Saturday Question: What Was The First Niche Fragrance Bottle You Bought?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

I have had an idea. Well, actually I’m copying an idea from Olfactoria’s Travels. Once a week there used to be a Question. Everyone would chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it would be a generally fun events each week. Taking sides never meant taking offence and everyone kept it respectful and light.

I’d like to carry on that tradition, maybe you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

If we get over 200 responses I will draw a $20 Surrender To Chance Gift Card. Every comment will get a place in the draw, so if you comment purposefully on your own or another comment you’ll have a chance, will draw the winner on Friday and the winner will be announced in next Saturdays question.

Last Weeks Winner: We did not hit enough responses. No winner this week

Send me an eMail to portia _ turbo at yahoo dawt com dawt au

Saturday Question

What Was The First Niche Fragrance Bottle You Bought?


This is really interesting to me because I’d been buying Designer and Drug Store scents for years, Followed the new launches and flankers assiduously. Then I discovered the world of the scentbloggosphere! Suddenly, around 2010 I was plunged into a whole new world of personal scent. TBH I can’t remember if I even got my sniff on the Serge Lutens line before then. I’d come across the Armani Prive line and CHANEL Exclusives but no real niche.

My answer:

Now we are talking about full bottles here. Before I finally took the plunge and bought a bottle I had already been sampling a little bit. I wanted to try every scent in The Little Book of Perfumes: The 100 Classics by Luca Turin. The most affordable way to do that was to buy a ml of each.

Abe Books


Anyway, reading every night till all hours of the morning on blogs and sites. Basically engulfing every moment of spare time I had in this amazing new world of scent. I was still wearing my Gucci Envy Man, JPG Le Male, JOOP!, Guerlain Shalimar and Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers mainly but there were already a library of scents to choose from.

One person I kept seeing referenced positively was Andy Tauer. He was handsome and urbane. Unlike so many perfumers, Andy was able to talk to all of us through his blog and it felt like he was one of us. creating masterpieces in his Swiss hideaway and sending scented parcels to the world. How romantic. A fragrant hero arriving on a sea of Tauer-ade.

After careful consideration and testing I was ready to make my first niche full bottle purchase. I really wanted to share the experience so for Christmas I purchased for my BFF a bottle of L`Air du Desert Marocain (she still wears it, though it might be her third bottle buy now).


For myself at the same time I ordered Eau d’Epices (I still have that original bottle, about 1/2 full). Even now when I spritz, or even smell the nozzle, it brings back the sheer excitement of getting something so unbelievably gorgeous. A scent that was hand crafted, niche, a thing that so few people would ever have and a scent that could take me on a fragrant journey in my mind.

It came with a hand written card, signed by the master himself. I could not have felt more special or more part of the community of fragheads, perfumistas, fumies or whatever label you’d like to attach. It was wonderful.


So my question to you is

What Was The First Niche Fragrance Bottle You Bought?

96 comments on “Saturday Question: What Was The First Niche Fragrance Bottle You Bought?

  1. Azsa says:

    Tokyomilk dark arsenic I think

  2. Sue Mills says:

    This is embarrassing but I still don’t own any niche fragrances. Must be remedied soon!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Not embarrassing at all Sue, When one comes along you adore it will sweep you off your feet.
      Portia xx

      • Sue Mills says:

        Thanks, Portia. I have a few samples from Evocative, Teone Reinthal, Sylvaine Delacourte, Bud Parfums and Olympic Orchids and I have found some loves there, so perhaps it will be one of those.

  3. Jackie b says:

    The first fragrance I ever bought, before department store ones, was a Frankincense oil from the hippie shop. It was my signature scent for a couple of years.
    I can’t remember my first consciously niche scent…

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      I reckon Frankincense oil is definitely in the spirit of niche JackieB. Do you ever get it out and give it a wear?
      Portia xx

      • Jackie b says:

        It was a perfume oil, not essential oil. It has been, ahem…a while, since I was a teenager, but if I could find it again I would certainly revisit!

