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Fragrance Foundation: Indie Fragrance of the Year — The Finalists

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 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.

See Full Coverage of Fragrance Foundation Awards Here >>

Carven Pour Homme — Carven

Launched: 2015

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


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.”

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Fragrance Type: Woody spice aromatic

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Flowerhead — Byredo

Launched: 2014

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


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


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


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


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.