The New Frontiers of Niche Perfumery: An Olfactory Dialogue Between France and India

The second stage in discovering the new frontiers of niche perfumery confronts both those who challenge conventional norms and the chemical forces of olfactory notes (Editions Frédéric Malle), as well as those in the East where perfumers experiment with a vibrant palette of floral essences and exotic woods to create fragrances that transcend cultural boundaries (Isak Fragrances).

Contemporary niche perfumery, inherently genderless, thus becomes a global and experimental olfactory dialogue, where historic European brands converse with the most innovative perfumers from the Far East, enriching the precious olfactory tapestry that characterizes our times.

Sensuality, mystery and elegance: Portrait of a Lady, Editions Frédéric Malle

Frédéric Malle‘s story was destined for success in the world of fragrances from birth. Son of Marie Christine Hetfler-Louiche, former artistic director of Parfums Christian Dior (herself the daughter of Serge Heftler-Louiche, founder in 1947 of Christian Dior Parfums), and Jean-François Malle, a film producer, Frédéric grew up immersed in historic scents such as Miss Dior, created by his maternal grandfather. In 2000, he founded Editions Frédéric Malle, the first perfumery house that did not rely solely on a nose but hosted, like a publisher with its authors, new perfumers to diversify the offer, always unexpected but certainly captivating and innovative.

The selected perfume is “Portrait of a Lady,” whose extraordinary story begins with Frédéric Malle’s magnetic scent “Geranium Pour Monsieur.” Created by Dominique Ropion, considered one of the world’s best noses, this perfume, inspired by King Louis XV’s mouthwash, cemented the friendship and long collaboration between Ropion and Malle. Undertaking the daunting challenge of reinventing the oriental perfume, the two experimented for months with essences of all kinds until, during a playful chat in a pizzeria, the revolution occurred. In a bold move, Ropion and Malle introduced Turkish rose in extraordinary quantities, about 10% or 400 flowers per 100 ml of fragrance. The result was “Portrait of a Lady,” an explosive masterpiece that merges sensuality, mystery, and elegance into an unforgettable fragrance.

Niche Perfumery
Portrait of a Lady, Editions Frédéric Malle

The top notes are a sensory explosion of rose, cloves, and raspberry that guide the olfactory journey. The heart notes, instead, are those of patchouli, incense, and sandalwood, while at the base, notes of musk, benzoin, and amber complete this fragrance as enveloping as it is captivating.

Editions Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady is available in sizes of 10ml, 30ml, 50ml, and 100ml spray.

Lavender Rain: niche scents by Isak Fragrances

The story of Isak Fragrances is very peculiar and symbolizes modern India. Isak Fragrances is the contemporary evolution of the company founded over one hundred and fifty years ago by the family of Vidushi Vijayvergiya in Lucknow (region of Uttar Pradesh). Vidushi, after studying in Switzerland and living in Paris, understood the need to develop a line of entirely vegan fragrances, made through the extraction and manual production of most of the essences they create. Thus, in 2017, Isak Fragrances was born, whose term, of Hindi derivation, means love.

The turning point for the success of Isak Fragrances was the appearance in 2021 on the television program Shark Tank India in season 1, episode 25. During the program, Vidushi offered, for the development of Isak Fragrances, 8% of the company’s shares for a financing of 50 lakh (about five million euros at the current exchange rate). In the end, an agreement was reached for 50% of the shares in exchange for 50 lakh, and their mentor was the “shark” Peyush Bensal, who became a co-founder of the company. From there, the turnover and notoriety of Isak Fragrances grew enormously, consolidating the company as a leader in contemporary Indian perfumery.

The selected scent is Lavender Rain, an enveloping essence that intertwines the sensory notes of lavender, earthy petrichor, raspberry, iris, and bergamot, culminating in the deep and lasting embrace of sandalwood and amber. This fragrance captures the essence of a passionate encounter in a lavender field, where the sensual rain intensifies the five senses. Among the top notes is the unexpected yet glorious combination of Petrichor, Lavender, and Raspberry. The heart notes, instead, are classical, consisting of iris and bergamot. Finally, at the base, notes of sandalwood and amber give composure to the entire fragrance.

Isak Fragrances Lavender Rain is available in a 50ml spray format.

Niche Perfumery
Lavender Rain, Isak Fragrances

Niche perfumery: the journey continues

These few words marked the meeting of traditions and highly different and contrasting creative minds: from the black of pepper to the violet shades of lavender, then touching upon the thousand nuances of rose and turning the gaze between immense fields of green pears and the industrial oiliness of the tumultuous Bosphorus. This dear readers, is only the beginning of a multisensory journey that evolves and will explore the olfactory art in a continuous (and perhaps) revolutionary crescendo.


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