  4. Claudia S. says:

    Hendley Bourbon and Auric. ❤️

  5. Marion says:

    Was it BPAL? It may have been, I remember not being able to figure out PayPal….oh the irony.
    i connected the hippy oil thing to my youth and then decades of mixing my own from the health food shop. Safran Troublant and Un Fleur de Cassie were a couple of early ones. I got large decants of the legendary Serges from the old perfume court. My daughter went to stay with her bestie at Womens College Syd Uni and bought me a bottle of Itis Ganache…which was EMPTY when we opened the sealed box :0 but was exchanged no probs…DJs…lol I used to sample everything I heard of, learning all the families and genres, trying to decide on the one perfect one. Now I have dozens of for example, tuberose white florals, ambers, incenses,….vanillas, loukhoums, jasmines, musks…great, a fox just coughed outside and sent the dogs OFF….good night guys…

    • Tiffanie says:

      A sealed box with an empty bottle, wow! Someone had a bad day at the Guerlain factory.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      PayPal was HARD to understand at first. I too got caught in that trap Marion. It took me ages to go back and give it a real go.
      Portia xx

  6. AnnieA says:

    PG l’eau rare matale from the Perfume Shoppe. Finished the first bottle and bought a second only to make the unpleasant acquaintance with reformulations. Still go to the Shoppe though.

  7. Sara says:

    I bought Mechant Loup at Bergdorf’s when it was first released. I had a nice collection of Guerlains and Chanel’s but nothing that wasn’t well known.

  8. Gina says:

    Does Guerlain count as niche? I know that’s the first “expensive” bottle that I bought at a Guerlain boutique in Chicago. I got Bellodgia EDP back in my 20s. The next ones would be three bottles of Santa Maria Novella when I was in Florence.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Yeah Gina,
      I reckon that Guerlain counts as niche, or niche adjacent.
      Bellodgia is one of my faves, what a scent.
      Portia xx

  9. Erica says:

    Ooooo what an awesome question! I am trying to remember what my first bottle purchase was from Luckyscent. It may have been Monyette Paris or Ebba Miss Marisa.
    In those days I also fell in love with Kai, Jalaine Patchouli, Tauer Le Maroc Pour Elle & Reverie Au Jardin, POTL Luctor et Emergo, Lea St. Barth, child perfume, L’artisan Fleur d’Oranger & Fleur de Narcisse, Michelle Bergman Black Gardenia, and Regina Harris Amber Vanilla.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      That is quite a line up Erica,
      Once we fall for fragrance it’s instant penury.
      Portia xx

  10. Kandice says:

    Unfortunately FB of almost any fragrance are out of my budget at the moment and have been for awhile. But if I was going to buy one, it would either be Sweet Redemption By Kilian or Blossom Love by Amouage. (Is Amouage niche? I can’t keep up with them all anymore. Ha!). At any rate, those two plus Guerlain’s Spiriteuse Double Vanille would be on my short list to buy if I ever won the lottery. Until then, decants and samples will have to suffice! BTW, I loved Sunflowers too back in the day 🙂

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Kandice,
      YAY! Another Sunflowers fan. We are few and far between in perfumista land.
      Portia xx

  11. Monica Beaton says:

    A real oldie – Fresh Scents by Terri “Dream”. Gone, but not forgotten….a beautiful earthy mix of vanilla and fig. Each bottle hand poured.

  12. Ellen M. says:

    The first one, I think, was Un Lys by Serge Lutens. I had been looking for something which would capture the scent of lilies and this was one of several mentioned on Fragrantica. I think the second was LDDM by Andy Tauer and I too, loved the personal signature from him. I was thrilled that this was something so personal that he would take the time to sign it for me. I still have the bottle and the card.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey EllenM,
      Yeah, those hand signed perfumer cards are together in a box in my perfume room. Looking through it makes me shiver with delight and memories.
      Portia xx

  13. Laura Keller says:

    I’ll skip anything last century; I have a boatload of vintage I’ve heard classified as niche but I never heard the term until 2012 which was also the first time I heard a perfume labelled gourmand (ironically it was used in re my 50 year old LHB extrait.) So the first modern I know this to be niche bottle that I bought was
    Lutens La Myrrhe. Which brings up Lutens who now makes Feminite du Bois which I owned when made by Shiseido who I guess might have been niche had the term been in use during the 3 decades that I bought their fragrances but I’m going to pass them on the original last century ruled out principle. Now I need coffee!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi Laura,
      La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens is incredibly precocious as a first buy. What a wonderful scent to have at the top of the list.
      I think Shiseido misses out on niche in its own right because it was cosmetics before fragrance.
      Portia xx
      Portia xx

  14. fanny says:

    Ambre Sultan, by Lutens.

