The Best Under-The-Radar Perfume Brands
We love perusing the perfume counter at our local department store as much as the next girl, but with something as personalized as scent, often times we crave a more unique experience. The marketplace is full of up-and-coming apothecaries, and these seven brands represent a handful of today’s coolest, under-the-radar fragrance purveyors.
Owned and operated by sisters Anne and Katie McLain, Brooklyn-based MCMC Fragrances was founded in 2009. The brand's most popular scents are Hunter, Noble, and for spring/summer, Maui. Their latest offering is the MCMC x MOCIUN perfume oil, a collaboration with the jeweler Caitlin Mociun.
Established in 2006, Joya is headquartered and hand-crafted in New York City. Their newest and most popular perfume, Foxglove, was inspired by the botanical history of NYC parks. The brand's beautiful porcelain bottles, complete with gold-dipped wand applicators, make the experience of applying perfume simply divine.
Founded in 2004, Blackbird started as a menswear store and eventually expanded into apothecary products and fragrances. The brand's newest release is a cool collab with singer Zola Jesus for her album Taiga—the incense perfume was created as an extension of the music on her album. Their most popular scent is called Pipe Bomb, whose slightly salty, amber-scented formula is what initially turned us on to the brand.
Founded by self-taught perfumer Heather Sielaff, Portland-based OLO Fragrances offers an extensive lineup of roll-on formulas at affordable price points. Their most recent release was a custom fragrance for the cult-favorite boutique TENOVERSIX in Los Angeles. Dark Wave is the brand's top seller, with Cedar & Rose, Nationale 6/7, Palo Santo, Victory Wolf and Lightning Paw also emerging as customer favorites.
Based in Santa Monica, California, all of Fiele Fragrance's formulas are hand-blended and comprised of globally sourced essential oils. While Juniperus and Pogostemon are the brand's best-sellers, they just released Viola for spring/summer, which is a citrusy-green, fresh composition centered around the properties of the violet leaf. In May, Fiele will be launching their third fragrance called Musc et Madame, a scent which they describe as a "gorgeous collection of disheveled florals."
Founded in 2012 by Julia Zangrilli, NOVA's mission is to make beautiful, phthalate-free products using high-quality materials. The brand's signature fragrance is Chakra, and the newest addition to the lineup is Sultan, a collaboration with Loup Charmant. When in Brooklyn, book an appointment at NOVA's Scent Bar, where clients can create a custom fragrance and have it bottled instantly.
Originally created as a collaboration with perfume brand 1509, the Valentine Fragrance Oil is an intoxicating unisex fragrance with notes of sandalwood, tuberose and hibiscus. Side note—the brand specializes in darling, lacy lingerie, so you can smell good and look foxy while doing so.