fragrances can be harder to find and try in person than mass-market perfumes. The best place to start if you do not have local perfumeries around you, is to purchase samples of the fragrances from reputable brands. I use Twisted Lily to purchase all of my niche samples because they are reliable, use authentic fragrances, and are well-known in the industry. 


 Now that you have a good idea of scent notes you prefer and how to locate niche perfumes to sample, it’s time to get adventurous. Googling, YouTubing, or Fragrantica-ing unique and unusual scent profiles is a fun way to explore fragrance! There are some more challenging niche perfumes, like those containing notes of concrete or burnt wood. However, I like testing out perfumes with more palatable and unique scent notes: leather, espresso, cotton candy, incense, and chestnuts, to name a few.

Niche Fragrances I Love

Over the years I have tested hundreds of perfumes, with a large chunk of those being niche fragrances. I haven’t smelled every niche fragrance out there, but I do have a large enough fragrance library to share my current favorites with you. For context, I love a sweet perfume; everything from fruit-forward scents, florals, and light musks to gourmands. I prefer feminine, long-lasting, but grounded sweet scents. Here are my top pics! 


| Montale Paris Chocolate Greedy | 3.4 oz | $150 | NOTES: Vanilla, Bitter Orange, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood, Dried Fruits |


The website doesn’t list chocolate as a note, but the overarching scent is milk chocolate with dried fruits and a slight orange note coming through. The Tonka mixed with the bitter orange creates a delicious and well-blended chocolate note.  You will smell like a snack with this perfume, like a delicious chocolate chip cookie with a fruity background. It’s not too sweet, but it’s so fun and different – perfect for fall! 

| Mancera Amore Caffe | 4.1 oz | $180 | NOTES: Black Coffee, Amaretto Liqour, Vanilla Ice Cream, Hint of Speculoos, Vanilla Pods, Brown Sugar, Grey Amber |


On the first sniff, I get enveloped in a sweet caramelized almond milk latte cloud that becomes deeper and more complex on the dry down. For those of you who want to smell like your local artisan coffee shop, this one is for you! This is the most intoxicating and sophisticated sweet gourmand in my collection. Perfect for cooler weather and date nights! 


| Mancera Roses Vanille | 4.1 oz | $180 | NOTES: Lemon of Calabra, Morning Dew, Rose Loukoum (a rose candy-like note), Cedar Wood, Vanilla Sugar, Sillage of White Musk |


This is an iconic lover-girl perfume. It’s for the girlies who romanticize their life, thrive in their femininity, and are passionate about everything they do. It smells of candied rose petals, sweet fresh air, and delicate woody musks. I cannot describe properly how incredible this smells – but it is so alluring and captivating. A rose scent for the floral perfume non-believers and lovers alike. 

| Parfums De Marly Delina Exclusif |  2.5 oz | $395 | NOTES: Pear, Lychee, Grapefruit, Damascena Rose, Incense, Vetiver, Vanilla, Musk, Evernyl (an earthy/woody note) |


Delina Exclusif is rosey, creamy, sexy, and sophisticated. It’s Roses Vanille older sister of sorts – more earthy and grounded than Roses Vanille (which has an uplifting and youthful lemon note off the top). I think this is perfect for all-year-round wear, any time of day. An all-purpose niche fragrance with gorgeous packaging – it’s decor and an outstanding perfume all in one. 


| KAYALI Eden Sparkling Lychee 39 | 3.4 oz | $138 | NOTES: Blackcurrant, Sparkling Lychee, Italian Lemon, Red Apple, Rose Damascena, Candied Violet, Jasmine Sambac, Sugared Amber, Cedarwood, Musk, Vanilla Absolute, Sandalwood |


This is a sugary sweet fruity floral perfume that exudes lush and vibrant lychee, suagred amber, and jasmine sambac. This is uplifting, youthful, flirty, and destictnly feminine. The bottle is the perfect shade of pink with a sparkling cap to match the essence of the perfume itself. This would make a great everyday signature scent for someone who appreciates fruit-forward florals with sweet notes shining through. This has been my favorite early 2024 find so far! 

