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The Warsaw Voice » Other » March 18, 2009
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Unique Fragrances, Limited Editions
March 18, 2009 By El¿bieta Wrzecionkowska   
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Perfumes from giant international manufacturers are becoming more widely available. moreover, their original formulas are being simplified and natural ingredients are being replaced with synthetic equivalents. But not everyone likes this trend. People are increasingly looking for an original and unique fragrance to highlight their own individuality. That's when they reach for niche perfumes.

There are just a dozen or so niche brands of exclusive perfumes in the world, including names such as Amouage, Clive Christian, Annick Goutal, Bellefontaine, Creed, Etro, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Lorenzo Villoresi, Menard, Parfums M. Micallef, and Bond No. 9. Many of these brands date back to the 18th century, and the prices of some limited editions are enough to make your head spin.

From England to France
The House of Creed was founded in 1760 when James Henry Creed opened his first shop in London. Few perfume companies can boast such a long tradition. It rapidly became a favorite of the aristocracy and soon Queen Victoria made Creed an official supplier to the royal household. Eventually Creed was adopted by Napoléon III and Eugénie of France and Franz-Joseph and Elizabeth (Sissi) of Austro-Hungary. In 1854, under the patronage of Empress Eugénie, the House of Creed moved to Paris where it established a firm reputation for the rare beauty, quality and exclusivity of its fragrances. Today Olivier Creed, the direct descendant of James Henry Creed, continues this great tradition as head of the House of Creed.

Myrrh and Frankincense
The story of how Amouage perfumes came into being sounds like a tale from the Arabian Nights. Sheikh Sayyid Hamed bin Hamood, a close relative of the sultan of Oman, attached great importance to his country's cultural heritage. He wanted to restore the age-old Arabian perfume art to the world. Twenty-five years ago he commissioned the great perfumer Guy Robert to compose a new perfume and gave him free rein. He could use the most highly valued, rarest and most expensive ingredients. As far as the sheikh was concerned, the sky was the limit budget-wise. The result was Amouage Gold, the first Amouage perfume. Robert later said this was the crowning of his career. This is a fragrance for special occasions, composed of 120 natural essences from all over the world. One particularly valuable ingredient is silver frankincense, which grows in the inaccessible mountains of Dhofar in southern Oman. The aroma of frankincense has unusual properties: it is a mood improver, stimulates the brain and boosts self-confidence. Frankincense, a symbol of divinity, next to myrrh and gold was one of the gifts offered to the baby Jesus by the three wise men. Interestingly, myrrh is also an ingredient of this perfume, while gold is used to decorate the beautiful flacons. Amouage's hand-engraved flacons were designed by the jewelers of Queen Elizabeth II, who drew their inspiration from the architecture and art of Oman. They are made in Normandy from French crystal decorated with 24-carat gold.

The World's Most Expensive Perfume
Imperial Majesty is a limited edition of just 10 bottles of No. 1-the flagship fragrance by Clive Christian. Half a liter of pure perfume has been poured into a flacon made of Baccarat crystal and 18-carat gold, decorated with a 5-carat diamond. Imperial Majesty costs 115,000 British pounds. From the five bottles put up for sale, three have found buyers so far, while the other two are on display at Harrods in London and Bergdorf Goodman in New York. One bottle was shown this year at the Quality Missala perfumery at Warsaw's LIM Center in the Marriott Hotel building.

The Fragrance of New York
The Bond No. 9 exclusive perfume brand was created as an homage to the great city of New York. Its name is a reference to the address of its headquarters boutique at 9 Bond Street in NoHo. New York deserves its own perfume palette: Broadway, Manhattan, Wall Street, 5th Avenue… all have an exciting charisma and are electrifying. The eyes of the whole world are on this metropolis. This is the global center for taste shaping, trend setting, and rule breaking.

A few years ago French perfumer Laurice Rahmé, a dedicated New York resident of 25 years, decided to offer her beloved city its own rainbow of fragrances. She created fragrances with notes expressing the poetry, dreams, mystery, energy and spirit of New York-the premier metropolis of the 21st century. The Bond No. 9 collection today includes over 30 fragrances. The brand has a double mission: to restore traditional perfumery art to the city, and to give each district of New York its own exclusive fragrance.

Each perfume expresses the specific character of a different part of the city but also the atmosphere and emotions of New York as a whole. All the fragrances are strong and sharp, bold and deep-from the audacious and witty to the unexpected. They express the spirit of this fast-living and hard-working city.

The creators of Bond No. 9 have drawn from the roots of traditional perfume making. The eaux de parfum they compose have the highest, 18-22 percent, content of aromatic compounds. This means the fragrances last a long time on the skin, just like the great perfumes of the 1920s and '30s.

Against Stress
The latest limited edition of Shiseido Zen eau de parfum for the summer is designed to stimulate positive energy. The fragrance was created on the basis of the AS formula which has anti-stress properties. The key notes are blackcurrant, raspberry, lily of the valley, and white musk. This floral, fruity and amber fragrance has aromatherapeutic properties that are sure to come in handy as the winter turns into spring.

You can smell and try out all these extraordinary and limited-edition fragrances in Poland at the Quality Missala perfumery, which has imported luxury and niche cosmetics to Poland for some years. The perfume shop's founder Stanisława Missala decided a few years ago to set up a boutique selling exclusive fragrances in Warsaw from the world's most famous and most expensive cosmetics firms. Today there are three perfumeries offering niche brands in Warsaw, one in Wrocław and one in Toruń.
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