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Apothecary Lab - Rising Trend in Fragrance


Thumbnail with images from Penhaligons, Nonfiction, Officine Universalle Buly, Le Labo and Perfumer H

Introduction to Apothecary Lab

In the realm of fragrance, the Apothecary Lab trend represents a contemporary revival of the ancient apothecary's ethos, blending meticulous science with a steadfast commitment to ethics and sustainability.

 

This modern interpretation harks back to a time when apothecaries were revered as the custodians of medicinal and botanical knowledge, now reimagined through the lens of perfumery. Brands aligned with this trend, such as Le Labo, Diptyque, and Penhaligons, stand out for their scientific approach to fragrance creation, emphasizing the integrity and purity of their ingredients. Ffern, Officine Universelle Buly, and Nonfiction further embody this ethos by integrating sustainable practices into every aspect of their production, from sourcing to packaging. Frama and Perfumer H, meanwhile, delve deep into the art and science of scent, offering bespoke and carefully crafted fragrances that cater to the discerning olfactory explorer. The Apothecary Lab trend champions a return to thoughtful, artisanal methods of fragrance creation, where each scent is a testament to the brand's dedication to quality, authenticity, and environmental stewardship.


You can learn more about the Apothecary Lab brand type in "Apothecary Lab Beauty Brand Archetype Report 2023".



 


glass bottle with rustic apothecary style aesthetic from Le Labo.

Le Labo

Le Labo stands at the forefront of the Apothecary Lab trend, embodying the essence of artisanal perfumery with a distinct scientific flair. Founded in New York City in 2006 by Eddie Roschi and Fabrice Penot, the brand eschews the conventional in favor of a more personalized, ethical approach to fragrance creation. At the heart of Le Labo's philosophy is the belief in crafting scents that are both unique and timeless, with each fragrance freshly compounded by hand at the moment of purchase to ensure the highest quality. The brand's commitment to sustainability is evident in its use of natural ingredients, recyclable packaging, and cruelty-free practices. With iconic scents like Santal 33 and Rose 31, Le Labo has not only captivated a global audience but also redefined luxury perfumery as an intimate, ethical, and highly individual experience. This dedication to the craft and ethos of the traditional apothecary, combined with a modern sensibility, makes Le Labo a beacon for those seeking depth, authenticity, and sustainability in their scent journey.

 


Clear Glass packaging in various shapes with vintage apothecary aesthetic with black caps, from Diptyque.

Diptyque

Diptyque, a Parisian icon since its inception in 1961, gracefully bridges the gap between the traditional apothecary and modern perfumery. Founded by three friends—Christiane Gautrot, Desmond Knox-Leet, and Yves Coueslant—Diptyque initially opened as a boutique to sell their fabric designs and imported treasures. However, their shared passion for fragrance soon led them to develop their own line of scents, which quickly became the heart of their brand. Diptyque's approach to fragrance creation is deeply rooted in an artisanal tradition, emphasizing the purity and quality of botanical ingredients. Each scent, from the woody depths of Tam Dao to the beloved freshness of Philosykos, is a sophisticated blend of rare essences and stories waiting to be told. With its elegant packaging and emphasis on ethical sourcing and sustainability, Diptyque embodies the essence of the Apothecary Lab trend—marrying the scientific with the sensual and the ethical with the environmental. The brand's enduring appeal lies in its ability to continuously enchant and engage the senses while upholding the principles of traditional apothecary in a contemporary context.

 


Penhaligons

Penhaligon's, a quintessentially British fragrance house, has been captivating the senses since its establishment in 1870 by William Penhaligon. This venerable brand embodies the Apothecary Lab trend through its storied history, blending meticulous craftsmanship with an unwavering commitment to quality and tradition. Penhaligon's fragrances are renowned for their complex compositions, drawing on a rich palette of natural ingredients to create scents that are both timeless and innovative. Each perfume bottle, with its distinctive bow-wrapped stopper, is a nod to the brand's heritage and its origins as a barber shop. Penhaligon's dedication to sustainability and ethical sourcing breathes new life into the classic apothecary ethos, offering a modern take on artisanal perfumery. From the maritime freshness of Blenheim Bouquet to the opulent floral notes of The Favourite, Penhaligon's continues to charm and allure with fragrances that bridge the gap between the historical and the contemporary, making it a beacon for those who appreciate the art of fine perfumery within the framework of ethical and sustainable practices.

 


Ffern

Ffern is a testament to the modern resurgence of the apothecary tradition in fragrance, merging the art of natural perfumery with an unwavering commitment to sustainability and ethical production. Launched as a seasonal perfumery, Ffern releases limited-edition scents four times a year, aligning each creation with the solstices and equinoxes. This approach not only ensures the freshness and relevance of their fragrances but also highlights the brand's dedication to using organic, ethically sourced ingredients. Ffern operates on a direct-to-customer model, fostering a close relationship with its clientele and maintaining transparency rare in the industry. Each batch is meticulously crafted in small quantities to minimize waste and ensure the highest quality, embodying the brand’s philosophy of mindful consumption and respect for the natural world. With fragrances that are as fleeting as they are beautiful, Ffern invites its wearers to embark on a olfactory journey through the seasons, making it a standout example of the Apothecary Lab trend's focus on scientific, ethical, and sustainable practices in modern perfumery.