  15. Elaine Richard says:

    I was looking to get into Ouds, so my first was Amouage Lyric Woman, which I loved. Later I bought ouds from Rising Phoenix Perfumes and later Ensaroud. All are amazing!

    • rosarita313 says:

      Lyric Woman is definitely an amazing first niche bottle! So gorgeous.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      WOW! Another precocious first time buyer. Amazing.
      Have you ever tried the La Via del Profumo outs? I love them.
      Portia xx

  16. Fazal says:

    I struggled to remember for a while but I think it was Creed Green Irish Tweed back in 2005 or something because of course I was taken by Creed’s fictional history. Now I have wisened up to see through the fictional histories narrated by brands or their owners whether it is Creed, Eight & Bob, Montale, Roja Dove etc. The niche brands I respect and trust are few now such as Andy Tauer, Bruno Fazzolari, Victor Wong etc.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Yeah, the stories are fun and with only a few grains of truth. I found it all very depressing when I heard all that too Fazal.
      Still, I do like some of their scents.
      Which Tauer is your most worn?
      Portia x

      • Fazal says:

        I like some Creeds, too but honesty is important to people like me. I now avoid them. Among Tauers, my favorites are the usual suspects LADDM and Une Rose Kandahar.

  17. rosarita313 says:

    Love Eau d’Epices and I keep forgetting I have a bottle from a swap a couple years ago. My first niche bottle was the original Commes des Garcons, unsniffed. It was everything I’d hoped for and more – spicy, complex, sexy as hell. I’m a big fan of CdG even if the last few releases have left me cold, I always want to sample whatever they’re putting out. CdG edt is a staple fall fragrance in my collection that led to CdG 2, 2 Man, 3, Odeur 51, Incense Series, etc. I’m thrilled that the CdG Olfactory library is back at Luckyscent!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi Rosarita313,
      CdG are very cool. I have only owned a couple of Incense Series bottles but have watched their continuing saga with interest. I used to wear their clothes quite a bit in my London Club Kid days. Which frag of theirs is your fave from their complete history?
      Portia xx

  18. Amy says:

    Le Labo Neroli whatever number comes after it. I thought I hated perfume, found a Floris I liked – Seringa, so maybe that counts – and went through a bottle and then they changed it. Horrors. Then I found Le Labo. Come to think of it, I may not have any non-niche perfumes, depending on the definition. There was something in the perfumes of the 80s and 90s I just couldn’t do and so I guess niche was what made perfume work for me. Hmm.

  19. crikey says:

    I’m going to count Odeur 53, which I bought when it was released back in ’98. While CdG probably doesn’t count as niche, at the time this was such a huge leap sideways into the weird for perfume. I remember being stopped in my tracks by it when sniffing my way randomly through Liberty’s perfume hall one day I was feeling flush, and bored of wearing bombastic floral things like First and Fracas.

    I wore it on and off for a few years, but damn, that monster 200ml bottle was unwieldy in small hands, and I got so pissed off with it that I stopped wearing it and it went astray in a house move maybe ten years ago.

    The first niche-niche scent would have been, hmm… CB I Hate Perfume’s In the Library, I think, when I started to remember how much I loved perfume again. About five or six years ago. And then it was free fall into the rabbit hole.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Crikey,
      Liberty is still a wonderful place to frag shop. We were in their niche area earlier in the year and the SAs were friendly and knowledgeable.
      Also love Christopher Brosius, what a superstar.
      Portia xx

      • crikey says:

        Isn’t Liberty wonderful? I’m so rarely in London now that I live up in Edinburgh. (Given the abundance of glorious perfume shops in London, it’s probably best for my bank balance that I don’t live there any more. And that’s even without considering the shocking levels of rent in the city. Ouch!)

        I wish CB had some stockists in the UK, though. There are so many of his scents that I’d love to sniff…

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Oh yes Crikey,
        It’s instant penury while wandering the fragrant halls of London. My card takes months to recover every time.
        Yeah, we don’t have stockists in Sydney either of CB. It’s worth travelling for though.
        Portia xx

  20. Stephen Khoo says:

    Amouage’s Memoir Man followed very quickly by Portrait of a Lady… and then my wallet has been hating on me ever since.

