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Fashion & Style

The top 10 perfume stores and outlets in Toronto

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / January 14, 2014

perfume stores torontoThe top perfume stores in Toronto go way past the department store fragrance counter. Most folks tend to stick to the safe bets when buying scents: Holt Renfrew for the very, very high-end, Shoppers Drug Mart for whatever your favourite pop star just licensed, and Hudson's Bay or Sears for everything in between.

But following your nose to independent stores can pay off, either through new discoveries or major savings. Small boutiques offer Independent lines and niche fragrances (priced low to high), while mom and pop stores can offer steals and deals on new designer bottles, or that long-discontinued scent that disappeared from department stores years ago.

Here are the top perfume stores in Toronto.

Jacob and Sebastian
This Queen West store and its Distillery sister location sells a dizzying array of skin care products and cosmetics. The big standout on the fragrance shelves is CB I Hate Perfume (perfect for those who'd rather smell like a trip to the cottage or the beach than a bouquet of flowers), but you'll find professorial Portland General Store scents, incense-based fragrances from Compagnie de Provence, and the custom Aromachology fragrance system.

Pir
For more than a decade, this Yorkville spa/boutique has hosted a trove of niche cosmetics and fragrances -- no mass-produced lines here. Their perfumes lean toward high-end Euro imports: Etro, Honore des Pres, and Histoires de Parfums (a personal favourite) are among the standout lines. Their web store fields orders from all across the country for some of the rarer brands.

Belle de Provence
It's tucked away on Yorkville's Old York Lane, but this French bath and beauty store is refreshingly unpretentious. Their collection of mid-to-high-range fragrances lures in French expats looking for products from back home, as well as shoppers seeking a cheaper alternative to their Jo Malones. Key brands include Lothantique and Miller et Bertaux -- a designer, the friendly staff tell me, that's absolutely everywhere in France.

6 by Gee Beauty
This Rosedale gift shop, the sister store to the adjoining Gee Beauty spa, is the only place in Canada to find Le Labo, a favourite of niche fragrance fans. Select one of the 14 scents (which range from the smoky Santal 33 to the fresh 27 Fleur D'Oranger), and they'll blend you up a fresh bottle (nothing collects dust here ) and print your name and a message on it for a custom touch. You'll pay handsomely -- a 50 mL bottle goes for $170 -- but you will also smell fantastic.

Nomad
Most of the real estate at this super-hip Queen West menswear shop is taken up by upscale basics from lines like Comme Des Garcons and A.P.C. The fragrance selections are perfectly complementary: They carry gents' scents by U.K. perfumer Heeley and most of the Comme Des Garcons fragrance line, so you can pick up a bottle to go with your heart-with-eyes-logo sweater.

Ace Gifts Plus
This Chinatown shop's name is a bit of a misnomer -- they really just deal in perfumes, from the discontinued to the newly-released to the obviously off-off-off-brand. Ace doubles as a wholesaler, and they keep markup low on what they sell out of their own storefront (I nabbed a perfect bottle of the long-discontinued Bulgari Black for $40). Things might be a bit dusty, but the owner's knowledgeable, and the selection's wide.

Enchante Perfumes
This GTA chain closed their only downtown outlet in the PATH a while back -- their remaining stores are in Vaughan Mills and the Woodbine Centre. But if you still want to get your discount perfume fix from downtown, check out their comprehensive -- everything they carry is listed, including a number of designer fragrances and a few niche brands.

Blossom Lounge
This Distillery District boutique carries everything you need to look smashing -- clothing, accessories, jewelry -- but it actually began as a bath and body store. The scent selection matches perfectly with the store's feminine, whimsical aesthetic -- think Tocca's girly fragrances, basic scents from the appropriately-named Clean, and unusual blends from Tokyomilk.

The Perfume Outlet
The buzz among fragrance fans (or, as they call themselves, 'fumeheads') is that this Dixie Mall fragrance outlet is a great place to go treasure hunting for hard-to-find scents or low, low-priced name brand perfumes.

Outer Layer
This quirky gift shop, with locations in the Annex and on Queen West, is by no means limited to bath and body products. But next time you're in there for a goofy card or a cheese shredder that looks like a Flying V guitar, check out the selection of perfumes from indie lines like Lollia, Love & Toast, and local company Sula.

