Last Sunday I had the pleasure of visiting the 1st Annual Artisan Fragrance Salon, sponsored by TasteTV. It took place in a SoMa gallery and the heady fragrance nearly knocked us out the moment we arrived. But nothing like the unavoidable department store haze that attacks you from all sides. Many of these niche or indie fragrance companies don’t rely on alcohol as a fragrance carrier. Therefore, no sprays to penetrate the air. These are high-quality close-to-the-skin fragrances that are oil-based. Most don’t test on animals or rely on animal musks. I went to sample Sonoma Scent Studio’s fragrances for an upcoming SF Chronicle story I’m working on. I was delighted with their vintage fragrances and clean-looking packaging and am really excited about the story. I was also intrigued by several other lines, including Portland’s 40 Notes Perfume and LA’s Sarah Horowitz Parfums. These are luxury niche fragrances that are on par with some of the most iconic fragrance houses around. You can find them on their individual sites, or can shop on Indie Scents. The outing was a revelation for me since I never knew such a niche existed. Really though, why not? Boutique wine, artisanal food, and locally made manufacturers are commonplace now, and that’s so great. I encourage anyone that is interested in supporting small businesses and fragrance to seek out these smart business women. Not all are run by women, but the women I met at the show were definitely smart.