Twisted Lily ~ shopping for perfume in New York

Twisted Lily, exterior and interior

Twisted Lily is a sunny little boutique located on the ever-growing Atlantic Avenue shopping strip of Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood. It opened last autumn, as a new project from the owners of online perfume retailer Parfum1. If you’re picturing a warehouse stocked with discounted mass-market scents, however, you’ll be surprised by Twisted Lily: its clean white interior is stocked exclusively with niche fragrance lines. A few big names like Serge Lutens and L’Artisan Parfumeur serve as anchors to a wide, thoughtful selection of smaller, independent lines that are difficult to find anywhere else in New York, like Imaginary Authors and Slumberhouse.

The fragrances are displayed in neat groupings along counters…

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Atelier Cologne ~ shopping for perfume in New York City

Atelier Cologne, store exterior, NolitaAtelier Cologne, store interior, Nolita

Sometimes it’s a treat to wander the length of a fragrance counter or a boutique that offers dozens of perfume lines. At other times, you just want to experience a single fragrance house without any rush or distraction. Atelier Cologne‘s fragrances are available at other locations in New York (including Bergdorf Goodman and Aedes de Venustas), but if you have the time, the company’s Nolita boutique is well worth a visit.

The shop is decorated in a very downtown, loft-chic style, with bare wood floors, exposed-brick walls, and repurposed industrial furnishings. The full Atelier line is available, with most fragrances offered in three sizes, as well as hefty bars of soap and candles in deep aubergine glass containers. The coffret sets would make memorable gifts…

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Osswald ~ shopping for perfume in New York City

Osswald, Soho, interior

Osswald Parfumerie & Luxury Skincare Boutique opened its New York branch in August 2012. This is the second of only two Osswald locations; the original boutique is located in Zurich, where the family-run Osswald Parfumerie business was founded in 1921.

Osswald’s New York boutique is located in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, near the downtown end of the West Broadway shopping strip. The store’s interior is visible through a glass facade and its door is propped invitingly open; just inside, you’ll ascend a few steps to the main shopping area. This layout is an apt metaphor for the Osswald shopping experience: accessible and upscale at the same time. Osswald carries a variety of hard-to-find niche fragrance lines, many of them not available anywhere else in the city…

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Woodley & Bunny ~ shopping for perfume in New York City

Woodley & Bunny store exterior

You might not normally think of going to a neighborhood hair salon to shop for fragrance, but Williamsburg, Brooklyn is not a typical neighborhood, and Woodley & Bunny is not a typical haircut joint. This trend-focused “Salon & Apothecary,” which opened in 2005, specializes not only in edgy hairstyles but also in cult-favorite beauty products of all kinds, including a selection of non-mainstream fragrances.

Woodley & Bunny is located three blocks from the subway (the Bedford Avenue stop of the L train) and just a few steps down from street level. Its retail area is located immediately inside the entrance of the salon. This space seems to be undergoing perpetual renovations, but it’s still easily browsable. In its fragrance offerings, there’s an emphasis on independent perfumers, including several New York-based lines and hard-to-find imports. (Woodley & Bunny is the only New York venue that carries Tauer Parfums, for example.) The various perfume lines are displayed on tables and open shelving…

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CB I Hate Perfume ~ shopping for perfume in New York City

CB I Hate Perfume store exteriorCB I Hate Perfume gallery open sign

Christopher Brosius, the “CB” behind CB I Hate Perfume, calls his perfumery’s headquarters and storefront a “gallery.” Located a few blocks away from the busy main shopping strips of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, the store does feel as much like a gallery, a studio, or a workshop as a retail venue. It’s a former industrial space that now looks half-loft, half-garage, decorated in a minimal, monochromatic scheme with little visual detail to distract you from experiencing CB I Hate Perfume’s fragrances.

And there are many, many fragrances indeed, with testers arranged by category in white box-like shelving units. In the “Perfume” category, you’ll find six series of fragrances with abstract designations such as “Archetype” and “Metamorphosis.” Some of them are inspired by Brosius’s childhood memories and his favorite works of literature and film, and others are his reworkings of classic concepts in perfumery (musk, rose, etc.). The Perfumes are available as perfume absolutes and cologne-like “water perfumes.” The next category includes fourteen series of Accords, from “fruit” and “flower” to “smoke” and “skin.” These oils, individually bottled and packaged at the time of purchase, are meant to be enjoyed singly or layered in your own combinations…

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