| Montale Paris Sweet Vanilla |  3.4 oz | $180 | NOTES: Vanilla, Apricot, Soft White Musk |


Sweet Vanilla is one of the first niche perfumes in my collection – and I am so happy I started with this scent. While it isn’t an extraordinarily complex and dynamic scent, it is beautiful nonetheless. The vanilla and apricot notes sometimes combine on my skin to reveal a sweet cotton candy-like profile that is so delicious and uplifting. Other times I smell the vanilla and apricot notes individually. This is for vanilla lovers who are looking for simplicity, along with a juicy, refreshing, and clean fruity profile. 


| Maison Louis Marie No. 13 Nouvelle Vague | 1.7 oz | $93 | NOTES: Muguet (Lily-of-the-Valley), Coconut Water, Lemon, Tuscan Fig, Tonka, Agave, Vetiver, Amber, Santal |


This is such an elegant, cozy, and calming perfume with depth. The notes that stand out to me are the Tuscan fig, amber, and agave with a hint of tonka and aquatic notes. This perfume feels delicately earthy, grounded, and complex, but it still has fruity lemon and fig that shine through at first. It’s perfectly blended so it is hard to pick out one note distinctly when it dries down. This perfume transports you straight to a beachside cafe and I’ve heard that Amalfi Coast vacations inspired this scent. 

| Parfums De Marly Oriana |  2.5 oz | $375 | NOTES: Mandarin, Bergamont, Grapefruit, Orange Blossom, Blackcurrant, Raspberry, Marshmallow, Ambrette, Chantilly cream, Musk |


Oriana is spectacular. Parfums De Marly takes youthful notes like raspberry and marshmallow and expertly mixes them with the sophisticated ambrette and musk notes to create a magical and creamy fruity-floral. This is made even more complex with the chantilly cream note, providing that creamy sweetness. Lush grapefruit, orange blossom, and blackcurrant bring out the spectacular fruity notes as well. Add all of these notes up and it’s heaven. 


| Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait | 2.4 oz | $465 | NOTES: Grandiflorum Jasmine, Saffron, Bitter Almond, Cedar Wood, Musky Woody Accord, Ambergris Accord |


Baccarat Extrait is a syrupy, woody, ambery fragrance. Alluring and so seductive, this is the perfect date-night scent. The mixture of almond, jasmine, woods, and saffron is blended beautifully and sweetly, and I promise you’ll get compliments from this perfume. It is pricey, but it lasts all day and all night, projects wonderfully, and is so unique and addictive. This is probably the most luxurious scent that I own, and if I could only have one perfume, this is what I would pick. 

| Kilian Paris Princess |  1.7 oz | $150 | NOTES: Ginger, Green Tea, Marshmallow |


Killian’s Princess inspires confidence and femininity while radiating soft warmth. The marshmallow note gives this a fluffy sweetness, almost like powdered sugar. The ginger and green tea add the delicately spicy and herbal notes. The sum is greater than the whole of its parts with this perfume. It’s captivating, sultry, and eloquent.  It does not lean too youthful, sharp, or gourmand. Even though I’m categorizing this as a date night scent, I wear this one any time of day, in any season – it’s that stunning. This perfume smells both unique and familiar at the same time, give it a try! 

~Sneak Peak~

This is what my current collection is looking like! I am in the middle of redoing my office and reorganizing, so this is not the final perfume cabinet reveal! I would love to know if you have tried any of these niche perfumes or which ones you want to try first! As always, don’t forget to give yourself a little extra love today! 


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Hi besties! I’m Melissa, creator of Mel Bre Life Blog and Youtube channel. I love sharing honest and relatable plus-size fashion, luxury, and beauty content to help you live a happier, more fulfilled, and extra life! Occasionally I create a cozy recipe or share a DIY project, so stay tuned to see what I create next!