Meet the Indie Perfumers Who Are Making Scents of L.A.

What’s that smell? A local small-batch fragrance revolution
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Lilacs in bloom, woodsmoke, sea mist, pine trees, and wet pavement. The mix of aromas Samantha Rader encountered on a 2013 trip to Big Sur inspired her to start Dasein Fragrance, the artisanal line she oversees when she’s not running her psychotherapy practice in Highland Park. Carina Chaz, the 25-year-old founder of DedCool, began playing with scents when she was 10.

The two are part of a growing community of small-batch perfumers in Los Angeles that has blossomed over the last decade. “The modern fragrance world has been around for 300-plus years and has pretty much been at a standstill,” Chaz says. “You don’t really see any type of young person in the space. You don’t see any new concepts in the fragrance world.”

But the birth of social media and the rise of the natural fragrance movement have enabled independent brands to carve out a quirky niche in a $38 billion industry that had long been dominated by traditional French perfume houses. Notable collaborations have also helped indie perfumers get mainstream attention. Sanae Barber, the well-connected founder of Sanae Intoxicants, created a signature spray for musician Father John Misty (Innocence by Misty retails for $220). Before opening Vespertine, chef Jordan Kahn reached out to L.A. perfumer Linda Sivrican to craft a scent that would be used throughout the restaurant. “At the end of the meal, he would present diners with a vial of the fragrance to take home with them,” adds Sivrican, who blends and sells her fragrances at Orris.

Southern California itself is a source of inspiration for Krystal Quinn Castro, the founder of Los Feliz Botanicals. The brand’s namesake scent, Los Feliz, “is inspired by our old street, Kenmore,” Quinn Castro says. “It has all these magnolia trees and jasmine, and in the evenings during the summer, the air will make your head swim it’s so fragrant. We also had citrus trees around, so there was a bright tartness there as well.” It’s a scent that is as intoxicating as it is personal—and one that could only be made here.


What Do Celebs Smell Like? 

Top Perfumer Linda Sivrican dreams up a few fantasy fragrances inspired by her favorite celebs

Lana Del Rey

An enigmatic blend of gold coins, bruised blackberries, 10,000 jasmine petals, beaver’s essence, a bit of decay—because her music is bewitching.

Oprah

Sandalwood, incense, mystical agarwood, heart- opening and healing essences of pure rose absolutes—a soulful, spiritual fragrance for grounding, introspection, power, and love, because Oprah embodies all of these things. Add in a bit of vanilla absolute from Madagascar because I can imagine her smelling like home and a big, warm hug.

Timothée Chalamet

An insane combination of macrocyclic musks and lactones—because I’m certain he smells like the sexiest peach in the world.


RELATED: L.A.’s Best DIY Perfumery Turns Ideas Into Fragrances


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