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When setting aside a wee corner of your shopping list for a perfume splurge on Black Friday 2021, consider stepping away from typical designer scents or run-of-the-mill fragrances that have been around for yonks. Instead, think of niche perfumes that are so opulent; uncommon and individual, with notes of the highest calibre and more attention paid to the construction of the scent.
Saks Fifth Avenue has just rolled out a sitewide 15% off Black Friday fragrance sale, and if there’s one place on this planet that is perfect for going luxe, with its huge range of niche beauty brands, it has to be Saks.
Forget mega-brands and gimmicky ad campaigns, just briefly. Niche fragrances are curated by the world’s foremost perfumers, from Francis Kurkdjian to Frédéric Malle, who put craftsmanship, character and personal taste at the forefront. They may be pricier, but just like what couture is to fashion, niche perfumes explore self-expression and individuality, a welcome respite in an age when the beauty industry is so over-saturated. And contrary to popular belief, not all niche perfume are so heady they send your head spinning; they all vary in degrees of intensity and concentration.
When we saw the huge range of niche brands on sale at Saks, from boutique brands like Byredo to much-coveted favorites of fashion classicists like Aerin Lauder, we jumped. The sale ends today, so get your noses at the ready and check out these five avant-garde perfumes that we love.
A prime example of a niche perfume that does not smell OTT or overbearing, Baccarat Rouge is a universally flattering scent. One Vogue editor said she was complimented by Rihanna when wearing it (“You smell good.”), so while rather pricey, the number of “What are you wearing?” compliments you’ll get all day long are so worth it. A musky-floral-woody scent, notes of jasmine, ambergris and cedar mesh are softened by base notes of saffron. Just subtly decadent, and oh-so inviting. The 2.5oz size, retailing at $325, is now 15% off and priced at $276.25.
This is a more affordable niche perfume, with a retail price of $90 now reduced to $72. When Rose de Grasse was first released in 2015, it quickly became a beauty editor favorite and is one of those perfumes you can’t stop taking big sniffs of once it’s on you. It has been updated this year to appeal to a younger audience, with ultra-femme notes of rose and soft musk, accented by fruity bursts of pear and orange blossom. The rose notes come from the Rose Centifolia from Grasse, the perfumery capital of the world.
Creed Aventus for Her, $238 (originally $280)
When the pineapple and bergamot-loaded chypre launched in 2010, it was largely considered as a men’s fragrance but became a huge hit even amongst women. Eventually Creed released a For Her counterpart, that amped up the floral notes of the original scent while keeping the other notes intact. Fruity nuances of green apples and berries lighten accords of Bulgarian rose, cassis and ylang-ylang. A strong fragrance inspired by powerful women, it may not be for everyone, but give it a few minutes — once the notes settle and mellow down, and now with the $45 discount, you’ll be coming back for more.
Byredo Mixed Emotions Eau de Parfum, $161.50 (originally $190)
Created by Swedish perfumer Ben Gorham, amongst all of Byredo’s most-loved, cult-favorite scents, this one encapsulates how Gorham is able to capture emotion—of these tumultuous COVID-plagued times, specifically—in a fragrance. A tart and herby infusion of tea, blackcurrant, violet leaf, birch, and papyrus, this one takes time to get used to, not due to being overpowering but owing to the unusual notes. Once you grow to love it, Mixed Emotions is a real olfactory indulgence in every sense of the word.
Frédéric Malle Portrait Of A Lady, $67.15 (originally $79)
If you’re new to Malle’s intoxicating fragrances, start with this one, at a discounted price of $229.50 for 1.7oz, as your go-to fancy scent to wear for big events or nights out. It is a blend of potent Turkish rose, which transcends to middle notes of blackcurrant and clove, all grounded by woody patchouli, sandalwood, and frankincense. While Portrait of a Lady may seem a little intense, it is a classic fragrance that is great way to step into the world of niche perfumes.
When it comes to upmarket fragrances, sales mean huge discounts, making today the best day to jump in and buy one. Consider the notes you love, whether floral, musky, woody or fruity, or simply choose the one that stands out to you, and you’ll never look back. Head over to Saks Fifth Avenue to snap one up, pronto!