Editor’s Note: Let us welcome Lukas today, who will introduce himself below.
Hello to all who travel through the perfume world along with Olfactoria!
Nice to see so many perfume enthusiasts in one place. Let me introduce myself: I’m Lucas of Chemist in the Bottle, a blog about perfume and chemistry. Thanks to our beloved Olfactoria, I’m here today as a guest writer, which is very exciting. Bows to Olfactoria for having me, you’re an amazing host. Now on to the main topic!
I became interested in perfume in 2006. I was a junior high school student living in a small town without any fancy shopping centers or movie theaters. Every now and then I jumped on a train to take an hour-long journey to Poznań, the biggest city in my region. I used to go there with my friend to see a movie, do some shopping and have lunch. As part of those little adventures we also visited Sephora. That was my first experience with perfume that sparked a passionate flame in my heart.
In 2009, I bought my first bottle of perfume. It was a gift to myself to celebrate passing my final exams in high school. That same year I was accepted at the cosmetics chemistry faculty of Adam Mickiewicz University and moved to Poznań. For many years I’ve been reading perfume blogs talking about perfume brands I’ve never heard of, thinking that bottles offered at Sephora or Douglas (a high-end perfumery store chain) were my only choice. Luckily I was wrong.
In April 2012, I accidentally discovered that there is a perfume boutique in Poznań’s Old Town district. I was going to meet a friend and decided to take a different route than usual. I passed by a window displaying perfume bottles. I recognized one of them as it looked exactly like one of those I saw on a blog. To my excitement, I realized, I discovered a niche perfume store. I returned there few days later to explore what’s inside.
The boutique I found was a small and cosy place named Quality Missala. Later I found that Quality Missala is the biggest niche perfumery in Poland and that they have few more boutiques throughout the country. At the beginning I was overwhelmed by the amount of niche brands in one place, but I quickly learned how to move in this new environment.
Excited by all those brands, I purchased my first niche perfume, Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilée, in May of this year.
Quality Missala is a family business owned by the Missala family. Through email conversations, I befriended them and we have a good relationship now.
They offer amazing variety, a few examples are Amouage, Annick Goutal, By Kilian, Montale and Xerjoff. For the last few months they’ve been doing an extremely good job of bringing the newest releases to Poland. Olivier Durbano Heliotrope or Frapin Speakeasy were brought from Fragranze Pitti 10 in Florence, to name just a few.
Once you enter their boutique, the first thing you’ll notice is the smell of perfume floating in the air but shortly after you should take note of the interior design. Wooden tables, burgundy velvet chairs, dimmed lights. The boutique has an amazing atmosphere. Once you enter it’s not easy to turn around and leave again. The place is so inviting that you want to stay a while longer. And you’re welcome to stay in as long as you want.
What’s more, you can make an appointment for a personal fragrance consultation. You’ll be offered a comfortable seat, coffee (or tea) so that you’ll be comfortable and relaxed to find an ideal fragrance for yourself.
Members of the Missala family are not only great perfume lovers, but they’re also creators. In 2011 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Quality Missala perfumeries, the family created their own perfume, Qessence, in collaboration with perfumer Jean-Claude Astier. The result of this teamwork is a magnificent woody oriental perfume containing numerous natural essences. The idea of the scent was to create something that would evoke the values that guided the Missala family through life.
In my opinion discovery is one of the best aspects of this hobby, but we all know there are many brands that don’t offer samples. Quality Missala niche perfumery has a great sampling program. You can try every single scent they have in stock and you get a 1,2ml glass spray vial with a nice label for 1,5€ – 4€. I order from them every few months to discover the latest scents or older perfumes I didn’t try yet. Oh, and the prices for some brands are really good in comparison to other retailers.
Education is an important factor for perfume lovers. We want to develop our abilities of smelling and recognizing perfume ingredients. Here at Quality Missala they know about that. Every few months they organize perfume workshops in their flagship boutique in Warsaw. Those workshops cater to perfume lovers, who want to learn more. Each meeting has a theme, for example there was a meeting in September on the topic of amber. Participants could learn about natural amber, its price, they could also see the raw ingredients and experience various perfumes with amber notes. Lessons like these are really valuable.
If you ask me about perfume shopping in Poland, I would actually have a problem giving you a short answer. Quality Missala keeps the niche standard high with their hard work that allows Polish perfume lovers to be up to date.
On the other hand many mainstream and designer releases never even appear in Poland. There’s also one more thing that bothers me – fragrances from fashion designer luxury lines are not available here. It might be hard to believe, but Les Exclusifs de Chanel, Hermessences or Dior La Collection Privée fragrances are impossible to get in Poland. Are we worse customers? Maybe…
To sum up, perfume shopping in Poland can be fun and educational at the same time, if you know what you’re looking for and where to go. Sales assistants are generally friendly and willing to help which is a plus, especially when you’re a beginner who doesn’t know where to start. Assistants (especially at Quality Missala) know their stuff and will suggest something to start with. It’s good, but there’s still plenty to do to make Poland an even more Perfumista-friendly country.
I’m sure that day will come, it’s somewhere in the future.