  21. Tiffanie says:

    La Chasse aux Papillons edt was my first FB. Bought it just a few years ago. It made me so happy then, and I still love it. I’m wearing it today. 🙂

  22. Ingrid says:

    My first niche fragrance was a blind buy and one I never regretted: Dzing! from L’Artisan Parfumeur. I bought it at the Libertine warehouse sale and knew none of the fragrances there. I had read about Dzing! so I just grabbed it, and glad I did. To me it smells like expensive vanilla scented stationary, I don’t get the tigers and elephant manure at all. This is definitely a fragrance I would buy again.

  23. RuthF says:


  24. Caroline says:

    Goutal was my 1st niche house. Bought Eau d’Hadrien, loved the lemony opening but was less enthusiastic about the cypressy drydown. Then fell for Eau de Charlotte, which was my signature for a few yrs in the ’90s.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Caroline,
      I bet you smelled great i it too.
      I love the Goutal line, even now after all the changes it’s still one of my faves.
      Do you still wear any of them?
      Portia xx

  25. Ceil says:

    Frapin 1270 watch style bottle

  26. empliau says:

    Mine was Goutal’s Eau de Camille. I would wear it again if it were available. I wore Camille and nothing but for about twenty years, and then began to branch out – so I haven’t felt the loss except in nostalgic memory. But now I’m beginning to hanker for green and honeysuckle again. It was so lovely – my sister, who introduced me to the line, was a devotee of Eau de Ciel, but I was a Camille girl through and through. I am reluctant to buy vintage though, because since I wore it for so many years, I had SO many bottles that some turned while sitting unopened. They weren’t awful, just not Camille.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there Empliau,
      20 years in one frag!! That is amazing.
      It’s a bummer that many of the older Goutals lifespan is quite short. I find a few of the greener ones have gone weird for me too.
      Portia xx

      • empliau says:

        I was a bit like the father in Nancy Mitford, who says of reading that he’s only ever read one book, “White Fang” , and “it’s so frightfully good I never bothered to read another.” I had worn all the usual teenage to early twenties fragrances (usual of a sort) – Chloe, Anaïs Anaïs, Tamango, and Niki de Saint Phalle. Okay, that last is less usual. Anyway, I loved all of those scents, but I kind of identified with Camille. It was my signature. Now I can’t imagine having a signature, but it was right for me then, and I must say made packing a lot easier.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        HA! Nice analogy.
        I bet it made packing easier, but a lot less fun.
        Portia xx

  27. Tara C says:

    I believe my first niche bottle was People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo. Yummy heliotrope gourmand. I still have it – I rarely finish a bottle.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      OMG TaraC,
      That is the coolest first purchase ever. For years I’ve seen it talked of and written about but I’m yet to try it.
      Portia xx

  28. Greg says:

    If I recall correctly, I bought my first niche perfume at a Libertine fragrance class. I bought two! Idole de Lubin EDT and L’Artisan Seville a l’Aube. Both are still firm favourites.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Greg,
      L’Artisan Seville a l’Aube is one of my faves too. Bertrand Duchaufour is a very clever man.
      Portia xx

      • Greg says:

        Have you read The Perfume Lover? It’s a story about the inspiration for Seville a l’Aube, when the author told Duchaufour about a tryst she had in a Seville orange grove.

  29. Kim says:

    Black Lavender by N-Cigale. Cardamon, grapefruit, oolong tea, whisky, violet. It’s spicy and so interesting – and remains interesting for hours. I suddenly became fascinated by fragrance in December and started smelling everything in the department stores, buying a few bottles (YSL Mon Paris, Mugler Angel Muse and Etoile des Reves). Then I smelled this in February and everything changed.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Kim,
      Welcome down the fragrant rabbit hole.
      That Angel Muse is amazing. I’ve not smelled Black Lavender by N-Cigale but it reads very interesting.
      Portia xx

  30. hajusuuri says:

    I’ll define niche as something I couldn’t buy at a department store. iIRC, it was What We Do in Paris is Secret, purchases online via LuckyScent.

  31. Lillibet says:

    Serge Luten’s La Fille de Berlin was the first niche bottle that I owned (and it was a partial bottle off ebay).

