When does niche stops being niche? One definition of niche perfumes has to do with number of doors distributing the product (and this is the original meaning). Another has to do with maintaining a high standard of ingredients, artistic integrity and not catering to the lowest common denominator.
I admit even though L'Artisan Parfumeur is one of my favorite niche fragrance lines I am having some trouble to chew on their latest practices going on for a handful of years now (that unstoppable tsunami of releases for one), which definitely stem from some revamping of their marketing strategy. It was but a mere year ago that I announced the production stop on Tea for Two, one of their more "cult" scents with a devoted following, and confirming the discontinuation of the emblematic -and innovative!- Vanilia in favor of Havana Vanille (later renamed Vanille Absolument), and now they're axing -exactly!- Vanille Absolument. This boozy, dry, part tobacco, part hay fantasy of a vanilla perfume with no synthetic vanillin was a bet that artistically paid off. It's one of Bertrand Duchaufour's perfectly judged oriental perfumes, not too sweet, never cloying, stuff to earn a dedicated following much like Tea for Two had. So, guess what. It had to go and not even the perfumer had been alerted in time, allegedly!
The reason is two-fold (sewn into one): The high cost of raw materials (that natural vanilla absolute, that narcissus...) wasn't sufficiently justified by the lukewarm sales. If you're head over heels for it, grab a bottle now rather than later (there's still bigger bottles on the L'Artisan site)
To add insult to injury many fragrance editions in the 50ml/1.7oz bottles are also being axed, as plainly now shown by the recent sale. (This won't happen to the best-sellers, but if you're craving just a little bit of your quirky fav, you're out of luck). And last but not least L'Artisan Parfumeur signs a distribution deal with Sephora, at least in France (I do realize that in France the Sephora shops sell even Lutens, but still...)
How niche can L'Artisan Parfumer continue to be as judged by the above mentioned two criteria? Perhaps the answer is simpler than anticipated: L'Artisan Parfumeur is now in the portfolio of Cradle Holdings.