There’s a new trend in niche fragrances: expensive presentation bottles filled with reasonably priced perfumes — perfumes that can only be bought at the “reasonable price” after the initial “trophy bottle” purchase. Agonist Parfums, based in Sweden, is one such (what I’ll call) “niche-niche” perfumery; it specializes in “unique fragrances embraced by handcrafted Swedish glass.”
Agonist Parfums highlights its perfume presentation as much as it does its perfumes. I wonder if Agonist’s sales would increase greatly if their perfumes could be bought without the deluxe bottles? (Or is Agonist really geared towards glass collectors who like a splash of hard-to-find perfume with their glassware?)
The Infidels, purchased with the bottle shown above, costs $495 (when you buy The Infidels perfume for the first time, the scent is contained in a separate bottle until you decant it into the “presentation” bottle). After your bottle is empty, you can use your special customer registration number to buy a refill (50 ml Eau de Parfum for $90). When paying almost $500 (unless price is not a concern), one must really love and want The Infidels bottle as much as the perfume. I really like The Infidels fragrance, but I can live without the bottle, so I’ll never own this perfume — one I would have otherwise bought.
The Agonist brand was “inspired by the melancholy and beauty of film, poetry and literature from (Ingmar) Bergman, (Karin) Boye and (Greta) Garbo and other iconized characters from Swedish culture.” The Infidels contains notes of blackcurrant, green cumin, bergamot, magnolia, tonka bean, lavender, patchouli, labdanum and amber.
The Infidels is a beautifully blended leather fragrance with spicy and floral accents. The Infidels goes on soft and smooth with lots of “silky” labdanum; don’t expect a “shock” of blackcurrant or green cumin (each of these notes has been “blunted” in the composition — I think even cumin-haters won’t mind the sweet/powdery cumin in The Infidels). The heart of The Infidels is milky tonka bean mixed with “magnolia” (here, in a rich, slightly indolic interpretation). There is a hint of patchouli and a wonderful, slightly dry amber accord in the base (smelling of benzoin/vanilla, incense, fragrant wood). The Infidels smells “dressy” and expensive. How this perfume relates to the words “agonist” and “infidel” is lost on me; The Infidels fragrance seems made for a person who is self-assured, at ease, and reverential, if not to a god, certainly to the better things in life.
The Infidels is a unisex fragrance with good lasting power and sillage. The Infidels’ bottles, each one unique and designed by Åsa Jungnelius of Kosta Boda, come with steel pins for applying the scent onto skin; the bottles are hefty — at almost 6 inches high and 4 inches in width. The Agonist Parfums staff in Sweden were super-kind and helpful to me as I wrote this review — answering all my questions quickly...and patiently.