The first time you meet someone wearing “your” signature scent, it’s a bit of a shock. Of all the top notes in the world, your unique preference for lemongrass is just the same! Then it happens again. This time, it’s at work. Then yet again in the locker room. However pleasing this scent once was to you, it’s lost its allure.
When you purchase mass-produced fragrances from a beauty counter, this is bound to happen: Chicagoan Tara Swords is determined to change that. She launched a fragrance delivery service, Olfactif, to introduce men and women to three niche fragrances every month. Swords is emphatic that the scents are unisex (and don’t let the perfume industry let you think otherwise). A subscription costs $18 per month (which can be used as a credit towards purchasing a full-sized bottle, if you choose) and includes three 2.25-millileter glass vials shipped to your door.
Since Swords spends her days smelling and testing an absurd amount of fragrance, she’s developed a blatant disregard for trends, which I find refreshing. “We find scents that are somehow outside the experience of most mainstream perfume consumers—things that are interesting or go against trend,” she says. “Sometimes that can be a scent that’s challenging, and sometimes it can be a scent that is surprising in its simplicity.”
For the holidays, Olfactif offers a $20 bestseller sampler kit, which would make a lovely gift.