If you don’t want to smell like every other guy on the street, one of the best things you can do is put on a scent from an independent fragrance brand. These brands aren’t restricted by shareholder input or an extensive C-suite. Instead, they can let their creativity shine through every spritz. Above, Robb Report‘s senior editor Justin Fenner offers a deep dive on the indie (and indie-ish) fragrances he can’t stop wearing right now—but you can dive into them for yourself below.
Chris Collins Tokyo Blue
Chris Collins spent decades modeling for Ralph Lauren, and clearly his time with the master of lifestyle brands rubbed off. Tokyo Blue is named after Japan’s Insta-friendly Shibuya Cave Illuminations, and features top notes of bergamot, galbanum and ylang ylang; middle notes of violet leaf, orris, orange blossom and rose; and base notes of cedarwood and musk. The violet gives it a gentlemanly barbershop quality, and its status as an extrait de parfum means you really can wear it all day.
Killian L’Heure Verte
Kilian Hennessy is without a doubt one of the greatest perfumers of his generation—so great that about five years ago, his brand was acquired by Estee Lauder. Still, Kilian (the brand) operates very much like an independent outfit, which you see in inventive offerings like his cocktail-themed line. L’Heure Verte looks like it’s packaged in a crystal rocks glass and smells like you’ve been drinking absinthe—in a chic way—and that’s the point. It’s a top note of absinthe, middle notes of violet leaf and licorice heart and base notes of patchouli, vetiver and sandalwood. Race you to the bar.
Perhaps no other brand wraps mythology around its fragrances quite like Arquiste, led by architect and businessman Carlos Huber. This one envisions a time when cashmere shawls fell out of fashion, and wraps up their patchouli scented warmth with top notes of bergamot, angelica root and French lavender; middle notes of Bulgarian rose, ambrette seeds and akigala wood; and base notes of patchouli and tonka bean. It’s inviting and intensely comforting, just like your favorite sweater.
DS & Durga Mississippi Medicine
Brooklyn-based fragrance brand DS & Durga makes some of the most imaginative scents you can buy today. Case in point: Mississippi Medicine. It’s inspired by the Mississippi death cults of the 1300s (Google it), a society that anthropologists believe viewed cedar as a portal between worlds. Accordingly, it puts the wood front and center in a combination that features top notes of red cedar and frankincense; middle notes of cypress root, black pine and cascarilla bark; and base notes of incense, Spanish cafe and birch tar. Well-read types will appreciate how much it smells like being in the most stylish rare book store you can imagine.
Krigler Sylt Style 2022
Inspired by the island of Sylt—sort of Germany’s answer to Martha’s Vineyard—Sylt Style 2202 smells like being on a great vacation on the shores of the North Sea. With top notes of pink, pepper, almond and orange; middle notes of ginger, hazelnut and cypriol; and base notes of vanilla, tree moss and amber, this fragrance has freshness in spades balanced by the warming qualities of amber and vanilla.