Le Labo, Diptyque, Atelier, Jean Paul Gaultier’s secret weapon, and Frederic Malle—grandson of the genius behind Parfums Christian Dior

There’s something in the air, and it’s not PM2.5. Elegant and elite niche perfumes are a booming industry, and one that the beauty counters in Bangkok malls are freshly lined with. That means it’s not hard to smell out these designer bottles in even the most mainstream department stores.

Le Labo

 

The brand: French for “the laboratory,” Le Labo grew in popularity after its 2014 acquisition by Estee Lauder. It specializes in hand-blended fragrances and even allows customers to customize their own bottles.

Our pick: Le Labo Santal 33. The combination of cardamom, iris and violet also includes notes of sandalwood, papyrus and cedarwood. The unique blend brings spicy, leathery and woody aromas; blended into one of the most complex and unique scents we’ve ever experienced. Believe the hype.

When to wear: It works perfectly in cool temperatures and for special nights out; lasting up to eight hours.

Who’s it for: Moneyed indie kids.

Where to get it: King Power, 8 Soi Rang Nam, 02-205-8888. Open daily 10am-9:30pm. BTS Victory Monument

Price: B9,035

 
 
 

Diptyque

 

The brand: This French brand was founded in 1961 by three artists. It is well-known for bizarre scents—candles?—and intricate iconography, on oval labels.

Our pick: Diptyque Eau Rose. This fruity-floral fragrance opens with fresh and juicy bergamot, blackcurrant and lychee, followed by subtle and realistic rose scents. Wearing it is like walking through a majestic rose garden.

When to wear: In the daytime, when you want to feel a bit feminine, without overpowering anyone’s senses.  

Who’s it for: Women who enjoy light floral scents.

Where to get it: Beauty Hall, M/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-658-1000. Open daily 10am-10pm. BTS Siam

Price: B6,550

 
 
 

Atelier Cologne

 

The brand: Inspired by the first eau de cologne, a couple launched this Paris-based house in 2009. Its perfumes are well-loved for their citrus scents and raw natural materials, which make the aromas subtle, yet long-lasting.

Our pick: Oolang Infini; a citrus fragrance fresh as morning air, blended with sweet oolong tea and florals. As it dries, it captures the comfort of sitting in front of a fireplace, wafting notes of gaiac wood and musk.

When to wear: Another daytime fragrance to wear to the office.

Who’s it for: Anyone who loves clean scents, or shies from overpowering aromas.

Where to get it: King Power, 8 Soi Rang Nam, 02-205-8888. Open daily 10am-9:30pm. BTS Victory Monument

Price: B5,935

 
 

Maison Francis Kurkdjian

 

The brand: In 1995, Armenian Francis Kurkdjian created Le Male for the French label Jean Paul Gaultier, and it went on to become one of the best-selling male fragrances of all time. After many years of experience as a perfumer, he launched his own fragrance line in 2009, which has topped the industry since.

Our pick: Aqua Universalis Forte. It begins with refreshing scents of bergamot and lemon, then blends harmoniously with sweet florals and wood scents. This fragrance is extremely natural, yet sophisticated.

When to wear: From a balmy day to a formal dinner.

Who’s it for: Though it leans feminine, a man who prefers soft and clean scents will fall for it.

Where to get it: Beauty Hall, M/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-658-1000. Open daily 10am-10pm. BTS Siam

Price: B7,999

 
 
 

Frederic Malle

 

The brand: Malle’s grandfather was the founder of Parfums Christian Dior, so Malle has been well-educated, and he is intensely passionate about his craft. After a quarter century as a perfume expert, he created this perfume house in 2000. His core focus was perfumes sold under perfumers’ names.

Our pick: Musc Ravageur. This oriental fragrance is the brand’s most iconic perfume; known for its heavy, one-of-a-kind opening note of musk. Enhanced by lavender and vanilla bases, it balances masculine with sweet.

When to wear: Perfect for everyday wear—from workplace to gala events.

Who’s it for: A gentle, yet seductive man.

Where to get it: Beauty Hall, M/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-658-1000. Open daily 10am-10pm. BTS Siam

Price: B9,799 

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