A brief disclaimer: I've heard of nothing but positive experiences at the shops on this list that sell discounted designer perfume, but if something doesn't look right to you, think twice before buying.

Photo from 6 by Gee Beauty

Discussion

11 Comments

kevinn / January 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm
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MenEssentials (they're located on Danforth) has many exclusive scents that aren't found anywhere in Canada.
jfung / January 14, 2014 at 02:56 pm
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Double that on MenEssentials.

If you know what you want, their website is great and they have free shipping on $50+ orders.

If you don't know what you want, like me, they're super-patient and helpful.
Jamie / January 14, 2014 at 08:10 pm
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So why should I care about menesentials? This article is about Perfume not men's cologne.So they have some exclusives that I can't get anywhere else but maybe Theres a reason for that. Im not gonna order as fragrance online I've never smelt even if there is free shipping. So do many other Hudsons Bay Thebay.com has free shipping on f ragrance purchases over$29,and Icanreturn where ever I want.



So whydowe care about men essntials again advocates/employees again? This is about in store boutiques not online purchases and free shipping. Thanks for the self promo but you weren't in the top 10 for a reason....
Sandman / January 14, 2014 at 08:12 pm
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Aromachology. They can create custom scents.
AngelA / January 14, 2014 at 09:31 pm
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Noor in Yorkville is a pretty spectacular shop carrying some pretty incredible, hard-to-find fragrances.
Natalia replying to a comment from AngelA / January 14, 2014 at 09:43 pm
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Angela -- Absolutely! I've heard fantastic things, but it looks like Noor hasn't yet found a new home since the old Four Seasons hotel was demolished.
Erin T / January 16, 2014 at 09:57 am
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As a total 'fumehead with a 200+ bottle collection, I can attest to the excellence of Enchanté (I go to Vaughan Mills) and Ace Gifts Plus for discontinued wonders and decent pricing. Holt Renfrew should probably be on the list, as annoying as their pricing and vibe can be: they now have the best selection of niche fragrance in the city. Noor was by far the best perfume store in Toronto, if not Canada, and it is much, much missed. Pir, however, is a bizarre place, and I'm not sure how it continues to stay in business: they have every perfume the serious perfumista doesn't want(and are permanently sold out of the desirable ones) in a seriously weird collection of brands. I buy my Etros at Enchanté, order the Histoires from The Perfume Shoppe in Vancouver and get Honore de Pres scents at substantial discount from the US.
JS / January 16, 2014 at 11:54 pm
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ManEssentials is a -store- on the Danforth that also has a website, Jamie, you nitwit. There are so many dumb things you said in your comment I don't even know where to start.

I normally don't comment, but I didn't want to miss an opportunity to chime in and say that ManEssentials really is a great perfume destination in the city.

My husband and I (80+ bottles of perfume in our collection) have shopped there a few times now and we really like it. They carry Penhaligons, Czech & Speake, Trumper and many other great niche fragrance lines, which are lovely and quite unisex actually. Lady fumeheads, be sure to check this place out.
Buy Fragrance on Discount / March 13, 2014 at 03:14 am
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Branded perfumes, cologne and fragrance on sale. Visit shopchakra.com now to buy branded perfumes on sale and discount price. Visit online now.
M1 / June 27, 2014 at 10:07 am
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Ace Gifts Plus is an interesting store full of perfume gems. However, the knowledgable gentleman assisting customers is impatient, rude and scarring some some of us away. Even trying perfumes is not straightforward; he might let you sample or not. I dared to enter into price negotiation about two perfumes and he bullied me that we had to close the deal then and there! I got upset and left. So be prepared ... just because this store sells perfumes it doesn't mean that the people working are all rosy and gentile. As far as I am concerned they are merchants who among others they sell perfume testers that should not be sold at all and for hefty prices. I have purchased from them one such product and I was happy both with the quality and the price but I knew I was buying a tester.
Alex / July 11, 2014 at 07:48 pm
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Niche Essence has opened recently in 2651 Yonge st. ( North of Eglinton ) its one of the most luxorius perfumery boutique that i have ever seen .

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