Artisanal Eau de Parfum
Artisanal indicates independent, small-batch, high quality (many parfumers bring years of expertise from larger brands to start their own lines), and less ubiquitous than what you’ll find at the mall.
Eau de parfum is an important specification because it is more concentrated with perfume oil (the actual extracts of fragrance from the raw materials) than eau de toilette or eau de cologne. Greater concentration = stronger scent and more longevity from each spray.
I started Uncommon Finds to bring something new and unique to the local market—that is, a shop dedicated to artisanal fragrances of utmost quality. All of them are eau de parfum, in contrast to more widely available and commercial fragrances, which are eau de toilette.
As a secondary or tertiary market compared to places like Miami and Atlanta, Tampa has always lacked some of the independent retail of comparable sophistication and curation that exists alongside major chains. Like Scent Bar in Los Angeles and Twisted Lily in Brooklyn, it’s local businesses that are agile enough to stock innovative, interesting, and obscure products in low volumes.
My aim is to emulate the best of the world’s independent fragrance shops. To do this, I bring twelve lines I have personally encountered and vetted to a physical space in our market: from London, Amsterdam, New York, Italy, Santa Barbara, Detroit, France, and Sweden…to Tampa!
From the start, I was firm that any scent I carried had to be high-quality, with multiple layers of complexity. While there is some eau de toilette that satisfies this condition, most artisanal and independent brands produce eau de parfum, meaning the “juice” is between 15% and 30% perfume oil. Most commercial fragrances are eau de toilette, i.e. 5-15% perfume oil. Alcohol and water fill out the remainder of the liquid.
The higher actual fragrance concentration in an eau de parfum means a single spray emits greater sillage (how strong the smell is when worn) and persists longer on the body than eau de toilette or eau de cologne, which can disappear in as little as 3 hours.
Eau de toilettes from brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Giorgio Armani are traditionally produced in mass and marketed by licensor firms like Coty, Interparfums, LVMH, and Estée Lauder and then sold in department stores, beauty chains like Sephora, and duty-free shops in airports.
Fragrance is a lucrative choice for designer and fashion brands because they can sell their name and image to consumers at an accessible price point—a wide swath of aspirational buyers who otherwise cannot afford branded handbags, shoes, or ready-to-wear. The model is similar to how branded eyewear is marketed and sold.
In the last ten years, “niche” fragrances have grown in popularity enough that brands like Tom Ford have introduced lines inspired by specific notes and rare ingredients like oud and bergamot, and distributed them to limited channels: Neiman Marcus, yes; Sephora, no.
Today, many independent parfumers, whose popularity rode the upswing of this trend, have been purchased and added to the repertoires of larger beauty conglomerates, like Jo Malone, Frederic Malle, and Le Labo, now part of Estée Lauder, and Maison Francis Kurkdijan, now part of LVMH. You might notice that all of these brands have become (or will soon be) more widely available, promoted and advertised, and spread across the globe.
Obscure and less visible artisanal brands spend little or no money on advertising and branding, so their retail prices tend to be lower compared to commercial brands with similar ingredients and quality markers. With fewer points of distribution, they are also less saturated in both the global and local markets, meaning you will rarely encounter someone wearing the same fragrance as you.
At Uncommon Finds, I am dedicated to artisanal eau de parfum from brands that remain independent and small-batch. I have found that the quality is superior, scent profiles varied, and stories of their founders and noses so interesting. Pardon the pun, but each is truly an uncommon find.
In alphabetical order:
- 4160 Tuesdays
- Acqua di Stresa
- Diane Pernet
- Malin + Goetz
- The Hype Noses
- YeYe Parfums
- If you like licorice or anise, try Kerosene Black Vines
- For the scent of cannabis and citrus fruits, try Diane Pernet In Pursuit of Magic
- YeYe Parfums Equus No. 8 smells of leather saddles, the dentist’s chair, and optic white walls
- Fancy a scent profile similar to that of Kentucky Bourbon? Head directly to Nasomatto Baraonda
- A client came in yesterday to ask for an oud-ish scent. We suggested Agonist No. 10 White Oud, a Scandinavian interpretation of the oriental note with ingredients like ylang ylang, white musk, tonka bean, and patchouli (no oud).