• Dan Naughton

5 Great Niche Fragrances For Under £100 Each

Updated: Feb 8, 2019

The explosion of the niche fragrance market in the last ten years has been seismic. Gone are the days when a trip to Boots in your local high street was all that was needed to purchase the best male fragrances on the market. While the designer fragrance houses continue to pump out dozens of underwhelming sequels or “flankers” to their best known fragrances, it is increasingly the domain of niche fragrance brands that is the destination for discerning gentlemen seeking sophisticated signature scents.

If Aventus by Creed seems too expensive (or too obvious) but you’d like to take a step up from Dior Sauvage or Paco Rabanne One Million then read on.

Here are 5 great masculine fragrances from niche brands that can all be bought for less than £100. Just search around online for the best deals and be sure to buy from a trusted retailer.

Acqua di Parma - Colonia Essenza - Eau de Cologne

Acqua di Parma is an Italian brand with a large range of scents mostly (but not exclusively) emphasising mediterranean citrus freshness. I have tried them all many times and I own quite a few. For me, Colonia Essenza is the most beautiful and alluring of the bunch. Zesty citrus notes, classic herbaceous tones, crisp florals and a weighty undertone of patchouli, vetiver and musk make this the perfect scent to apply on a summer holiday when pulling on a white shirt after a day bronzing in the sun. You will be the best smelling bloke at that foam party in Magagluf! I wear this all year round and it is perfectly suitable for any occasion.

Despite the Eau de Cologne designation Essenza lasts extremely well and is very noticeable in the air around you for some time. The RRP for 100ml is just over £100 but you can find it for well under that with a bit of searching online.

Houbigant - Fougere Royale - Eau de Parfum

First created in the late 19th Century, Fougere Royale was the original fougere (or fern like) fragrance. Now reformulated and revived for the 21st century, this is a fresh yet rich and manly scent with an air of gravitas and reassurance that inspires confidence. The freshness of bergamot mixes with lavender, oak moss, tonka and patchouli for a refined and classy aroma that has a hint of nostalgia without smelling old fashioned. The longevity and scent trail are above average without being in your face. Perfect for dressed up scenarios and a good work scent if you want to smell important. At the time of writing 100ml one is available at Notino UK for £77.

Mancera - Cedrat Boise - Eau de Parfum

This fruity fresh citrus and woods combination is often compared to Aventus by Creed. There is a definite similarity but this is by no means a mere copy of the ubiquitous Creed scent. Cedrat Boise combines lemon, blackcurrant, crisp woods, musk and vanilla for a very long lasting and potent scent that is a real crowd pleaser. Perfect for any situation and in my humble opinion just a bit better than Aventus. Prepare for compliments when wearing this one. Performance is verging on beast mode on my skin. You should be able to pick up a 120ml bottle online for just under £100 with 60ml bottles also available for under £70.

Nicolai - New York Intense - Eau de Parfum

Created by Patricia de Nicolai – great granddaughter of Jean Pierre Guerlain of the eponyomus French fragrance house – New York Intense received a 5 star rating in Perfumes the Guide 2018 by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. On a less prestigious note it also gets a double thumbs up from Mr Smelly.

This is a slightly retro smelling spicy, powdery and woody masculine fragrance. Citrus, lavender, vanilla, styrax, musk and civet are just some of the notes in this complex and classy eau de parfum. Civet is a fragrance note derived from civet musk – a foul smelling scent produced by the anal glands of the male civet cat. Don’t worry – notes like these are often used in small amounts to provide depth and sensuality to fragrances. Wearing New York Intense will make you smell more like the cat’s whiskers than its backside. It’s a gorgeous mixture of fresh citrus notes, herbal aromatics, smooth woody tones and a buttery, sexy sweetness. It somehow hints at barbeshop/dad smells but avoids the medallion man connotations of 70's favourites such as Brut or Old Spice. The scent performs very well indeed.

This gem from Nicolai is a great alternative to the equally brilliant but far more expensive Invasion Barbare by MDCI Parfums. A 30ml bottle can be had for around £50.

Laboratory Perfumes - Gorse - Eau de Toilette

Gorse is a shrub which smells a bit like coconut. That’s a good starting point for describing this fragrance. A bright and breezy combination of lime, coconut with woods in the base. The subtle sweetness of the coconut/gorse accord combined with the zesty lime somehow comes off smelling a bit like a mojito – even though the fragrance contains neither mint nor rum notes - but you get the idea. It’s refreshing, uplifting and makes you feel happy. This one is definitely unisex. Correction – It’s UNISEXY!

Gorse smells very similar indeed to the more expensive Virgin Island Water by Creed. The scent lasts very well on the skin and is equally appropriate for year round daily wear or spring and summer evenings. 100ml is £65 and comes in a great laboratory beaker style bottle.

Seek out these fabulous and reasonably priced fragrances to experience some of the best scents available for just a bit more than designer scent prices. Have fun and remember - whatever we're doing in life - Let's Project!

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