10 perfume and fragrance brands in British Columbia to try
From room sprays to fragrances, these are the scents of the Pacific Northwest.
British Columbia has no shortage of small businesses creating essential oil blends. Vancouver-based brand Vitruvi has taken North America by storm with its design-driven approach to wellness. The popularity of essential oils in this city is great, but brands in this area are a list for another time.
These 12 independent BC companies take our love of fragrance one step further and create their own fragrances for home and personal use.
Spit In The Soup
Megan Hepburn is a Vancouver-based artist and perfumer who teaches Zoom and in-person workshops on natural perfumery for all skill levels (the next one is April 23). Hepburn has its own small collection of nine fragrances available in perfume and eau de parfum concentrations that use raw botanical ingredients to create unique scents inspired by the environment around Vancouver. Pete’s Sake combines peat moss distillate, juniper, hemlock, cedar, sage and other moss for an earthy scent. Whereas Water Witching is made up of things that grow by the river. Hepburn also accepts custom fragrance orders at its Fraser Street studio, open by appointment.
Perfumery Côte Sauvage
Based in Cowichan Bay, Wild Coast Perfumery manufactures 13 natural fragrances that fall into the fruity, floral, herbal, woody and vanilla categories. The hand-blended fragrances are made using traditional aging and filtering methods, so each one takes over six weeks to prepare. Fragrances are created with a blend of over 20 essential oils, absolutes and resins listed on the site and designed to work with the body’s natural chemistry to enhance your existing scent. In 2021, Tribune Bay eau de parfum, a combination of vanilla, coconut, mandarin, pineapple and poplar, won first place for fragrance at the Clean Beauty Awards.
Self-taught Vancouver perfumer Matthew Meleg’s eponymous brand comes with a big caveat: Its ingredients and concentrations don’t comply with the International Fragrance Association. So why mention it at all? A few reasons. The first being that he has a fan base. Meleg perfumes are more intense than modern perfumes and resemble vintage French colognes of a bygone era for which there is a market. Despite being a controversial figure, Meleg has created 12 original fragrances and achieved a level of success despite many challenges and that deserves to be included in this list. If you have skin sensitivities, allergies or are vegan then maybe Meleg isn’t for you, but people interested in locally made luxury goods should check it out.
Heim is a gay couple-owned home fragrance company that started in Vancouver during the pandemic. After launching in 2021, the collection of six linen and room sprays has become extremely popular and can be found at over 40 retailers across Canada. A portion of every sale is donated to Covenant House to help homeless LGQBTQ+ youth find their own space. Scents range from citrus to sweet, heady to cool, with something for every preference and can serve as an alternative to a diffuser.
Zingaro Floral Perfumery
It’s hard to pin down Zingaro Floral Perfumery in Victoria. Part apothecary, part florist, part curio shop, this retailer has a bit of everything and it’s all gorgeous. The 11 luxe scents are European in nature (as are their floral designs) and run the gamut from dark and moody scents like Basilica XII with hints of ginger, cardamom, vanilla and cedarwood, to fresh and spring-like with Trinity Flora with notes of juniper, bitter orange, basil and tuberose. Many fragrances are available in 75ml purse size and 50ml bottles.
Fern & Petal
Fern & Petal is a Vancouver-based brand that makes essential oil blends for diffusers, room sprays, floral waters, and bath products. Some sprays have specific functions such as an all-natural insect repellent or a sleep-inducing lavender mist, but others are floral waters designed with aromatherapeutic properties for topical use. Goddess mist is a floral blend of rose, aloe vera and witch hazel designed to calm the nerves and act as a natural aphrodisiac. Evergreen Spice room spray is meant to freshen up a space with cinnamon, pine, and cedarwood.
Steele & Co.
This gender-neutral soap and skincare company based in Victoria also has a fragrance designed and bottled in Canada but made by master perfumers in Grasse. The boreal scent is warm, dry and resinous with a smoky undertone. Notes of clove, pink pepper, sage and cedar recall the forest floor. Steele & Co’s other Zephyr fragrance is the opposite and represents the shore with aquatic notes of bergamot, celery and coriander.
Free Spirit Botanicals
Many people turn to solid perfumes as an alcohol-free scented option. Cult brands Glossier, Lush and Diptyque have all released their own versions. Locally, Free Spirit Botanicals in Victoria manufactures all-natural solid perfumes in eight different scents: White Lotus, Pachulli and Rose Pachulli, Amber, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Green Tea and Thousand Flower. All have a coconut oil and beeswax base and use essential oils or lab-made ingredients that are free of phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and formaldehyde (and are needed to create vanilla flavors).
Dragonfly Dreaming Organics
Cowichan Valley natural skincare company Dragonfly Dreaming Organics has created rose scents from several grape varieties grown on their property. The From the Roses collection is made with steam distilled damask and chanti rose vapor, the Tea Garden fragrance is finished with Bulgarian rose absolute to make it as punchy as possible and the Spirit Rose fragrance contains jasmine with a blend other essential oils. to make it more complex.
Flora Botany Alchemy
Flore delves into the mystique of perfumery with bottles and fragrances that allude to the magic of nature captured by perfume. For example, there is no cherry blossom essential oil but by combining magnolia, osmanthus and jasmine with other notes, Flore has created “the fantasy” of cherry blossoms as part of their Wabi Sabi perfume. which also contains yuzu, shiso and pink pepper. . Each of the nine scents has an intricate backstory that reflects wilderness and West Coast influences.