Fra­grances that cap­ture—rather than crush—your per­son­al­ity.

ELLE (Canada) - - Anniversary -

ith a fo­cus on indi­vidu­al­ity, high-qual­ity in­gredi­­ents and cre­ative free­dom, niche fra­grances have found their sweet spot. The rit­ual and crafts­man­ship around exot­ic teas drove the cre­ation of Jo Malone Golden Nee­dle Tea Cologne, a heady spice/wood mix con­tain­ing an in­fu­sion of golden nee­dle tea from the moun­tains of Yun­nan, China. The cologne is part of a col­lec­tion of six rare-tea-based scents. “Un­like mass-pro­duced teas, rare teas are grown in small quan­ti­ties, picked by hand and har­vested us­ing tra­di­tional meth­ods,” says Cé­line Roux, fra­grance dir­ec­tor for Jo Malone Lon­don. (She notes that rare tea can be as ex­pen­sive as gold.) Serge Ma­joul­lier, the mas­ter per­fumer for the col­lec­tion, says that us­ing an infusion process with ac­tual rare teas is a first in per­fumery and de­scribes the process as sim­i­lar to brew­ing tea, ex­cept the leaves are “steeped” in al­co­hol for an op­ti­mum amount of time.

A mind­set of dis­cov­ery is of­ten where niche per­fumers like to work. “If you live in the past, why would you cre­ate some­thing new?” opines Fran­cis Kurkd­jian, the nose who cre­ated one of the world’s best­selling per­fumes, Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier. “What is next is al­ways more ex­cit­ing than what you have al­ready done.” His thought­ful, for­ward ap­proach to per­fume mak­ing is ev­i­dent in the fra­grances within his epony­mous line, Mai­son Fran­cis Kurkd­jian. Aqua Vi­tae Eau is billed as a “whis­per” of a scent meant to trig­ger a crav­ing for kisses on the neck. Fea­tur­ing notes of Cal­abrian lemon, Si­cil­ian man­darin, tonka bean and gua­iac wood, it’s Kurkd­jian’s ode to the cool­breeze-on-hot-skin mood of sum­mer.

Orig­i­nal­ity also seems to come nat­u­rally to Kil­ian Hen­nessy, heir to the Hen­nessy cognac em­pire, who has al­ways brought a level of sex­in­fused so­phis­ti­ca­tion to his luxe line. Take By Kil­ian Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi: Rather than the heavy, musky tones ex­pected in a per­fume with a state­ment name like this, the flo­ral blend uses notes of gar­de­nia, san­dal­wood and tuberose to “feign” in­no­cence. Play­ing off themes of temp­ta­tion and se­duc­tion, Hen­nessy rarely sticks to a tra­di­tional script—and for good rea­son. “I strongly be­lieve that [the per­fume in­dus­try] is one where you have to cre­ate a sur­prise,” he says. “Peo­ple are only ex­cited by what is new.” h

By Kil­ian Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi Eau de Par­fum Spray ($415 for 50 mL); Jo Malone Golden Nee­dle Tea Cologne ($440 for 175 mL); Mai­son Fran­cis Kurkd­jian Aqua Vi­tae Eau de Toi­lette Spray ($275 for 70 mL). For de­tails, see Shop­ping Guide.

HIT PA­RADE THE NEWMILLENNIUM CELEB SCENTS THAT LAUNCHED LE­GA­CIES. Jen­nifer Lopez’s record-break­ing de­but sold $100 mil­lion worth in the first year alone. Cana­dian crooner Ce­line Dion’s self­ti­tled fra­grance was a block­buster, launch­ing on the same day

2002 Glow by J.Lo Eau de Toi­lette ($20 for 50 mL)

2003 Ce­line Dion Eau de Toi­lette ($20 for 50 mL)


Cu­ri­ous Brit­ney Spears Eau de Par­fum

($20 for 50 mL)


Lovely by Sarah Jes­sica Parker Eau de Par­fum ($20 for 50 mL) The Sex and the City star’s ap­ple mar­tini, rose­wood and laven­der blend was an

in­stant best­seller.

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