Yay for niche!

     Mainstream perfumes are everywhere, from the drugstore to the up-scale department stores. There’s nothing wrong with them, per se, but sometimes you crave something… different.

     When you want to get away from the fragrances everybody is wearing, you generally have three options:

  1. Custom fragrances. If you have the money for them, more power to you! CB I Hate Perfume, a brand I’m dying to try, offers them in packages for around $10,000. Anybody want to hook me up? Floris London seems to offer this as well, but in a slightly different way, and for a drastically cheaper price (255€).
  2. Indie fragrances. I’ve barely got my foot in the door of  this world. Indie companies are all over the place, especially on Etsy, and they offer some really unique and special things – not your run-of-the-mill Dior (who would have thought I’d ever get to say that?). These fragrances too can get costly, depending on the individual vendor. Plus, because the majority of them do not have brick and mortar storefront establishments, you’ll often have to buy without trying – risky.
  3. And finally, there’s the niche community. Niche is somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Most niche companies are generally off the radar for most people, and therefore their products have a level of luxury and exclusivity to them. However, you (probably) won’t be breaking the bank with them, and many of them retail in select locations or have sampling systems in place.

     I am in my early days of perfumery, so up to now mainstream has sufficed, and then some. But, to appeal to a different group of readers and to stay relevant, I want to begin to explore the Dark Side. Today I’ll be telling you about one of the first niche fragrances I’ve tried, Amethyst by Floris London. They sent me this generous sample specifically for review consideration, but as you know, I hold nothing back – not even for free products.

     Let’s talk Floris London, shall we? They have an elaborate ‘story’ section to their website, but for those of you who have lives to live, I shall summarize. Juan Famenias Floris and wife Elizabeth began selling perfumes in London in 1730 – that’s not a typo.  They got their first Royal Warrant (read more about those here) in 1820, and went on to serve other high profile clientele, including Marilyn Monroe (December 1959). Today they are 284 years old, and Amethyst is their first fragrance for 2014, part of their ‘By Request’ collection (find out more here).

     Let’s have a good look and an even better sniff!

Floris London Amethyst sample

Floris London Amethyst sample

     The sample comes in a clear glass vial with a white plastic stopper, within a paper card, and the fluid is clear. I have to admit that I prefer spray samples over this type, because scent distribution is rough at best when applied using a tiny wand. The card is interesting in that it details the perfume’s blend, and has the creation date (05 February 2014).

Floris London Amethyst sample card

Floris London Amethyst sample card

     A 2014 release, the creator of Amethyst is Shelagh Foyle, one of the brand’s in-house perfumers. The concentration is eau de parfum, and it is classified as a Floral Fruity Gourmand.

     Get ready for this, because this is a whole lot of scent. It opens with a POP of bright strawberry, tart lemon, and cotton candy. It smells like the most wonderful afternoon spent at a summer fair, laughing with your friends and sneaking kisses on top of the ferris wheel. It smells like the cotton candy your boyfriend bought you, your strawberry-flavoured gum, and your best friend’s lemonade spilled all over her dress (you all laughed, including her). Then the afternoon ends, the friends divide up into the couples, and next thing you know, you’re sitting with him on a blanket in the meadow behind the fair, trying to seem cool and smelling the gentle scent of the jasmine flowers just up ahead. But instead of being intrusive and soapy, the jasmines are gentle, floating around you and making you feel happy. The night drags on, with hints of creamy vanilla lingering on your skin long after you’re back in your room. As you drift off to a sleep which can’t possibly conjure dreams of a better day, you delight in the comfort of the vanilla mixing with warm amber. What a beautiful day, and what a gorgeous thing to capture in scent.

Collective thoughts about what I’ve sniffed today: do not be put off by the brand’s heritage nor the hefty price – this is a winner. Not without its drawbacks, including too-short longevity, but shiver-inducing nonetheless. I hope you all have the pleasure of trying this in the future.

~ ~ ~

You can check out Floris London at or follow them on Twitter at


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