6 artisanal perfumes that are a must try

Niche, affordable and intriguing.

Harper's Bazaar India

Where do you buy your perfumes from and how do you choose which one to buy? I mostly get mine from an airport duty-free—-there is a variety of luxury brands to choose from, good brands ensure that they smell great, and what’s better than the good discount that you manage to get. We can all admit that luxury fragrances smell decadent. But aren’t you tired of smelling the same as everyone else? 

Mentally, take a 180° turn. Artisanal fragrances or ‘niche perfumery’ are the quiet, yet powerful cousins of luxury fragrances. Usually handmade in small batches and quantities, artisanal perfumes are created by small companies. They are remarkable for being made by ‘professional noses’, with detail and techniques that are passed down through generations. This list brings you fragrances of all kinds—floral, musky and more—to tantalise your senses. 

Fire At Will by Jovoy


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Considering this perfume comes under the gourmand olfactory group, this one is definitely going to get your nose hungry. Your initial perception of the fragrance will be sweet and bright, with the top notes being that of honey-like mimosa and sweet vanilla. You’ll feel warm and cosy as you start with the smell of brown sugar and end with bold notes of amber and vetiver. True to its name, this fragrance is for those who don’t want the room to forget they were there, long after they have left. It is created by French fragrance powerhouse Jovoy, so if you are a Miss Dior or N°5 girl, you can easily turn to this. 

Santal Safran by Maison de Fouzdar

Breaking down Santal Safran—Safran literally translates to saffron in Irani, and Santal is a term for an indigenous community living in eastern India. Santal Safran is made with ingredients that come from deep heritage. With warm and soft base notes lent by musk and rare Australian red sandalwood, the tone of this perfume is earthy. You will get the strong woody, musky smell, but won’t be able to quite place where you’ve smelt it before. Isn’t the mystery exciting? Topped with the namesake Irani saffron, this perfume is perfect for those wandering souls who seek solace in the outdoors. And, it lasts for 24 hours, and is said to project up to four feet. 

Hindi Tabac by Dixit & Zak

Hindi Tabac is the citrus, bitter-spicy perfume on this list. This perfume fits a different aesthetic from the rest. Somewhat dark in its character, the perfume is made with ambergris that lends a musky scent, patchouli for its woody fragrance, fruity black current, and almond sweet vanilla. All of this blended with the four ‘classic’ perfume ingredients—oud, sandalwood, rose, and animalics. Dixit & Zak created this perfume to be like the whiffs of tobacco, but it serves more as a reminder of a time long gone. The perfume is created using a fine mix that has evolved over generations. 

Mud Infused in Oud by Naso Profumi


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If we’re talking artisanal perfumes, we have to talk oud. It is sweet yet woody, musky yet warm—it’s a complex scent that confounds you, but also makes you smell beautiful. It is extracted from agarwood, an integral ingredient in perfume making that is mostly found in Southeast Asia. The resin that oud is extracted from is referred to as ‘liquid gold’. The top notes of the perfume are natural mandarin oil, which is sweet and citrusy. The middle note is mud, or ‘mitti’ (well it’s not actually mud, it’s natural mud extract). Naso Profumi’s Aastha Suri described mud-infused oud perfumes as a reminder of the crowded centre of her hometown Lucknow, where she could smell the ‘geeli mitti’ (wet mud). That’s enough to get us nostalgic! The base note is wood attar (or ittar), made from rose petals. It does smell great, but Naso Profumi also describes it to resolve emotional barriers and calm anxiety.

This Space in Between You & Me by The Perfume Library

The first thing that drew me to this perfume was its name. The Perfume Library is France-Goa based brand,  filled with interesting perfumes to catch your eye (11 Visconti, My Heart is a Sacred Pool being a few to name). However, This Space in Between You & Me is such a heartfelt name, I was prompted to look into it further. The main notes are marine—imagine, drifting out to sea, bidding goodbye to the harbour. Other notes are holy basil (tulsi), clementine, mint, vetiver, and sandalwood. Vetiver is described to smell like ‘dry grass on a hot day’, mint and sandalwood have their own distinct smells, and tulsi smells bitter. Maybe This Space in Between You & ‘somebody’ might be filled with this fragrance? 

Celeste by Jade x Naso


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Naso Profumi is back on this list! This time with sister designer-duo creation, Jade, an artisanal clothing brand centred on tradition and heritage. Celeste is the second perfume to come out of the partnership. Made with pepper infused into wood, this perfume is spicy but earthy. Black pepper is aromatic and musky, while wood has its distinct earthy tone. If you want to try something different from the scents you’ve smelled all these years, you must try Celeste, and get some head to turn.