    But I’d definately had a few samples of different niche scents (Lutens, Diptyque, Comme de Garcons) before I bought that bottle. I spent a fair bit of time getting to know Hermes, Guerlain, YSL, Chanel and other dept store & pharmacy available frags before I branched out to lesser known stuff (Mecca was a revelation).

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hiya Lillibet,
      La Fille de Berlin is really gorgeous. I keep meaning to buy a bottle and don’t.
      Portia xx

  32. Mariann says:

    Not sure if Jo Malone counts as niche? That one was Wood, Sage and Sea Salt and sent me down the rabbit hole. The next two were Alahine and Seville a l’aube.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Marianne,
      I reckon all three are a really nice selection of the different ways niche can come about.
      Portia xx

  33. Anastasia says:

    Well, I don’t collect the full-size bottles but my first vials were 40 Knots by Xerjoff, Vaniglia by Mazzolari, Chocolate Greedy by Montale, Entre Ciel Et Mer – Pierre Guillaume
    and Aria di Mare – Il Profumo. Absolutely blind order, I didn’t even know about fragrantica or basenotes those days))

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      WOW Anastasia,
      Where did you order them from? Surender To Chance?
      Portia xx

      • Anastasia says:

        Nope) Luckyscent. And it also was just an occasion because I was looking for a place to buy a sample of some perfume by Penhaligon’s (I don’t remember which exactly and where I read about it and why I wanted it so badly). Although, when google suggested me to try luckyscent I realised I didn’t want that Penhaligon’s anymore but I could try plenty of other wonderful things)) Me and my partner too, I decided to make a little surprise for him.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Great story

  34. Tracy Llanera says:

    Arquiste Anima Dulcis. Kept me up for days as I couldn’t believe I had to pay so much money for a fragrance! Now I realize it’s (upper) mid-range and worth the cost. Then the obsession began @_@

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hiya Tracey,
      Yeah, the prices have skyrocketed since even I started down the perfumista trail. I liked Anima Dulcis too, that chocolate coated Nun story was excellent.
      Portia xx

  35. Neva says:

    I decided that Serge Lutens was acceptable considering the prices, so I chose among a few of his perfumes. It was Santal Majuscule in the end.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      I think Serge Lutens is a very good price. The regular exports anyway. In a world of ridiculous frag prices I think it’s really good that SL has remained largely affordable.
      Portia x

  36. Anna says:

    Hi from Toronto, Canada. I grew up with all the old school fragrances, Evening in Paris, Heaven Scent, a myriad of Avon perfumes,White Shoulders then graduated to L’Air du Temp and Chant d’Aromes (my first grown up perfume). I agree with you about Andy Tauer that he is so personable and a one man show in his little atelier in Switzerland. He is still my favourite perfumer. I own quite a few of his fragrances, L’Air du Desert, of course, Une Rose Chypre, Une Rose du Kandahar, Incense Extreme, and all the Tauerville frags. I am looking forward to purchasing a bottle of L’Eau for the Summer. I love sticking with a small niche house. There are so many houses now it is a bit crazy. Another great fave is Jean Patou’s 1000 which doesn’t get a lot of love in the blogs but is a wonderful, clean, “all dressed up” fragrance to me.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Anna,
      Great idea to find a brand you love and really know it.
      I too love 1000. It’s a wonderful scent.
      Portia xx

  37. Ingeborg says:

    Villoresi Teint de Neige was my first niche scent and I quickly found out it is not my style, so it sits here unloved with 80 percent of the juice left in the bottle. Should have bought Alamut instead! By now I know rose scents are tricky for me.

    The next bottle was Tauer URC, I really like it but find few occations to wear it.I wish it was in one of the blue bottles,I find those so beautiful. Generally I like Andy Tauer’s take on design, like those cute boxes for samples.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Oh no, what a bummer about the Villoresi Teint de Neige. You should move that bad boy on, sell it on one of the FaceBook pages. It’s no good keeping the stuff that doesn’t work for you around.
      Portia xx

  38. Nemo says:

    Not sure if Tokyomilk counts, but my first full bottle was Waltz 14, lovely linden perfume 🙂 I ended up giving it away about halfway through the bottle because I soon realized I just don’t feel like wearing florals very often, but still have very fond memories of it.

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