Post by Ainslie Walker
Sydney’s first stand-alone niche perfume boutique has opened! We can now experience and discover an array of fragrances in the heart of Darlinghurst at Libertine. If you have previously visited Libertine in Brisbane, you will know why this is so freaking exciting!
Nick Smart is one of the pioneers of niche perfumery in Australia. He is the director of Libertine Brisbane/Sydney, Agence de Parfum (David Jones Sydney), Galerie de Parfum (Myer Sydney/Melbourne) and he also distributes and imports top niche brands such as Creed, Lubin, Juliette Has a Gun, Penhaligons, Amouage, Dear Rose, Keiko Mercheri, L’Artisan, Mark Buxton, Frapin, Rance and more! If you have purchased any of these brands in Australia, no doubt Nick was behind it somehow.
Sydney Libertine Masterclass
Libertine also holds perfume masterclasses and Nick invited me along to the first Sydney class, which was for the staff of a Flow Athletic Yoga Studio at 1/134 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW 2021. Their boss had sent them along as part of their Christmas “do”. Each of them was to leave with a full bottle of perfume of their choice!! Amazingly generous and a fantastic and memorable gift to give the team!
Nick had the ladies gather around the table with their complimentary champagne in hand and went through the main fragrance families from Michael Edwards’ fragrance wheel with corresponding fragrances from the boutique. He explained where you might wear each type of fragrance and what’s appropriate for what activity, season and time of day. He says start the day in something light and fresh and ramp it up into the evening with more spice and alluring gourmand notes. Best dating fragrances being Piguet’s Visa and Petit Fracas and Costume National’s award wining, So Nude.
In explaining the difference between niche and mainstream fragrances he pointed out only 5 companies own all the fragrance brands seen in department stores. Some of the fragrance houses he sells have been around for 200 years, and their fragrances are still relevant now, and still will be in another 200 – unlike the modern scents that come and go quickly.
He mentions someone from a mainstream perfume house said their bottles cost $2 to be made compared to Niche houses who can spend $17 just on a lid! Amouage’s bottle design has a Swarovski crystal on the lid and Lubin’s Black Jade and Gin Fizz bottles are inspired by Grace Kelly’s silhouette in Monaco with her big hat.
Each attendee filled out a card and I used the new Fragrances of the World/ Libertine fragrance finder app (Nick’s “magic tool”) and the Libertine website to write down a few recommendations for each person to try later. He went through what everyone’s favorites were and the majority of the group was floral.
When he was asked where we should spray perfume Nick said avoid spraying your décolletage as the chemicals and sun in combination can react with the skin and also to protect breast tissue.
He demonstrated the use of travel atomizers because many people carry full bottles in their bags to top up during the day, but often our handbags are exposed to heat.
Nick knows EVERYTHING about the product houses, the perfumes themselves, their history and stories and how to really tap into the needs of the individual and find a scent to match them or push them a little further out from their comfort zones. He had the girls opened mouthed in delight as their minds were expanded in to the world of niche and beyond the floral family type.
Libertine Parfumerie @ 1-3 Taylor St, Darlinghurst 2010
Since fragrances hold memories it’s great to start a new year with a new fragrance and this can really motivate you forwards instead of holding on to old memories and ex-partners! What new scents are on your list to start 2015 with a bang?
Ainslie Walker x