The days of the signature scent are officially over. There is so much to explore in the world of niche fragrance. Why limit yourself to one luxury scent? Whether you prefer something subtle or consider yourself a fan of olfactory oddities, our collection includes more than 900 unique and hard-to-find scents from 19 countries. Some of our favorite fragrances are budget-friendly scents you can find for under $100, so you can experiment as your style and taste evolve. Check out our top picks below.
Berdoues’ Grand Cru collection explores scents from specific regions around the world. Arabic for “oud of the desert,” Oud Al Sahraa is an elegant fragrance with an exotic twist. This scent is born from Malaysian agarwood found in the aquilaria tree. This aromatic resin is commonly used in incense. Namibian myrrh adds a hint of spice and intensity. Balancing out the headiness of these complex notes is Italian mandarin. This citrus offers a brightness that rounds out this beautiful scent.
For a dose of soft femininity, try Rose Atlantic by D.S. & Durga. Luminous lemon shines a spotlight on rose accord, giving this scent a bright and soft duality. Notes of earthy dune grass and sparkling saltwater make this niche fragrance feel like a spritz of summertime. Although it’s available in a full-sized bottle, the convenient size of this pocket perfume makes it one of our favorite budget-friendly scents, especially for frequent fliers.
This timeless fragrance is a nod to the practice of adding custom scents to handcrafted leather goods. Both raw and refined, this niche formulation combines muted florals with nostalgic leather for a balanced option that shapes itself to the wearer. Rustic wood notes like cedarwood and sandalwood give this fragrance a vintage feel. It’s a beloved unisex scent that can be layered to create a custom aroma.
Fresh and cooly spiced, this fragrance takes inspiration from a Mediterranean sea breeze. Despite its namesake spice, it turns winter warmth on its head with Russian coriander — a cool alternative to traditionally comforting spices like clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pepper is responsible for its fiery underbelly, but milky musk and floral geranium add a softening balance. This androgynous fragrance is complex without being overpowering — perfect for those looking to make a subtle statement.
An ode to the sexual revolution and the allure of the 1960s, this fragrance captures a sensual softness that’s rich and decadent. A hint of barely-there spice, courtesy of cardamom and clove, is embraced by romantic florals. Chocolate, patchouli, and coffee add an irresistible dynamic to this mysterious gourmand scent. A full 65ml bottle of this fragrance sells for $105. This made our list of budget-friendly scents because a .50oz bottle is just $35.
Experience Tokyo at sunrise with this elegant and electrifying perfume. This niche fragrance takes inspiration from tranquil stolen moments before the city begins to buzz with life. Hinoki gives it a comforting earthiness while yuzu and cardamom add a shock of brightness and intensity. Sandalwood and incense add a sense of refined spirituality.
Arz El-Rab, another Berdoues Grand Cru option, takes you to the legendary cedars of Mount Lebanon. This powerful scent features a beautiful balance of ingredients. Chinese ginger is responsible for the spicy side of this fragrance. Moroccan iris softens while Virginian cedar adds classically masculine woody notes.
A richly herbaceous take on a youthful rite of passage, this interpretation of cannabis is a well-balanced beauty. Black pepper and bright bergamot add spice and structure to this hazy glance at a slow-moving afternoon. When combined with muguet and magnolia, cannabis becomes a dream-state experience. Natural cedarwood, patchouli, and sandalwood bring you back down to earth.
A mix of heated metal and sweet tea, this unusual scent is inspired by alcohol burners, also called spirit lamps, used for light and heat in colonial times. The metallic top note combines with peach water and white ginger to create a fragrance that’s scintillating in its sweetness. Coconut milk and oolong bohea tea add a fresh, airy vibe.
There is a beautiful narrative behind the slightly offensive name of this fragrance. Although fine scents are often associated with opulence, this one subverts that concept entirely. I Am Trash is the first luxury perfume made from garbage. This perfume uses the remnants of exhausted rose petals, distilled sandalwood chips, and leftover apples from the food industry to create a disruptive sensory experience. Translating to “The Flowers of Waste,” Les Fleurs Du Déchet is a fruity, floral, and woody apology to mother nature.
Another unusual scent from the French perfumery, Fat Electrician, is a sad, soulful, humorous take on the fleeting nature of beauty. The aged, antiquated side of this scent comes from woody vetyver. Chestnut cream adds a gourmand element while opopanax, a sweet resinous note that made the top of our fall fragrance list, adds a youthful element.
As with all of its fragrances, Imaginary Authors constructed an otherworldly tale around this scent. Memoirs of A Trespasser is the centerpiece of fictional author Philip Sava’s kaleidoscopic visions. It’s a dizzying exploration of exotic travels highlighting Madagascar vanilla, an ode to the ranch he’s fashioned into a home base. Myrrh, guaiac wood, and benzoin resin add depth to this youthful, sweet note. Think of this as a traditional vanilla scent, reimagined.
Mississippi Medicine pays tribute to the rituals of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex or Southern Death Cult from the 1200s. Little is known about this collection of mesoamerican artifacts and mythology. They considered the cedar tree to be a sacred access point to another world. Dry red Virginian cedar is the star of this fragrance. Ritualistic incense and birch tar add an ethereal, spiritual smokiness. This fragrance proves that budget-friendly scents can be just as powerful as their higher-priced counterparts.