These days, it seems like a new fragrance company opens up a shop in Singapore pretty often. We’re not talking about the types of perfumes you normally get at fashion labels like Chanel or Hermés – these are dedicated perfume houses that specialise in making scents. Some of these are so exclusive that they only create bespoke fragrances for those in the know.
What would you pay for a fine fragrance? Several hundred? How about thousands? Bespoke fragrances can run into five digits and above; for example, you can get Guerlain to create your custom spritz for at least US$55,000. In fact, most of these perfume houses offer bespoke fragrance services.
Here are some revered scent houses with shockingly expensive scents.
The “World’s Most Expensive Perfume” in the Guinness Book of Record in 2005 was Clive Christian’s limited edition (only 10 500ml bottles were produced) No. 1 Imperial Majesty, which at £115,000 included delivery in a Bentley! The record was broken again in 2014 with the release of No. 1 Passant Guardant, which had a price tag of £143,000 as the flacon was made of gold and diamonds.
Another pricey fragrance is the US$10,000 Osmanthus Absolute, 100% pure perfume oil from rare osmanthus flowers: each bottle is housed in a handmade walnut box that takes craftsmen 4 weeks to make! While these are hard to get your hands on, the most expensive commercially available bottle is Chasing the Dragon at £595. At this British perfume house, all of its bottles are designed with a crown-shaped top, created in 1872 to pay homage to Queen Victoria.
Henri Jacques is a French brand established in 1975 that once created bespoke fragrances to those in the know, and it wasn’t until 2015 that it opened its very first store to the public (2017 in Singapore). Their most recent release is a solid balm version of their Les Classiques range – with 50 fragrances – housed in a unique box called Clic-Clac, and made news for their price tag: from S$44,475 (choose between titanium, carbon, and gold)!
Prices for most of their scents hover around the S$880-$1,070 range for a 15ml flacon. They also house their special editions scents in designer flacons – the Ruby Rose Couture Flacon with Aude scent goes for S$4,960. They also recently released the limited edition Les Toupies, a three-part series of his-and-her perfume pairs that are shaped like spinning tops, which go from around S$7,450-$11,700.
Established in 2000, Frédéric Malle has a huge range of perfumes, each created with a different perfume designer. Some of its most exclusive scents include those infused with frankincense, like Dawn and Night, both of which cost US$1,500 for a 100ml spray.
They also produce a range of body products, like shower creams, body butters, hair mists, and body oils.
Shalini Parfum was launched in 2004 in New York, with 7 signature fragrances for women including the flagship Shalini which infuses the rare tuberose – often referred to as “liquid gold.” Fragrances in the range are available in flacons with gold-thread glass stoppers or bulb atomisers at US$500, as well as the more decadent Byzantine Glass Flacon at US$1,100.
There is also a collector’s edition, housed in Lalique crystal flacons that come in a variety of designs depending on the fragrance, going at US$3,000.
Albert Krigler has been linked to royals since 1904, spanning the continent from St. Petersburg to Berlin, Côte D’Azur, and New York City. Today the brand is run by his great-great-grandson. Their most expensive fragrances cost US$935 (100ml), including the Eleganter Schwan 06 which was inspired by Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle, and the Good Fir 11 which was inspired by Colorado, with very few bottles produced.
For a mere US$435, you can get your hands on the Pleasure Gardenia 79, their original fragrance concocted in 1879 by Albert to woo his future wife.
The House of Creed
Established in 1760, British perfumery Creed is the oldest perfumery in the world, with a clientele spanning the likes of Queen Victoria to Audrey Hepburn.
In 2010, it introduced the unisex Les Royal Exclusive collection, the 250ml bottles of which cost US$1,025 – housed in hand-blown gold-etched Pochet bottles – to celebrate their 250th anniversary. The 75ml bottles go for US$560. The five scents in this collection feature some of the rarest ingredients in the world.
Sustainability has become an essential goal across the fashion and beauty industries, and Cultus Artem is part of a growing world of “clean fragrance”. The brand was established in 2015 by a jewellery designer based in Texas – each scent is made by hand using natural ingredients and packaged in recycled, designer bottles.
The price for their larger 50ml bottles go from US$550-580, and uses Asian ingredients like Indian Tuberose and Chinese Osmanthus. The 8 fragrances – Lucky Eight! – in the collection are an homage to Singapore, as the creator lived here for almost 20 years before starting her brand.
Billed as a fragrance destination with many brands under its umbrella, British brand Roja Dove also has its own fragrance lines: Roja Parfums and Roja Dove Semi Bespoke. The house categorises fragrances in four categories (ie. citrus, floral, etc) and its most decadent scent is the Roja Haute Luxe, which is limited to 500 bottles, at £2,500 each (other fragrances in the collection are half that).
Roja Dove is a relatively new – it was only established in 2011, but already making waves in the perfume industry.
House of Sillage
The House of Sillage has a wide range of perfumes, each housed in uniquely-designed bottles with a signature shape. The perfumery has a Limited Edition range which features precious gemstones and unique design elements, each bottle numbered for authenticity and rarity. While they cost US$1,210, they’re limited editions of their Signature Collection, which sell for a quarter of the price.
House of Sillage is based in California, with fragrances produced in France. Established in 2011, HOS also produces purse sprays and make-up.
The Stockholm-based BYREDO – established in 2006 – is popular for its incredibly chic and minimal packaging, and its unisex scents. Their 50ml Extrait de Parfum (perfume extract which is richer than their eau de parfum) range, goes for €245.
Like many fragrance brands, BYREDO also has a range of scented candles and body care products.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Maison Francis Kurkdjian is a French perfume house established in 2009, created with a contemporary vision.
The unisex Baccarat Rouge 540 is one of the most coveted scents, and comes in both Eau de Parfum (at S$785 for the 200ml) as well as the more concentrated Extrait de Parfum version, which goes for S$1,135 for 200ml. It’s also known to last for an average of 10 hours on the skin.
If you have cash to spare, will you be looking at these exorbitant gifts this season?