Niche Fragrance

Niche Fragrance

Your fragrance should be as unique as you are. That's where we come in.

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A Whole New Experience

The right fragrance can elevate your mood, boost your confidence, and draw others in. Unfortunately, most stores make finding that fragrance a confusing, high-pressure situation. And with only a limited selection of the usual uninspired brands, you can easily suffer from “same scent, different bottle” fatigue. It’s no wonder so many people steer clear of department store fragrance counters!

Here at Smallflower, we recognize that experiencing fragrance is deeply personal. That’s why we offer an impeccably curated collection of niche, hard-to find fragrances from independent and innovative brands. You’ll discover evocative fragrances that truly speak to you, revealing the emotive power of scent.

If you find yourself in Chicago, you must visit our brick and mortar store, Merz Apothecary. We work hard to cultivate a relaxed atmosphere where you can sniff at your leisure, without any pressure to buy. You won’t find any pushy salespeople, just a friendly, knowledgeable staff of fragrance lovers sharing recommendations. You deserve to be treated like a unique individual, not a walking commission. Even if you’re not headed to the Windy City anytime soon, you can enjoy the same personalized experience by giving our outstanding customer service team a call. We’ll guide you through each exquisite scent note by note, taking the guesswork out of finding your new favorite fragrances.

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Smallflower is also proud to offer convenient sample sizes for all our niche fragrances. You can experience any number of scents, at a fraction of the cost of a full bottle, before you buy. This is the perfect way to discover how a scent makes you feel, its staying power, and how it evolves on your skin before making an investment. Fragrance should be fun, and what’s more fun than trying a little of everything you like? It’s just another way we’re upgrading the way you shop for fragrance.

Fragrance 101

Eau de What? With so many terms, it can be tricky to navigate the world of fragrance. Here’s what you need to know:

Eau Fraiche – The lightest type of fragrance, with 1-3% perfume essence in a base of alcohol and water.

Eau de Cologne – Typically fresh, light & fruity, composed of 2-5% perfume essence in alcohol and water. The oldest term for fragrance, also used in North America to refer to scents for men.

Eau de Toilette – Popular and affordable, made with 5-15% perfume essence in an alcohol base.

Eau de Parfum – Favored by many niche brands for its longevity, composed of 15-20% perfume essence in alcohol.

Extrait de Parfum – Longer-lasting than any other type of fragrance, with 20-40% perfume essence in an alcohol base.

Other Helpful Terms:

Top Notes – The first thing you smell when you spray a fragrance; these are the lightest notes that evaporate first. Sometimes referred to as “head notes”.

Middle Notes – Also called “heart notes”, these compounds make up the body of a fragrance and are usually used to determine the fragrance family.

Base Notes – The longest-lasting component of a fragrance, these notes bring richness and depth while boosting the strength of lighter top and middle notes.

Sillage – The trail of scent left behind by a perfume; perfumes with very strong sillage can fill a room, those with little sillage stay close to the skin.

Longevity – How long a fragrance lasts on your skin; affected by the concentration of perfume essence, as well as other factors like where you apply and what fragrance family the scent belongs to.

Fragrance Family – A classification system which puts individual perfumes into different olfactory groups based on their dominant notes. The four main families are Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh, which can then be further divided into sub-groups.

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Scent Guide


The Signature Scent

We’re all familiar with the idea of a signature scent, that tried-and- true fragrance you can spritz on without a second thought. A signature scent is like your favorite sweater, something classic and comforting that simply makes you feel like you. But you wouldn’t wear your cozy sweater for a night on the town or in the heat of summer. So, if your clothes change depending on the occasion, the season, and even your mood, shouldn’t your fragrance do the same? After all, it’s just as much a part of your personal style as your clothing, shoes, and accessories are. Go ahead, wear that spicy oriental for date night, enjoy a bright chypre on the first day of spring, and splash on some uplifting citrus cologne when you need a boost. And on the days when you’re just not sure what to wear... simply reach for your signature scent.

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Shared Fragrance

In the world of niche fragrance, the words “for men” and “for women” are appearing less and less. Traditional perfumery typically separated scents by gender, offering fragrances designed to smell feminine or masculine. But many modern perfumers have eschewed that idea in favor of creating “shared fragrances” that are meant to be worn by anyone who enjoys them. After all, there’s no reason a gent can’t appreciate a rose scent, or a gal can’t be delighted by a deep, woody blend. You should feel free to explore any note you like, so let your nose, not a label, guide you!

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