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This year, the Indie Fragrance of the Year award makes the leap to the big stage at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. The Indie Award recognizes a fragrance launched by a brand not distributed or owned by a large company, and sold in fewer than 50 stores in the U.S.

This story first appeared in the June 17, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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Carven Pour Homme — Carven

Launched: 2015

Perfumer and fragrance house: Francis Kurkdjian and Patricia Choux, Takasago Perfumers

Notes:

Top: Spontaneous freshness opens with sparkling notes of grapefruit and violet leaf, softened by the sensuousness of orange blossom.

Mid: Spicy warmth from a trio of sage, nutmeg and cedar.

Base: Vetiver, the distinct base signature, is softened by milky notes of sandalwood.

Inspiration: “Pour Homme a renewal of the timeless values of this ultra-Parisian brand,” said Emmanuel Saujet, chief executive officer and cofounder of International Cosmetics & Perfumes Inc. “The fragrance honors the tradition of men’s scent at Carven with a nod to Vétiver — the original men’s scent created by Madame Carven, launched in 1957 — and a burst of modernity.”

Fragrance Type: Woody spice aromatic

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Flowerhead — Byredo

Launched: 2014

Perfumer and fragrance house: Olivia Giacobetti and Jérôme Epinette, Robertet

Notes:

Top: Angelica seeds, Sicilian lemon and lingonberry.

Mid: Wild jasmine sambac, dewy tuberose and rose petals.

Base: Fresh amber and suede.

Fragrance Type: Floral

Inspiration: Byredo’s founder and creative director, Ben Gorham, imagined an Indian wedding ceremony as the inspiration for Flowerhead. Flowers play a central role with Flowerheads strung together on giant leis that are exchanged between bride and groom. At the heart of Flowerhead is wild jasmine sambac, a blossom native to southern India. The scent is a complex juxtaposition of light and dark, sweet and sharp, soft and keenly faceted.

 

Intoxicated — By Kilian

Launched: 2014

Perfumer and fragrance house: Calice Asancheyev-Becker, Stéphid

Notes:

Top: Rich viscous Turkish coffee.

Mid: Green cardamom, nutmeg and powdered cinnamon.

Base: Burned caramelized sugar.

Fragrance Type:  Aromatic spicy for men and women

Inspiration: “The inspiration came from my travels to the Middle East, where they serve you Turkish coffee scented with cardamom seeds,” explained Kilian Hennessy. “Back from one of my trips, I called Calice Becker and asked her to start working on a coffee/cardamom accord. Intoxicated is a sweet scent that does not smell sugary. [The scent is] built on a olfactive accord that did not exist in the market, because, in the end, what matters is to find our own olfactive paths.”

 

Mojave Ghost — Byredo

Launched: 2014

Perfumer and fragrance house: Jérôme Epinette, Robertet

Notes:

Top: Ambrette and Jamaican nesberry.

Mid: Violet, sandalwood and magnolia.

Base: Chantilly musk, crisp amber and cedarwood.

Fragrance Type: Oriental floral

Inspiration: The ghost flower, or Mohavea confertiflora, which blossoms and survives in the baked ground of the Mojave Desert, inspired Byredo’s Mojave Ghost. “The flower’s almost-humanlike behavior fascinated me the most,” said Byredo founder and creative director Ben Gorham, who remembers first visiting the Mojave on a cross-country trip with his grandfather as a child. But translating this unique setting into a fragrance wasn’t simple. “It’s always difficult when you try to capture aspects and smells of a specific place, because there are often many layers.”

Ombre Indigo — Olfactive Studio

Launched:  2014

Perfumer and fragrance house:  Mylène Alran, Robertet

Notes:   

Top: Petit-grain bigarade, absolute tuberose, saffron and plum.

Middle: Vetiver essence, papyrus essence, leather and\, incense.

Base: Benzoin resin, amber and musk.

Fragrance Type: Smoky, woody, spicy combo

Inspiration: Céline Verleure, creator of Olfactive Studio, was inspired by the shadows in a serene image of a man in water by Brazilian photographer Gustavo Pellizzon. That prompted Verleure to think about what a shadow smells like. “The answer is a smoky fragrance, but also one that is very flamboyant,” Verleure said. Ombre Indigo is a study of contrasts — a blend of woods and smoked resins reveals the opulence of tuberose laced with saffron.

Another hallmark of Ombre Indigo is it is truly a shared fragrance, with wide acceptance among men and women, Verleure said.