 


Officine Universelle Buly

Officine Universelle Buly is an illustrious revival of the historic Parisian apothecary brand, originally founded by Jean-Vincent Bully in the early 19th century and reimagined by Ramdane Touhami and Victoire de Taillac in 2014. This brand epitomizes the Apothecary Lab trend through its fusion of age-old wisdom with avant-garde formulations, offering a range of fragrances that pay homage to traditional apothecary techniques while embracing contemporary ethical and sustainable practices. Officine Universelle Buly’s products, from its exquisite perfumes to its aromatic vinegars and scented candles, are crafted with meticulous attention to detail, using the finest natural ingredients sourced from around the globe. The brand stands out for its unique approach to scent, eschewing alcohol in its perfumes for a water-based formula that harks back to the bygone era of the original apothecaries. With its elegant boutiques designed to mirror the refined aesthetics of a 19th-century apothecary shop, Officine Universelle Buly offers a sensory and visual experience that transports patrons to a world where the art of perfumery is intertwined with the healing powers of nature.

 


Nonfiction

Nonfiction, emerging from South Korea, presents itself as a contemporary interpretation of the Apothecary Lab trend, blending the meticulousness of science with the artistry of perfumery. This brand distinguishes itself through its focus on creating fragrances that narrate personal stories and memories, encapsulating moments of everyday life in unique scent experiences. With an emphasis on high-quality, natural ingredients, Nonfiction's perfumes are crafted to be as evocative as they are ethical and sustainable. The brand's aesthetic—clean, modern, and understated—reflects its philosophy of transparency and simplicity, appealing to a discerning clientele that value both the origin and impact of their chosen scents. Nonfiction's collections, which range from personal fragrances to home scents, are a testament to the brand's commitment to blending traditional apothecary values with contemporary lifestyle needs, making it a noteworthy addition to the modern perfumery landscape for those seeking authenticity and depth in their olfactory choices.

 


Frama

Frama, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, brings a minimalist and holistic approach to the Apothecary Lab trend, embodying the intersection of architectural design and olfactory art. Founded with a deep respect for natural materials and simple geometry, Frama's fragrance line extends this philosophy into the realm of scent, offering creations that are both understated and profound. Their perfumes, characterized by purity and simplicity, are designed to complement the natural world and the human presence within it. Emphasizing sustainability, Frama uses organic and plant-based ingredients, ensuring each fragrance not only smells exquisite but also adheres to ethical and environmental standards. The brand’s commitment to timeless design and quality is evident in their elegantly understated packaging, which mirrors the clean, architectural lines of their flagship studio space. Frama’s scents, such as St. Pauls and 1917, invite wearers to explore a sensory journey that is as refined as it is deeply personal, making it a beacon for those who appreciate the beauty in simplicity and the art of slow living.

 


Perfumer H

Perfumer H is the brainchild of Lyn Harris, a renowned British perfumer, who after decades of experience in traditional perfumery, launched her own brand to explore a more intimate and personalized approach to scent creation. Situated in the heart of London, Perfumer H operates like a modern-day apothecary, offering a bespoke fragrance service alongside its seasonal and permanent collections. Each fragrance under the Perfumer H label is meticulously crafted, embodying Harris's dedication to artisanship, quality, and the use of the finest natural ingredients. The brand stands out for its commitment to transparency, sustainability, and the creation of scents that resonate on a deeply personal level with its clientele. The elegantly simple glassware, designed by Harris herself, encapsulates the essence of Perfumer H: timeless, understated, and profoundly individual. With creations that range from the refreshingly simple to the complex and evocative, Perfumer H invites its wearers into a world where fragrance is not just worn but experienced, making it a distinguished exemplar of the Apothecary Lab trend for those in pursuit of olfactory artistry and personal expression.



The Apothecary Lab trend in contemporary perfumery marks a thoughtful return to the roots of fragrance creation, where the blend of art and science, tradition, and innovation, offers a deeper, more meaningful olfactory experience. Through the meticulous craftsmanship of brands like Le Labo, Diptyque, and Penhaligons, and the innovative approaches of Ffern, Officine Universelle Buly, and Nonfiction, this movement encapsulates a reverence for the natural world, ethical sourcing, and sustainable practices. Frama and Perfumer H further enrich the landscape with their bespoke and artisanal creations, highlighting the personalized nature of scent. Together, these brands weave a narrative that transcends the mere act of perfuming, inviting wearers to engage in a ritual of self-care that is both ancient and profoundly relevant in today's world. As the Apothecary Lab trend continues to evolve, it promises to redefine luxury perfumery as an intimate journey of discovery, where each scent is a key to unlocking personal stories, memories, and connections to the earth.



Key Takeaways

  • The Apothecary Lab trend merges scientific precision with ethical and sustainable perfumery practices.

  • It represents a modern revival of traditional apothecary wisdom, emphasizing the therapeutic and transformative potential of fragrance.

  • Brands within this trend prioritize the integrity and purity of natural ingredients, ensuring ethical sourcing and environmental stewardship.

  • Artisanal craftsmanship and bespoke fragrance creation are hallmarks, offering personalized olfactory experiences.

  • The trend champions gender-neutral scents, embracing inclusivity and a broad appeal to various identities.

  • There is a strong focus on sustainability, from ingredient selection to packaging, reflecting a commitment to minimizing environmental impact.




This article is an excerpt from my annual trend report "Top Fragrance Brands Trending on Instagram 2023", get the full report for more insights into the current trends in fragrance. The trend analysis was based on fragrance brands performance on Instagram for all of 2023.





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Portrait photo of Jennifer Carlsson, short neon green hair and rainbow colored eye makeup
Jennifer Carlsson
The Beauty Brand Expert

I'm Jennifer Carlsson, a 30 year old strategy consultant, competitive market researcher, data analyst and designer from Stockholm, Sweden. I know more about more beauty brands than anyone else and I'm an expert in what it takes for beauty brands to succeed.
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